Category Archives: E-Resource

Free Resources Alert! Law Library of Congress

If you need to do any type of foreign or international law research, the Law Library of Congress (law.gov) offers a trove of (free!) resources that will be invaluable to your research.  Recently, the Law Library redid their website, making it easier to navigate.  Below is a summary of the resources available on law.gov.

The Researcher Resources tab takes you to a page with links to the Library’s Research Guides, Guide to Law Online, the Legal Research Institute, Congress.gov, the Library’s blog, In Custodia Legis, databases, and story maps which are interactive web applications that describe the Library’s collections  through narrative, multimedia, and interactive maps. 

Research Guides

The Law Library has published dozens of research guides, including research guides on the laws of the 50 states and U.S. territories (e.g. Guide to Law Online: Puerto Rico); various topic areas (Nonprofit Organizations Law: A Beginner’s Guide,  U.S. Federal Appellate Courts: Records and Briefs, Public International Law: A Beginner’s Guide); and guides for foreign law (e.g. Guide to Law Online – Australia). Each guide contains links to additional free sources for caselaw, legislation, and other resources and guides to assist in your research.

Legal Reports
The Law Library of Congress produces reports on foreign, comparative, and international law in response to requests from Members of Congress, Congressional staff and committees, the federal courts, executive branch agencies, and others. Selected reports are provided for the public for reference purposes. This can be a great brainstorming resource if you are looking for a foreign, international, or comparative topic to write on.  Some recent reports include: Citizenship through international adoption; Children’s online privacy and data protection in selected European countries; and Legal provisions on gender equality. You can browse these reports or search for reports on a specific topic using the search feature on top of the page.

Reference Librarians at the Law Library of Congress
If you have any questions about a resource or obtaining a source of foreign or international law (or any law), you can ask the reference librarians at the Library using the Ask the Library feature.  The Law Library of Congress employs experts in different areas of the law and countries and is thus well-equipped to provide guidance on finding sources on a wide variety of topic areas and jurisdictions.

Exam Resources

It’s that time of year! As exam season approaches, there are several resources that the library offers to assist you in your studying. The library’s 1L Resources, Tips and Tools: Library Information Guide has links to study aids and other resources to help you succeed on your law school exams. For upper-level students, the library has created several research guides to aid you in your research: Library Research Guides.

If you are not on campus, you can access several digital resources such as the Lexis Digital Library which includes the Understanding study aid series in first year and upper level courses.

To access digital resources off-campus, make sure you install the proxy server. If you would like to study in the library, you will need to reserve a seat beforehand. Remember that you will need to submit a negative COVID test and abide by the law school’s safety procedures in order to enter and use the library.

Finally, if you have any questions, please reach out to us at askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu or use the chat feature on the library’s homepage.

Stay safe this holiday season and good luck with the remainder of the semester!

BLS Library Services Continuing Remotely (Library closed until further notice)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 202.8 requires all employers, with the exception of “essential services or functions,” to reduce the in-person workforce at any work locations by 100% as of 8 p.m. on March 22, 2020. As a result, Brooklyn Law School Library is closed until further notice.

BLS librarians and staff are continuing to provide library services remotely. We are continually updating a web guide about how to remotely access online resources: https://guides.brooklaw.edu/remoteaccess. Many major casebook publishers are making ebook versions of casebooks available for free to students through the end of the semester; access information is found in the guide under the tab “Online Access to Case Books.” Information about how to request 60-day online access to the legal Bluebook can also be found in the guide.

Our reference librarian team is also ready and willing to help with reference questions. We are providing reference services online, Monday-Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. 

If you have any questions or requests relating to library or reference services, please contact us by email at askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu or by text at (718) 734-2432.  

Stay safe!

Study Aids at the Library

Need a little extra help with your classes? The library has a robust collection of study aids to assist with your mid-semester cramming. Check out the following resources:

“Understanding” Series from LexisNexis  
Check out the LexisNexis e-Book library at the link above for practice guides and study aids, including the “Understanding” series which covers a range of topics including Administrative Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, Torts, Evidence, Property, International Law, and the First Amendment.

“Nutshell” Study Aids

Constitutional Law in a Nutshell
Civil Procedure in a Nutshell
Contracts in a Nutshell
Criminal Law in a Nutshell
Property in a Nutshell
Torts in a Nutshell

Examples & Explanations Series
Civil Procedure
Constitutional Law
Contracts
Criminal Law
Property
Torts

This is just a sample of the available study aids. The Nutshell and Examples & Explanations Series also cover upper level courses such as Conflict of Laws, Bankruptcy and Corporations.

1Ls: Remember to refer to the 1L Research Guide for links to study aids and library resources. And remember you can always stop by the reference desk for assistance in finding study aids to help you get through the semester.



