Category Archives: Research

Mueller Report: Available On Reserve

“Over 400 pages of reading bliss, this is one you don’t want to miss” ~Anonymous


Now that we are into the thicket of law school exams, the library has provided some welcome diversions: puzzles, origami, and a Kindness Wall where students can leave encouraging notes for their peers. But what better way to destress than to play the “guess the redacted content” game?

Fresh off the press, the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, better known as the Mueller Report, is now in the library’s Reserve Collection (Call No. JF1083 .M84 2019)   

So take a break from deciphering the Rule Against Perpetuities and stop by the Circulation Desk. Flip through the Mueller Report and let your imagination run wild. Who are the subjects of the redacted ongoing investigations? Which classified secrets have been withheld from the eager public? What tasty tidbits in the grand jury materials were deemed verboten?

Maybe, just maybe, the Mueller Report will inspire you because of what it is: an impeccably researched and drafted legal document. It’s the stuff lawyers do. Someday, perhaps, you too will get to work on a legal project so monumental that it will have redactions galore when released to the public. One can only dream (but don’t dream for too long, IRAC awaits.)  

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.”

Welcome Back! A Few Resources to Help You This Spring

As you begin your Spring 2019 classes, keep in mind all of the resources available to you while you are a student at BLS:

Developing and Researching a Paper Topic:

Research Guides: If you are researching a particular subject area and don’t know where to start, or if you are trying to come up with a paper topic, check out the BLS Research Guides at http://guides.brooklaw.edu/. These guides cover a wide variety of topics such as EU Legal Research, Federal Securities Law, NY Civil Practice, and many others.

Finding Journal Articles and Cite Checking:

HeinOnline: Westlaw and Lexis have an excellent collection of journal articles. But especially if you are cite checking for a journal, you should also check out HeinOnline (https://www.heinonline.org/HOL/Welcome) which posts PDF versions of journal articles so you can view them exactly as they appear in the print copies.

Foreign and International Legal Resources:

HeinOnline: If you are researching foreign and international law, once again HeinOnline may be a great resource for you. HeinOnline has several databases devoted to foreign and international law including the Foreign and International Law Resources Database, United Nations Law Collection, and World Treaty Library.

Justis:  If you need to find caselaw or legislation from the UK, Ireland or EU, check out Justis, an online library of UK, Irish, EU, and international caselaw and legislation.

For more foreign and international legal resources check out the International and Foreign Law Databases in the A-Z database guide.

Corporate, Securities, Bankruptcy, Tax:

Bloomberg Law Practice Centers: Bloomberg Law is an excellent source for news and updates in specific practice areas such as corporate law, securities, tax, and bankruptcy. To access these resources, log into Bloomberg Law and click on the “Browse” icon on the upper left corner. Then click on “Practice Centers” on the left and choose the area of law you want to research.

If you don’t have a Bloomberg Law account, you can set one up by going to https://www.bloomberglaw.com/activate.

Westlaw and Lexis also have a wealth of information including cases, statutes, regulations, and secondary materials organized by practice area. On Westlaw, click on the “Practice Areas” tab on the homepage, and on Lexis, click on the “Practice Area or Industry” tab on the homepage. There you will find several areas of law such as Tax, Copyright, or Immigration which if you click on will bring you to primary and secondary source materials including statutes, regulations, caselaw, practice guides, and treatises for that topic.

And for your other research needs….

Check out the library’s A-Z Research Guide for a list of all of the databases available at BLS organized by subject area. And don’t forget about OneSearch (for searching articles and materials across all databases), SARA (for searching books & e-books), and Find A Source (for finding out whether BLS has access to specific journal titles).

Lastly, whenever you’re stuck, contact a librarian! Come find us at the reference desk or email askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu or use the “chat” feature on the library homepage.

Good luck!!!

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.”  

 

Need Help with Your Seminar Paper? Come to the Seminar Paper Workshop

On Thursday September 20th, Prof. Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil are holding their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper in Room 402.  The workshop is from 4-5:30 PM. Topics covered include sources for selecting your topic, sources for researching your topic, and strategies for effectively organizing and writing your paper.  If you are unable to attend the workshop, you can access an online research guide which contains a recording of the workshop, links to and descriptions of all the research sources discussed, and the writing and research presentations.  The online guide is available at guides.brooklaw.edu/seminarpaper.  From the guide’s main page, you can access the recording of the presentation, Professor Fajans’ slideshow on how to write your seminar paper, and Kathy Darvil’s online presentation on how to research your seminar paper.  If you should need further help selecting or researching your topic, please stop by the reference desk for assistance.

Understanding the Attorney-Client Privilege

The raid of President Trump’s personal attorney’s law office raises questions of how the F.B.I and federal prosecutors will safeguard documents that fall under the attorney-client privilege.  If you want to learn about the privilege, the library has several recently published sources to help you understand this central component of the attorney-client relationship.

Vincent Walkowiak & Oscar Rey Rodriguez, The Attorney-Client Privilege in Civil Litigation (6th ed. 2015).

This edition provides updated and expanded treatment of the attorney-client privilege and the work-product doctrine. New topics include application of the revised federal rules and case law governing waiver of privilege, the pitfalls of privilege preservation and waiver in bankruptcy proceedings and international contexts, and the intersection of privilege and attorney/client-hired media consultants.

David Lender, Privilege Issues in the Age of Electronic Discovery (BNA 2011).

Also available on Bloomberg Law.

