Seventh Annual Databases Research Fair Recap

The library held its Seventh Annual Databases Research Fair on October 3, 2018, in the third floor Phyllis & Bernard Nash Reading Room.  Representatives from Bloomberg Law, EBSCO, Fastcase, Lexis, Westlaw, and Wolters Kluwer came to showcase their legal research platforms to students.  BLS librarians were also on hand to demonstrate HeinOnline and research tools available on the BLS Library website.

The mix of 1Ls and upperclass students enjoyed stopping by vendor tables, learning about the latest database features while picking up swag like portable wireless speakers, coffee mugs, tote bags, and pens.  Students who had visited at least 5 vendors also qualified to enter the raffle. For the prizes, BLS Library and the vendors contributed gift cards ranging from $10 to $100, with a total value of $385. Congratulations to the nine lucky students who won the raffle gift cards!

Finally, it must be noted that the research fair was organized, as always, by Associate Librarian Linda Holmes.  After 37 years with the library, Linda’s last day at BLS was today, October 5. We wish her a very happy retirement!  It speaks to the success of the event, and to Linda’s superb organization, that on the day of the research fair a 3L student told us “The day of the research fair is my favorite day of the school year.” And the next day, after she received an email from Linda notifying her that she had won a raffle prize: “I was so happy, I did a little dance.”  

 

A Treasure Trove of Information: Online Public Access to CRS Reports

Last month, the Library of Congress launched an online searchable database of Congressional Research Service reports (CRS reports).  CRS reports are written by experts in a particular field. They present a legislative perspective on topics such as agriculture policy, banking regulation, the environment, veteran’s affairs, etc.   Founded over a century ago, the Congressional Research Service’s purpose is to provide Congress with authoritative and confidential research and analysis on the issues before both chambers.  The reports used to be available for a fee, but the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 changed that.  The Act directs the Library of Congress to  make CRS reports publicly available online.   You can access the CRS Reports at crsreports.congress.gov

I ran a couple of test searches on the platform.  A search of the term “environment” retrieved 93 results.  A search for the term “trade” retrieved 102 results.  Like other online tools, there are filters on the left you can use to narrow your result list.  These filters include: topics, authors, and date.  You can also search within your results to retrieve a more refined list.

International Law Research Open House

On September 25, 2018, as part of Brooklyn Law School’s “International Law Week” events, BLS librarians held an International Law Research open house at the library.  Over 60 students stopped by to learn about international legal research resources at BLS, including databases, research guides, and class-specific resources. They munched on Chocolates of the World, and entered the raffle: the lucky winners got to take home prizes that included Amazon gift cards, and BLS polo shirts, baseball caps, and water bottles.

As usual, LeBron (Associate Librarian for International Law, Jean Davis) was a force on the court, preparing many detailed and helpful handouts, and teaching students all about the databases and tools they could use.  Check out the resources she compiled on Human Rights in Myanmar here.   

BLS Library Databases Research Fair: October 3, 2018

The 7th Annual Library Databases Research Fair will be held on Wednesday, October 3, 2018.  The fair will be held in the Library’s 3rd Floor Phyllis and Bernard Nash ’66 Reading Room from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

Representatives from the following legal research companies will be present to demonstrate their databases:

  • Bloomberg Law
  • Ebsco
  • Fastcase
  • Lexis Nexis
  • Westlaw
  • Wolters Kluwer
  • Handouts/Brochures & Pens/Post-Its provided by Hein Online

There will be handouts, give-aways, & light refreshments.  A raffle drawing for gift cards will be held at 5:45pm.

Come and learn how these databases will help you with your legal research.

Save the date:  Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 3:00pm – 6:00pm, 3rd Floor Nash Reading Room.

Book TV comes to BLS Library

On September 16, 2018, as part of the Brooklyn Book Festival, C-SPAN’s Book TV came to  the Brooklyn Law School Library.  

Book TV aired from 10 AM to 6 PM from the Phyllis & Bernard Nash ‘66 Reading Room on the third floor of the library, covering eight lively author panels that debated the panelists’ works on immigration, innovation, the squeezing of the middle class, and other timely topics.  BLS Interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton kicked off the programming in the morning, welcoming participants and noting that Brooklyn Law School has long been an integral part of the Brooklyn Book Festival.  The Nash Reading Room was filled to capacity for many of the panels, including War on Truth and Journalism, featuring Linda Greenhouse, April Ryan, and Eli Saslow, and moderated by BLS Professor and President of the ACLU, Susan Herman.  Brooklyn Law School also hosted panels in the student lounge and in Room 401, and an estimated 2,500 visitors came to BLS for the festival. 

