Category Archives: 1Ls

Westlaw Edge Coming to BLS

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.

Seventh Annual Databases Research Fair Recap

The library held its Seventh Annual Databases Research Fair on October 3, 2018, in the third floor Phyllis & Bernard Nash Reading Room.  Representatives from Bloomberg Law, EBSCO, Fastcase, Lexis, Westlaw, and Wolters Kluwer came to showcase their legal research platforms to students.  BLS librarians were also on hand to demonstrate HeinOnline and research tools available on the BLS Library website.

The mix of 1Ls and upperclass students enjoyed stopping by vendor tables, learning about the latest database features while picking up swag like portable wireless speakers, coffee mugs, tote bags, and pens.  Students who had visited at least 5 vendors also qualified to enter the raffle. For the prizes, BLS Library and the vendors contributed gift cards ranging from $10 to $100, with a total value of $385. Congratulations to the nine lucky students who won the raffle gift cards!

Finally, it must be noted that the research fair was organized, as always, by Associate Librarian Linda Holmes.  After 37 years with the library, Linda’s last day at BLS was today, October 5. We wish her a very happy retirement!  It speaks to the success of the event, and to Linda’s superb organization, that on the day of the research fair a 3L student told us “The day of the research fair is my favorite day of the school year.” And the next day, after she received an email from Linda notifying her that she had won a raffle prize: “I was so happy, I did a little dance.”  

 

BLS Library Databases Research Fair: October 3, 2018

The 7th Annual Library Databases Research Fair will be held on Wednesday, October 3, 2018.  The fair will be held in the Library’s 3rd Floor Phyllis and Bernard Nash ’66 Reading Room from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

Representatives from the following legal research companies will be present to demonstrate their databases:

  • Bloomberg Law
  • Ebsco
  • Fastcase
  • Lexis Nexis
  • Westlaw
  • Wolters Kluwer
  • Handouts/Brochures & Pens/Post-Its provided by Hein Online

There will be handouts, give-aways, & light refreshments.  A raffle drawing for gift cards will be held at 5:45pm.

Come and learn how these databases will help you with your legal research.

Save the date:  Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 3:00pm – 6:00pm, 3rd Floor Nash Reading Room.

Law School 101: Books to Get You Started

As recent BLS graduates prepare to take the New York State bar exam next week, and we wish them luck, those individuals admitted to Brooklyn Law School for fall 2018 are preparing to begin their legal studies next month.  There is much to prepare for:  move into Feil Hall or a new apartment, explore a new neighborhood, attend welcome events and orientation sessions, purchase text books, meet other 1Ls, etc.

The library has a number of books geared to helping new students get off to the best possible start.  Listed below are some of those titles.  Good luck as you begin your legal career!

Critical Reading for Success in Law School and Beyond by Jane Bloom Grise. St. Paul, MN, West Academic Publishing, 2017.  Call No.:  Main KF 283 .G75 2017.

 

 

Demystifying the First Year of Law School:  A Guide to the 1L Experience by Albert Moore and David Binder, New York, NY, Wolters Kluwer, 2010.  Call No.: Main KF 283 .M66 2010.

 

 

Finding Your Voice In Law School:  Mastering Classroom Cold Calls, Job Interviews, and Other Verbal Challenges, by Molly Shadel, Durham, NC, Carolina Academic Press, 2013.  Call No.: Main KF 283 .S52 2013.

 

 

 

Get a Running Start: Your Comprehensive Guide to the First Year Curriculum by David Gray, et al., St. Paul, MN, West Academic Publishing, 2016.  Call No.:  Main KF 283 .G739 2016.

 

 

Navigating the First Year of Law School : A Practical Guide to Studying Law by G. Nicholas Herman, et al., Durham, NC, Carolina Academic Press, 2016.  Call No.: Main KF 283 .H47 2016.

 

 

Open Book:  The Inside Track to Law School Success by Barry Friedman and John Goldberg, New York, NY, Wolters Kluwer, 2016.  Call No.:  Main KF 283 .F75 2016.

 

 

Law School 101:  How to Succeed in Your First Year of Law School and Beyond by R. Stephanie Good, Naperville, IL, Sphinx Publishing, 2009.  Call No.: Main KF 283 .G66 2009.

 

 

A Short & Happy Guide to Being a Law Student by Paula Franzese, St. Paul, MN, west Academic Publishing, 2014.  Call No., Main KF 283 .F735 2014.

 

 

 

What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know:  An Introduction of the Study of Law, by Tracey George and Suzanna Sherry, New York, NY, Wolters Kluwer, 2016.  Call No.:  Main KF 283 .G46 2016.

Beware the Bootleg Bluebook

Richard Posner doesn’t like the Bluebook. He has railed against it for years, devoting entire articles in the University of Chicago Law Review (1986) and the Yale Law Journal (2011) to the horrors of what he deems an ever-growing monstrosity. In a December 2016 article for Green Bag, Judge Posner stated that among the reforms he would implement at federal appellate courts, the first thing to do is burn all copies of the Bluebook, in its latest edition 560 pages of rubbish”.

Well, one person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure.  Enter the Bootleg Bluebook.  

Say what? Of all the things to make knockoffs of, why the Bluebook? It isn’t a literary bestseller like Harry Potter and it sure as heck isn’t Louis Vuitton. Even the Kelley Blue Book would seem a likelier candidate for a fake. Then again, with over 35,000 students matriculating at ABA-accredited law schools annually, the built-in demand means that a lot of Bluebooks are sold every year.

Unfortunately some BLS students who bought Bluebooks through third party vendors have been victimized by these fakes.  We’ve heard that students at other law schools have run into this problem too.