This BNA portfolio explains how the nature and scope of the attorney-client privilege and work-product protection have been impacted by technology, generally, and electronic discovery in particular.

The portfolio begins with an introduction to the relevant privileges and protections, each of which developed prior to the computer age. The portfolio then describes in detail the far-reaching implications of technology on these fundamental tenets of the legal profession. Included in this discussion is an examination of privilege as it relates to the reasonable expectation of privacy and related ethical issues, waiver, privilege logs, the crime-fraud exception, experts, litigation hold notices, and litigation support databases.

Paul R. Rice, Attorney-Client Privilege in the United States (2011).

This two-volume treatise, available on Westlaw, provides essential information for advising clients on protecting the confidentiality of their internal communications. This database provides instant access to: the history, theory, and purpose of the privilege, a comprehensive examination of court interpretations, the procedures for asserting, establishing, resolving, and appealing privilege matters.

Jessica Kunz, Attorney-Client Privilege & Work Product Doctrine: Corporate Applications (BNA 2009).

This online treatise is organized into three parts. Part One, Introduction, traces the historical development of the attorney-client privilege and the work-product doctrine and explains in detail their purposes, availability to corporations, scope of protection, and relation to each other. Part Two, Attorney-Client Privilege, covers a myriad of topics, including client identity, waiver of privilege, exceptions to the privilege, choice of law, shareholder suits and special committees, among many others. Part Three, Work-Product Doctrine, covers such topics as scope, waiver issues, and exceptions to the doctrine, among many others.

BLS Library Special Collections: Rare Books & Archives

The BLS Library has a rare book collection located on the second floor, second mezzanine and third floor levels.  While the books on all three floors are in locked cabinets, students may go to the first floor circulation desk and ask for assistance in retrieving these books.  The rare books may not be charged out, but they may be used in the library for as long as needed.  All rare books are cataloged and available through the SARA online catalog.

The rare books on the second mezzanine are a gift of the estate of Judge Nathan R. Sobel, 1906 -1997, and the collection is named in his honor.  Judge Sobel was a graduate of Brooklyn Law School, class of 1927, and a Justice of the New York Supreme Court for over twenty years; for nine years he served as Brooklyn Surrogate.

The books cover a wide variety of topics on all floors:  treatises, yearbooks, statutes, reporters, histories, biographies, etc.  To give you a sampling:

Room 107M on the first mezzanine contains the Brooklyn Law School archives.  This collection contains a wealth of information about the law school.  While the room is kept locked, for access to it, please go to the first floor reference desk.  Some of the titles that are located in the archives are:

  • Bulletins:  While the school no longer published a print bulletin or catalog, the archives contains the bulletins published from 1903 to 2006.
  • Class pictures:  Pictures of the graduating classes from 1901 – 1969; however, there is not a class picture for every year during this period.
  • Commencement programs:  Programs for the graduation exercises from 1903 to date.
  • The Justinian & BLS News:  The Justinian was the school newspaper, written by students for the BLS community, published from 1938 to 1998.  After an interval of four years, the student newspaper was re-named BLS News and published from 2002 – 2006.
  • Photo Profiles:  Print copies of pictures of the BLS entering classes from 1984 – 2001.
  • Yearbooks:  The BLS Yearbooks from 1982 – 2012.  (An earlier yearbook, called The Chancellor, was published in the following years:  1930, 1932 – 1935, 1948 and 1954.)

For a comprehensive listing of the material in the archives, see the BLS LibGuide: Brooklyn Law School Archives Collection.

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.

Need help with your seminar paper? Attend the workshop on February 7th!

Next Wednesday, February 7th, Prof. Betsy Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil are holding their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper in Room 501.  The workshop is from 4-5:30 PM. Topics covered include sources for selecting your topic, sources for researching your topic, and strategies for effectively organizing and writing your paper.  If you are unable to attend the workshop, you can access an online research guide which contains a recording of the workshop, links to and descriptions of all the research sources discussed, and the writing and research presentations.  The online guide is available at guides.brooklaw.edu/seminarpaper.  From the guide’s main page, you can access the recording of the presentation, Professor Fajans’ slideshow on how to write your seminar paper, and Kathy Darvil’s online presentation on how to research your seminar paper.  If you should need further help selecting or researching your topic, please stop by the reference desk for assistance.

Thomson Reuters ProView eBooks Now Available

BLS students, faculty, and staff now have access to the Thomson Reuters Proview eBook Reader.  Proview makes traditional books in the Library’s collection available on a desktop through Westlaw, or on a laptop or tablet after downloading the Thomson Reuters ProView app., giving users the flexibility to work wherever they are, whenever they want.

After logging on to Westlaw, follow these steps:

  • Click or tap on “Practice Ready”
  • Scroll to “Law eBook Access”
  • Click on “Access Now”

You will then get an alphabetical listing of the covers of the titles that are available through the BLS Library.  Then go to the title you are interested in; on the left you will see an icon to access the table of contents to aid in your research.  There is also a search icon that allows you to search within the book.  Additional features that make for ease of use are:

  • Create bookmarks, highlight text, and write annotations
  • Create PDFs and share sections of a text or links to specific sections
  • Tap or click on a case, statute or regulation to link to the full text of a document in your Westlaw account
  • Content automatically updates on your browser or via prompts on downloaded content in a digital device

You can also access a ProView eBook from SARA, the library catalog, by entering a title and then clicking on the link to the ProView version.  You may also do a keyword search using the phrase “proview ebook” to obtain a list of all titles available at BLS as a ProView eBook.