Author Archives: Tara

Making the Most of Midterms

Midterm season is just around the corner. Midterms are your crystal ball showing your future exam-taking self and a window to the essence of your learning style. They can be incredibly helpful to inform and adjust your study habits to achieve your academic apotheosis in December. Some students take them without much extra study just to see how well they can do on regular, daily reading. But if you want to do some additional preparation for midterms, we have some tips to help you excel.

  1. Study aids for exam practice. The book Getting to Maybe has helped many budding lawyers learn to thrive in a field laden with slippery “it depends” answers instead of familiar, concrete facts. Crunch Time on Wolters Kluwer provides flow charts, multiple choice, short answer, and essay exam questions. West Academic provides Exam Pro practice questions for multiple-choice and essay exam practice, and Mastering the Exam for tips that will help you throughout law school. CALI offers podcasts featuring panels of experts on outlining, time management, exam prep, and the grading process.

  2. Take past exams to prepare. Thinking like a lawyer involves more than just repeating memorized knowledge. Unexpected scenarios will test your ability to apply and analyze the law. The Law Library’s Past Exams collection can help; even if it’s not from your professor, authentic issue-spotting exams from Sandra day O’Connor College of Law faculty offer invaluable practice in 1L and upper-level classes. 

  3. Refine your outline. Making an outline is probably the best way to study legal doctrine and make the connections between the rule of law and the court’s reasoning. ASU’s past outlines are most useful to check your own work as you process your notes and readings. Your class teaching assistant is a great resource for resolving discrepancies.

  4. Meet with a Law Librarian. Meeting with a librarian about your open memo can buy yourself valuable study time for other classes. We can help you navigate Westlaw and Lexis to find all relevant law efficiently and thoroughly.

  5. Breathe. Remember that no one exam will make or break your professional dreams, not even the ones you’ll take in December. Good luck!

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Feeling the Rush? How the Law Library Can Help Save You Time

When you’re fighting against the clock and calendar, the Ross-Blakley Law Library can back you up. The JD reference librarians have been through the whole law school experience and know the best methods for conducting research efficiently and effectively, and they want to share those skills with you! Make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian and 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. Our study aids subscriptions also include both audio and video resources for auditory and visual learners.

  • 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 paper 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 and can help you polish your citations to improve your grades or your publication chances.

Reference librarian meetings typically last about 30 minutes and can save you hours of research time, as well as help you approach your projects with more confidence and preparation.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School

In the midst of a busy semester it may seem like you have no time for anything other than schoolwork, but it can be good for both body and soul to take a moment to clear your mind. The Ross-Blakley Law Library’s guide on Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School is focused on resources that can help Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law students find mindfulness resources to relieve stress, focus their attention, and stay in control in difficult situations. It offers information about fully secular meditation practices, with resources to explain how and why it works, and how to incorporate mindfulness practices into your routine.

Regular meditation practice can reshape your mind in many ways, improving concentration, awareness, and compassion while reducing stress and anxiety. Even if you’re not regularly practicing, taking a break to breathe can help you manage in times of increased pressure. Here are instructions to get you started, adapted from The Anxious Lawyer co-author Jeena Cho on Above the Law:

  1. Sit on the floor or a cushion with your legs crossed in front of you, upright with your spine straight. Your arms should be relaxed with your hands resting on your knees. (Palms may face downward or upward depending on your preference.) Alternatively, you may sit in a chair with your legs uncrossed and your feet firmly on the floor. You can also meditate lying down if that is most comfortable.

  2. Close your eyes or allow their focus to soften, and take a deep breath or two. Feel your body make contact with your surroundings, and feel the tension in your shoulders relax as you exhale deeply.

  3. Pay attention to your breath. Notice the sensation of the air.

  4. Your mind will likely wander. Don’t fret or mentally reprimand yourself; visualize the thought dissipating and return your focus to your breath. Our brains are made to produce thoughts, and law students will have a lot on their minds, particularly around finals.

  5. Alternative methods of focusing the brain include mentally expressing gratitude, repeating a word or phrase, or focusing attention on sensations throughout the body.

  6. You can set a goal to meditation for 5 to 10 minutes or more, but even short, calming breaks can provide rest and peace.

For stress-relieving help with research related to your studies, memos, papers, or employment, make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Library Student Reference Assistant Position for Spring 2020

The ASU Ross-Blakley Law Library is seeking a 2L or 3L student to help provide reference and research assistance in the Spring 2020 semester.

Rate of pay: $15/hour

Work hours: Flexible; 5-15 hours per week (scheduled 9am-4pm, Monday-Thursday)

Please apply online by 3pm on 12/27/19 using the instructions below:

  • You can apply online by clicking on the following link: https://students.asu.edu/employment/search
  • Next, click on the “Search On-Campus Jobs” box
  • In the search bar, type 57599BR and then click “Search”
  • Click on the job title link to open job posting
  • Click on the “Apply to job” button at the lower part of the screen
  • Fill out the appropriate fields and attach your resume, etc.

Contact Tara Mospan at tara.mospan@asu.edu with any questions.

Summer 2019 and Post-Graduation Use of Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, and Westlaw

Wondering which research tools you can use this summer?  We have outlined summer 2019 access and post-graduation use policies for Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, and Westlaw below.

Remember that you also have unlimited access to many other legal databases in addition to hundreds of interdisciplinary databases through the ASU Library this summer! The library staff is also here all summer long to help you with research. Call, e-mail, or stop by for assistance during reference hours.

Bloomberg Law
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.

Graduating students: Graduating students will automatically have full access to Bloomberg Law for six months after graduation. You do not need to take any additional steps to secure this post-graduation access.