Imagine a student at Any Law School, U.S.A., meticulously poring over the Bluebook to make sure everything is cited correctly for their first legal writing assignment. Only to get his or her paper back, marked up to the hilt with corrections in red ink.

“But I cited to page 16 of the Bluebook. Id at 100, no period after Id

“That’s not correct and not what it says in my copy. Let me see your Bluebook.”

Sorry. It’s fake.

I feel for students who are using the Bluebook for the first time only to find out that their trusted source was a bootleg.  Fake news we can handle. But fake Bluebooks?

One of the BLS students was kind enough to lend us their bootleg copy.  It’s basically a case of OCR gone bad.  Periods vanished, text out of sync, commas turned to periods and vice versa, blurry text, off-kilter page numbers, and the most common error: missing spaces. New jersey losing its capitalization and making you think of swag rather than state — while the III for Illinois makes you want to yell “My kingdom for a horse!” Interestingly, the Chinese and Japanese characters seemed to be in good shape, though the bootleggers couldn’t decide what color print to use and kept switching back and forth between black and blue.    

 

 

      

So the Public Service Announcement for today: It’s best to get your Bluebook directly from the publisher or from a trusted retailer, rather than through a third party vendor.

It’s nice to know, though, that the bootleggers got this citation on page 510 right:

Richard A. Posner, The Bluebook Blues, 120 Yale L.J. 850 (2011).

 

 

Sixth Annual Research Fair Recap

BLS Library held its 6th Annual Research Fair yesterday, September 28, 2017. Representatives from Bloomberg Law, EBSCO, Lexis Digital Library, Lexis, Westlaw, and Wolters Kluwer were on hand to showcase their databases. Library Director Janet Sinder and Associate Law Librarian Linda Holmes also provided students information about Fastcase and HeinOnline. The turnout was excellent. Students stopped by vendor tables, chatting with vendor and student representatives, They picked up free mugs, tote bags, and pens, while learning about the latest database services and features.

The event also served as an occasion to showcase the library’s new collaboration/reading room on the 3rd Floor. Faculty and staff members came by to check out the space and the Research Fair. Many 1Ls were introduced to the space through the event. 2Ls and 3Ls who were visiting the collaboration room for the 1st time marvelled at how the 3rd Floor had been transformed over the summer.

The Research Fair was a success. Students said that they enjoyed learning about new research resources and would start using them right away. The cookies, candy, and other light refreshments provided by the library helped perk them up after a long week of classes. At the end of the Fair, Janet and Linda conducted the raffle drawing for students who had visited at least five vendors. Congratulations to the six lucky students who won $50 gift cards courtesy of BLS Library and participating vendors!

 

 

BLS Library Databases Research Fair: September 28, 2017

The Sixth Annual Library Databases Research Fair will be held on Thursday, September 28th, 2017.  The Fair will be held in the Library’s new 3rd floor Collaboration/Reading Room from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

Representatives from the following legal research companies will be here to demonstrate their databases:

  • Bloomberg Law
  • Ebsco
  • Fastcase
  • Lexis Digital
  • Lexis Nexis
    • Westlaw
      • Wolters Kluwer
      • Brochures/Pens/Post-Its provided by Hein Online

There will be handouts, light refreshments, and a raffle drawing for gift cards.

Come and learn how these databases will help you with your legal research.

Save the date:  Thursday, September 28, 2017, 3:00pm – 6:00pm,

3rd floor Library, New Collaboration/Reading Room.

 

Welcome (Back) and Changes to the Library Over The Summer

The new semester officially began this week for new JD students at Brooklyn Law School. The BLS Library staff would like to wish you a very warm welcome!  We have met many of you at orientation and on the library tours, and look forward to getting to know you. 

Our regular library hours starting August 28, 2017 are:

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

Stop by the reference desk if you have questions: a reference librarian is usually at the desk Monday-Thursday from 9am-8pm, and Friday-Saturday from 9am-5pm.  Also, don’t forget the research guide for 1Ls that is full of useful resources and tips.

“Lebron” (Jean Davis) conducting training for new BJIL members

Though classes begin next week for returning students, many students are already on campus working on journals, attending trainings, etc. Today, Associate Librarian for International Law, Jean Davis (decked out in a Lebron T-shirt) conducted a training session for new members of the Brooklyn Journal of International Law (BJIL).  The theme of the training: the importance of teamwork.  Besides dispensing insight that ranged from choosing a topic for a student Note to the latest resources for Brexit, “Lebron” also welcomed the newest additions to BJIL’s team with a tasty strawberry shortcake from Mia’s Bakery.  (BLS Lebron is cooler than Cleveland’s.)

It’s all about the Team!

Speaking of teamwork, at the start of the summer, we shared a short video about the changes happening this summer at the library.  Thanks to the efforts of a wonderful team, the work is (almost) complete!  The BLS journals have moved into newly renovated space on the second and second mezzanine floors of the library.  We are also excited about the changes to the third floor, which has been completely transformed over the summer.  

The 3rd Floor taking shape

The new reading room on the third floor is a collaborative space that is not limited to quiet study. Students are welcome to use it to discuss school work, collaborate on projects, or for individual study, as they wish. As with other areas of the library, light snacks and non-alcoholic beverages in covered containers can be consumed. There is a unisex bathroom within the reading room (no one on the library tour that I led caught the Ally McBeal reference; the 90s do seem light years ago) and also separate gender bathrooms right outside.  Four reference librarians have also moved into new offices adjacent to the space.

3rd Floor Reading Room

The third floor reading room can be conveniently accessed from the main law school elevators.  In the near future, we plan to use the space for events, including possibly the upcoming 6th Annual Legal Research Fair on September 28, 2017 (to be confirmed soon – stay tuned!)  

If you haven’t had the chance yet, come and check out our new third floor space!

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.

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.