Tag Archives: research

Need to find and research a paper or presentation topic? BLS librarians (and their guides) can help!

BLS librarians have created 40+ publicly-accessible legal research guides. Tips: A BLS student can email askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu, text (718) 734-2432 or chat with us for help determining whether there is a guide to support research on a specific topic. Off-campus use of many subscription databases described in BLS research guides requires implementation of the BLS proxy server instructions.

Also, your librarians serve as liaisons to the BLS full-time faculty–we can tell you which librarian works most closely with a particular professor. A librarian liaison might have created research links in the Canvas page for a paper-writing course or other material to support students’ research. Note: BLS librarians can highlight resources to support any type of law student paper, article or presentation.

A useful starting point for many types of paper research is the guide: Selecting & Developing Your Seminar Paper Topic. This guide’s home page includes videos on: selecting/researching a topic; developing a thesis for a seminar paper topic; and avoiding plagiarism. Guide tab: Selecting a Topic links to: indexes of legal blogs; legal news sources; and selected legal journals and newsletters. All of these sources highlight new and developing legal topics. Guide tab: Developing an Argument through Commentary links to both full-text sources of articles and indexes of articles. Guide tab: Developing an Argument through Grey Literature includes sources to find material published by think tanks, NGOs and interested organizations.

Moreover, there are BLS guides to international law research. The broadest two guides are: Paper Topic Selection: International (highlights news/legal news sources) and Paper Topic Development: International (highlights sources of articles and primary law). If you need to find a topic for a “Rule of Law/Law of War” seminar, you could access the Paper Topic Selection guide > tab: Pull-down Menu of News: Specific Topics and choose sub-tab: Law of War. The English Legal Sources guide includes links to newly available resources in Westlaw Edge UK.

Additionally, there are many subject-focused BLS research guides. If you need to develop a topic in the “Art Law” seminar, the Art Law guide > tab: Other Resources links to websites of organizations and the searchable ArThemis database of news/case notes on art and cultural property disputes. If you need to conduct research for the “Topics in White Collar Crime” seminar, you could link to many resources through guide: White Collar Crime Research. If you are writing in the “Civil Practice Workshop,” the New York Civil Practice guide might be helpful. (This is a guide BLS librarians like to highlight to all BLS students who might wish to become litigators.) If you are writing on a tax topic, see: Federal Tax Research Guide and International Tax Research Guide. These guides include instructions to access BLS subscription databases to support tax research.

COMING IN EARLY OCTOBER: A presentation for students on selecting a paper topic and avoiding plagiarism. We will provide the date/time soon!

Researching legislation related to the coronavirus? Check out the Law Library of Congress’s Coronavirus Resource Guide

If you are researching legal issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, you will definitely want to check out the comprehensive coronavirus resource guide published by the Law Library of Congress, which provides links to laws, regulations and executive actions in the United States at both the federal and the state level, and in various countries.  The guide is updated at least weekly and in addition to direct links to laws and regulations, it includes Congressional Research Service reports which provide information to Congress about the coronavirus, law library blog posts, and articles from the Law Library of Congress Global Legal Monitor which tracks global legal developments. 

Some interesting Congressional Research Services reports listed in the Coronavirus Resource Guide include:

Todd Garvey, Constitutional Considerations of Remote Voting in Congress, Congressional Research Services(Apr. 14, 2020)

Colby Leigh Rachfal, COVID-19 and Broadband: Potential Implications for the Digital Divide, Congressional Research Services (Mar. 13, 2020)

Marc Labonte, COVID-19: Potential Economic Effects, Congressional Research Services (Mar. 11, 2020)

The Law Library of Congress’s Global Legal Monitor has dozens of articles organized by region which track individual country responses to the coronavirus, such as an article detailing Germany’s changes to its rules of procedure in Parliament and one discussing legislation in China that punishes the trade and consumption of wild animals.   

The guide also includes a link to a law library report on Legal Responses to Health Emergencies. Though written five years ago, the report provides useful summaries of regulations addressing health emergencies in 25 jurisdictions as well as a comparative summary and bibliography that may be useful in analyzing the level of preparedness of different countries for the current pandemic.

