Category Archives: Advance Legal Research Class

2017 AALL Annual Conference: A few thoughts from a first-time attendee

Last week, I attended the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) annual conference, which was held July 15-18 in Austin, Texas. The biggest takeaway for me, as a first time conference attendee, was how legal technology continues to shape the legal profession, and how the role of law librarians must continually evolve to meet technological challenges. 

Susan Nevelow Mart, Univ of Colorado Law School Library, “Understanding the Human Element in Search Algorithms”

Legal technology was the focus of many of the programs at the conference:

Understanding the Human Element in Search Algorithms

Teaching and Implementing Emerging Technologies in Legal Practice 

Case Law as Data: Making It, Sharing It, Using It

The Law Library as Technology Laboratory  and

Deep Dive: How Artificial Intelligence will Transform the Delivery of Legal Services

were just some of the programs addressing the subject.  In the exhibit hall, established and new tech vendors lured attendees to their booths with cute stuffed toy bats and other swag so they could sell you on their products.

Caselaw as Data, Harvard Law School Library Innovation Lab

Legal tech was also a constant subject offsite: vendors might gently push their services over a friendly game of shuffleboard at an evening social event; meanwhile in the Fastcase house, legal tech blogger Bob Ambrogi would be chatting in one room while Itai Gurari demonstrated Judicata’s new features in another.  In a recent blog post about the conference, Ambrogi described how legal information professionals increasingly wear the hat of “legal technologist,” stating that the AALL conference should be considered one of the top legal tech conferences.  

What does this mean for academic law librarians?  For me, attending AALL reinforced issues discussed by my BLS colleague Harold O’Grady in his entry in this blog about the new class, Tech Tools for Law Practice, that he taught this summer. If we are to ensure that our students graduate from law school with technology competency, legal tech classes should be integrated into the curriculum. We can learn from the digital initiatives and legal technology curricula at other law schools, and from our own initial experiences in teaching technology courses designed for law students. BLS Library has some legal tech resources in our collection, such as the ABA Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide, and can continue to build on them. 

While there is much to consider going forward, meeting and learning from the many talented and inspiring legal information professionals at the conference was a great experience.  One highlight: learning about the random limerick generator at Harvard’s Caselaw Access Project, where each line of the limerick is derived from a case — just one small illustration of the potential use of caselaw data.

Janet honored at reception for winning Law Library Journal Article of the Year Award

Finally, I should mention that at the AALL conference, BLS Library Director Janet Sinder received the Law Library Journal Article of the Year Award for her article, The Effects of Demand-Driven Acquisitions on Law Library Collection Development, 108 Law Library Journal 155 (2016). Kudos to Janet!

Teaching Legal Technology in Law School

techBrooklyn Law School, during the Summer 2017 semester, has taken a first step with its Externship Seminar – Tech Tools For Law Practice, in teaching technology to law students. As more and more states take note of ABA Standard RPC 1.1 Comment [8] and add state level rules which require that lawyers have basic technology competency, more law schools are responding and adding technology courses to their course offerings.

A session at CALI Con 2017, Teaching Law Practice Tech to Law Students – State of the Art, discussed three major themes aimed at teaching a new technology course. Michael Robak offered a walkthrough of the approval process for proposing a new technology course and provided tips for getting faculty and administrative officials onboard. A recent comment, Winning the Battle to Teach Legal Technology and Innovation at Law Schools by Christy Burke, states that many law schools are not yet convinced that this kind of practical non-theoretical education is their responsibility. However, she notes several examples, such as Stanford Law School’s Legal Design Lab, Vanderbilt Law School’s Technology in Legal Practice and Oklahoma University Law’s Digital Initiative, that offer a counterweight to that resistance.

Nichelle “Nikki” Perry discussed methods and options for choosing course content. Knowing where and how your students will practice can make a difference in class coverage. Stacey Rowland gave an overview of a recently taught course at the University of North Carolina discussing technology for new lawyers. This course covered topics such as Advanced Legal Research through Ravel and Bloomberg Law Litigation Analytics, using Word Styles as a foundation for document automation, asking students to construct a mock law firm website, litigation support services as well as hands on experience with CLIO and kCura’s Relativity.