Getting to engage with authors while snagging Book TV tote bags and other swag? Not a bad way to spend part of the weekend!

2018 Brooklyn Book Festival

The 2018 Brooklyn Book Festival begins today!  The Festival has been held every year since 2006 and typically draws over 30,000 attendees.  According to the organizers:

The Brooklyn Book Festival is one of America’s premier book festivals and the largest free literary event in New York City. Presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors, the Festival includes a week of Bookend Events throughout New York City, a lively Children’s Day and a celebratory Festival Day with more than 300 authors plus 250 booksellers filling a vibrant outdoor Literary Marketplace.

Festival Day is Sunday, September 16, and as in past years, several events will take place at Brooklyn Law School.  Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Linda Greenhouse, who covered the Supreme Court for decades for the New York Times, will be on the panel discussing War on Truth and Journalism at 3:00 PM in the library’s Phyllis & Bernard Nash Reading Room.  BLS Interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton will moderate the discussion From the Border: People and Politics at 4:00 PM, also in the Nash Reading Room.  Many other fascinating talks and panel discussions will be held at BLS in the Student Lounge, Room 401, and the Nash Reading Room: click here for the full schedule.

If you have never attended and are intrigued, be sure to check out Book Festival In My Backyard, a post by BLS librarian Jean Davis about the 2017 event.

See you this weekend at the Festival!

Need Help with Your Seminar Paper? Come to the Seminar Paper Workshop

On Thursday September 20th, Prof. Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil are holding their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper in Room 402.  The workshop is from 4-5:30 PM. Topics covered include sources for selecting your topic, sources for researching your topic, and strategies for effectively organizing and writing your paper.  If you are unable to attend the workshop, you can access an online research guide which contains a recording of the workshop, links to and descriptions of all the research sources discussed, and the writing and research presentations.  The online guide is available at guides.brooklaw.edu/seminarpaper.  From the guide’s main page, you can access the recording of the presentation, Professor Fajans’ slideshow on how to write your seminar paper, and Kathy Darvil’s online presentation on how to research your seminar paper.  If you should need further help selecting or researching your topic, please stop by the reference desk for assistance.

BLS Library Welcomes You Back!

The new semester officially began today for all upper class JD students.  1Ls arrived last week and LL.M. and A.J.D. students have been hard at work since earlier this summer.  No matter when you arrived, the BLS Library staff would like to wish you a very warm welcome – or welcome back!  We have met many of you at orientation and on the library tours, and look forward to getting to know the rest of you throughout the year.

Our regular library hours starting today, August 27, 2018, are:

Monday – Thursday            8am-12am
Friday                                    8am-10pm
Saturday                               9am-10pm
Sunday                                 10am-12am

Stop by the reference desk if you have questions: a reference librarian is usually at the desk Monday-Thursday from 9am-8pm, and Friday-Saturday from 9am-5pm.  If we’re not at the desk, feel free to ask us a question at askthelibrary.brooklaw.edu or text us at (718) 734-2432.  Finally, don’t forget the research guide for 1Ls that is full of useful resources and tips.

Summer Reading: The Girl on the Velvet Swing

She was a young actress and model, new to New York City, who caught the attention of a wealthy and famous older man.  After gaining the trust of her mother, the man lured the 16 year old alone to his apartment, plied her with champagne, and raped her after she had passed out.  Despite this, she continued to have a relationship with him for a number of years, while he continued to support her family financially.

The Girl on the Velvet Swing

Some time later, she married another man, the heir to the fortune of a well-to-do Pittsburgh family. He had his own dark past: posing as a theatrical agent in New York, he had physically abused several young aspiring actresses. The women were all paid off to ensure their silence.

These events may sound all too familiar, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement, but they occurred in the early 1900s and are the subject of Simon Baatz’s book The Girl on the Velvet Swing (Call No. HV 6534.N5 B33 2018). The young model was Evelyn Nesbit, the man who sexually assaulted her was renowned architect Stanford White, and her husband was Harry Thaw.  Nesbit would become one of the first fashion icons, her image appearing in advertisements everywhere, but her prior entanglement with White would haunt her for her entire life. Things came to a head one sweltering night in 1906 when Thaw saw White in attendance at a performance in the rooftop theatre of Madison Square Garden. Yelling “You’ve ruined my wife,” he pulled out a pistol and shot White three times at close range.  Stanny, as he was known to his friends, died instantly in a building of his own design (this second iteration of Madison Square Garden, erected in 1890, would be torn down in 1925.)

