Alex Berrio Matamoros: Enhancing Research with Technology

May 1, 2013 | CUNY School of Law

“I’m the librarian with probably the fewest books on my bookshelf,” said Alex Berrio Matamoros, the new emerging technologies librarian and library associate professor.

A grand total of two books are on the shelf, plus a third on his desk. All three are law books, at least. “I don’t really use print books very much. Digital resources are what I focus on most,” he said.

And iPods. His collection takes up an entire shelf.

Library Associate Professor Alex Berrio Matamoros

Library Associate Professor Alex Berrio Matamoros

Berrio Matamoros teaches legal research to first-year students, but has the additional responsibility of overseeing the introduction of new technologies throughout the library. That includes providing users with e-books and new electronic resources.

It’s not surprising to see technology play a bigger role at the Law School. More attorneys take their iPads and other devices in the field to do legal research, or bring them to court to double-check something, to bolster an argument, or to collaborate with colleagues. Berrio Matamoros encourages students to do the same when they conduct legal research. He also envisions a day when faculty will work the use of tablets into other aspects of practice.

Berrio Matamoros’s interest in digital media and legal research dates back to a time between college and law school, when he saw how easy it was for people to infringe on artists’ copyrights and keep them from benefiting financially from their own creations.

At Boston College Law School, he interned at a firm specializing in new media and intellectual property. He thought he had found what he wanted to do, but he questioned whether working at a firm was the right fit. Then he realized what he enjoyed most about the law was the day-to-day research he did. That put him on his current career path.

Berrio Matamoros taught at BC Law School after graduating. When an opening arose at CUNY, he was immediately attracted to the fact that law librarians here were on the tenure track.

“It’s refreshing to find a faculty that appreciates and understands the importance of law librarians as peers in teaching,” he said.

Students’ devotion to public interest law was another draw.

“The student body here is so incredibly passionate about doing good and using the law as a tool for justice,” he said.

Berrio Matamoros joins CUNY Law on the eve of a big birthday for the school, which has been an innovator since Day One through its public interest spirit and focus on clinical education.

“In the few months I’ve been here, I’ve seen interest among faculty, administration, and students about enhancing legal education through technology. I feel like there’s an opportunity for CUNY Law to be innovative and continue to lead,” said Berrio Matamoros.

– Paul Lin

More from CUNY Law magazine Spring 2013 »