Author Archives: Kathy Darvil

Congratulations Class of 2019

Kudos to you all! After commencement, you may be ready to leave BLS, but BLS will not leave you.  Brooklyn Law School offers many services to its alumni.  2019 graduates can access the BLS network and are able to print until August of the year following graduation.  For May 2019 graduates, you have access until August 2020.   

In addition, graduates can register for Westlaw’s Grad Elite program.  The Grad Elite “Practice-Ready” program provides access to Westlaw Edge and other practice tools for 18 months post-graduation, for up to 60 hours each month. These hours can be used for work-related research.  Through this program, you can research using Westlaw Edge, Practical Law, Drafting Assistant Essential, and Westlaw Doc & Form Builder.

To register for this program, log in to your existing Westlaw account and click on the Practice Ready Solution link in the screen’s upper right-hand corner.  On the Practice Ready page, you will see a link for graduates to extend their access.

Besides access to Westlaw for 18 months post-graduation, Brooklyn Law School Alumni Association members have unlimited access to the library’s print resources and limited access to certain digital resources for research purposes while in the library.  Books, however, cannot be checked out.

While in the library, members have access to LexisNexis Academic, a stripped down version of Lexis.  LexisNexis Academic contains federal and state case law, statutes, and regulations.  It also has a limited run of law reviews, and features Shepards.  To use the database, go to the library home page, select Complete Database List, and then select LexisNexis Academic.

Finally, if you ever run into a research quandary, remember you can call, (718) 780-7567, or email, askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu, the reference desk.  Reference librarians are here to help!

Disinformation Campaigns & Democracy

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As you have undoubtedly read, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign coordinated or colluded with the Russian government in its election interference activities.   What the investigation did establish was that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 Presidential election.  The report described Russia’s two prong approach to election interference: spreading disinformation through social media; and hacking into computers to gather and to disseminate information to influence the election.   If you are interested in learning more about disinformation campaigns and their influence on society, the library has several resources for you. Listed below are a few of those titles.

Robert N. Spicer, Free Speech & False Speech: Political Deception & It’s Legal Limits (or Lack Thereof) (2018).

This book examines the history of the legal discourse around political falsehood and its future in the wake of the 2012 US Supreme Court decision in United States v. Alvarez through communication law, political philosophy, and communication theory perspectives. As United States v. Alvarez confirmed First Amendment protection for lies, Robert N. Spicer addresses how the ramifications of that decision function by looking at statutory and judicial handling of First Amendment protection for political deception. Illustrating how commercial speech is regulated but political speech is not, Spicer evaluates the role of deception in politics and its consequences for democracy in a contemporary political environment where political personalities, partisan media, and dark money donors bend the truth and abuse the virtue of free expression

Authoritarianism Goes Global: The Challenge to Democracy (Larry Diamond et al. eds., 2016).

Over the past decade, illiberal powers have become emboldened and gained influence within the global arena. Leading authoritarian countries—including China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela—have developed new tools and strategies to contain the spread of democracy and challenge the liberal international political order. Meanwhile, the advanced democracies have retreated, failing to respond to the threat posed by the authoritarians.

As undemocratic regimes become more assertive, they are working together to repress civil society while tightening their grip on cyberspace and expanding their reach in international media. These political changes have fostered the emergence of new counter-norms—such as the authoritarian subversion of credible election monitoring—that threaten to further erode the global standing of liberal democracy.

In Authoritarianism Goes Global, a distinguished group of contributors present fresh insights on the complicated issues surrounding the authoritarian resurgence and the implications of these systemic shifts for the international order. This collection of essays is critical for advancing our understanding of the emerging challenges to democratic development.

Jukka Rislakki, The Case for Latvia. Disinformation Campaigns Against a Small Nation: Fourteen Hard Questions and Straight Answers about a Baltic Country (2014).

