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Remembering J. Paul Lomio, Director of Law School Library

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J. Paul Lomio, the director of the Robert Crown Law Library, passed away on Friday, March 6, 2015. He is survived by his wife, Sharon Inouye, and their daughter, Rita Lomio. The Law School is planning a memorial event, which is expected to take place in early April.

“Paul was an extraordinary leader of the library, and he assembled a truly amazing staff,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, Dean and Richard E. Lang Professor of Law. “Paul had a single-minded vision for the library. He constantly thought about helping each and every library user, and he had the uncanny ability to identify what his users needed even before they did. Under Paul’s influence and leadership, that ethic pervades the entire staff. Paul was also a wonderful human being who, in his time here, changed our community for the better in thousands of ways. We are all mourning his loss.”

Lomio was born in 1950 in Schenectady, New York. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Bonaventure University in 1972 before serving in the U.S. Army as a platoon leader until 1975 at Nike Hercules batteries in Fort Story, Virginia and Camp Holliday, South Korea. He went on to earn a law degree from Gonzaga University in 1978 and a master’s degree in law from the University of Washington School of Law in 1979. He was admitted to the Washington State Bar Association in 1978 and served as a guardian-ad-litem for the King County Juvenile Court and clerked for Judge T. Patrick Corbett of the King County Superior Court in Seattle in 1980. He went on to earn a master’s degree in library science in 1982 from the School of Library and Information Science at Catholic University of America.

Lomio joined the law school staff as a reference librarian in 1982 and, in 2005, then-Dean Larry Kramer named him director of the library. Over the course of a career spanning more than three decades, he became a specialist in legal research and the development of digital reserves—and much more.

“I had the opportunity to do a great many things when I was dean, but I would say—as I often did—that making Paul the director of our library was unquestionably the single best decision I ever made,” said Larry Kramer, president of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and dean of Stanford Law School from 2004 to 2012. “Paul was a consummate professional who took the library out of a deep deficit and remade it into an incredibly effective institution. But more than that, Paul was a wonderful human being who thought about people and did his utmost to improve their lives. This was true for students, for faculty, for alumni, and for his staff. He touched so many of us in wonderful and memorable ways.”

Lomio led a library team that was the envy of law schools throughout the country—his knowledge and enthusiasm for the work were contagious.

“Paul was a librarian’s librarian,” said Erika Wayne, deputy director of the Law Library. “He was the best mentor and boss. He had this amazing ability to remember all of your interests, and he would leave you books or articles. And he made the library so welcoming, introducing things like the bicycle borrowing program.”

Along with overseeing the library’s collection, Lomio spearheaded moves to bring the library’s holdings into the digital age. Key to his success was his willingness to embrace technology and understand the importance of data.

Lomio played a prominent role in helping launch the library’s earliest online initiative, the Women’s Legal History Biography Project, developed in collaboration with Barbara Babcock, the Judge John Crown Professor of Law, Emerita. The site features biographical chapters and archival information on hundreds of pioneering female lawyers in the United States.

“The qualities that made Paul a great person were also the ones that made him exceptional at his work,” said Babcock. “Above all, he was kind and caring; he was intellectually curious and enthusiastic about new ideas, utterly reliable and amazingly patient. It is hard to imagine the law school without his beneficent, loving presence.”

In 2011, he teamed up with the Rock Center to host the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s website, a massive database of the information gathered in the review of the financial crisis of 2008, thus preserving a valuable historical and educational resource for scholars.

“Paul was a sea of calm in a world of chaos,” said Joseph Grundfest, the W. A. Franke Professor of Law and Business, reflecting on the scope of the project. “Nothing ruffled his feathers, and nothing was impossible. It might take a little more time. But, to Paul, it wasn’t impossible.”

The above was taken in part from the Stanford Lawyer website. See Remembering J. Paul Lomio, Director of Law School Library, (written by Sharon Driscoll) to read the entire post. You can also leave notes about Paul in the comments section located on that page.

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