Author Archives: Linda Holmes

Law Professors: An Overview from William Blackstone to Barack Obama

As students prepare to resume their legal studies and begin their scholarship for another semester under the tutelage of their BLS professors, I want to recommend a new book that discusses the contributions to the legal profession of a group of selected scholars and professors over three centuries.

The book is: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law by Stephen B. Presser, West Academic Publishing, St. Paul, MN, 2017.

The author says that he hopes this volume will serve as an “introduction to the law for prospective lawyers and beginning students in J.D. and LL.M. programs.”

The book is composed of short biographical essays covering a representative number of legal scholars who have also been law professors.  The work explores the nature of the American legal system, and how American law professors have had a profound effect on American law and life.

While the author covers law professors from William Blackstone to Barack Obama, here are a few of the giants of those that are included:

  • William Blackstone –  It has been written that the groundwork for U.S. jurisprudence can be found in the multi-volume work of Sir William Blackstone, a noted English judge, scholar and politician of the 18th century.  The work, entitled Commentaries on the Laws of England...in four books, provided a systematic analysis of English common law.  These commentaries were based on Blackstone’s lectures at Oxford University.
  • Christopher Columbus Langdell was Dean of Harvard Law School from 1870 to 1895 and is often called the “father of American legal education” because it was he who established the case method of instruction where students read and studied appellate court decisions while teaching at Harvard, incorporating it with the Socratic method where students were asked questions about the cases and they were to draw conclusions in order to engage in a dialogue between faculty and students.
  • Joseph Story served on the United States Supreme Court from 1811 to 1845, taught at Harvard Law School while serving on the Court, and wrote a comprehensive treatise on the U.S. Constitution entitled Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States
  • Karl Llewellyn was a distinguished legal scholar, who was called one of the most important legal thinkers of the early twentieth century and whose works have been cited many times. He was a proponent of legal realism who felt that legal opinions should be examined to see how judges were influenced by outside factors.  He wrote a book which served as an introduction to the study of law for first year students entitled:  The Bramble Bush; Some Lectures on Law and Its Study . 
  • John Henry Wigmore was an important legal scholar and professor, who while attending Harvard Law School, helped found the Harvard Law Review.  He taught for many years at Northwestern University Law School and his most important contribution to legal scholarship was his Treatise on the Anglo-American System of Evidence in Trials at Common Law.
  • Barack Obama, law professor at the University of Chicago, United States Senator from Illinois and President of the United States.

Russia, Russia, Russia – Everywhere, All the Time: A Brief Introduction to Legal Resources of the Russian Federation

Since last fall we have been inundated with a constant bombardment of stories in cable news, on the Internet, and in newspapers about the possibility of the Russians colluding in our presidential election, hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails, and influencing members of the Trump administration, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

I recently came across a cartoon in The Daily Signal by Michael Ramirez to illustrate the point.

The cartoon was entitled “The Russian Investigation,” and pictured Attorney General Jeff Sessions seated at a Congressional hearing, being asked the following questions:

Do you know where Russia is on a map?

Do you like Russian dressing?

Have you ever been to the Russian Tea Room?

Ever played Russian roulette?

Ever drink Russian vodka?

Have you seen “From Russia with Love?”

Have you ever been to an event where a Russian was attending?

You get the idea!

Since all things Russian are now in our consciousness, I decided to extend the Russian theme to legal research.  What follows is a brief introductory guide to Russian legal resources.

Electronic Sources:

Books:

For additional resources, access WorldCat, the world’s most comprehensive database, giving users access to millions of books and other resources available from thousands of libraries throughout the world.  Brooklyn Law School students and faculty may make interlibrary loan requests for items not owned by BLS.

What’s Going on Here? Renovations Have Begun!

Library renovations have begun.  To the left is a photo of the old Law Review Room.  Once the renovations are finished in mid-August this room will contain offices for four reference librarians, and tables, chairs and soft seating for students.  The room will have a mid-century decor.

 

 

 

 

This is the old Lexis lab on the second mezzanine looking into study room 206M.  Both rooms were demolished this week to make space for the offices of the four BLS Journals which will occupy space on both the second floor and the second mezzanine.

 

 

 

 

While there is no longer printing on the 2nd mezzanine, release stations and printers are available on the second floor opposite the library elevator.  A Lexis printer and the Bloomberg terminal have been relocated to the cellar.

We’ll keep you posted as renovations progress.  In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

Summer Hours & Summer Renovations

The Library’s summer hours May 13th – August 20th are as follows:

Saturday & Sunday, May 13 & 14  (Writing Competition Weekend):  9am – 12am

 

May 15 – May 31:

Monday – Saturday:  9am-10pm; Sunday: 10am-10pm;  Memorial Day, Monday, May 29:  Closed.