Did You Know The Library Offers Ebook Study Aids?

The library has dozens of study aids available to help you ace your finals!  Just come to the circulation desk and you can check out a study guide to help you create an A+ outline.  Did you know that the library also has study aids in the ebook format?  For example, if you want to borrow a study aid from the “Understandings” series, you can go here: http://brooklyn.law.overdrive.com/A277C1C7-3692-4CF7-BE2A-4E65154FAC2F/10/1334/en/Default.htm.

To find out more about the study guides BLS library has available for you, visit here:http://guides.brooklaw.edu/c.php?g=330909&p=2222538

Government Shutdown Resources: CRS Reports

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a non-partisan agency within the Library of Congress that provides confidential and authoritative analysis on policy issues for Members of Congress and their staff.  The CRS has a staff of about 600 employees including policy analysts, economists, scientists, lawyers, and librarians.  Following the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, CRS reports have been made publicly available. Currently, the official public website provides access to the in-depth “R-series” reports though the full inventory is not slated for full migration to the website until spring 2019, and there is no specified timeline for access to the agency’s shorter written products (Insight, In Focus, Legal Sidebar, etc.).  Some publications in the R-series, as well as in the other CRS product series, can also be found on non-official sites including Every CRS Report, and the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) CRS Portal.

crsreports.congress.gov

As the government shutdown continues to drag on, CRS reports can provide valuable analysis and insight. Some relevant reports include:

Economic Effects of the FY2019 Government Shutdown (January 2019) This CRS Insight, written by an Macroeconomic Policy Specialist,  provides a brief analysis of the potential economic effects of the current FY2019 shutdown.

How a Government Shutdown Affects Government Contracts (January 2019) Written by a legislative attorney, this CRS Legal Sidebar examines “possible effects that a government shutdown could have on new and existing federal contracts.”

Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources (updated January 2019). The report provides an “annotated list of historical documents and other resources related to several past government shutdowns. Sources for these documents and resources include the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Government Accountability Office (GAO), House and Senate Committees, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and Executive Office of the President.”

Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effect  (updated December 2018) This in-depth report covers “causes of shutdowns, including the legal framework under which they may occur; processes related to how agencies may plan for the contingency of a shutdown; effects of shutdowns, focusing especially on federal personnel and government operations; and issues related to shutdowns that may be of interest to Congress.” In case you were wondering, because of their responsibilities under the Constitution and a permanent appropriation covering congressional pay, “Members of Congress are not subject to furlough.”

Federal Funding Gaps: A Brief Overview  (updated March 2018)  Provides an overview and analysis of federal funding gaps, which is not synonymous with a government shutdown. “The interval during the fiscal year when appropriations for a particular project or activity are not enacted into law, either in the form of a regular appropriations act or a continuing resolution (CR), is referred to as a funding gap. Although funding gaps may occur at the start of the fiscal year, they may also occur any time a CR expires and another CR (or the regular appropriations bill) is not enacted immediately thereafter. Multiple funding gaps may occur within a fiscal year.”

Fastcase: Another Tool in the Legal Research Toolbox

Fastcase, along with Bloomberg Law, Lexis and Westlaw, is another electronic tool in the legal research toolbox.  Fastcase is a legal research service that began in 2008, and gives users access to primary legal authority covering cases, statutes and regulations for most state and federal jurisdictions, as well as court rules and bar association publications.

A benefit of Fastcase is that access to law review articles is provided through the library’s subscription to Hein Online.

Brooklyn Law School students may access Fastcase from the SARA catalog.

The library recently added to its collection the book Fastcase: The Definitive Guide by Brian Huddleston, call number:  KF 242 .A1 H833 2018.  This book has twelve chapters covering everything you need to know about Fastcase.

Members of the New York State Bar Association have free access to the Fastcase New York Library.  For further information see:  Fastcase bar associations.

Working-Class Shareholder

The Brooklyn Law School Library New Books List for April 1, 2018 has 42 print titles and 30 e-book titles. Among them is one e-title The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon by David Webber, a rare good-news story for American workers. Combining legal rigor with inspiring narratives of labor victory, Webber shows how workers can wield their own capital to reclaim their strength. When the CEO of the supermarket chain Safeway cut wages and benefits, starting a five-month strike by 59,000 unionized workers, he was confident he would win. But where traditional labor action failed, a novel approach was more successful. With the aid of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, a $300 billion pension fund, workers led a shareholder revolt that unseated three of CEO’s boardroom allies. In the book, the author uses cases such as Safeway’s to shine a light on labor’s most potent remaining weapon: its multitrillion-dollar pension funds. Outmaneuvered at the bargaining table and under constant assault in Washington, state houses, and the courts, worker organizations are beginning to exercise muscle through markets. Shareholder activism has been used to divest from anti-labor companies, gun makers, and tobacco; diversify corporate boards; support Occupy Wall Street; force global warming onto the corporate agenda; create jobs; and challenge outlandish CEO pay. Webber argues that workers have found in labor’s capital a potent strategy against their exploiters. He explains the tactic’s surmountable difficulties even as he cautions that corporate interests are already working to deny labor’s access to this powerful and underused tool.