In Brooklyn Law School’s Tech Tools for Law Practice seminar, the first assignment was to have the students complete a Legal Technology Assessment to determine how fluent they were with the basic technology tools of their trade: Word, Excel, and PDF. The website Procertas helped us to answer the question of what are the tech skills we should be teaching law students to better prepare them for working in the “real world?” See Tech Comes Naturally to ‘Digital Native’ Millennials? That’s A Myth by Darth Vaughn and Casey Flaherty which relates that testing of hundreds of law school students resulted in scores as low as 33 percent when asked to complete some simple Word tasks such as:

  • Accept/Turn-off track changes
  • Cut & Paste
  • Replace text
  • Format font and paragraph
  • Fix footers
  • Insert hyperlink
  • Apply/Modify style
  • Insert/Update cross-references
  • Insert page break
  • Insert non-breaking space
  • Clean document properties
  • Create comparison document (i.e., a redline)

Hopefully, as more law schools incorporate teaching law technology into the curriculum, those scores will improve.

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

 

 

LexisNexis Digital Library Now Available at Brooklyn Law School Library

lexisdigitalCurrent law students and faculty can access the Law Library’s new subscription to the LexisNexis Digital Library.  This new subscription gives provides access to primary law, code books, treatises as well as study aids, such as the Understanding and Questions and Answers series.  Just sign in with your BLS user name and password for access.

The LexisNexis Digital Library provides eBook lending capabilities, much like lending a physical book.  The books are accessible via computer, smartphone and tablets.  They are compatible with all major devices  (Apple® products, Android, Amazon® Kindle®, etc.).  You can access them 24/7.

Borrowing times vary depending on the format, ranging from 7 days for a study aid and 30 days for a treatise.  We also have multiple copies of titles, so several users may access them at once.

Check out the Lexis/Nexis Digital Library and see what it has to offer.

 

 

International & Foreign Public Interest Law Research Session

international-flagsInterning at an organization that works internationally this summer?  Interested in international law or comparative law? Research skills are key in this area of practice.

 

Learn the basics of international/foreign law research with Associate Librarian for International Law Jean Davis!  This program will also feature a special guest from the International Legal Foundation.  The guest will describe selected projects assigned to interns.  Then Professor Davis will suggest tools to research one of the projects.  Professor Davis will also highlight sources to research international internships and fellowships.

Date:   Monday, February 29, 2016

Time:  12:45pm – 1:45pm

Location:  Library – Room C36 (Cellar Level)

Snacks will be provided.

Sponsored by the Library & the Public Service Office

Questions?   Email:  publicservice@brooklaw.edu

CRS Turns 100

crs2

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is celebrating 100 years of service this year.

In 1914, the Library of Congress established the Legislative Reference Service (LRS).  As its name implies, the purpose of the LRS was to provide  reference information to assist Members of Congress in their legislative work.  Over 100 years, LRS evolved into today’s Congressional Research Service (CRS), with a staff of 600 that exclusively provides Congress with authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan policy analysis.

CRS is known for its reports, but what makes CRS is its people—analysts, attorneys, information professionals, and management and infrastructure support staff. These staff members carry out services in support of the modern mission: to provide objective, authoritative and confidential legislative research and analysis, thereby contributing to an informed national legislature.

In recent years there has been a push to make these CRS reports freely available to the American public. Thanks to several organizations , departments and libraries many of these detailed reports are now available electronically.

Below are some recent reports on topical issues.

Nigeria’s Boko Haram: Frequently Asked Questions

Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

Marijuana: Medical and Retail—Selected Legal Issues

Abortion: Judicial History and Legislative Response

 

 

 

 

New Course Offering: Advanced Legal Research: New York Civil Litigation

Working in New York this Summer?  Need to sharpen your research skills? Then register for Advanced Legal Research: New York Civil Litigation.  The class, which is taught by Reference Librarian and Prof. Kathleen Darvil, follows the research process from the initial client interview through the final appellate judgment.  The intensive course runs from May 14-17, 2012.  The class meets from 6:00 pm-9:30pm, Monday-Thursday.  For more information please email Kathleen Darvil at kathleen.darvil@brooklaw.edu