Category Archives: Research

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.

Your Librarians On the Go, To Keep You In the Know

The librarians on the BLS Library staff are members of several professional organizations that meet annually for professional development, information sharing, networking, etc.  The most important aspect of these meetings is to learn about new developments and resources from legal technology and and legal research vendors, and to bring that information back to our constituents: Brooklyn Law School students and faculty. This has been a particularly active year, and below is a summary of the organizations we belong to on behalf of Brooklyn Law School, and the meetings we attended or will attend in 2017.

Association of American Law Schools has a membership of 179 law schools.  Their mission is “to uphold excellence in legal education and improve the profession.”  Its annual meeting presents programs, offers mentoring for new faculty, and is a resource for discussions on legal issues.

Library Director and Professor Janet Sinder attended the AALS meeting in San Francisco in January 2017.  The theme was “Why Law Matters,” featuring over 250 sessions with hundreds of speakers covering a wide range of legal topics.

American Association of Law Libraries has over 5,000 members who work in law school libraries, law firms, corporations, and government libraries at all levels.  The goal of AALL is “to share knowledge of legal resources, promote the profession, and provide leadership in the legal arena.”  This year’s annual meeting was held in Austin, TX in July and the theme was “Forego the Status Quo.”  Topics ranged from “Attorney Research Skills: Continuing the Conversation Between Law Firm and Academic Law Librarians” to “How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform the Delivery of Legal Services.”  Reference Librarians Kathy Darvil, Loreen Peritz, and Eric Yap attended, along with Cataloging Librarian Judy Baptiste-Joseph, and Library Director Janet Sinder.

Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction is a consortium of U.S. law schools that provides legal educational resources to help law students succeed.  CALI has produced over 1,000 interactive tutorials covering 40 subject areas that are available to students in all member schools.  Their annual conference was held in Phoenix, AZ in June with Reference Librarian Harold O’Grady attending.  The topics offered ranged from artificial intelligence to video technology.

 

KOHA is the open-sources software the Library uses for acquisitions, serials control, and cataloging.  This year’s conference of the KOHA Users Group was held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in August and attended by Acquisitions Librarian Jeff Gabel.  One of the many programs offered was “KOHA Toolkit: Enhancing the User Experience.

 

North American Serials Interest Group is an organization that works “to facilitate and improve the acquisition and accessibility of information resources in all formats.”  This year’s conference, with the theme “Racing to the Crossroads,” was held in Indianapolis, Indiana in June and attended by Cataloging Librarian Judy Baptiste-Joseph. One of their many programs addressed the issue of “Accessibility of Library Collections.”

 

 

Federal Depository Library Program is a government program created to make U.S. government information available to the public through a network of designated libraries.  These libraries are called Federal Depository Libraries, and the BLS Library has been a Federal Depository Library since 1974,  The FDLP program is administered by the U.S. Government Publishing Office, and there are over 1100 depository libraries; 127 of them are law schools.  Linda Holmes, Associate Law Librarian, will attend the annual depository library conference in Arlington, VA in October. The keynote presentation at this conference will be given by Jane Sanchez, the Law Librarian of Congress.

 

International Association of Law Libraries “provides an international forum for networking and information sharing among legal professionals worldwide.”  IALL publishes the International Journal of Legal Information and offers an annual conference.  Jean Davis, Associate Librarian for International Law, will attend this year’s conference in Atlanta, GA in October.

 

As you can see from this brief survey of 2017 law-related library conferences, a very important element in these programs is the education and training of law students, and our goal by attending these conferences, is to assist them in learning both the breath and depth of legal resources.

Stressed about your seminar paper? Attend the Seminar Paper Workshop this Thursday

This Thursday Prof. Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil are holding their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper in Room 502.  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.

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!