Please contact our Bloomberg Law representative, Heidi Stryker, with questions.

LexisNexis
LexisNexis provides unrestricted summer 2019 (May-August) 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 Lexis Advance account.

Graduating students: Graduating students will automatically have full access to Lexis through December 31, 2019.  You do not need to take any additional steps to secure this post-graduation access – the transition from a regular law school ID to a graduate ID will occur on July 5, 2019. Students engaged in verifiable 501(c)(3) public interest work after graduation are also eligible for a 12-month password extension through the Lexis ASPIRE program.

Please contact our LexisNexis account executive, Alan J. Mamood, with questions.

Westlaw
Westlaw offers full access to Westlaw, Practical Law, Drafting Assistant, and Doc & Form Builder to current ASU law students who are participating in select academic pursuits over the summer. Permissible uses include the following:

  • Summer classes and study abroad programs
  • Law review or journal research
  • Research assistant assignments
  • Moot court research
  • Externship sponsored by the school

You do not need to do anything to gain summer access to these tools. Students with any other type of summer employment must use their employer-provided password for Westlaw access.

Graduating students:  Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law graduates now have 60 hours a month of Westlaw access for 18 months after graduation; this access can be used for either commercial (paid) or educational purposes. Graduating students will need to activate their 18 month password extension within their Westlaw account for this extended access.

Please contact our Thomson Reuters Academic Account Manager, Jeff Brandimarte, with questions.

Book Review – “First: Sandra Day O’Connor” by Evan Thomas

In First: Sandra Day O’Connor, hifirstoconnorstorian Evan Thomas describes how Ronald Reagan, who nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court as the first female justice, characterized her as “a person for all seasons.” Thomas’ biography of O’Connor fleshes this description out, chronicling O’Connor’s childhood on an Arizona ranch, her time as a student at Stanford University and Stanford Law School (which included a marriage proposal from fellow student and future Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist), the years she worked as a legislator then as a judge in Arizona, and her groundbreaking role on the Supreme Court. First also provides intimate glimpses in to O’Connor’s private life, including her marriage with John O’Connor and her relationships with her fellow Justices (the civil but cold relationship with Justice Antonin Scalia is amusingly illustrated via the description of a tense doubles tennis match). The book also delves in to O’Connor’s anguish over her cancer diagnosis in the late 80’s and sorrow over the dementia diagnosis in 2018.

First is full of insightful entries from O’Connor’s journals, her late husband’s private memoirs, and excerpts from letters to family, friends, and colleagues. It also contains engaging interviews with O’Connor herself, as well as former classmates, romantic interests, colleagues, and law clerks. Through these unique and private materials we are shown a three-dimensional portrait of O’Connor.

Thomas has written a biography of O’Connor that is distinctive in material and scope. It is an engaging history of a singular woman. We highly recommend it.

 

New Content in the Law Library’s West Academic Study Aids Subscription

There are two new pieces of content in the Law Library’s West Academic Study Aids Subscription:

1) Newly added audio books – High Court Case Summaries® on evidence, criminal law, torts and property are now available for listening.
– Access the new audio content here.

High COurt case summaries

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) The West Academic Library App is now available for phone, iPad, or computer so you can study anywhere and on any device.
– Learn more about the App here.

West Academic app

 

Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports now freely available online

CRS

The Library of Congress announced today that it is providing Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports to the public. CRS reports are analytical, non-partisan reports produced by the Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, for members of Congress.  They are excellent tools for legal researchers as they provide authoritative and objective information on topics of legislative interest. Providing public access to the CRS reports is a big policy shift, as in the past reports were only available to the public when released by a member of Congress.

This policy change was directed by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which requires that the Library of Congress make CRS reports publicly available online. The result is a new public website crsreports.congress.gov, which allows reports to be searched by keyword. This website will include all new or updated CRS reports; the Library will add previously published reports “as expeditiously as possible.”

Summer 2018 and Post-Graduation Use of Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, and Westlaw

Wondering which research tools you can use this summer?  We have outlined both summer 2018 access and post-graduation use policies for Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, and Westlaw below.

Remember that you also have unlimited access to many other legal databases in addition to hundreds of interdisciplinary databases through the ASU Library this summer! The library staff is also here all summer long to help you with research. Call, e-mail, or stop by for assistance during reference hours.

Bloomberg Law
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.

Graduating students: Graduating students will automatically have full access to Bloomberg Law for six months after graduation. You do not need to take any additional steps to secure this post-graduation access.

Please contact our Bloomberg Law representative, Tania Wilson, with questions.

LexisNexis
LexisNexis 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 Lexis Advance account.

Graduating students: Graduating students will automatically have full access to Lexis through the end of December 2018.  You do not need to take any additional steps to secure this post-graduation access.

Please contact our LexisNexis account executive, Alan J. Mamood, with questions.

Westlaw
Westlaw offers full access to Westlaw, Practical Law, Drafting Assistant, and Doc & Form Builder to current ASU law students who are participating in select academic pursuits over the summer. Permissible uses include the following:

  • Summer classes and study abroad programs
  • Law review or journal research
  • Research assistant assignments
  • Moot court research
  • Externship sponsored by the school

You do not need to do anything to gain summer access to these tools. Students with any other type of summer employment must use their employer-provided password for Westlaw access.

Graduating students:  Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law graduates now have 60 hours a month of Westlaw access for 18 months after graduation; this access can be used for either commercial (paid) or educational purposes. Graduating students will need to activate their 18 month password extension within their Westlaw account for this extended access.

Please contact our Thomson Reuters Academic Account Manager, Jeff Brandimarte, with questions.