MPRE Jubilee: Library Resources to Help You Pass the MPRE

The MPRE, or Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, is a preview of the bar exam to come. And it’s your opportunity to get a preview of a bar prep course for free as you study the rules of professional conduct.

The Ross-Blakley Law Library highlights MPRE study resources and exam preparation courses, including free professional responsibility/MPRE courses from bar prep providers Barbri, Themis, and Kaplan, as well as resources from the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

The MPRE is administered only three times per year, in spring, summer, and fall, so students who miss the minimum 85 score required to pass in Arizona could face a long wait to retake it. To help you avoid this potential speedbump, In addition to valuable resources in the print Study Skills collection on the third floor in front of the circulation desk, the library subscribes to online study resources to help you master legal ethics. Wolters Kluwer offers Strategies and Tactics for the MPRE, which provides tips and dozens of practice questions to help you prepare for the two-hour MPRE, which includes sixty multiple choice questions. West Academic, for its part, offers an efficient resource for last minute MPRE preppers, The Weekend MPRE, which includes two full length practice exams.

For students seeking more depth in their knowledge pool of professional responsibility, CALI offers a series of lessons highlighting specific issues arising under the law governing lawyers. Wolters Kluwer, in addition, provides detailed guidance in solving legal ethical problems in Examples & Explanations: Professional Responsibility.

Finally, we have compiled Web resources including the full texts of the rules and commentary governing attorney and judicial conduct, as well as resources offering valuable advice on study and exam taking skills.

For additional help choosing materials to prepare for the MPRE, the bar exam, or law school exams or research projects in general, please Meet with a Librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Congratulations to the 3L Haiku Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered. The judging was difficult but we did manage to pick two winners. Drum roll…and the winners are:

When the mind is full
relax and let go, maybe
we don’t need civ pro?
– Caitlyn Haitaian

Sunlight kiss my eyes
Is this dawn or dusk I see?
One more practice test.
– Mike Uchrin

Here are two more favorite Haikus:

Stressful May and June
Brings an exam that leads to
Triumphant July
– Megan Manning

Idle waiting? No.
Unlike leaves falling from trees,
I pull the tide. Go.
– Aspen Miller

Thank you to Prof. Noreuil for his inspiring Haiku and for signing the prizes which are copies of his book The Zen of Passing the Bar Exam. Good luck to everyone taking the Bar Exam. We know you will do great!

Feeling the Rush? Meet with a Librarian to Save Time

Law school instills important time management skills for all who enter. Developing efficient study and research methods to maximize time for networking, extracurriculars, personal time, and a competitive job search prepare students for successful legal careers. 

When you’re fighting against the clock and calendar, the Ross-Blakley Law Library can back you up. The JD holding reference librarians have been through the whole law school experience and developed efficient research strategies that can help you find time to land a dream job, write a powerful paper, and just breatheMeet with a Librarian to get help with any of the following tasks:

  • Midterm prep. We can tailor advice on study aids for your particular classes, whether you are a 1L looking for help with Criminal Law and Property or a 3L trying to master the Federal Rules of Evidence. And we have a bevy of materials to cater to every learning style. The Exam Pro series on West Academic puts learners to the test with challenging multiple choice or essay  questions and explanations of right and wrong answers. The Crunchtime series on Wolters Kluwer provides practice questions as well as flowcharts to help you visualize, for example, the intricacies of whether statements fall in the scope of hearsay and whether exceptions will enable them to be admitted in court. We can provide flashcards or even help you make your own. And we can assist in finding audio or video resources to help train your particular brain.
  • Research projects. If you are a 1L, we can offer feedback on your research process if you’re feeling stuck. If you’re in a seminar or writing an independent study or journal note, we can help you narrow down a topic and navigate the rich array of ASU Library research resources.
  • Job search. We can help you use cutting edge analytics tools and other efficient research strategies to help you crush your interviews for an externship or law firm placement.
  • Citation mastery. We know the Bluebook inside and out and can help polish your footnotes to improve your grades or your publication chances.

