As of January 1, 2019, BLS Students will have access to a new version of Westlaw – Westlaw Edge. In addition to a new look, Westlaw Edge will offer users:
- An enhanced, AI-powered version of the KeyCite citator providing new warnings about cases may no longer be good law.
- WestSearch Plus, an AI-driven legal research tool designed to aid students in discovering answers to specific legal questions.
- Integrated litigation analytics, providing detailed docket analytics covering judges, courts, attorneys and law firms, for both federal and state courts.
- Statutes Compare, a tool that allows students to compare changes to statutes.
Stop by the reference desk and the reference librarians would be happy to give you a quick tutorial on how to use these new features on Westlaw Edge.
Want to keep up-to-date with legal news even though you’re short on time? Twitter is a great tool to share and receive timely information about the legal industry, legal technology, and law school news. Many lawyers also use Twitter to refer clients, to build relationships, and to market themselves and their firms.
To get you started, check out the ABA Law Journal’s “Web 100: Best Law Twitter.” Here you will find the ABA’s suggestions on who to follow on legal Twitter. Recommended accounts include legal organizations, law schools and law faculty, lawyers practicing in various specialty areas, and even a few accounts devoted exclusively to legal humor.
Also, make sure to follow BLS Library’s Twitter Account. We’ll keep you up-to-date on legal news and informed on BLS Library’s resources and events.
The authors of the blog, Above the Law, have published their annual Best Holiday Gifts For Lawyers. The suggested gifts range from the practical, like a subscription to the meal service, Blue Apron, to the fanciful, like the Disappearing Civil Liberties coffee mug.
Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! The list of cases the U.S. Supreme Court will hear in its 2017 October Term 2017 is now posted on SCOTUSblog. SCOTUSblog is a great resource if you are researching any aspect of the Supreme Court or the opinions it issues. The blog analyzes each merits case pending before the Court and posts breaking news of Court decisions. In fact, SCOTUSblog often posts Court decisions before the high court puts them on its own website. During session, links to audio clips of oral arguments are posted on SCOTUSblog as they become available. When you visit the blog, make sure to check out the other resources freely available there, such as “plain english” analysis of cases, videos, live blogging of oral arguments, and more.
Judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in today as the Supreme Court’s 113th justice. If you are interested in learning more about the Supreme Court appointment process, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) has several good reports. A recent report, Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee, includes information on the criteria for selecting a nominee, the advice and consent role of the Senate, the political aspects of the process, and the use of recess appointments to temporarily bypass Senate confirmation. For a more detailed account of the Senate’s role, the following CRS reports may also be of interest:
For more information on finding CRS reports online, see this blog post from the University of Houston’s O’Quinn Law Library.
In honor of Women’s History Month this March, head over to HeinOnline to see its Women and the Law collection. This Hein collection brings together books, biographies, and periodicals exploring the role of women in society and the law. Scholars use this platform to research the progression of women’s roles and rights in society over the past 200 years. In addition to a wealth of historical works, the collection also features more than 70 contemporary feminist sources archived from Emory University Law School’s Feminism and Legal Theory Project.
Have you been following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, colloquially known as “the Brexit?” In a referendum held on June 23rd, British citizens voted in favor of the Brexit, with 52% percent voting to leave the EU and 48% voting to remain.
What Happens Now?
That’s a good question as there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the legal consequences of the referendum. As a matter of fact, the UK is the first member nation ever to elect to sever its ties with the EU. For the immediate future, though, the status quo will be maintained. First of all, it is important to note that the referendum has no legal consequences with respect to the UK’s status as a member state of the EU. Instead, the UK will begin the process of leaving the EU only after the British government invokes Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, one of the EU’s governing documents.
According to Article 50: “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.” Article 50 also specifically provides “A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention.” This language is important because it makes clear that the Brexit cannot be initiated by the referendum vote, the trigger to request an exit from the EU can only be pulled by a formal request under Article 50 made by the British government. Whether and when the British government will actually invoke Article 50 is anybody’s guess given the spate of resignations and current state of turmoil in British politics. As a matter of fact, British legal scholars are currently debating how Article 50 is to be invoked – can the Prime Minister trigger Article 50 or is a formal vote of Parliament required?
What Happens When/If the British Government Invokes Article 50?
If the British government provides the EU with a formal Article 50 notification of its election to leave the EU, the UK and the EU will then be required by the Lisbon Treaty to negotiate a deal setting forth the terms of the UK’s withdrawal and establishing a structure for the future legal relationship between the UK and the EU. Once the Article 50 trigger is pulled, the European Council and the UK will have just two years to hammer out a new deal. If the parties choose not to extend this period and cannot reach any agreement, the UK will exit the EU with no formal arrangement in place. Once the Article 50 trigger is pulled, it is irreversible.
Following the Brexit vote, David Cameron announced his intention to resign as Prime Minister, leaving the decision on how and when to trigger Article 50 in the hands of his successor. Given the current chaos in British markets and politics, the culmination of Brexit may take years.
The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has launched a beta version of its new GovInfo web site. After it completes its beta phase, Govinfo will replace FDsys, the federal government website currently providing free public access to over 50 different collections of federal government information, including the United States Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, Congressional materials, and selected federal case law. Users of GovInfo can browse by A-Z list, by category, by date, and by congressional committee content. To see a list of collections available on Govinfo, visit here.