Being in the Know

While working at your summer job or internship, it is important to stay up to date on legal developments and current events. One way to do this is to monitor legal news by using an RSS feed. If you have never set up an RSS feed, watch this easy to follow video demonstrating how to do so. (Note: this video refers to Google Reader, which is no longer in service.)

As the video describes, you need to complete two steps to create an RSS feed. First, you need to sign on to a reader, which is a website where you view the latest news from your favorite sources. The second step is to set up a connection between your reader and your favorite legal news providers. You do this by subscribing to legal news sites or legal blogs.

Listed below are a few free RSS readers, and a few popular and reliable legal news sources.

RSS Readers

Feedly (Web/iOS/Andriod): Great looking design and easy to use interface.

Reedah (Web): Simple minimalist design. Good feed for beginners.

Comma Feed (Web): Designed to be superfast

FeedBooster (Web): Site is ad-free and can sort feeds in multiple ways

Legal News Providers

Law360: Very current coverage of law. Browse news by practice area or jurisdiction. Need to implement proxy instructions for off-campus access.

New York Law Journal: Covers New York legal developments. It is the go to source for attorneys practicing in New York. Browse news by practice area. Also publishes decisions from New York State and Federal Courts. Need username and password to access some articles. Contact for credentials.

Jurist Law: Free source supported by the University of Pittsburgh, School of Law. Very current, real time coverage or U.S. and World Legal News.

BNA Law Reports: Available via Bloomberg Law. BNA publishes law reports on over a 100 different legal topics. To access BNA Law Reports, sign on to Bloomberg Law and select BNA Law Reports from the “Getting Started” menu on the home page.

New York State Adopts the Uniform Bar Examination

uniform bar examOn April 30, 2015 the New York State Court of Appeals, which oversees legal education in the state, amended the rules of admission to the bar to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE).  The UBE is a uniform battery of tests that are administered simultaneously in all UBE jurisdictions.  It consists of the Multistate Bar Examination, the Multistate Performance Test and the Multistate Essay Examination.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman gave notice to the bar on Tuesday, May 5th that New York State had adopted the Uniform Bar Examination.  New York becomes the sixteenth state to adopt the UBE, which is prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

New York will officially adopt the UBE in July 2016.  Those passing the exam will be able to apply for admission in any of the other states offering the UBE, thereby expanding their employment opportunities.  All of the other states currently offering the UBE are smaller than New York State.  Over 15,000 people took the bar exam in New York State in 2015.

The current UBE states are now:

  1. Alabama,
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Colorado
  5. Idaho
  6. Kansas
  7. Minnesota
  8. Missouri
  9. Montana
  10. Nebraska
  11. New Hampshire
  12. New York
  13. North Dakota
  14. Utah
  15. Washington
  16. Wyoming

An applicant for admission in New York must also take and complete an online course in New York-specific law, known as the New York Law Course (NYLC) and must take and pass an online examination, known as the New York Law Exam (NYLE).  It is anticipated that the NYLC and the NYLE will be available in Spring 2016.  Effective October 1, 2016, an applicant who sat for the UBE in another jurisdiction may transfer the score earned on that examination to New York in lieu of taking the UBE in New York.

For further details on the Uniform Bar Examination in New York State, see the following:

Court of Appeals Notice to the Bar

Board of Law Examiners UBE Informational Guide

2015 Commencement Speakers at NY Area Law Schools

Graduation season is here and, this year, Brooklyn Law School will hold its 114th Commencement Ceremony on May 28, 2015 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House. The commencement speaker will be U.S. Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer who will deliver the 2015 Commencement address. He will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree, the highest degree conferred by Brooklyn Law School and given to only one recipient each year. Born and raised in Brooklyn and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Senator Schumer has represented New York in the Senate since 1998. He previously served as a Congressman between 1981 and 1998, and was a three-term member of the New York State Assembly for Brooklyn’s 45th district, serving between 1975 and 1980.

Commencement speakers at other area law schools this year are:

New York

  • Albany Law School – Hon. Leslie Stein, Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals
  • Buffalo Law School – Eric T. Schneiderman, New York Attorney General
  • Cardozo School of Law — Hon. Denny Chin, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • Columbia Law School — Charles Fried, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School
  • Hofstra School of Law — Hon. Sallie Manzanet-Daniels, Associate Justice of the New York Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, First Judicial Department
  • New York Law School — Cyrus R. Vance Jr., District Attorney of New York County and Joseph Plumeri, Vice Chairman of the First Data Board of Directors
  • New York University School of Law — Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Pace University School of Law — U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • St. John’s University School of Law — W. Mark Lanier, founder of the Lanier Law Firm
  • Syracuse University College of Law — Mary Karr, Professor of Literature at Syracuse University
  • Touro Law Center — Richard Parsons, former chairman of Time Warner and Citigroup

New Jersey

  • Rutgers University School of Law at Newark — Hon. Barry T. Albin, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey
  • Seton Hall Law School — Dean Patrick E. Hobbs, Seton Hall Law


  • Quinnipiac University School of Law — Harold Koh, Professor of International Law at Yale Law School
  • University of Connecticut School of Law — Tim Wu, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School
  • Yale University Law School — Class Day speaker is Joseph R. Biden Jr., Vice President of the U.S.

