Author Archives: Loreen Peritz

Are You a 1L and Anxious About Finals? Check Out the BLS Library Study Aid Collection

Are you feeling nervous about exam preparation?  Come to the library and take a look at our 1L study aid collection.  Along with your own class outlines, these study aids can be very helpful with exam preparation.  Our collection includes Examples & Explanations, Nutshells, Understandings Series, and more.  Most of our study aids are on reserve behind the circulation desk.  See any member of our circulation staff to check out a study aid.

Want more information about the BLS study aid collection?  Visit our 1L Resources, Tips, and Tools legal research guide here: http://guides.brooklaw.edu/c.php?g=330909&p=2222538

Also, even though classes are over, keep in mind that reference librarians are still available at the reference desk to answer any of your research questions.

From all of us at the BLS library, best of luck on your exams!

 

Welcome Back – Spring 2016 Semester!

Welcome back to your Spring 2016 Semester at BLS.

The first day of classes is Tuesday, January 19th.

Here are the library’s hours from January 19th  –

Monday – Thursday            8am-12pm
Friday                                    8am-10pm
Saturday                               9am-10pm
Sunday                                 10am-12pm

On Monday, January 18th, Martin Luther King Day, the library will be open from 9am-10pm.

On Monday, February 15th, Presidents Day, the library will be open from 9am-10pm.

For additional information on library hours, see library hours.

Looking for a Reliable Source of Global Legal News? Try the Law Library of Congress Global Legal Monitor

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The Law Library of Congress produces many excellent legal research tools – including the Guide to Law Online.  The Guide to Law Online provides links for web-based sources of federal law http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/federal.php, state law http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/states.php, and for the laws of hundreds of foreign countries http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/nations.php.

Another great Law Library of Congress research tool is the Global Legal Monitor http://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/?loclr=bloglaw.  The Global Legal Monitor offers coverage of legal news and developments worldwide.  Global Legal Monitor is produced by a team of Law Library of Congress editors, it is updated frequently, and its content is drawn from news stories found in official national legal publications and reliable press sources. Browse news stories from the Global Legal Monitor homepage or search for older news stories by text, topic, jurisdiction, author, or date.

Legal Blogs – a.k.a. Blawgs – What Can They Do For You?

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Are you looking for your first legal job and want to look like an expert in a particular practice area?  Maybe you just want to learn more about a specific legal issue, an area of law, or a certain industry, law firm, or company?  If so, you should investigate legal blogs, or “blawgs.”

Here are some things to know about blawgs:

  • Blawgs usually follow “hot topics” or breaking legal news.  They can cover general legal topics or can focus on specific practice areas.
  • Blawgs may be written by attorneys, law librarians, law professors, or others.
  • Blawgs can help you to become informed and to stay current but use caution as the main purpose of some blawgs may be attorney self-promotion.

If you are looking for blawgs, try:

  • blawgsearch.justia.com/ – search for blawgs by most popular, by category, or run a keyword search.
  • www.lxbn.com – search by subject, browse the headlines, or run a keyword search.
  • scotusblog.com – an excellent source of material about the Supreme Court.

Finally, you can try:

  • www.abajournal.com/blawgs – search by topic, author type, region, law school, and court.  Also, take a look at the ABA’s Annual Blawg 100.  According to ABA Journal, these are the blawgs that have “tipped us off to breaking news and the bloggers who have compelled us to write about their innovative ideas.”

 

 

American Bar Association Offers Free Membership to Law Students

aba-300x162All BLS students are eligible to take advantage of the American Bar Association’s offer of free membership to students enrolled at ABA approved law schools.   With your free membership, you can: access the ABA Job Board, subscribe to ABA publications, participate in ABA career webinars, and take advantage of ABA discounts on a wide variety of products and services.

For more information or to enroll online, visit www.americanbar.org/abalawstudents or call  the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221.

 

The Supreme Court Crafts a New Standard in Pregnancy Discrimination Cases – Young v. UPS

On March 25, 2015, the Supreme Court handed down Young v. United Parcel Service and set forth a new standard making it easier for a female employee to establish discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act [42 U.S.C. 200e(k)] (“PDA”).  The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which amended Title VII in 1978, explicitly provides that discrimination “because of sex” or “on the basis of sex” includes discrimination on the basis of “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”

The Young case arose when UPS offered light-duty accommodations to disabled and injured employees but not to pregnant employees.  Young alleged this policy violated the PDA.

In Young, the Court did not go as far as to say that employers must accommodate pregnant workers whenever they accommodate non-pregnant workers.  What the Court did say is, whenever different accommodations are provided to similarly situated pregnant and non-pregnant workers, the employer must determine whether there is any legitimate reason for the disparate treatment. If no legitimate reason exists, then the employer has discriminated on the basis of pregnancy in violation of the PDA.  Even when the employer is able to articulate a neutral business rational for the different accommodations, the Court ruled that the pregnant worker must still be given the opportunity to show that the different accommodations impose a “significant burden” on pregnant workers that cannot be justified by the employer’s neutral rationale.

Going forward, the Young decision means that a pregnant worker will not be required to establish explicit discriminatory intent to prove a PDA violation.  Instead, under Young, it is sufficient for the worker to show that different accommodations offered to similarly situated pregnant and non-pregnant workers impose a “significant burden” on pregnant employees.

 

Staying Current Using Legal Blogs and More – A Good Practice for Both Lawyers and Law Students

In order to adequately represent their clients, lawyers have an ethical obligation to “stay current.”  In short, this means lawyers should be aware of the current state of the law in both their specialty practice areas and also in the general practice of law.  Staying current also allows a lawyer to contact existing clients when the law changes – this type of contact often results in additional business.  Similarly, when competing for new business, a lawyer who is current in the potential client’s industry and regulatory environment is more likely to impress that client and to be awarded the new business.

