Study Rooms – Now You Can Use a QR Code to Check in and Out!

Several BLS students requested that the library reconsider its policy of locked study rooms during the regular (non-exam) part of the semester.  We heard you!  In response to your requests, the library will not lock study rooms during the regular semester. 

It is important for the library to continue tracking study room usage, however, as the law school regularly reevaluates the library’s space requirements.  As a result, to ensure that the library continues to meet student demand for study room space, students will now use QR codes to check in and out of study rooms.

We’re glad you asked!  Here is how it works in four easy steps:

STEP ONE: Make your study room reservation HERE, just as you always have.

STEP TWO: After making your reservation, you will receive a confirmation email that looks like this:

STEP THREE: Before you enter your study room, you must check in:

1. Scan the QR code posted on your study room door or click this link.

2. You will be directed here:

3. Now click Check In and you will be directed here:

4. Enter the unique reservation code provided in your confirmation email.  You are now checked in!

STEP FOUR: At the end of your study room reservation, you must check out:

1. Once again, scan the QR code posted on your study room door, or click this link.

2. You will be directed here:

3. Now click Check Out and you will be directed here:

4. Once again, enter the reservation code provided in your confirmation email.  You are now checked out!

Please make sure you follow these 4 easy steps.  If students regularly use study rooms without making reservations, or if students fail to check in and out of study rooms, the library may reconsider locking study room doors during the regular semester.

Contact the Reference Desk at askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu.

Need to find and research a paper or presentation topic? BLS librarians (and their guides) can help!

BLS librarians have created 40+ publicly-accessible legal research guides. Tips: A BLS student can email askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu, text (718) 734-2432 or chat with us for help determining whether there is a guide to support research on a specific topic. Off-campus use of many subscription databases described in BLS research guides requires implementation of the BLS proxy server instructions.

Also, your librarians serve as liaisons to the BLS full-time faculty–we can tell you which librarian works most closely with a particular professor. A librarian liaison might have created research links in the Canvas page for a paper-writing course or other material to support students’ research. Note: BLS librarians can highlight resources to support any type of law student paper, article or presentation.

A useful starting point for many types of paper research is the guide: Selecting & Developing Your Seminar Paper Topic. This guide’s home page includes videos on: selecting/researching a topic; developing a thesis for a seminar paper topic; and avoiding plagiarism. Guide tab: Selecting a Topic links to: indexes of legal blogs; legal news sources; and selected legal journals and newsletters. All of these sources highlight new and developing legal topics. Guide tab: Developing an Argument through Commentary links to both full-text sources of articles and indexes of articles. Guide tab: Developing an Argument through Grey Literature includes sources to find material published by think tanks, NGOs and interested organizations.

Moreover, there are BLS guides to international law research. The broadest two guides are: Paper Topic Selection: International (highlights news/legal news sources) and Paper Topic Development: International (highlights sources of articles and primary law). If you need to find a topic for a “Rule of Law/Law of War” seminar, you could access the Paper Topic Selection guide > tab: Pull-down Menu of News: Specific Topics and choose sub-tab: Law of War. The English Legal Sources guide includes links to newly available resources in Westlaw Edge UK.

Additionally, there are many subject-focused BLS research guides. If you need to develop a topic in the “Art Law” seminar, the Art Law guide > tab: Other Resources links to websites of organizations and the searchable ArThemis database of news/case notes on art and cultural property disputes. If you need to conduct research for the “Topics in White Collar Crime” seminar, you could link to many resources through guide: White Collar Crime Research. If you are writing in the “Civil Practice Workshop,” the New York Civil Practice guide might be helpful. (This is a guide BLS librarians like to highlight to all BLS students who might wish to become litigators.) If you are writing on a tax topic, see: Federal Tax Research Guide and International Tax Research Guide. These guides include instructions to access BLS subscription databases to support tax research.

COMING IN EARLY OCTOBER: A presentation for students on selecting a paper topic and avoiding plagiarism. We will provide the date/time soon!

New & Updated Tools for UK Legal Research

Feel free to ask BLS librarians for help (contact: askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu) in using these tools!

BLS Library has updated its publicly accessible research guide: English Legal Sources Available Through BLS Library.

Guide tab: Legal Books describes how to find many Sweet & Maxwell sources in: Westlaw Edge UK. In this database, BLS researchers now can access a number of additional treatises (example: Dicey, Morris & Collins on the Conflict of Laws).

Guide tab: Dictionaries includes a link to: Westlaw Edge UK: Index of Legal Terms. Westlaw Edge UK will search for a term like: demurrer in Jowitt’s Dictionary of English Law, Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary of Words and Phrases and Osborn’s Concise Law Dictionary. Westlaw Edge UK also states: “In addition to the dictionaries, the index includes definitions that form part of Westlaw UK’s Case, Legislation and Journal documents.”

Guide tab: Cases now includes a box titled: Easy Ways To Find and Print Cases in Westlaw Edge UK. Also, researchers might appreciate the way Judicial Treatment appears so clearly in Westlaw Edge UK > tab: Cases.

Guide tab: News explains: At subscription Law360 UK, it appears that BLS researchers can only access “Top Stories.” Tip: Use Lexis+ Legal News Hub > All sections > UK to obtain the text of additional Law360 UK legal news stories/analysis.

Library Reading and Exam Period Policies

The reading and exam period is from Thursday, April 21 through Friday, May 6, 2022

During the reading and exam period you must make a reservation to use a library study room. Mandatory study room reservations begin on Thursday, April 21 at 8:00am; at that time, all study rooms will be locked, and you must go to the first-floor circulation desk to charge out the key to the room at the time of your reservation. The link to the study room reservations is on the library webpage

Study Room Policies: 

  • Study rooms are for the use of groups of two or more students. 
  • Study rooms may be reserved for the current day and three days ahead. 
  • The default reservation time is 2 hours, although study rooms may be reserved in 30-minute time slots; your time slots must be contiguous. Use the grid to select your start time and use the drop-down box to select your end time. 
  • Study room use is limited to 4 hours per user per day to ensure availability for all users. 
  • You must use your brooklaw.edu email address to reserve a study room. 
  • Study rooms are subject to availability and reservations may be modified by library staff at any time. 

Library Hours for the Reading & Exam Period: 

  • Thursday, April 21-Thursday, May 5:  8:00am – 2:00am. The circulation/reserve desk closes at 12:00am
  • Friday, May 6: 9:00am – 10:00pm.

Reminders About Noise & Food in the Library: 

  • Please keep your voices down in reading rooms and study rooms.  Your colleagues are also studying. 
  • If you need a space for discussion, the collaboration areas are: the Bernsen reference & reading room (1st floor), the Nash reading room (3rd floor) and the study rooms.  
  • Drinks are allowed in the library. Please use the law school’s designated dining areas for eating. 
  • Brooklyn Law School is a smoke and tobacco free campus. Smoking or vaping is not permitted anywhere in the school, which includes the library.  If you have any questions, please read Brooklyn Law School’s Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy on BLSConnect. 
  • Good Luck on Your Exams! 

Lexis Digital Library Now Available on Lexis+

As you start preparing for finals, remember that the BLS library has an extensive collection of study guides. The Lexis Digital Library hosts the popular Understanding series as e-books which you can easily access through your Lexis+ account. Just go to the homepage, click on the small dots to the left of the Lexis+ logo and select Digital Library. Use your BLS credentials to log in and navigate to Browse Library on the left.

Good luck studying!

New York Family Law Research Guide

For those interested in practicing or researching in the field of family law, the library recently published a

research guide for family law resources. The guide focuses on the law of New York State. It includes links to practice aids, treatises, and blogs and news sources for researching New York family law. There are also quick links to the relevant titles in the New York state statutory code and to case law databases focusing on family law. This summer, if you are interning with a family law organization, it would be useful for you to become familiar with both the news sources and the secondary sources listed.

Research Guide on Climate Change and Environmental Law

A climate change demonstration in Erlangen, Germany.

Unsplash/Markus SpiskeA climate change demonstration in Erlangen, Germany.

Whenever you are researching an issue, whether for a paper or a note, one of the most efficient ways to get started is to find a research guide. The BLS librarians have created dozens of research guides, available on the library’s homepage (just click on the Research Guides tab), including guides on Career Resources, Paper Topic Selection and Development for International and Foreign Law, Federal Legislative History Research, New York Civil Practice, Researching Copyright Law, and Antitrust and Competition law.

Our latest guide summarizes resources for researching climate change and environmental law . This guide includes links to books, treatises, databases, major environmental treaties, blogs and news sources for researching U.S. and international climate change and environmental law. As noted in a recent report issued by the UN Environment Programme , there has been a rapid increase in climate change litigation with over 1,500 cases filed in 38 countries as of July 2020. Our research guide includes links to climate change litigation databases and other resources that will assist students researching this burgeoning field of law.

Find our Climate Change and Environmental Law Guide under the Research Guides tab at brooklaw.edu/library. Happy Researching!

