Heather Simmons

Law and Business Reference Librarian
Teaching Associate Professor, Law Library


Heather Simmons earned her AB and MLS from the University of Michigan and her JD from Wayne State University. She started her career at Wayne State University’s Arthur Neef Law Library in Detroit, Michigan, where she became assistant director in 1988. There, she developed a legal research program for first-year law students. Heather has taught courses on legal information for the Schools of Library Science at both Wayne State and the University of Michigan.

In 1994, Heather left academia to run the law library at the General Motors Corporation, where she learned the art of patent and trademark searching. She became a science & technical librarian at the GM Research & Development Library in 1999, while continuing to serve the legal staff. She led the Scientific & Technical Research & Analysis Team from 2003 to 2010. This group of information professionals handled large projects on a wide variety of topics for customers around the company. She also served as GM’s copyright agent from 2008-2012. In this capacity she educated GM scientists and engineers about copyright compliance issues.

Heather is active in the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), having received the Matthew Bender Scholarship Award in 1988, and serving on AALL’s Executive Board from 1997-2000, and is currently vice-chair / chair-elect of AALL’s Legal Information Services to the Public Special Interest Section. She is currently serving on the State Bar of Michigan’s Standing Committee on Libraries, Legal Research and Legal Publications, and is co-chairing the Program Committee for the Patent Information User Group’s 2017 Annual Meeting

Follow Heather on Twitter @heatherjsimmons.


JD Wayne State University
MLS University of Michigan
BA University of Michigan

Areas of Expertise

Mindfulness in the law
Teaching methods
Law librarianship
Business intelligence
Intellectual property


Legal Research
Advanced Legal Research – Corporate

Selected Publications

Heather Simmons and Michelle Hook Dewey, Quimbee Online Tutorial Course: Legal Research (Aug 2016).

‘Cranky no more: The life and legacy of Charles Franklin Kettering’ World Patent Information, vol 44, pp. 1-9 (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.wpi.2015.10.005

Categorizing the Useful Arts: Past, Present, and Future Development of Patent Classification in the United States, Law Library Journal, vol. 106, iss. 4 (Fall 2014).