Reference librarian meetings typically take about a half hour. But meeting with a librarian can save you hours of research time and help you approach your projects with more confidence and preparation.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Research and Reference Resources to Support Your Journal Ambitions

At the end of the semester, you will have the opportunity to take a marathon write-on exam to test your Bluebook and writing skills under challenging conditions. The reward could be a staff position on Law Journal for Social JusticeJurimetricsSports and Entertainment Law JournalCorporate and Business Law Journal, or the Arizona State Law Journal

Working on a journal is a great educational experience, giving you the opportunity to work with professional legal and policy arguments by law professors and legal practitioners while honing Bluebook skills. And it can help employers appreciate your resume.

So, how can you boost your chances of getting on Journal? The Law Library has resources to give you a leg up.

At the end of a marathon of oral arguments, final briefs, and four final exams, you may all be welcoming the opportunity to wave goodbye to 1L. But, our First Year Legal Writing Guide provides many great resources to help you prepare for the written portion of your exam. So, just think of the All-Journal Write-on exam as your last act as a 1L. Resources for brushing up on memo writing will be critical, because this time you have only hours, not weeks, to polish a solid piece of legal writing. 

We recommend Legal Method and Writing by Professors Charles Calleros and Kimberly Holst. This resource is particularly useful for refining your logical demonstrations of why the law applied to your facts would create a particular outcome. Examples & Explanations: Legal Writing, which Professor Judy Stinson co-authored, helps you demystify the process and write fast, clear, efficient CREACs (or IRACs or CRuPACs). One of the big challenges will be organization: this will help you craft a logical, coherent, modular argument that marshals unfamiliar resources quickly. You can find this E&E on the Wolters Kluwer study aids website. Professor Stinson’s own The Tao of Legal Writing provides a framework for achieving your full potential as a legal writer—and most importantly for write-on purposes, an efficient strategy for outlining and writing your response that will leave you plenty of time for revising and polishing to help you stand out to the journals.

You will also face a test of your citation acumen, and we have you covered there, too. Our Legal Writing library guide can help you navigate the Bluebook in the Legal Citation section, which features books and online resources that provide examples and explanations of the rules. Speaking of that, Examples & Explanations: Legal Research can help you brush up on the principles of citation in its appendices, so that you can better understand why we cite the way we do and begin to make complex citation decisions second nature. We recommend Understanding and Mastering the Bluebook to help you make sense of some complicated rules in the white pages of the Bluebook, which are the main focus of law journals but not first-year writing courses. 

The Interactive Citation Workstation on Lexis will put your skills to the test in advanceof the write-on. The Bluebook can be notoriously finicky, so the instant feedback and machine precision that the workstation provides can help you get accustomed to the cite checking life. By clicking on the different topics, you can practice forming citation sentences, and the program will check to ensure compliance with standards for italics, small capitals, spacing, and abbreviation, and it can help you practice citing to unfamiliar sources such as administrative regulations, legislative histories, and law journals.

Finally, our Journal Cite Checking Research Guide will help you with one of the tasks most dear to the hearts of librarians—finding older or obscure resources in print or online. We have resources in place to help you do your research for cite checking, from interlibrary loan, to digital book repositories, to research databases, to government archives. And when you get stumped, our reference librarians are here to help.

Feel free to Meet with a Librarian; we can help you walk through complicated citation problems and get you started on research for your note or comment. 

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Black History Month: Law Library Resources to the Past and Future

Black History Month, or African American History Monthcelebrates the accomplishments of Black Americans who have pressed for elusive equality and otherwise improved life in the United States. That ongoing struggle for civil rights and equal treatment is central to American legal history, with important advances, as well as significant setbacks, attributable to the legislative and executive branches, as well as the judiciary.

Arizona State’s Law Library gathers resources to guide students of the history of the civil rights movement, as well as the activists and allies protecting advancements of equality and pushing for needed change. Our Racial Justice Resources guide gathers a bevy of resources for researchers, organizers, and protesters. It stores the statements by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the law school’s dean, and the John P. Morris Black Law Students Association expressing commitment to racial justice.

The National Racial Justice Organizations page lists dozens of racial justice organizations and introduces their scope and mission. It also provides essential resources for news and information on legal developments regarding racial equality movements. The Local Racial Justice Organizations page introduces more than a dozen more government and private groups from Arizona.

For those taking to the streets to push for change, the Resources for Protesters page can help. It gathers information on the legal rights of protesters, tips on interacting safely with law enforcement officials, and bail funds.