American Bar Association Offers Free Membership to Law Students

aba-300x162All BLS students are eligible to take advantage of the American Bar Association’s offer of free membership to students enrolled at ABA approved law schools.   With your free membership, you can: access the ABA Job Board, subscribe to ABA publications, participate in ABA career webinars, and take advantage of ABA discounts on a wide variety of products and services.

For more information or to enroll online, visit or call  the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221.


Will the Supreme Court Make History Next Month?

In mid January the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear four new cases on the issue of same-sex marriage. The focus of the Court’s review is a decision issued in early November by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  That decision upheld bans on marriage or marriage-recognition in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

The cases in question are  Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky); DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan);  Obergefell v. Hodges, (Ohio) and  Tanco v. Haslam, (Tennessee). These cases are linked and being argued as Obergefell v. Hodges.  Arguments began on Tuesday, April 28th.

The questions the high court is considering are

  1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
  2. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

For a good analysis of the arguments before the court, check out the SCOTUSblog.

For further background information check out the book, Same-sex marriage in the United States: the Road to the Supreme Court, which tells the story of the legal and cultural shift regarding this social issue and how it has evolved over the past 15 years.

The justices will issue their decision by the end of June.  We all await this decision.


US Copyright Office’s Fair Use Index

Fair Use IndexOn April 28, 2015, Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante announced the launch of the U.S. Copyright Office’s Fair Use Index, designed to provide the public with searchable summaries of major fair use decisions. The Index was undertaken in support of the 2013 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement prepared by the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator within the Executive Office of the President.

Copyright and Fair Use are challenging areas of law with so many nuances and changes that make it difficult to know whether the use of an image or video is allowed or not and under what circumstances something can be used. The legal doctrine of Fair use promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use.

Hopefully the Fair Use Index will help make the issue a little bit clearer. Users can search cases that deal exclusively with Fair Use and quickly see whether Fair Use was found or not. Users can narrow a search by jurisdiction and, importantly, by format (text, audio, computer, etc.) The Index is searchable by court and subject matter and provides a helpful starting point for those wishing to better understand how the federal courts have applied the fair use doctrine to particular categories of works or types of use, for example, music, internet/digitization, or parody.

The Index has been added to Brooklyn Law Library’s catalog and is available at this link.

Bar Exam Study Options at Local Law School Libraries

If you are a Brooklyn Law School student who is taking a bar review course at another law school, or would like to use another law school library to study for the bar exam, you will be pleased to know that you may have access to other law libraries, usually for a fee.  The policies and costs vary from library to library.  Librarian Mary Godfrey-Rickards of Hofstra Law School Library has compiled a chart with the pertinent information for each school.

Click here to view the bar exam study chart for summer 2015.

Exam Etiquette 101

While the library staff wishes all students the best of luck on their exams, we want to remind you about library etiquette while studying during this important time:

  • No eating in the library, including the elevator corridors.
  • No talking in the reading rooms, and please keep your voices down while using the study rooms.
  • Please do not move chairs from room to room on the 3rd floor.
  • Study rooms must now be reserved through the online reservations system; each student may reserve one room for up to for hours per day.

And now for the good news:  Ear plugs, if needed, are available at the circulation desk and chocolate candy will be available each day next week at 12Noon at the circulation desk.

Good luck!

Exam Time Success

STUDENTS_STUDYING_AT_CATHEDRAL_SENIOR_HIGH_SCHOOL_IN_NEW_ULM,_MINNESOTA._THE_TOWN_IS_A_COUNTY_SEAT_TRADING_CENTER_OF..._-_NARA_-_558209 - CopyThis time of year can be quite overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. There are many resources in the library to help you succeed. Listed below are some of the resources. If you have questions about them, please feel free to stop by or email ( the reference desk.


Study Aids:

First Year Courses:

Site provides links to popular study aids for first year courses.

Upper Level Courses:

There are a few ways to identify study aids for upper level courses. One way is to search the SARA catalog for the subject matter of the exam and then use the filters on the left to limit the list to items located on Reserve.  Another way is to search for a particular series. For example, you could search SARA for West’s Nutshell Series, the Understanding Series, Sum and Substance, Concise Hornbook Series, or Examples and Explanations.

Legal Writing and Citation Tools:

Legal Writing & Analysis:

Site links you to resources to help with legal writing and analysis.

Legal Citation:

Site links you to legal citation resources

Other Tools for Success:

Exams on File:

Link provides access to past exams