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!!!

Looking for Federal Government Information? Try the New Govinfo website.

Govinfo

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has launched a beta version of its new GovInfo web site.  After it completes its beta phase, Govinfo will replace FDsys, the federal government website currently providing  free public access to over 50 different collections of federal government information, including the United States Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, Congressional materials, and selected federal case law.   Users of GovInfo can browse by A-Z list, by category, by date, and by congressional committee content.  To see a list of collections available on Govinfo, visit here.

 

Law Library of Congress and HeinOnline Team Up to Offer Free Access to Historical Federal Primary Law

The Law Library of Congress and Willaim S. Hein & Co., Inc. recently announced that they will partner to to offer free online access to historical U.S. legal materials, including the United States Code, U.S. Reports, Code of Federal Regulations, and the Federal Register.  Legal researchers and the public can access these Hein libraries through the Law Library of Congress legal research portal, Guide to Law Online: U.S. Federal. The following collections of historical primary law are available:

While not as comprehensive nor as easily searched as the BLS Library HeinOnline Subscription Databases, these collections help to make important historical legislative, judicial, and executive branch publications freely available to the public.  Most of these collections are available on the federal government website FDsys, but coverage only goes back to the mid-1990s.  Generally, the free Hein libraries begin with the first edition of the publication in question, and end when free access via FDsys begins.

For assistance with using the Guide to Law Online links or the BLS Library HeinOnline Subscription Databases, ask a Reference Librarian.

New Article on Legislative History

Nicholas Parrillo is an Associate Professor of Law at Yale Law School who teaches administrative law, legislation, and American legal history. He recently published an article in the Yale Law Journal on legislative history, which according to the Legal History Blog, “relates the rise of the use of legislative history to the expansion of the federal bureaucracy and the emergence of a specialized regulatory bar.”

Here is the abstract of his article posted on SSRN:

A generation ago, it was common and uncontroversial for federal judges to rely upon legislative history when interpreting a statute. But since the 1980s, the textualist movement, led by Justice Scalia, has urged the banishment of legislative history from the judicial system. The resulting debate between textualists and their opponents — a debate that has dominated statutory interpretation for a generation — cannot be truly understood unless we know how legislative history came to be such a common tool of interpretation to begin with. This question is not answered by the scholarly literature, which focuses on how reliance on legislative history became permissible as a matter of doctrine (in the Holy Trinity Church case in 1892), not on how it became normal, routine, and expected as a matter of judicial and lawyerly practice. The question of normalization is key, for legislative history has long been considered more difficult and costly to research than other interpretive sources. What kind of judge or lawyer would routinize the use of a source often considered intractable?
Drawing upon new citation data and archival research, this Article reveals that judicial use of legislative history became routine quite suddenly, in about 1940. The key player in pushing legislative history on the judiciary was the newly expanded New Deal administrative state. By reason of its unprecedented manpower and its intimacy with Congress (which often meant congressmen depended on agency personnel to help draft bills and write legislative history), the administrative state was the first institution in American history capable of systematically researching and briefing legislative discourse and rendering it tractable and legible to judges on a wholesale basis. By embracing legislative history circa 1940, judges were taking up a source of which the bureaucracy was a privileged producer and user — a development integral to judges’ larger acceptance of agency-centered governance. Legislative history was, at least in its origin, a statist tool of interpretation.

Seminar Paper Workshop: September 13, 2012

If you are one of the many students who are writing a law note or seminar paper this semester, you may feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment.  Several questions maybe running through your head such as:  how do I identify a “good” topic; where do I begin researching; when should I stop researching; how do I organize my paper. Well, there is no need to fear.  On September 13, 2012, Professor  Elizabeth Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil will host a workshop on researching and writing your seminar paper.  The workshop will be held from 4 pm-6 pm in Room  501.