Finnish journalist and author Jukka Rislakki examines charges spread by Russian media and provides an outline of Latvia’s recent history while attempting to separate documented historical fact from misinformation and deliberate disinformation. His analysis helps to explain why the Baltic States (population 7 million) consistently top the enemy lists in public opinion polls of Russia (143 million). His knowledge of the Baltic languages allows him to make use of local sources and up-to-date historical research. He is a former Baltic States correspondent for Finland’s largest daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, and the author of several books on Finnish and Latvian history. As a neutral, experienced and often critical observer, Rislakki is uniquely qualified for the task of separating truth from fiction.

Paul Todd, Jonathan Bloch & Patrick Fitzgerald, Spies, Lies, and the War on Terror (2009).

This book traces the transformation of intelligence from a tool for law enforcement to a means of avoiding the law–both national and international. The “War on Terror” has seen intelligence agencies emerge as major political players. “Rendition,” untrammeled surveillance, torture and detention without trial are becoming normal. The new culture of victimhood in the US and among partners in the “coalition of the willing” has crushed domestic liberties and formed a global network of extra-legal license. State and corporate interests are increasingly fused in the new business of privatizing fear. The authors argue that the bureaucracy and narrow political goals surrounding intelligence actually have the potential to increase the terrorist threat.

Robert B. Laughlin, The Crime of Reason: And the Closing of the Scientific Mind (2008).

According to Nobel Laureate Robert Laughlin, acquiring information is becoming a danger or even a crime. Increasingly, the really valuable information is private property or a state secret, with the result that it is now easy for a flash of insight, entirely innocently, to infringe a patent or threaten national security. The public pays little attention because this vital information is “technical”—but, Laughlin argues, information is often labeled technical so it can be sequestered, not sequestered because it’s technical. The increasing restrictions on information in such fields as cryptography, biotechnology, and computer software design are creating a new Dark Age: a time characterized not by light and truth but by disinformation and ignorance. Thus, we find ourselves dealing more and more with the Crime of Reason, the antisocial and sometimes outright illegal nature of certain intellectual activities.

Need help with your seminar paper?

Recently, Prof. Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil ran their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper.  Topics covered included sources for selecting your topic, sources for researching your topic, and how to effectively organize and write your paper.  If you were 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 landing page, you will be able to access a recording of this year’s 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. 

Rock the Vote! Resources on Election Law at the BLS Library

On the eve of the midterms, you might want to bone up on your knowledge of United States election law.  The Brooklyn Law School Library maintains a deep collection of election law titles that discuss and analyze a variety of issues from gerrymandering to campaign finance laws to the Voting Rights Act.  To see a full list of titles on the subject of election law, search the SARA catalog for the subject “election law”.  Some of our more recent titles are listed below.

U.S. Fed. Election Comm’n, Corporations & Labor Organizations (2018).

Jerry Goldfeder et al., Goldfeder’s Modern Election Law (2018).

Nicolas R. Seabrook, Drawing the Lines: Constraints on Partisan Gerrymandering in U.S. Politics (2017).

America Votes! Challenges to Modern Election Law & Voting Rights (Benjamin E. Griffith ed., 2016).

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.

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.

Stuck in the Muck? Use BLS’s Research Guides to Succeed in Your Summer Internships

This Summer many of you will be challenged to research and write on unfamiliar legal issues. You want to impress your supervisors, but you do not know where to begin or how to best approach the problem.  The Brooklyn Law School Library’s research guides are a good place to start.  The resources in the guides are curated by librarians to specifically support the subject surveyed.   Listed below are a few guides that can help you tackle your assignments.  For the complete list of the 49 research guides, go to the url: guides.brooklaw.edu.

Also, do not forget to reach out to BLS librarians for additional help.  You can email us at askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu, call us at 718-780-7567, text us at 718-734-2432, or chat with us using a widget on the Library’s home page.  We are here all summer.

New York State Legislative History Research: This guide is intended to help researchers locate print and online sources for New York State Legislative History Research.

New York Civil Litigation Research Guide: This guide’s purpose is to aid practitioners and law students in researching New York civil practice.  The guide identifies key civil practice resources, and provides search tips and strategies.

New York Criminal Procedure Research Guide: This research guide is intended to provide users with links to a variety of resources on New York State and Federal Criminal Procedure.  These sources cover a wide range of topics.

Federal Legislative History Research Guide: This research guide is intended to help researchers locate print and online sources for Federal Legislative History.