Stanford White

The story of Nesbit, White, and Thaw has been covered before in other books, including Nesbit’s autobiography from 1934, and Paula Uruburu’s American Eve (2008).  What distinguishes The Girl in the Velvet Swing is the depth it gets into in describing the multiple trials and appeals, and the legal maneuvering undertaken by Thaw and his ever-changing legal team.  How to defend the accused when he shot the victim in front of countless witnesses? Would the insanity defense fly if Thaw himself refused to assert it?  How to take advantage of the system and free Thaw once he was committed to an asylum?

The book’s coverage of Thaw’s trial proceedings is full of rich detail, sourced from the many newspapers that were breathlessly reporting on the latest legal twists and turns: the New York World, New York American, New York Sun, among others (the Author’s Note at the end of the book provides further context as to the newspaper coverage.)  Especially telling are the legal shenanigans that ensue after Thaw escapes from the Matteawan asylum in New York state. He lands in a small Quebec town across the border from Vermont, and his army of lawyers wage legal battle over extradition that spills over into the courts and politics of Canada.

Harry Thaw

When all was said and done, Harry Thaw had hired around 40 lawyers on his legal team, and had spent the staggering sum of $1 million on legal fees.  And he was free.  It’s another story that remains all too familiar to us today.

Towards the end, the book circles back to the putative center of the story, the girl who once innocently swung on Stanford White’s favorite apparatus, a velvet swing.  But maybe the story was never really about Evelyn Nesbit.  As she once lamented: “Stanny White was killed. But my fate was worse. I lived.”

 

Law School 101: Books to Get You Started

As recent BLS graduates prepare to take the New York State bar exam next week, and we wish them luck, those individuals admitted to Brooklyn Law School for fall 2018 are preparing to begin their legal studies next month.  There is much to prepare for:  move into Feil Hall or a new apartment, explore a new neighborhood, attend welcome events and orientation sessions, purchase text books, meet other 1Ls, etc.

The library has a number of books geared to helping new students get off to the best possible start.  Listed below are some of those titles.  Good luck as you begin your legal career!

Critical Reading for Success in Law School and Beyond by Jane Bloom Grise. St. Paul, MN, West Academic Publishing, 2017.  Call No.:  Main KF 283 .G75 2017.

 

 

Demystifying the First Year of Law School:  A Guide to the 1L Experience by Albert Moore and David Binder, New York, NY, Wolters Kluwer, 2010.  Call No.: Main KF 283 .M66 2010.

 

 

Finding Your Voice In Law School:  Mastering Classroom Cold Calls, Job Interviews, and Other Verbal Challenges, by Molly Shadel, Durham, NC, Carolina Academic Press, 2013.  Call No.: Main KF 283 .S52 2013.

 

 

 

Get a Running Start: Your Comprehensive Guide to the First Year Curriculum by David Gray, et al., St. Paul, MN, West Academic Publishing, 2016.  Call No.:  Main KF 283 .G739 2016.

 

 

Navigating the First Year of Law School : A Practical Guide to Studying Law by G. Nicholas Herman, et al., Durham, NC, Carolina Academic Press, 2016.  Call No.: Main KF 283 .H47 2016.

 

 

Open Book:  The Inside Track to Law School Success by Barry Friedman and John Goldberg, New York, NY, Wolters Kluwer, 2016.  Call No.:  Main KF 283 .F75 2016.

 

 

Law School 101:  How to Succeed in Your First Year of Law School and Beyond by R. Stephanie Good, Naperville, IL, Sphinx Publishing, 2009.  Call No.: Main KF 283 .G66 2009.

 

 

A Short & Happy Guide to Being a Law Student by Paula Franzese, St. Paul, MN, west Academic Publishing, 2014.  Call No., Main KF 283 .F735 2014.

 

 

 

What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know:  An Introduction of the Study of Law, by Tracey George and Suzanna Sherry, New York, NY, Wolters Kluwer, 2016.  Call No.:  Main KF 283 .G46 2016.