Category Archives: Westlaw

Ten Tips for Summer Research

  1. This summer, Brooklyn Law School’s continuing students will have access to their Bloomberg Law, Lexis+ and Westlaw Edge accounts.  But a summer employer might want student workers to use one of the employer’s accounts for billing purposes—check with your employer.  For continuing students, Thomson Reuters imposes a Westlaw Edge usage limit of 180 hours per month for an active (non-extended access) account.  Brooklyn Law School’s graduating students will have access to Bloomberg Law and Lexis+ (excluding public records) for 6 months after graduation. Graduating students who plan to engage in “verifiable 501(c)(3) public interest work” can apply to access selected Lexis+ content for 12 months. All graduating students can enroll in Thomson Reuters’ Grad Elite program to obtain 18 months of access (with a cap of 60 hours per month) to Westlaw Edge, Practical Law, Westlaw China, Thomson Reuters ProView eBooks and drafting tools.
  2. A legal database might have a practice-focused page of sources for the area of law you need to research.  These practice pages often provide: legal news, practice notes, checklists, sample forms, tools to build forms and model clauses.  Explore these pages through: Westlaw Edge pull-down menu option: Practical Law, Lexis+ icon: Practical Guidance and Bloomberg Law home page link: Practical Guidance.
  3. If you need to update someone else’s draft legal brief/opinion, or if you wish to try to find additional citations to support your own brief, try using one of the brief analysis tools that are supported by highly-regarded citators, such as Lexis+: Brief Analysis and Westlaw Edge: Quick Check.  Note: When using a Safe Harbor Project memo as a test, Lexis+: Brief Analysis provided Shepard’s treatment for both cases and BIA Decisions cited in the memo.  (Be aware of any citations in your brief analysis results that a brief analysis tool states it cannot verify.  You will need to Shepardize or KeyCite these citations.)
  4. If you might need to write legal briefs, consider downloading Lexis For Microsoft Office for Law Schools.  After downloading Lexis for Microsoft Office: When you open your Word document and click tab: LexisNexis, you will be able to Shepardize citations in your document, to check the Bluebook format of citations in your document, to check the accuracy of quotes in your document (if Lexis+ recognizes the quoted sources) and to create a table of authorities.  Feel free to direct questions about this product to Brooklyn Law School’s Lexis+ Practice Area Consultant, Mary Beth Drain (marybeth.drain@lexisnexis.com). 
  5. If you want to find data about the types of cases a judge has heard, how a judge has ruled on motions, or the outcome of appeals from a judge’s decisions, try using a litigation analytics tool. In Westlaw Edge, Lexis+ and Bloomberg Law, these tools are called: Litigation Analytics. Westlaw Edge: Litigation Analytics covers U.S. federal and selected state courts and includes the ability to view damages awarded in U.S. federal district courts.
  6. If you need to compare laws and/or regulations in multiple states, check: Bloomberg Law: State Law Chart Builders, Cheetah: choose a practice area, like: Tax: State & Local > link to Smart Charts or Quick Answer Charts, HeinOnline: National Survey of State Laws, Lexis+: Practical Guidance> Tools & Resources: State Law Comparison Tool, State Law Surveys and Westlaw Edge: 50 State Statutory Surveys, 50 State Regulatory Surveys, Jurisdictional Surveys. An additional free tool is National Conference of State Legislatures: Research > Topics.  (Always check the dates of information provided by these tools.)  
  7. Create a free account at SSRN to search for current legal working papers and pre-prints of legal articles and book chapters.  Tip: if you retrieve a lengthy list of SSRN results, try sorting the results by: Date Posted, Descending.     
  8. If you do not live in Feil Hall, implement Brooklyn Law School’s proxy server instructions for one web browser.  Then, when you use that browser to search Google Scholar for articles, you will be able to link to the full text of more articles.  (Your Google Scholar search results likely will include articles from Brooklyn Law School’s subscription databases.) Use of the proxy server also allows you to search for/link to articles from Brooklyn Law School Library’s home page. (Tip: change the search pull down menu option to: I’d like to search: Articles.)
  9. If you wish to identify/access Brooklyn Law School Library’s subscription e-books off campus, use a web browser that communicates with Brooklyn Law School’s proxy server and search SARA catalog.  If you are a New York State resident, you also can apply online for a New York Public Library (NYPL) digital library card. This will provide access to NYPL’s ebooks and selected databases.
  10. Feel free to email askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu or to use the the chat feature (“Need Help?”) on this page to ask whether there might be a useful research tool to support your summer work.  For example, those seeking New York civil trial practice aids or evidence treatises might wish to consult Brooklyn Law School Library’s New York Civil Practice research guide.  New registrants in the Safe Harbor Project might wish to review U.S. Immigration Law Research Starting Points (which describes a new library subscription to AILALink database) and to apply for FREE membership in American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).   