Listed below are several resources available from the BLS library that can help you research and write your law note or seminar paper.
General Resources for Legal Research and Writing
•    ELIZABETH FAJANS & MARY FALK, SCHOLARLY WRITING FOR LAW STUDENTS: SEMINAR PAPERS, LAW REVIEW NOTES AND LAW REVIEW COMPETITION PAPERS (4th ed. 2011).
•    EUGENE VOLOKH, ACADEMIC LEGAL WRITING: LAW REVIEW ARTICLES, STUDENT NOTES, SEMINAR PAPERS, AND GETTING ON LAW REVIEW (4th ed. 2010).
•    JEAN DAVIS, PAPER TOPIC DEVELOPMENT: INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE: A RESEARCH GUIDE (2012), http://guides.brooklaw.edu/developing
•    JEAN DAVIS, PAPER TOPIC SELECTION: INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE: A RESEARCH GUIDE (2012), http://guides.brooklaw.edu/selecting
•    KATHLEEN DARVIL, SELECTING AND DEVELOPING YOUR SEMINAR PAPER TOPIC: A RESEARCH GUIDE (2012), http://guides.brooklaw.edu/seminarpaper
Legal Writing: Style & Grammer
•    BRYAN A. GARNER, LEGAL WRITING IN PLAIN ENGLISH: A TEXT WITH EXERCISES (2001).
•    BRYAN A. GARNER, THE ELEMENTS OF LEGAL STYLE (2nd ed. 2002).

Immigration Resources

The Supreme Court is winding down and this past week issued two eagerly awaited decisions, one of which dealt with immigration.

Arizona v. U.S. did not involve the issue of racial bias, though many civil rights groups have challenged it as such. Rather, the issue before the Supreme Court had to do with whether the Arizona law usurped the federal government’s authority to regulate immigration laws and enforcement.

If you are interested in finding out more information about immigration issues, our library has several books on this topic.   I have highlighted a few of the more recent ones below.

American Immigration: A Very Short Introduction – A fascinating and even-handed historical account, this book puts into perspective the longer history of calls for stronger immigration laws and the on-going debates over the place of immigrants in American society.  Oxford University Press

Immigration : A Documentary and Reference Guide  – Presents a history of US immigration, tracing the roots of the debate in the history of our profoundly divided and surprisingly cyclical response to foreign immigration.

 

 

In a New land : A Comparative View of Immigration – Drawing on the rich history of American immigrants and statistical and ethnographic data, In a New Land compares today’s new immigrants with the past influxes of Europeans to the United States and across cities and regions within the United States.



YouTubeTutorials for United Nations Sources

Students taking the International Information Sources course at Pratt Institute, School of Information and Library Science  created  the following three tutorials for learning how to use the these United Nations materials:

Researching a federal statute’s legislative history? CQ Almanac is a great new tool for you! (Posted by Kathy Darvil)

Recently, the Brooklyn Law School Library added CQ Almanac to its CQ Press Electronic Library subscription. For those of you who are unfamiliar with CQ Press, originally known as Congressional Quarterly Press, it is a highly regarded publisher of Capitol Hill news, congressional member profiles, legislative tracking services, specialty publications, congressional transcripts and much more. The CQ Almanac, originally published in 1946, publishes the legislative history of every major piece of legislation that Congress considers during a session. The histories are arranged thematically and are cross indexed for reference.

The electronic version combines sixty years of congressional reporting into one source making researching a piece of legislation or a policy matter much more efficient than before. You can research an issue by browsing by subject, by browsing by congressional session, or by performing a key word search. One of the great new features of CQ Almanac online edition is its Policy Tracker. The Policy Tracker allows you to explore a specific policy to see how it has evolved over the years. For example, if you are researching animal rights, you can click on the Policy Tracker link and then browse the topics alphabetically, eventually finding the topic “Animal Rights and Animal Research.” Under the selected topic, you will see a list of the all the major pieces of animal rights legislation passed, since the inception of the CQ Almanac, which is 1946. You can explore each piece of legislation individually and see how animal rights have evolved over the past sixty years.

To access the online version of the CQ Almanac, go to the Brooklyn Law School Library’s Electronic Resources page and click on the link for the CQ Press Electronic Library. When you arrive at the CQ Press Electronic Library page, click on the link to the CQ Almanac. If you are accessing this site from off campus, you will need to implement the proxy instructions on your home computer or lap top.