Law students – it is never too early to begin the practice of staying current – ideally you should perfect this skill while still in law school.  Not only will you appear more knowledgeable on job interviews, you will also be better prepared to hit the ground running in your practice area when you land your first legal job.

There are a number of ways to stay current.  You can set up alerts in research databases such as Westlaw and Lexis.  You can also monitor legal news sources such as New York Law Journal and Law360 (both available on Lexis).  For the most recent “breaking news,” though, you should consider following at least a few legal blogs or “blawgs.”

Legal blogs are a great way to stay current and you can search for blogs in both your specialty area and on more general legal topics.  If you want to get started finding legal blogs in your area(s) of interest, try: http://blawgsearch.justia.com/http://www.lxbn.com/, or http://www.abajournal.com/blawgs/

.  Each of these websites is a legal blog aggregator – you can search for blogs by practice area, by keyword, by subject area, or by most popular posts.

Finally, take a look at ABA Hall of Fame.  This is ABA Journal’s picks of the best legal blogs in 2014.  You are sure to find a legal blog of interest on this list – the blogs are generally of very high quality and the subjects are wide-ranging – from legal humor, to foreign law, to the use of technology in a law practice.

 

Law Library of Congress and HeinOnline Team Up to Offer Free Access to Historical Federal Primary Law

The Law Library of Congress and Willaim S. Hein & Co., Inc. recently announced that they will partner to to offer free online access to historical U.S. legal materials, including the United States Code, U.S. Reports, Code of Federal Regulations, and the Federal Register.  Legal researchers and the public can access these Hein libraries through the Law Library of Congress legal research portal, Guide to Law Online: U.S. Federal. The following collections of historical primary law are available:

While not as comprehensive nor as easily searched as the BLS Library HeinOnline Subscription Databases, these collections help to make important historical legislative, judicial, and executive branch publications freely available to the public.  Most of these collections are available on the federal government website FDsys, but coverage only goes back to the mid-1990s.  Generally, the free Hein libraries begin with the first edition of the publication in question, and end when free access via FDsys begins.

For assistance with using the Guide to Law Online links or the BLS Library HeinOnline Subscription Databases, ask a Reference Librarian.

7 Habits of Highly Effective New Lawyers

Right now, you are focused on being a highly effective law student so you can land a good job after you graduate.  Have you ever stopped to think, though, about what characteristics and qualities will help you to succeed after you accept your first legal position?  A recent Law360 article considers just this question and, after interviewing senior lawyers at a number of New York City law firms, offers the following list of 7 characteristics of highly effective newer lawyers:

1.  They Get and Stay Organized.  Effective associates ask assigning attorneys upfront about deadlines and create a running “to do” list showing tasks and due dates.  According to the article, this helps associates keep their focus when they might otherwise become distracted by more exciting, but less time sensitive, matters.

2.  They Respond Immediately.  Effective associates never wait to respond to a partner or a senior associate according to the attorneys interviewed for the article.  These associates make sure to acknowledge each task they are assigned (by a return phone call or email) even if they are unable to complete the task right away.  These associates also always provide realistic deadlines for when they will complete the work, so assigning attorneys can plan accordingly.

3.  They Research Even the Tiniest Details.  For the new litigating attorney, this may mean becoming familiar with the layout and AV capabilities of a courtroom prior to an appearance. Newer corporate lawyers may need to do online research about opposing counsel to help develop strategies that are likely to move the ball along in a marathon negotiating session.

4.  They Act Like They Already Have the Job They Want.  This one is simple, according the article; in order to act like you already have the job you want, try to step into the shoes of the attorney giving you the assignment.  Try to anticipate all of the things that need to be done to move a case or deal forward and formulate a plan to accomplish those objectives.  Also, if you can get a sense of your supervising attorney’s writing style, work habits, and billing practices, you can tailor your own work product to make it consistent with that style.

5.  They Anticipate.  According to the article, the best new associates are prepared to answer the questions a partner or client will raise even before they are asked.  In order to do this, associates must be thoroughly familiar with the facts and law of the issue they are working on. Also, advises the article, never tell a senior attorney about a problem without also offering possible solutions to solve that problem.

6.  They’re Always Looking for Connections.  Effective associates are continually on the lookout for new mentors, staff, and other associates that can help them succeed in their careers.  One way to cultivate this network and to achieve a higher profile at the firm, according to the interviewed attorneys, is to actually visit senior attorneys in their office with questions rather than sending an email or leaving a voicemail.  Just be sure to limit the duration of your visit; senior attorneys are happy to mentor junior associates but you must respect the great demands they have on their time.

7.  They Act as if They Work Alone.  Always act as if your work is going directly to a client or a judge and that there is nobody to catch your mistakes.  Even if a senior associate finds the mistakes in your work before it lands in the hands of a judge or client, you have damaged your reputation when you cannot be trusted to verify the accuracy of your own work product.

Want to read the whole article?  Find it at Law360 on Lexis Advance: 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Associates http://www.law360.com/legalindustry/articles/584143.

LexisAdvance Has a New Look

As of today, LexisAdvance has a new look. According to Lexis, the new LexisAdvance offers a sleek, sophisticated new design, enhanced navigation and integration, as well as anywhere, any-device access.

Take a look here HERE to read more about the new LexisAdvance enhancements. You can also register for webinars on this page which are designed to help you to navigate the new Lexis interface.

Click HERE to watch video tutorials on using the new LexisAdvance, including an overview of new features and a series of “show me how” videos which demonstrate advanced skills such as working with folders, browsing sources, and Shepardizing.

If you need help using the new LexisAdvance, please see a reference librarian, we are happy to help!