This book could be the modern bible of the movement to harness labor’s capital for working-class interests. It is a riveting and thoughtful book that is not only a fast and fun read, but contributes wonderfully to a new and ongoing conversation about inequality, dark money, and populism in the electorate. On Wednesday, April 18 at 4pm, Brooklyn Law School will host a Book Talk with David Webber, Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law to discuss the book. It is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Business Law and Regulation.

CRS Reports to Be Public

All non-confidential reports of the Congressional Research Service must be made publicly available online through a Government Publishing Office website within 90 to 270 days under the 2018 omnibus appropriations act that was passed by Congress and signed by the President last week. Buried in the 2,232-page fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill is a much-debated provision to require the Library of Congress to post all the lawmaker-requested reports on a central website.

AVAILABILITY OF CRS REPORTS THROUGH LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WEBSITE.
(1) WEBSITE.— (A) ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE.—The Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the CRS Director, shall establish and maintain a public website containing CRS Reports and an index of all CRS Reports contained on the website, in accordance with this subsection.
(B) FORMAT.—On the Website, CRS Reports shall be searchable, sortable, and downloadable, including downloadable in bulk.
(C) FREE ACCESS.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Librarian of Congress may not charge a fee for access to the Website.
(2) UPDATES; DISCLAIMER.—The Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the CRS Director, shall ensure that the Website—(A) is updated contemporaneously, automatically, and electronically to include each new or updated CRS Report released on or after the effective date of this section; (B) shows the status of each CRS Report as new, updated, or archived; … Any CRS Report may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without permission from CRS. However, as a CRS Report may include copyrighted images or material from a third party, you may need to obtain the permission of the copyright holder if you wish to copy or otherwise use copyrighted material.’’

The move is the culmination of more than two decades of efforts to encourage, cajole or coerce Congress into making the reports broadly available to the public. Finally, Congress will make the non-confidential reports available to every American for free. See Long-Proprietary Congressional Research Reports Will Now Be Made Public by Charles S. Clark, March 23, 2018.

Presidents Day

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971 declares that Washington’s Birthday falls on the third Monday in February in the United States. It is, of course, named for George Washington, the first president of the United States. The holiday originally started as a day to celebrate the birthday of George Washington whose birthday is February 22. As part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971, the holiday was moved to the third Monday in February. Presidents’ Day is now thought of as a holiday saluting all Presidents, not just George Washington. Public Law 90-363 designated the third Monday in February as Washington’s Birthday. Many states choose to call this day Presidents’ Day instead of Washington’s Birthday. Some states also celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday as well. Other Presidents born in February include William Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan.

Some facts about Presidents’ Day are:

1. Washington’s birthday was how the holiday began, following his death in 1799, and was celebrated each year on February 22. It was then celebrated widely in 1832 on the centennial of his birth and in 1848 when construction first started on the Washington Monument. Other presidents with birthdays in February include Abraham Lincoln on February 12.  The holiday became recognized as a day to honor multiple past presidents. Alabama celebrates Washington’s birthday and Thomas Jefferson’s birthday on Presidents’ Day, even though Jefferson was born in April.

2. It has different names in certain states. In Virginia, which is Washington’s home state, they call it George Washington’s Day. In Alabama, it is called Washington and Jefferson Day. There is no official agreement on the placement of the apostrophe in “Presidents’ Day,” so you might see it written as “Presidents’ Day,” “President’s Day,” or just “Presidents Day.”

3. It was almost changed back to individual birthdays in the 2000s. Because the origins of Presidents’ Day started to become lost, honored more presidents than just Washington, disregarded Lincoln, and morphed into a commercialized cluster of chaos, an attempt to restore Washington’s and Lincoln’s individual birthdays as holidays was made in the 2000s. It failed. However, the federal government still recognizes Presidents’ Day as a celebration of Washington and is listed as such on official calendars.

4. Even though it is a federal holiday, each state is free to call it what they choose and how to celebrate.

5. Brooklyn Law School is closed on Presidents’ Day. The Library is open from 9am to 10pm. See the library e-book For Fear of an Elective King: George Washington and the Presidential Title Controversy of 1789 by Kathleen Bartoloni-Tuazon where the author argues that the resolution of the controversy in favor of the modest title of “President” established the importance of recognition of the people’s views by the president and led to leadership that demonstrated the presidency’s power by not flaunting it.