Author Archives: admin

Summer in Brooklyn

The first day of summer was June 21, and heading into July it sure feels like summer! For those of you sticking around BLS to study, the Library will be open 9am-12pm every day but Sunday (10am-12pm). The Library will be open from 9am-5pm on July 4th. Reference Services will not be available for those days.

Related image

As the count down to the bar begins, please remember to take care of yourselves! A good night’s sleep is valuable as we get closer. If you need a brief distraction, games and puzzles are available. Ask the Reference Librarian on duty for more information!

The first floor of the Library remains closed this for construction. Circulation, Reference, and Reserve services will be on the 3rd floor of the Library, near the internal staircase. Printing and scanning services will also be available on the third floor. If you have questions, you can always, Ask the Library.

Bloomberg Law Enhancements to BCite

Bloomberg Law has made significant enhancements to their citator, BCite, available on BloombergLaw.com:

“The enhanced Bloomberg Law Citator (BCite) makes it easier to navigate the content related to a case and to find related documents across all of Bloomberg Law. BCite now features separate tabs for the Direct History, Case Analysis, and Table of Authorities and provides expanded filtering options designed specifically for related tasks. For instance, the Direct History tab includes filter options for History, Court, and Date, while the Case Analysis and Table of Authorities tabs add filters for Analysis, Case Status, Citation Frequency, Court, and Judge. The new Citing Documents tab provides the ability to find documents citing to your court opinion across many content sets, including court materials, administrative and regulatory documents, legislative content, and secondary sources, like books, treatises, and BNA analysis.”

BCITE

Users can now easily see all documents, including secondary sources, that cite to a particular case, and filter or search within those citing documents. Remember that BloombergLaw.com is free for all BLS students with no academic use restriction. Your passwords will be active until the end of the calendar year in which you graduate.

For questions on how to access or use BloombergLaw.com, see a Reference Librarian, or contact our BLS Bloomberg Relationship Manager, Erica Horton (ehorton@bna.com).

Umbrellas Available for Checkout

Umbrella

For when New York City has more rain than shine…umbrellas are back and available to borrow in the library! We have been fortunate enough to receive replacements for the original Bloomberg umbrellas, courtesy of LexisNexis. There are currently 6 umbrellas that can be checked out from the library’s Circulation Desk for 24 hours. So the next time you see rain pouring down as you leave class for the day, stop by and borrow one – you can bring it back the next day.

In addition to umbrellas, remember that we have lots of useful things available to borrow besides books – USB drives, laptop locks, headphones, and dry erase markers. If you have suggestions for other items you might be interested in having available for loan in the library, please let us know.

Access Library Databases from home

Virtually every library database available to you on campus can also be accessed from home, most without a password (with the exception of BloombergLaw, Westlaw, and Lexis – they always require passwords). However, in order to access databases such as HeinOnline, Academic Search Premier, and other useful resources without coming all the way to school, you must first implement the Proxy Server Instructions so that you are communicating with these websites via the BLS server. Instructions for the browsers that work best with these databases can be found on the law school’s website. Please note that once you set up the Proxy Server, you will be required to enter your BLS Username and Password each time you attempt to access the web on the selected browser.  Therefore, you may want to use a browser different from the one you normally use for web browsing.

If you have any difficulty setting up your browser using these instructions, feel free to stop by the Reference Desk and a librarian will be happy to assist you.

2nd Charging Station Available in the Library

The Library recently installed a second mobile charging station.  This charging station is in Library room 104M, which is our lounge for students.  It is to the left as you enter the room and is a gift from Westlaw.  The first charging station is on the ground floor and was described in the Library blog of July 3, 2013.

These charging stations are for cell phones and tablets only.  When using either charging station, remember to sit nearby while your device charges.  The Library is not responsible for unattended devices.

Chat Reference Now Available

Capture

This week Brooklyn Law School’s Library instituted a new chat reference service.  The service is accessible through the Library’s

BLSConnect page, and is available for Brooklyn Law School’s students, faculty, and staff.

Librarians are available to chat during regularly scheduled reference hours.   Reference librarians attempt to respond to instant message questions as quickly as possible.  If you do not get a response back, please leave your email address or phone number, and someone will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

The service is best suited for short, fact-based questions and general questions on finding the relevant resources for a given topic.   If you have a more detailed question, we may encourage you to arrange a meeting with a reference librarian, or to stop by the reference desk during our normal reference hours.