For students and scholars examining equality as an academic pursuit, the Databases, Books, and Journals page combines essential treatises, dedicated journals, and research databases into a convenient hub for research. The ProQuest Black Freedom Struggle in the United States database examines the events through key people, data, and legal documents in six eras of the civil rights movement, beginning with the fight to end slavery in the United States’ early decades. The Law Library’s Racial Justice guide also includes a page of U.S. Federal Government Hearings on matters including the legal landscape of racial discrimination, law enforcement practices, and voting rights.

Furthermore, the library’s Seminar Topical Research Guides include focused guides dedicated to particular aspects of the struggle for equal treatment tailored for courses taught at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. The Race and the Law seminar guide includes books, journals, databases, and web resources regarding racial and ethnic equality. The Law and Social Change seminar takes a broad approach, including other branches of the movement for equality, including feminism and LGBTQ+ rights. A More Perfect Union: Membership and Belonging includes resources that discuss inclusion beyond an abstract legal concept and more as an ongoing real world project, examining the inequalities in social systems including education and the prison system.

Two more important resources are HeinOnline’s Civil Rights and Social Justice database and Proquest’s Black Freedom Struggle in the United States. HeinOnline’s Civil Rights and Social Justice database brings together a diverse offering of publications covering civil rights in the United States as their legal protections and definitions are expanded to cover more and more Americans. Containing hearings and committee prints, legislative histories on the landmark legislations, CRS and GAO reports, briefs from major Supreme Court cases, and publications from the Commission on Civil Rights, this database allows users to educate themselves on the ways our civil rights have been strengthened and expanded over time, as well as how these legal protections can go further still. A curated list of scholarly articles, a varied collection of books on many civil rights topics, and a list of prominent civil rights organizations help take the research beyond HeinOnline.

Proquest’s Black Freedom Struggle in the United States website features select primary source documents related to critical people and events in African American history. The website contains approximately 1,600 documents focused on six different phases of Black Freedom.

  1. Resistance to Slavery and the Abolitionist Movement (1790-1860)
  2. The Civil War and the Reconstruction Era (1861-1877)
  3. Jim Crow Era from 1878 to the Great Depression (1878-1932)
  4. The New Deal and World War II (1933-1945)
  5. The Civil Rights and Black Power Movements (1946-1975)
  6. The Contemporary Era (1976-2000)

The library’s JD holding reference librarians are happy to guide and support your research on racial justice, or any other topic. Use our Meet with a Librarian form to schedule an appointment.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Advanced Legal Writing Guide: Take Research to the Next Level

By the end of the 1L year of law school, students attain a level of mastery of research on the most popular online primary law platforms that will serve them and their clients well. But the rest of law school brings seminars, journal assignments, and graduate writing requirements that open students to a vast world of legal and interdisciplinary academic writing, as well as employment opportunities that reward effective written and oral communication.

Navigating the vast holdings of ASU Library takes strong, professional guidance. And the Law Library’s new Advanced Legal Writing Research Guide identifies many of the best resources to help students and scholars contribute to the academic conversation involving an important area of law, and to further enhance their written and oral communication mastery.

The guide’s home page leads writers to expert advice on how to choose a topic and ensure that the topic is providing new information to the field, as well as advice on style and formatting of articles.

The Advanced Legal Writing: Indian Law page identifies important law journals that researchers can use to strengthen their understanding of ongoing legal controversies and identify areas in which further scholarship is needed. It also introduces ASU’s Labriola National American Indian Data Center, which collects the works of indigenous scholars and explains legal regimes governing indigenous people. It further identifies essential treatises and reference works.

Furthermore, it selects the essential databases from ASU Library’s collection of hundreds of research databases to help explain the history, law, and culture of the people. Finally, for students seeking more recognition and exposure for their completed works, the guide links to American Indian legal writing competitions.

The guide’s other major component, Advanced Legal Writing: Persuasion, contains a trove of useful information for writers in any legal discipline. It identifies databases from ASU Library that can help writers hone their style to help advance an argument, to tailor their messages to connect with particular audiences, and to find essential academic and scientific knowledge to advance new scholarship. Books and articles help writers of scholarly arguments as well as court documents to win over their audiences.

And persuasion is not limited to paper and computer screens. Oral argument resources help legal communicators build their conversational skills to maximize their presentations’ impact to judges (as well as legal writing professors). We point to archived arguments to help students and professionals learn from real world court proceedings.