June 1 – July 4:

Monday – Thursday:  9am-12am;  Friday & Saturday:  9am-10pm;  Sunday:  10am-10pm; Independence Day, Tuesday, July 4:  9am-5pm.

July 5 – July 24:

Monday – Saturday:  9am-12am;   Sunday: 10am-12am.

July 25 – August 20:

Monday – Thursday:  9am-10pm; Friday & Saturday: 9am-5pm;  Sunday:  10am-6pm.

What’s Going on Here?

This summer the library will be undergoing renovations on the 3rd floor, 2nd mezzanine and 2nd floor.

The 3rd floor will be closed while the library administrative and technical services area, containing the offices of the Library Director, and the staff who orders, processes and catalogs all library materials, are moved temporarily into the Subin Reading Room.  Their office space, as well as the law review room, pictured at left, and currently containing no law reviews, undergoes asbestos abatement and the installation of sprinklers.  The 3rd floor computer lab will also be closed for the summer.

The law review room will then be transformed into office space for several reference librarians on one side of the room and study/lounge space on the other side for students.  There will be new carpeting, tables, chairs, soft seating, etc. — all in a new mid-century decor.

The 2nd floor statutory collection and the 2nd mezzanine computer labs will become the offices of the Brooklyn Law Review, the Brooklyn Journal of International Law, the Journal of Law and Policy and the Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial and Commercial Law.  The computers and printers currently in the two labs will be relocated to other locations throughout the library.

All the renovations are scheduled to be completed by mid-August. Graduating students who will be studying for the bar exam over the summer may use another local law school library if they like since there will be some contraction of available study space during these renovations.  The school will reimburse graduating students the fee they have to pay to use one other law school library.  If there are questions about which law school libraries are available for bar exam study, please inquire at the reference desk.

Study Room Reservations & Library Hours: April 28 – May 12

During the reading and exam period students must make a reservation to use a library study room.  Mandatory room reservations begin on Friday, April 28th at 8:00am; at that time, all study rooms will be locked and students must go to the first-floor circulation desk to charge out the key to the room at the time of their reservation.  The link to the study room reservations is available here.

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.
  • Study room reservations may be made in time slots of 60 minutes.
  • Students may book up to 4 time slots per day.

 Hours for the Reading & Exam Period:

  • Friday, April 28th – Thursday, May 11th:  8:00am – 2:00am
  • The circulation desk will close at 12:00am: April 28 – May 11
  • Friday, May 12:  8:00am – 10:00pm

Good Luck on Your Exams!

Summer and Graduate Access to Bloomberg, Lexis & Westlaw

The three legal research databases:  Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, and WestlawNext are available to Brooklyn Law School students this summer.  May 2017 graduates will also have access to these databases for six months after graduation.  See the details below:

Bloomberg Law:  Provides unlimited and unrestricted access over the summer.  Student accounts will remain active and available all summer.  Graduating students have continued access for six months after graduation.

For questions, contact Maxwell Sivin, Client Success Manager, msivin@bna.com, 646-494-5244.

Lexis Advance:  Students will have continuing access during the summer for all legal and news content on LexisNexis.  During the summer months of May, June and July, the permissible uses of your LexisNexis educational ID are expanded to include use at any law firm, government agency, court, or other legal position, internship, externship or clerkship.

May 2017 graduates have continuing access to Lexis for six months after graduation to study for the bar exam, prepare for employment, improve research skills, etc.   No extra steps needed.

Graduates engaged in public service work may be eligible for the Lexis ASPIRE program which provides twelve months of free access to Lexis resources for those working at non-profit organizations.  To apply for an ASPIRE ID, use the form at:  http://lexisnexis.com/grad-access

For questions, contact Mary Beth Drain, LexisNexis Account Executive, marybeth.drain@lexisnexis.com, 845-598-3203.

WestlawNext:  Students can use Westlaw during the summer for non-commercial research.  Students do not have to do anything to access Westlaw over the summer.  Access to Westlaw will automatically continue; no registration needed.  Examples of permissible uses for the student academic password include the following:

  • Summer coursework
  • Research assistant assignments
  • Law Review or Journal research
  • Moot Court research
  • Non-profit work
  • Clinical work
  • Externship sponsored by the school

Students have access to Westlaw for six months after graduation.  The “Grad Elite” access gives students 60 hours of usage per month on Westlaw to build research skills.  In addition, students get access to job searching databases on Westlaw and TWEN for 18 months after graduation for one hour per month.

Access:  A pop-up will appear when you log into www.lawschool.westlaw.com starting three months before the students’ set graduation date.  Students can extend access by logging into www.lawschool.westlaw.com.