Reference Hours

Monday 9:00am-8:00pm
Tuesday-Thursday 9:00am-9:00pm
Friday 9:00am-6:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm

Reminder- Late Summer Library Hours

the_clockNow that the NYS Bar Exam is over the library will be scaling back its hours till the beginning of the Fall school semester.

The BLS Library hours through Sunday, August 11th will be as follows –

Monday – Saturday 9:00am – 10:00pm

Sundays – 10:00am – 10:00pm

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Zoning Symposium on Land Use

Brooklyn Law School Professor Gregg Macey and former BLS Professor Christopher Serkin (now at Vanderbilt Law School) recently posted Symposium Introduction: Post-Zoning: Alternative Forms of Public Land Use Controls on SSRN.   The full text of the introduction appears at 78 Brooklyn Law Review 305 (2013). The abstract reads:

Brooklyn Law School’s 2012 David G. Trager “Public Policy Symposium, Post-Zoning: Alternative Forms of Public Land Use Controls”, called for a critical new appraisal of modern land use regulation. In this Introduction, we describe the topic and introduce the outstanding papers produced for the Issue. Over the years, zoning has widened its reach and flexibility through innovations such as overlay districts and planned unit developments. But these regulatory tweaks continue to take the separation of incompatible uses of land as their point of departure. In this Introduction, we sketch zoning’s origins and suggest why its traditional goals may no longer be tenable. New challenges, from finer-grained externalities within communities to sea-level rise, demand that zoning respond to change at both broader and narrower scales. The impressive set of papers collected in the Symposium address, in varied and creative ways, zoning’s ability to adapt to new pressures on land use from the sublocal to the global. Included in this volume are papers by Vicki Been, Alejandro Camacho, Richard Epstein, Lee Fennell, William Fischel, Nicole Garnett, Rachel Godsil, Gerald Korngold, John Nolon, and Stewart Sterk.

History of the Voting Rights Act

The Brooklyn Law School Library has several items in its collection related to the Voting Rights Act. The latest is Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy by Gary May (Call #KF4893.M39 2013). This fast-paced history of the VRA offers a dramatic, timely account of the struggle that finally won African Americans the ballot—although, as May shows, the fight for voting rights is by no means over.

When the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870 granted African Americans the right to vote, it seemed as if a new era of political equality was at hand. Before long, however, white segregationists across the South counterattacked, driving their black countrymen from the polls through a combination of sheer terror and insidious devices such as complex literacy tests and expensive poll taxes. Most African Americans would remain voiceless for nearly a century more, citizens in name only until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act secured their access to the ballot.

The author describes how black voters overcame centuries of bigotry to secure and preserve one of their most important rights as American citizens. The struggle that culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act was long and torturous, and only succeeded because of the courageous work of local freedom fighters and national civil rights leaders—as well as, ironically, the opposition of Southern segregationists and law enforcement officials, who won public sympathy for the voting rights movement by brutally attacking peaceful demonstrators.

Many argue that the 2008 election of President Barack Obama rendered the act obsolete, and there have been renewed efforts to curb voting rights and deny minorities the act’s hard-won protections. The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Shelby County v. Holder declared the protections in Section 4 of the VRA unconstitutional. Recent actions by the Department of Justice make clear that Section 2 and other sections of the VRA remain in play as methods to promote the goal of increasing voting rights. See the Jurist article for more on this issue.

Casetext: Open Access to Legal Texts

An interesting new case law research tool that Brooklyn Law Students can use to gain a better understanding of case law research is Casetext. It isa free, searchable legal database that readers can annotate. The beta version just opened to the public, and the site is building a community of annotators so that lawyers reading a case see related legal documents, articles, and commentary alongside the text.

The database currently contains the bulk of federal cases (all Supreme Court, circuit courts from 1 Federal Reporter 2d, and district courts from 1980); it also has Delaware cases in the Atlantic Reporter from 30 Atlantic Reporter. Co-founders Jacob Heller (former president of the Stanford Law Review) and Joanna Huey (former president of the Harvard Law Review) decided to build Casetext for their own research.

This site is building a community of annotators so that lawyers reading a case can see related legal documents, articles, and commentary alongside the text. Instead of selling access to documents, the site will support itself by offering additional tools that enhance search and save time. It will benefit from user feedback as well as their annotations.

See the instructional video below for more on how to use the database: