Claire Newfeld, 2L and Joanna Jandali, 2L Honored for Exemplary Student Research

First Place:  Claire Newfeld, Indian Boarding School Deaths and the Federal Tort Claims Act: A Route to a Remedy

Second Place:  Joanna Jandali, Jammed from Justice: How International Organization Immunity Enshrines Impunity

The Ross-Blakley Law Library at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law announces the 2022 recipients of the Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research.

Claire Newfeld is the first-place award recipient for her entry, Indian Boarding School Deaths and the Federal Tort Claims Act: A Route to a Remedy. Joanna Jandali is the second-place recipient for her entry, Jammed from Justice: How International Organization Immunity Enshrines Impunity. Both are second-year students.

Both papers demonstrate sophistication and originality in the use of research materials, exceptional innovation in research strategy, and skillful synthesis of research results into a comprehensive scholarly analysis.  A review panel comprised of librarians Beth DiFelice and Tara Mospan and Clinical Professor Kimberly Holst selected the winners from a number of highly competitive entries.

Claire Newfeld’s winning paper argues that Indigenous communities and families would have a valid wrongful death or negligence cause of action in the wake of discoveries of Indigenous children’s bodies at boarding school campuses in the U.S. and Canada.

Joanna Jandali’s paper argues that international organizations’ immunity from lawsuits interferes with victims’ ability to seek redress for environmental harms and that international organizations should lose their protection if they fail to provide non-judicial means to seek remedies.

Congratulations to the 2022 winners!

Summer at the Law Library: Research Heats Up

Summer is not a vacation for the librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library. The end of spring semester only renews our focus on research and study services. Meet with a Librarian to get professional, expert advice from JD holding research experts on the following:

Summer classes and bar exam prep

Summer employment and externships

  • Summer job/externship research project assistance. Our work is not done when classes are dismissed. We can meet with you to discuss non-confidential questions related to your internship, externship, or clerkship
  • Evaluate and strengthen your sources. We can critique your research and suggest stronger academic sources if you fear your paper may be too dependent on less than reliable materials. 

Academic and professional development

  • Prepare for journal work. We can show you some tricks of the trade for finding resources you’ll need for cite checking. When all else fails, give interlibrary loan a try! We can provide lessons to ease the citation transition from the Bluebook’s practice oriented blue pages to the academic white pages. 
  • Be a star research assistant. If you’re working for a new professor for the first time, the librarians can get you up to speed. We work closely with most law school faculty members and can help you become a shining academic aide.
  • Land your next job. We know the ins and outs of evaluating employers and gathering intel on what they value in job candidates. We can show you the latest tools to get a sense of an employer’s operations and needs.

For your reference

  • Clarify Bluebook citation. Sometimes, the Bluebook gives clear, unambiguous guidance on citation questions. We are here to help for the many times it does not.
  • Get answers. We will continue to provide reference services through Ask a Librarian, and our circulation staff will be on hand to help you track down and manage library resources.

Law Library Helps You Get in Shape for Finals

The Law Library has an abundance of resources to help you prepare for your exams. Our online study aids subscriptions will help build your confidence.

West Academic Study Aids

This resource includes a variety of study aids to help students quickly grasp concepts that may have been elusive in class, such as the Acing series. It also features exam prep resources to help you master multiple choice or ease through issue spotters, such as the ExamPro series.

Aspen Learning Library

This resources includes the invaluable Crunchtime series, which tests your mettle in multiple choice and essays while providing flowcharts to guide you along the path to success. Aspen also provides the renowned Examples and Explanations series to help you master lessons that may have been opaque in the classroom.

  • CALI tutorials are written by law faculty and librarians from American law schools. They are reviewed and revised on a regular basis. The lessons are designed to help you become accustomed to taking multiple-choice examinations and provide feedback to your answers.
  • Our print Study Skills Collection is located on the third floor of the Law Library across from the Circulation Desk. The collection brings together an array of study aids to help you prepare for your exams. All the materials in the Study Skills Collection may be checked out for two weeks and are renewable twice. We also have a print collection of Exam Preparation Guides you may find useful.
  • You may access Law School Past Exams from the Law Library’s web site. Many faculty members make their past exams available to students as a teaching aid.

If there is anything specific you might need help with as you prepare to study for your exams, please don’t’ hesitate to schedule an appointment to Meet with a Librarian.

We wish you the best of luck!

New Library Titles Debate Law’s Role in Healing Our Planet

Earth Day is coming up later this month, and to mark the occasion, the law library is highlighting new additions to its collection that point to ways to protect the imperiled planet for future generations.

Rethinking Environmental Law, Jan G. Laitos

Historically, environmental laws have presumed an unrealistic separation of humans and nature. This has led to grave problems, such as climate change and mass extinction, that could lead to the Earth becoming less hospitable to life. Humanity has modified the Earth itself with overpopulation, fossil fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions despite a complicated tangle of multitudinous statutes, regulations, and case law aimed at protecting healthy air, water, and land in nearly every Western nation. In fact, new laws have arisen to address the alarming problems caused by human actions. Nonetheless, this updated body of law has proven insufficient to stop the problems. Environmental law should be reconfigured to recognize that humankind is a part of nature, and that the universal laws govern Earth’s ecosystems must be respected. Science should not restrict itself to mere objective analysis but should promote positive policy agendas designed for a healthier planet. Law should be simple and help encourage people to make better choices for the environment. Moreover, the laws of nature, the fundamental principles by which the universe works, must be respected, including environmental entanglement, environmental economy, and symmetry.

Green Crimes and International Criminal Law, Regina M. Paulose, editor

This collection explores green crimes, violations of law that harm wildlife, ecosystems, and humans directly, in the international context. Effective government that protects human rights and remain faithful to international commitments to protect the environment remain elusive. Although the International Criminal Court has helped define green crimes, concrete action is needed to help promote environmental justice, or the lack of disparity in environmental conditions experienced by disparately situated people. One chapter helps define green crimes, which are an important part of the fight against climate change. Green crimes are not only a present but future human rights concern, with generations to be awaiting the conditions that the present population leaves behind. The next chapter explores the concept of personhood, or granting human rights to the environment and its elements, such as rivers, to prevent harm. Another new legal concept to protect the environment, a crime of ecocide, or severe environmental damage, is being challenged in the international community, and Chapter 4 explores its feasibility as an international legal regime. The work incorporates the concerns of Indigenous people, discussing whether green crimes linked to development projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline in the U.S. amount to genocide, and through destruction of culture and ways of life. Indigenous people must have a voice in development projects to protect self-determination and to thwart threats to Indigenous people’s existence. Other chapters include analyses of the destructive potential of hydropower and potential legal regimes to prevent environmental harm in outer space.


For more, see our Research Guide on Environmental Law and Sustainability. If you are undertaking a research project in environmental law, or any other legal topic, Meet with a Librarian. Our JD holding reference librarians have the research expertise to give your paper an edge.

Your Mindful Reminder: New Book on Harnessing the Inner Voice and Upgraded Mindfulness Guide Can Help You Succeed

The Law Library’s Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School guide has been newly updated and upgraded to help you succeed even in the most stressful circumstances your studies have to offer.

One new library title featured in the guide is Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It (Ethan Kross, 2021).

This book illustrates how Introspection is not always a good thing. Author Ethan Kross discusses how reflection can help us learn valuable lessons, but can also poison our thinking when our inner critic takes up too much of our mental bandwidth.

Negative self-chatter can rob us of our comfort—the mental anguish can often manifest as physical pain—and the confidence that we need to succeed. It can lead us to overthink situations and provoke us into ineffective or even ridiculous responses when we are stressed or scared.

Of course, talking to ourselves and listening to what our inner voice has to say is not always a bad thing. And the author, an experimental psychologist and neuroscientist at the University of Michigan, has suggestions to help you tap into the good that your inner voice has to offer without indulging its tendency to rip you down over and over.

Taking certain actions, even looking at particular photos or using particular placebos, can give your inner voice a more helpful outlook. These actions include:

  • Mentally distancing ourselves from our problems so they appear external and manageable rather than overwhelming.
  • Using second person pronouns or our proper names to refer to ourselves to cultivate this benefit.
  • Talking in a healthy way to others, being aware of the traps of negative thinking that might also develop if we’re not careful.
  • Detaching from the notions that we are the center of the world, and look toward bigger things to remind us to stay humble and healthy.

Read this slim, sub-200 page book for additional insights into cultivating a healthier inner voice. In addition, check out this new content on the Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School guide:

  • Video guided meditations
    New videos help students release tension from their bodies and otherwise wind down from the stress of law school. Features tips on setting up a regular meditation practice, including how to avoid falling asleep while relaxing with your eyes closed. Guided meditations, many more of which can be found (for free) on the Mindfulness guide, are the best way to start.
  • Updated text resources
    New articles on mindfulness and meditation include instructions on meditation while walking. Mindfulness can also build useful skills for law practice in addition to stress relief and self-compassion. And, with some lawyers and law students being averse to mindfulness techniques, a new article discusses other ways to relieve stress, such as managing to-do lists and analyzing the sources of stress to disarm them.

For additional resources on mindfulness or any legal research topic, make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian!

Summer 2022 and Post-Graduation Use of LexisNexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law

The Law Library provides you with unlimited access to a number of premium resources while you are in school and even after you graduate. But it’s important for you to know that your access may change during the summer or if you graduate. You may face limitations while using these platforms for non-academic work, such as representing clients in a commercial law firm.

Summary of Legal Research Platform Access

ServiceSummer AccessPost-Graduation AccessImportant Notes
Bloomberg LawUnrestricted access (academic or commercial use).6 months after graduation.
Lexis Unrestricted access (academic or commercial use).6 months after graduation. Can apply for 12 months of access if working at a non-profit 503(c)(3).
Westlaw Access for select academic use (see full info below).6 months after graduation (60 hours per month).Job searching tools on Westlaw and TWEN will remain open for 18 months.

More Detail on Legal Research Platforms

Lexis

Summer
Lexis’ Terms & Conditions automatically allow you to use the platform during the summer months and after graduation:

Students should check with their employers. Some employers would rather students use their internal IDs rather than their law school IDs for billing purposes.

After Graduation
Once you graduate, you’ll automatically receive access for 6 months through the graduate access program.  If you’re working in the non-profit sector (at a 501(c)(3) corporation), you can apply for 12 months of access through their ASPIRE Program.  More information is available here: https://www.lexisnexis.com/grad-access/. Graduates may use their Lexis IDs for commercial purposes.

Please contact our LexisNexis account executive, Oscar Cobos, with questions.

Summer
Westlaw automatically allows students to use the platform during the summer and after graduation, but they contain a specific limitation on usage:

Westlaw

Private internships, unconnected from school credit, are ineligible and you may not bill private clients for this access or research. However, you are encouraged to use Thomson Reuters tools to prepare for the bar exam or otherwise learn the law. Students may use their accounts for academic work, research assistant assignments, job searching, and other non-commercial uses.

After Graduation
Westlaw’s Grad Elite Program provides up to sixty hours of unpaid, non-commercial usage of Westlaw per month for an additional six months from the date of graduation. Please note that you may not use Westlaw for private internships, work unconnected from school credit as well as billing private clients. Additionally, you will maintain access to job searching tools on Westlaw and TWEN for 18 months. Graduating students can register for Westlaw’s Graduate Elite Program here.

Here are the steps to enroll in the Westlaw Graduate Elite Program if the link above does not work:

  1. Sign on at www.lawschool.tr.com
  2. Click on your name (top right corner)
  3. Click “Grad Elite Status”
  4. Click “Extend My Access After Graduation”

Please contact our LexisNexis account executive, Francesca Phan, with questions.

Bloomberg Law

Summer
Bloomberg Law provides unrestricted summer access to all law students for any research purpose, whether academic or commercial.  You do not need to take any additional steps to secure summer access to your registered Bloomberg Law account.

After Graduation
Bloomberg Law automatically extends your account for six months after you graduate and you still have access to their online training materials and practice resources. Graduates may be limited in docket retrieval for items not yet uploaded into the Bloomberg system, although they may download items already present in the system. More information can be found here:
https://help.bloomberglaw.com/docs/blh-110-law-school.html.

Please contact our Bloomberg Law Client Service Partner, Julianne Bisceglia, with questions.

Practically Attorneys: Tools for Efficient Legal Work

By now, all of us in law school are familiar with using WestlawLexis, and Bloomberg to find case law, statutes, and secondary sources. But all of the Big Three can do so much more to help you at your internships, externships, and clerkships.

The databases have compiled practical information on the substance and procedures of practices in various specific areas of law, from civil litigation to commercial transactions. They each feature practice guides to help familiarize legal professionals with the substance and procedure of legal tasks. Standard documents consist of form agreements into which a client’s data may be entered to craft legal documents. Similarly, standard clauses provide customizable provisions to insert into other agreements. Checklists in all three databases compile the specific tasks necessary to complete transactions.

In Westlaw, click on “Practical Law” under “Content Types” on the homepage, or click on the black circle with the white arrow nest to the name “Westlaw Edge” to navigate to Practical Law. Here, you will find three main tabs:

  1. Practice Areas: Gathers resources for various legal practice areas, such as antitrust or international arbitration. Each link leads to key information specific to each area, such as market data, news, and common topics.
  2. Resource types: Enables users to browse compilations of resources, including customizable Standard Documents, resource compilations known as Toolkits, and State Q&As that enable users to compare and contrast the laws of different jurisdictions.
  3. Jurisdictions: Includes all states, the District of Columbia, and national/federal entries.

In Lexis, click on “Practical Guidance.” Here you will find guidance organized by practice area:

  1. Topics & Tasks: Provides concise guidance on issues arising in your practice area.
  2. Tools & Resources: Offers ways for researchers to stay up to date on legal developments in the practice areas.
  3. Resource Kits: Contains collections of practice notes, checklists, and templates to help researchers complete tasks related to particular issues within the practice area.

In Bloomberg Law, click on the Browse icon at the top left and open the “Practitioner Tools” link. There, you will find “Practical Guidance Home.” Here, you will find resources arranged in a variety of practice areas, along with a search bar to find specific documents. Each practice area includes links to specific, commonly performed tasks and legal issues.

Bloomberg Law also offers:

  1. Chart builders: Enable users to compare and contrast the laws of different jurisdictions.
  2. Transactional precedents: Enable users to browse or search resources such as bylaws and real property mortgages.
  3. EDGAR: Provides a searchable compilation of business performance and financial information.

If you’re a 1L looking for your first job, schedule a time to Meet with a Librarian to get a leg up on researching your employer and finding the information that you need to prepare for interviews, especially that most dreaded query: “Do you have any questions for us?”

Speaking of that: Do you have any questions for us? Let the law librarians know if you need access to any of the databases or if you have any questions about how practical legal tools can help in your next placement.

Innocence Found: Former Prosecutor Turned Innocence Advocate’s New Book Takes Intersectional Approach

The Law Library is excited to launch an ongoing series in which we will be reviewing newly published books authored by faculty of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. This is the first review in the series.

As a prosecutor, Valena Beety, author and law professor, had been a carceral feminist, seeking to promote justice for women by incarcerating those who harmed them. But she realized that her passion for promoting justice needed to involve confronting criminal injustices, and freeing the falsely convicted.

Her new book, Manifesting Justice, illustrates the dangers the legal system presents to innocent people, particularly women and members of minority groups who face intersectional disadvantages. The book also presents flaws in safeguard legal doctrines such as habeas corpus and postconviction procedure that can keep the innocent behind bars. Beety writes about the problems faced by women, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people, such as the two defendants in her central story.

The tale of the alleged sexual assault injury of Kimberly Williams that forms the heart of this book is gruesome. Lesbian woman Leigh Stubbs and Tami Vance stood trial in rural Mississippi for a sexually charged and heinous assault during a road trip.

After a night at a motel, Kim exhibited signs of an overdose, prompting her friends to call 911. At the hospital, nurses and doctors noted signs of rough sex. Authorities developed a theory that Leigh and Tami had jammed Kim into a toolbox, assaulted her, and bitten her. It all went downhill from there for Leigh and Tami, with a zealous dentist eagerly providing faulty bitemark evidence against the two women.

This injustice is only one of many that author and former prosecutor Beety cites in her book, as many innocent people across the country suffer through incarceration and the lingering hardships of a criminal record despite being innocent. Beety identifies the following sources of injustice and proposes solutions to create a system less concerned with finality and punishment and one more concerned with equity:

Manifest Injustice/Finality: Manifest injustice, a doctrine enabling judges to overturn decisions if verdicts or sentences are flawed, recognizes that convictions tied to racism, police and prosecutor misconduct, oversentencing, and false evidence are wrongful. This doctrine enables holistic review of all circumstances leading to a conviction to determine whether it unjust. It is rarely used because courts often prize finality, or a sense that concluded cases should remain undisturbed. Beety advocates that courts should use a manifest injustice “confluence of errors” standard, and examine not just evidence used at trial. Furthermore, federal courts should be empowered to review state court decisions de novo. Reviews should expand what evidence is examined to reduce the threat of exculpatory evidence being suppressed by prosecutors, as well as the threat of defense counsel failing to protect clients’ interests. Errors should be examined holistically rather than individually because fairness and justice are more important than speed and finality, and individual review frequently leads to unjust findings of “harmless error.” The high standard of “actual innocence” on review for wrongful convictions should be reduced to the more manageable standard of manifest injustice.

Gender: Women deserve equal dignity and protection from sexual assaults, including strip searches in prisons. The law should provide sex workers and people forced into sex work with safe pathways out of that lifestyle free of the fear of prosecution. The law should recognize that innocent women may not be involved in the wrongdoing of another, such as a boyfriend or a husband, although presently many innocent women suffer because of mere association.

LGBTQ+: The law must provide more evenhanded treatment of defendants that does not rely on stereotypes or myths about homosexual behavior. Although most LGBTQ+ people have seen an end to their “criminalization,” or treatment as inherently deviant or potentially arrest-worthy, the criminalization of transgender people remains and must stop.

Race: Racism should be reviewed for in a confluence of factors review, a holistic look at the trial and factors that could potentially disrupt justice and lead to wrong results. Defendants should be empowered to challenge legal actions based on racially disparate impact, or actions that disproportionately affect people of color.

Ableism: Defendants of color with disabilities face particular burdens. When a suspect cannot raise his hands or hear commands, they may face dire consequences. Police should be trained to better prepare them for interactions with differently abled people.

Forensic Evidence: Defendants do not have access to forensic science lab results and often lack adequate means to challenge findings, so they should be given equal access to scientific findings. Scientific evidence now widely acknowledged to be faulty, such as bite marks or burn patterns, should be subject to intense review in current and past cases.

War on Drugs: The law should treat drug use as a medical issue rather than the kind of criminal issue that levies harsh sentences for first time offenders, or even the wrongly accused. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to harsh treatment, facing charges beyond mere possession such as child endangerment or even furnishing drugs to minors. Sentences should be reconsidered, and alternatives such as drug treatment plans may be appropriate substitutes. Prosecutors should support rehabilitation and community based solutions rather than prison time. Laws that expose people to criminal charges discourage bystanders from helping those in danger from an overdose and actually lead to more deaths.

Corrective Justice: People accused of harming the victim would make up for their actions instead of, or as well as, spending time in prison. This alternative would restore fairness to the victim and the community.

Expungement: Expungement, or the clearing of convictions from a person’s criminal record, should be increased to stop tying people to old convictions, which can lead to problems securing essentials such as housing and employment. People should not be subject to pleas that permanently imprint their criminal records in order to secure their freedom.

Prosecution Reform: Prosecutors, including the author when she was in a previous role, often become enamored of their own roles as crusaders for good. The criminal legal system should recognize these potential biases of prosecutors, and encourage them to truly pursue justice rather than pursuing and defending convictions that may be injustices.

After its release in May, Manifesting Justice will be on the shelves at the Ross Blakely Law Library along with author Valena Beety’s previous book, The Wrongful Convictions Reader

Warrior of Freedom: Author Pivoted from Prosecutor to Passionate Advocate for Innocent Inmates

“Carceral feminist” is the phrase Valena Beety used to describe her old self, when she was a law student and prosecutor. The author of the forthcoming criminal justice book Manifesting Justice believed in the power of locking people up to “stop cycles of violence,” as many perpetrators of violent offenses are repeat offenders. “There’s a place for incarceration for people who have been dramatically violent.” She believed in her victim advocate work.

As a trial prosecutor, she grew weary of prosecuting defendants who tended to be poor Black and Brown men. And she came to realize that prosecution didn’t necessarily keep violent offenders away from people who they could hurt. “They’re usually back out quickly, and there’s nothing to help them resolve their violent behavior in prison.”

And she learned lessons that charted a new career path for her: Police aren’t always honest. The system isn’t always fair. Innocent people can wrongly confess.

Innocent people can be wrongly convicted.

“I didn’t think of that possibility before,” she said, pointing to the discretion prosecutors are supposed to exercise to avoid convicting the innocent, and their mission of pursuing justice rather than tallying convictions. “But once that window opened, I couldn’t look away.”

A book on disproving guilt

Her book, Manifesting Justicetakes an unflinching look at the lessons she learned on her journey from prosecutor to innocence attorney to criminal justice policy advocate.

The central story, the wrongful prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment of two lesbian women, Leigh Stubbs and Tami Vance, led to Beety’s first exonerations. They had served more than a decade in prison for a crime they did not commit when they were released.

Some cases for which she advocated freedom for incarcerated people are still being litigated, and many could have served as the central story of her book. One involves the four foot, nine inch Tasha Shelby who Beety says was wrongfully convicted because, as Beety puts it, “prosecutors’ believe in the rightness of what they’re doing and put on blinders.”

Tasha Shelby, pictured above with author Beety, was convicted on a scientifically problematic theory of shaken baby syndrome when the child was two and a half years old, thirty pounds, and three feet tall. Two weeks before the death of the child more than half Shelby’s height, Shelby had surgery and stitches in her body that would have precluded her from lifting anything heavy, let alone killing the child.

The case, which is addressed in Manifesting Justice, is currently back in court and has been ongoing since 2011.

How to prove innocence

Beety says that the process of proving innocence can be difficult, but is rewarding. She points to her previous work, The Wrongful Convictions Reader, as a guidepost for learning the process of innocence work, which involves looking beyond the trial record, finding evidence to be tested, analyzing how the case went wrong, and writing long, persuasive pleadings.

But there are hurdles. Prosecutors oppose postconviction DNA testing. Courts are reluctant to reopen cases that have been finalized. Usually, it requires newly discovered evidence, as in the case of Leigh and Tami, an FBI report casting doubt on key video evidence used to convict.