For questions, contact Stefanie Efrati, Thomson Reuters Academic Account Manager, stefanie.efrati@thomsonreuters.com, 212-548-7432.

 


Spring Break & Third Floor Shifting

With a winter blizzard expected on Tuesday, March 14th and the school planning to close in anticipation of this event — on the  BLS academic calendar it is actually “Spring Recess.”  Listed below are our library hours for the remainder of, as I like to call it, “Spring Break”  — the word “recess” reminds me of elementary school!

Wednesday, March 15th (weather permitting):  9:00am – 10:00pm

Thursday – Saturday, March 16th – 18th:  9:00am – 10:00pm

Sunday, March 19th:  10:00am – 12Midnight

For library hours anytime, you can always check out our daily calendar which can be found on the library homepage, in the lower right corner.

Last week and during this week’s break from classes, much movement is going on on the third floor of the library, as you may have noticed.  We are consolidating our law review collection in the Subin Room and making way for exciting changes to come in the third floor Law Review Room over the summer.  We will keep you posted with more details to follow soon.

Enjoy your break — whether you are in New York in the snow or you traveled to somewhere warm and sunny!

Happy Presidents’ Day!

The Library will be open on Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 20, 2017, a law school holiday, from 9:00am to 10:00pm.

Presidents’ Day, a federal holiday, was originally established to honor George Washington, the first president of the United States whose birthday was February 22nd.  The day has come to also honor Abraham Lincoln whose birthday was February 12th.

It has become a day to honor all U.S. presidents as well.  Listed below are some of the books in the Library’s collection on our first and sixteenth presidents.

George Washington:

Flexner, James, Washington, the Indispensable Man.

Freeman, Douglas Southall, George Washington, a Biography.

McDonald, Forrest, The Presidency of George Washington.

Nordham, George W., George Washington and the Law.

Abraham Lincoln:

Dirck, Brian, Lincoln the Lawyer.

Hubbard, Charles, Lincoln, the Law, and Presidential Leadership.

Matthews, Elizabeth, Lincoln as a Lawyer: an Annotated Bibliography.

McGinty, Brian, Lincoln’s Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge and the Making of America.

Thomas, Benjamin, Abraham Lincoln:  a Biography.

U.S. Presidents as Lawyers:

Gross, Norman, America’s Lawyer-Presidents: From Law Office to Oval Office.

Library Hours & Study Room Reservations During Exams

keep-calmLibrary hours for the reading and exam period, Thursday, December 8th – Thursday, December 22th, are 8:00am – 2:00am.

The circulation desk will close at 12:00am every night during this period.

On Friday, December 23rd we will be open from 9:00am – 5:00pm.

During the reading and exam period study room reservations are mandatory.  All study rooms will be locked beginning at 8:00am on Thursday, December 8th and students must go to the circulation desk at the time of their reservation to obtain the key to the room.  Please remember the following about the use of the study rooms during the reading/exam period:

  • 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.
  • Study room reservations may be made in time slots of 60 minutes.
  • Students may book up to 4 time slots per day.
  • The link to the study room reservations is on the library web page under “Related Links.”

 

UPDATE: LexisNexis Digital Library Training Webinar & Live Session

lexisnexis-digital-libraryThe BLS Library is offering a webinar and a live training session to introduce students & faculty to the LexisNexis Digital Library.  As described in Reference Librarian Rosemary Campagna’s blog of October 15, 2016, the Library recently acquired a subscription to the LexisNexis Digital Library which gives students access to treatises, practice guides, and study aids in eBook format.

In order to formally introduce students and faculty to this important new resource, the Library is offering both a webinar and a live training session for the LexisNexis Digital Library.  Both sessions will cover the following topics:

  • How to access (both on-campus and off-campus)
  • Our library’s collection
  • Tools and functionality
  • Locating a title/volumes
  • Borrowing volumes
  • Bookmarks/highlights/annotations
  • Archives
  • Linking on-line research with “print” research
  • Recent and forthcoming enhancements

These sixty minute sessions will be offered on the following dates/times:

UPDATE:  THE PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED WEBINAR FOR THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3rd WILL BE REPLACED BY A LIVE TRAINING SESSION ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2016, 11AM-12NOON IN LIBRARY ROOM 113M.  SPACE IS LIMITED.  EMAIL to: linda.holmes@brooklaw.edu, if you would like to attend.

WEBINAR:  Monday, November 7, 2016, 4:00PM-5:00PM.

The instructor for both training sessions is Damian A. Burns, LexisNexis Digital & Print Sales Engineer, Damian.A.Burns@LexisNexis.com

Please follow this link at the time of the November 7th webinar to participate:

www.LexisNexisNow.com/Damian