Researching Reproductive Rights in International Law

Women's Rights | ACLU of Michigan
Photo credit: https://www.aclumich.org/en/issues/womens-rights

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision allowing SB8, Texas’s restrictive abortion legislation which effectively bans all abortion after 6 weeks (and undermines nearly 50 years of constitutional precedent established by Roe v. Wade) to go into effect, some students may be interested in researching the laws addressing reproductive rights nationally and internationally. This post will focus on some international sources of law regarding reproductive rights and right to safe legal abortions.

UN Treaty Bodies

The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights published an information pamphlet on abortion summarizing the opinions and comments of UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies. The pamphlet contains several helpful endnotes to primary source documents issued by UNHR bodies addressing abortion.

OHCHR: Human Rights Council

The UN Human Rights Council Working Group on discrimination against women and girls issued a 2016 report on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice on its mission to the United States of America in which it expressed regret that American women have “seen their rights to sexual and reproductive health significantly eroded…” (para. 28) and noted that “ever-increasing barriers are being created to prevent their access to abortion procedures.” (para. 68)

CEDAW

The Convention on the Elimination of United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted 18 December 1979, entered into force 3 September 1981, 1249 UNTS 13 provides that there should be equal political, economic, social, cultural and civil rights for women regardless of their marital status and requires States to enact national legislation banning discrimination. As of the date of this post, 189 countries have ratified the Convention. Though the Carter administration signed CEDAW in 1980, the Bush and Reagan administrations opposed it and despite repeated hearings and recommendations from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for its ratification, the United States is still not a party to the Convention. On the issue of reproductive rights and abortion, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has stated that “it is discriminatory for a State party to refuse to legally provide for the performance of certain reproductive health services for women.” (para. 11)

ICESCR

Nor has the United States ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted 16 December 1966, entered into force 3 January 1976, 993 UNTS 3 , despite signing in 1977. As noted in the OHCHR’s pamphlet on abortion. the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has explained that as part of the obligation to eliminate discrimination, States should address “criminalization of abortion or restrictive
abortion laws.”
(para. 34)

Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on a gender-sensitive approach to arbitrary killings

The Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on a gender-sensitive approach to arbitrary killings has also noted that the “death of a woman, where it can be medically linked to a deliberate denial of access to life-saving medical care because of an absolute legal ban on abortion, would not only constitute a violation of the right to life and an arbitrary deprivation of life, but would also amount to a gender-based arbitrary killing…” (para.94)

Council of Europe

European human rights law also mandates access to safe abortion and reproductive health services to protect the health of women and girls.  The Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men has stated that it “considers that a ban on abortions does not result in fewer abortions, but mainly leads to clandestine abortions, which are more traumatic and more dangerous.” Most recently, the Council issued an interim resolution calling on Poland to adopt clear and effective procedures on steps women need to take to access lawful abortion.

Remember, if you have any questions about legal research to stop by the reference desk or reach out to askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu. Happy researching!

Free Resources Alert! Law Library of Congress

If you need to do any type of foreign or international law research, the Law Library of Congress (law.gov) offers a trove of (free!) resources that will be invaluable to your research.  Recently, the Law Library redid their website, making it easier to navigate.  Below is a summary of the resources available on law.gov.

The Researcher Resources tab takes you to a page with links to the Library’s Research Guides, Guide to Law Online, the Legal Research Institute, Congress.gov, the Library’s blog, In Custodia Legis, databases, and story maps which are interactive web applications that describe the Library’s collections  through narrative, multimedia, and interactive maps. 

Research Guides

The Law Library has published dozens of research guides, including research guides on the laws of the 50 states and U.S. territories (e.g. Guide to Law Online: Puerto Rico); various topic areas (Nonprofit Organizations Law: A Beginner’s Guide,  U.S. Federal Appellate Courts: Records and Briefs, Public International Law: A Beginner’s Guide); and guides for foreign law (e.g. Guide to Law Online – Australia). Each guide contains links to additional free sources for caselaw, legislation, and other resources and guides to assist in your research.

Legal Reports
The Law Library of Congress produces reports on foreign, comparative, and international law in response to requests from Members of Congress, Congressional staff and committees, the federal courts, executive branch agencies, and others. Selected reports are provided for the public for reference purposes. This can be a great brainstorming resource if you are looking for a foreign, international, or comparative topic to write on.  Some recent reports include: Citizenship through international adoption; Children’s online privacy and data protection in selected European countries; and Legal provisions on gender equality. You can browse these reports or search for reports on a specific topic using the search feature on top of the page.

Reference Librarians at the Law Library of Congress
If you have any questions about a resource or obtaining a source of foreign or international law (or any law), you can ask the reference librarians at the Library using the Ask the Library feature.  The Law Library of Congress employs experts in different areas of the law and countries and is thus well-equipped to provide guidance on finding sources on a wide variety of topic areas and jurisdictions.