Good luck with your summer research! BLS librarians are here to help.

Getting Help Drafting Corporate Agreements

If you are asked to draft an agreement (a.k.a contract), there are some great tools to help you get started.  Each of Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg have specialized databases dedicated to corporate lawyers.  In these databases you will find millions of sample agreements that you can use to draft your own agreement. 

On Westlaw, first select Practical Law from the Westlaw homepage:

Then, select your practice area (e.g. if you are drafting an employment agreement, select Labor & Employment):

Now, select from Sample Documents, Sample Clauses, and other resources to help you draft your agreement (such as Practice Notes, Checklists, Toolkits, and more):

Lexis users can use Practical Guidance to find similar resources:

Bloomberg Law aficionados have plenty of corporate drafting tools to choose from but probably the best place to start when drafting a corporate agreement is Practical Guidance:

If you have any questions about using these corporate transactional resources, or would like to discuss search strategies with a reference librarian, contact the reference desk.  You can reach us by email at askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu, by chat from the library homepage, or drop in during our Zoom Office Hours (M-W-F: 1-3pm; Tu-Th: 3-5pm).

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.”  

 

Summer Access (& Beyond) to Bloomberg, Lexis & Westlaw

The three legal research databases, Bloomberg Law, Lexis & Westlaw, are available to Brooklyn Law School students this summer.   There is also continuing access for May 2018 graduates.  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 Julia Perdue, Client Success Manager, jperdue@bloomberglaw.com, 646-701-3831

Lexis Advance:  Students will have continuing access during the summer for all legal and news content on Lexis.  During the summer months of May, June and July, the permissible uses of your Lexis educational ID are expanded to include use at any law firm, government agency, court or other legal position, internship, externship or clerkship.

May 2018 graduates have continuing access to Lexis for six months after graduation to study for the bar exam, prepare for employment, improve research skills, etc.

For questions, contact Mary Beth Drain, Research Consultant, marybeth.drain@lexisnexis.com, 845-598-3203.

WestlawNext:  Students can use Thomson Reuters products, including Westlaw, Practical Law, and the Practice Ready solutions over the summer for non-commercial research.  You can turn to these resources to gain understanding and build confidence in your research skills, but you cannot use them in situations where you are billing a client.  Examples of permissible uses for your 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

You do not have to do anything to gain access to these tools over the summer.

Students who are graduating can use Thomson Reuters products, including Westlaw and Practical Law, for eighteen months after graduation.  Your “Grad Elite” access gives you sixty hours of usage per month, with no restrictions against using them for professional purposes.

Extend access by logging into http://www.lawschool.westlaw.com, where a pop-up window will appear once you sign on.

For questions, contact Stefanie Efrati, Academic Account Manager, stefanie.efrati@thomsonreuters.com, 646-223-4918.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

 


Service Pets, the ADA and the Supreme Court

On Monday, October 31, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, an appeal by a 12-year-old Michigan girl with cerebral palsy who was not allowed to bring her service dog to school. The Court will consider whether Ehlena Fry’s family can sue the school district for violations of federal disability laws. Fry’s family obtained a goldendoodle, Wonder, to help her open doors and retrieve items. Her school district initially refused to allow Wonder at school. Officials relented a bit in 2010, but they placed many restrictions on Wonder. Ehlena and her dog later transferred to another school.

The family sued the school district in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. In January 2014, the court in EF ex rel. Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, 2014 WL 106624 (subscription required) granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint ruling that the plaintiffs first had to seek an administrative hearing. In June 2015, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, 788 F. 3d 622 upheld that decision 2-1. The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the family. School districts around the country have repeatedly denied children with disabilities their right to bring service dogs to school often claiming the service animals are not necessary and that the schools can help the children through other means. The ACLU wants the justices to declare that children prevented from using service animals at school can proceed directly to court without having to go through administrative hearings that can be costly, time consuming and burdensome. The ACLU Petition for Certiorari is available here.  See also Ehlena and Wonder the Service Dog’s Incredible Journey to the Supreme Court and the video that the ACLU posted about her.

The school argues that exhausting administrative remedies encourages parents and schools to work together to determine the best plan for each child and are a cheaper way to resolve educational disputes. The Obama administration has backed the Fry family, saying the appeals court’s decision was wrong and “leads to unsound results.” The government said when the lawsuit was filed, Ehlena had already moved to a new school district and there was no ongoing dispute to compromise. Requiring her to go through administrative proceedings “would waste time and resources without offering any chance of resolving their actual dispute,” the Justice Department said in a brief to the court.

On the subject of service pets, SARA, the Brooklyn Law School Library catalog links to an online resource by the Office of the New York State Attorney General Civil Rights Bureau titled Freedom on Four Legs: Service Animals, Individuals with Disabilities, and the Law.