Form Books: In print and online: This is a guide to form books in print and online in the BLS Library collection. Legal forms are templates that attorneys use in drafting documents specific to the needs of their clients or are forms required to be used by a court or governmental agency.  Forms are found online in various databases, and in print in collections of form books.

Intellectual Property Law Primer: This guide will help you research Intellectual Property law which includes Patents, Trademarks and Copyright.  It will focus on materials available in the Brooklyn Law School library, including books, journals, and databases, in print and electronic format.  Access to some of these materials may require your BLS user name and password, as well as Lexis or Westlaw ID and passwords.

Understanding the Attorney-Client Privilege

The raid of President Trump’s personal attorney’s law office raises questions of how the F.B.I and federal prosecutors will safeguard documents that fall under the attorney-client privilege.  If you want to learn about the privilege, the library has several recently published sources to help you understand this central component of the attorney-client relationship.

Vincent Walkowiak & Oscar Rey Rodriguez, The Attorney-Client Privilege in Civil Litigation (6th ed. 2015).

This edition provides updated and expanded treatment of the attorney-client privilege and the work-product doctrine. New topics include application of the revised federal rules and case law governing waiver of privilege, the pitfalls of privilege preservation and waiver in bankruptcy proceedings and international contexts, and the intersection of privilege and attorney/client-hired media consultants.

David Lender, Privilege Issues in the Age of Electronic Discovery (BNA 2011).

Also available on Bloomberg Law.

This BNA portfolio explains how the nature and scope of the attorney-client privilege and work-product protection have been impacted by technology, generally, and electronic discovery in particular.

The portfolio begins with an introduction to the relevant privileges and protections, each of which developed prior to the computer age. The portfolio then describes in detail the far-reaching implications of technology on these fundamental tenets of the legal profession. Included in this discussion is an examination of privilege as it relates to the reasonable expectation of privacy and related ethical issues, waiver, privilege logs, the crime-fraud exception, experts, litigation hold notices, and litigation support databases.

Paul R. Rice, Attorney-Client Privilege in the United States (2011).

This two-volume treatise, available on Westlaw, provides essential information for advising clients on protecting the confidentiality of their internal communications. This database provides instant access to: the history, theory, and purpose of the privilege, a comprehensive examination of court interpretations, the procedures for asserting, establishing, resolving, and appealing privilege matters.

Jessica Kunz, Attorney-Client Privilege & Work Product Doctrine: Corporate Applications (BNA 2009).

This online treatise is organized into three parts. Part One, Introduction, traces the historical development of the attorney-client privilege and the work-product doctrine and explains in detail their purposes, availability to corporations, scope of protection, and relation to each other. Part Two, Attorney-Client Privilege, covers a myriad of topics, including client identity, waiver of privilege, exceptions to the privilege, choice of law, shareholder suits and special committees, among many others. Part Three, Work-Product Doctrine, covers such topics as scope, waiver issues, and exceptions to the doctrine, among many others.

Extra, Extra Read All About It: The Justinian Now Available Online

Brooklyn Law School recently digitized and made accessible its collection of Brooklyn Law School’s student run newspaper, The Justinian.  The digitized collection is available on Brooklyn Law School’s digital repository, BrooklynWorks .  The BLS student-run periodical program began in 1918 as The Barrister. It was published monthly until 1922. Almost a decade later, in 1931, the periodical’s title changed to The Justinian. Publication continued until 1998. The Justinian was not produced from May 1945 to September 1954. After 1998, it was referred to as Brooklyn Law School News, which ran from 2002 to 2006.

The Brooklyn Law School Library Archives provides digitized versions of this printed collection from April 1932 to October 2006. The content has complete OCR text recognition for all 238 issues. The periodicals were published monthly. For most April issues, there is a special for April Fool’s Day. For 88 years, these news-sources have been accurate portrayals of political, social, economic, and local topics that have interested Brooklyn Law School students and engaged them in active involvement and debate.

Need help with your seminar paper? Attend the workshop on February 7th!

Next Wednesday, February 7th, Prof. Betsy Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil are holding their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper in Room 501.  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.