For further guidance on research strategies for an academic paper, an internship assignment, or a first year legal writing assignment, feel free to Meet with a Librarian. The JD holding reference librarians can help you navigate the library’s resources to research effectively and efficiently.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

May It Please Your Prof: The Law Library Can Help You Develop Your Persuasive Skills

Legal research is not a one size fits all process. Different tasks require different strategies, different databases, different secondary sources. Few assignments will be as jarringly different as the first semester objective memo and second semester persuasive brief in Legal Advocacy class.

The Law Library is here to help. Our JD holding reference librarians have all been through the transition from dispassionate legal analysis to loyal, tenacious persuasion. If you make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian, we can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that can befall all research and find all you need to state your best case in court.

We can critique your research trail. Looking over your research and refining your strategies and search terms can make sure you can find your opponent’s best case to defuse it before it’s thrown at you.

We can also point to secondary sources that will be helpful for your particular assignment. Objective treatises and encyclopedias can help you grasp the law in the beginning. Practice guides can help you make sure you’re fully representing your client’s interests. And persuasive law review articles that can inspire you to construct your own arguments for why the law should be interpreted in favor of your client.

The librarians can also suggest texts and treatises that can build the writing skills necessary to craft a compelling brief. See our First Year Legal Writing and Advanced Legal Writing: Persuasion research guides to get a jump start on honing your craft. The guides discuss everything from effective organization of your document, to choosing the best words to change a judge’s mind.

And our assistance doesn’t end with the four corners of your document, because we can help make sure your oral argument pleases your professor. We have a number of guides from the experts on how to craft compelling presentations for your judges, and how to field their questions to advance your client’s interests. We also have tips for calming and channeling the nervous energy that comes from facing a panel of decision makers in your best suit. To improve your skills, few things are more effective than watching the experts, so you should also check out our our compilation of links to oral argument recordings from the Ninth Circuit, Arizona Court of Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court.

Finally, even with the experience of Bluebooking your first objective memos behind you, citation can be tricky. We are more than happy to field questions about your citation sentences; just Ask a Law Librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Law Library Research Guides: Tools to Help You Succeed

The librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library have authored dozens of research guides to help you with the following:

  • Class Preparation 
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Exam and Bar Prep
  • Employment Resources
  • And Much More!

You can find a complete list of our research guides here: Research Guides

And remember, you can Meet with a Librarian for personalized assistance. 

3L Bar Exam Haiku Contest!

Are you a 3L getting ready for the bar exam?  If you are, breath, relax, and write a haiku about the bar exam. If you write the best bar exam haiku, you will receive a copy of Prof. Noreuil’s book The Zen of Passing the Bar Exam. We will be giving away two copies.

What is a Haiku?
A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression. We want you to focus on the bar exam. To get you started, here is an example from our very own Prof. Noreuil:

You will pass the bar.
Create your reality.
Breathe… Believe… Repeat.

We are going to share your entries on our social media outlets so get ready for fame and fortune.

Enter here: 3L Bar Exam Haiku Contest Entry Form

The deadline to enter is February 19th.

Good Luck!

Topical Swarm: Research Guides to Help You Dive Deep

Each new area of the law that you encounter during law school has its own jargon, quirks, and intricate research pathways.  The beginning of the semester can feel complicated and overwhelming.  But fear not!  The Ross-Blakley Law Librarians have developed research guides to help you during your journey. 

It might seem difficult to get a good start, particularly with casebooks to read. But our research guides can help you dive in to the hot-button legal issues ripe for new perspectives. In particular, we have recently added entries for the Spring 2021 semester to our Topical Seminar Research Guides to help students who will be writing about legal developments in a variety of areas of law. 

Our Artificial Intelligence guide, for example, includes publications dedicated to advancing knowledge of “thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines.” Education and the Law links students to several blogs and news services capturing the latest trends in school policy.  Medical Malpractice and Medical Error can help you find forensic studies to bolster your legal claims, and Law and Sexuality can guide you to interdisciplinary databases that you can access as an ASU student. 

The topical seminar research guides can be accessed at: https://libguides.law.asu.edu/seminarguides 

Sean Harrington, Electronic Resources Librarian