And courts are very reluctant to dislodge evidence. Eddie Lee Howard was wrongfully convicted in 2004 based on the testimony of scientific expert Dr. Michael West, who had been proven to have testified incorrectly in other cases. The Mississippi Supreme Court, however, found that just because West had been wrong in other cases didn’t mean he was wrong in the case being considered. The innocent convict had to wait years longer, until 2021, to be freed.

As for Leigh and Tami’s case, “We had to have a lot of evidence”: an FBI report, bite mark experts to counter Dr. West, and an affidavit on LGBTQ bias. Bite marks in particular have been widely discredited in scientific literature, but Beety notes that courts are still happy to admit them as evidence.

The FBI report led Beety to take on Leigh and Tami’s case. In 2009 she was the attorney who took the lead investigating and litigating it.  Beety chose this case as the focal point of her book to highlight a gap in the literature of wrongful convictions, which rarely features women, let alone women in the LGBTQ+ community.

The author’s life today

Prior to writing Manifesting Justice, Beety produced scholarship and popular works on topics including victim compensation, forensic science, eyewitness testimony, drug enforcement and the overdose epidemic, and LGBTQ+ studies. She has no plans to slow down, planning to produce a book from a research project involving interviews with dozens of women in all aspects of innocence work, including wrongfully convicted women.

Now a professor of criminal law at Arizona State University, she has worked with students and graduates to produce a manual on wrongful convictions and manifest injustice claims. A big point of the book is that the factual innocence standard must change to manifest injustice or miscarriage of justice—potential biases should be examined in conjunction with a confluence of errors such as discredited evidence or faulty confessions.

She also keeps in touch with clients. “When they walk free, the bond doesn’t end.” She notes that innocence attorneys often stand in as social workers for innocence clients. She notes that the wrongfully convicted are imprisoned for an average of ten years before being freed, and many have ongoing convictions that remain on their records until finally expunged.

Beety has always relocated for her work, having migrated to Mississippi to litigate death penalty cases and moved to West Virginia to found an organization on proving innocence claims. Now, she lives in the Phoenix area while working at ASU with her wife, her Boston Terrier, Eva, and her cat, Moonshine. She loves the urban and rural mix of Arizona and its great hiking, and hopes it be home for a long time to come.

It’s Never Too Late to Research Efficiently: Meet with a Librarian

Legal researchers should never let a late semester time crunch let them get sloppy. Taking shortcuts in legal research can slow you down and add confusion, pressure, and tedium.

The law is a vast web riddled with complexities and exceptions. Going without a plan can lead a researcher to struggle through an enormous list of largely irrelevant results, misunderstand the law, or even select the wrong database altogether, missing important resources.

Meetings with reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library are short, sweet, and efficient. We have the expertise to quickly identify appropriate legal research databases and suggest efficient research strategies that can help researchers craft quality writing projects, even in a time crunch at the end of the semester.

We can help you appreciate the time savings and increased certainty that comes with consulting quality secondary sources. And we can help you improve your search strategies. For example, HeinOnline is a vast database of databases in which search results commonly number in the thousands due to its vase holdings of current and historical legal materials. We can help you focus your searches: Instead of skimming a vast sea of irrelevant results for the valuable nuggets interspersed within, we can reduce the volume of noise and concentrate the legal wisdom.

We can also help you find appropriate interdisciplinary research databases to help you supplement your legal research with materials in related academic fields. We can critique your research strategies so far, and help you ensure that you are using reliable sources for your final submission. We can even demystify the Bluebook and help you find solid answers to time consuming footnoting conundrums.

In fact, we have already done a lot of the legwork ahead of time, and turning to our collection of research guides can help you identify helpful resources for your particular topic.

Meet with a Librarian to get expert advice on all of your research projects, from office memoranda to seminar papers to graduate writing requirements and Journal notes.