Category Archives: Law Library Resources

Talk the Talk: Law Library Resources Enhance Oral Advocacy

Lawyers and librarians alike have a way with words, spending much of their time with books and internet databases, reading, researching, and writing. But we also must step up and let our voices be heard. Whether law students are undergoing the first year rite of passage of delivering oral arguments in their finest legal attire or honing their presentations for a moot court championship, the librarians can help budding public speakers maximize their persuasiveness.

Students preparing for the Legal Advocacy argument should check out the Law Library’s First Year Legal Writing page. This research guide points to useful resources for modeling and enhancing oral arguments. Our print study skills collection includes the updated classic Little Book on Oral Argument, which can help students nervous about public speaking channel their energy into a powerful oratorical performance. Other resources include commentary from legal communication experts and a late U.S. Supreme Court justice.

We point you to resources such as an online treatise titled Art of Advocacy—Appeals, which provides tips on presenting and engaging and persuasive case, with full length, annotated examples of effective oral arguments from which students can draw lessons about tone, style, and structure. It also helps prepare students preparing for a career in litigation for what to expect in navigating judicial procedures at courthouses.

The library also provides links to archives that enable students to observe real world court proceedings across the country, including in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Arizona Court of Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Arizona. Students may learn from the examples of the professionals, and get a sense of how quickly the judges will begin peppering them with questions.

The library’s Advanced Legal Writing: Persuasion guide includes further resources to help orators prepare persuasive presentations. Books include discussions of cognitive science as the basis for recommending certain persuasive techniques, and provide concrete examples of effective rhetorical tools to employ in writing as well as oral argument.

For critiques of your oral argument’s content and technique, contact your professor or teaching assistant. And for more guidance on library resources, feel free to Meet with a Librarian.

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 Persuasive Legal Writing 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

New Titles in the Law Library Collection – Indigenous Peoples

In January the Indian Legal Program (ILP) at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and the American Bar Association (ABA) are hosting the Intersection of Tribal Rights with Environmental, Energy and Resources Development Conference. The conference will focus on natural resource development, water quality and water rights, clean energy and climate change resiliency, and international best practices. The Law Library’s Indian Law collection has a number of books relevant to the subjects that will be explored at the conference – we have highlighted two new titles in this collection below.

A Nation Within: Navajo Land and Economic Development (Ezra Rosser, 2021)
In A Nation Within, Ezra Rosser explores the connection between land-use patterns and development in the Navajo Nation. Roughly the size of Ireland or West Virginia, the Navajo reservation has seen successive waves of natural resource-based development over the last century: grazing and over-grazing, oil and gas, uranium, and coal; yet Navajos continue to suffer from high levels of unemployment and poverty. Rosser shows the connection between the exploitation of these resources and the growth of the tribal government before turning to contemporary land use and development challenges. He argues that, in addition to the political challenges associated with any significant change, external pressures and internal corruption have made it difficult for the tribe to implement land reforms that could help provide space for economic development that would benefit the Navajo Nation and Navajo tribal members.

Indigenous Peoples, Consent and Rights: Troubling Subjects (Stephen Young, 2021)
Analyzing how Indigenous Peoples come to be identifiable as bearers of human rights, this book considers how individuals and communities claim the right of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) as Indigenous peoples. According to international human rights discourse, ‘Indigenous peoples’ have the capacity to claim ‘free, prior and informed consent’ (FPIC) to influence and control decisions that concern First Nation Peoples. The book argues that the subject status of Indigenous peoples emerged out of international law in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Then, through a series of case studies, it considers how self-identifying Indigenous peoples, scholars, UN institutions and non-government organizations (NGOs) dispersed that subject-status and associated rights discourse through international and national legal contexts. It shows that those who claim international human rights as Indigenous peoples performatively become identifiable subjects of international law – but further demonstrates that this does not, however, provide them with control over, or emancipation from, a state-based legal system.

Sean Harrington, Electronic Resources Librarian

New Titles in the Law Library Collection – Animal Law

The descendants of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s four captive hippos have made their way to the Magdalena River and now number nearly 100 animals, becoming a major problem for Colombian officials. A Colombian court case, in which the Community of Hippopotamuses Living in the Magdalena River is the plaintiff, is considering officials’ plans for the hippos. An American animal organization asked a U.S. federal court in Ohio to allow the attorney for the hippos to gather expert testimony in the U.S. – the court granted the request, and in doing so, recognized the hippos as legal persons, a first in the U.S. You can read more about this case via Bloomberg Law News, and if you are interested in animal law issues like this, you should check also out the two new titles in the Law Library collection described below!

Animals in International Law by Anne Peters (2021)
Anne Peters is a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, as well as the director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law. In her book Animals in International Law, Peters takes a global perspective, identifying and analyzing the top international laws and treaties addressing animals, as well as those regarding international trade law and laws of armed conflict, in terms of their impacts on animals. Ultimately finding that the current body of international law creates more harm than good for animals, Peters proposes new legal strategies for ensuring animals are protected.

The Future of Animal Law by David S. Favre (2021)
David S. Favre is a professor at Michigan State University College of Law and founding officer of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. His forward-looking book The Future of Animal Law focuses on the legal rights of animals in the future, with an eye towards how to think about obtaining legal rights. While briefly recounting the historical path that has led to the current animal rights framework, the book centers on dogs as companion animals that are the most likely vehicle for increased protections, with the ultimate goal of creating a legal framework that views animals as more than property and recognizes their feelings and needs. The book looks at laws of the U.S., as well as those of other countries, and includes model language for new laws and suggested legal reforms.

Dan Kimmons, Reference Librarian

Exam Time – Stay in Control During Times of Stress

Medical studies indicate that staying aware of the present moment can improve your focus and performance in stressful situations. It doesn’t take a deserted forest lake (although that sounds really nice), perfect lotus posture, or hours of a silenced mind to achieve mindfulness. It’s a skill useful for everyone, and particularly worthwhile for law students who maintain a busy schedule with overlapping work and academic deadlines as well as networking and social commitments.

Awareness of the present moment can not only dull stinging worries about the future. It can improve an attorney’s concentration, active listening, and understanding when meeting with clients or representing them. And although it might sound like a luxury or one more task for an already bloated schedule, mindfulness can actually save time, with improved attention and performance. In fact, some experts suggest that simply taking a minute or two to calm the mind can calm stress, and lead to a more focused practice that can clear a cluttered mind and improve health and wellbeing.

The Law Library has compiled resources that can help you build this skill on our Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School research guide – we have provided information on, and links to, academic studies, guided meditations, and brief guides to improve your attention and awareness. We also encourage you to check out the Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience at Arizona State University, which focuses on deepening ASU’s culture of healthfulness, personal balance and resiliency among students and employees.

As the semester winds down, the reference librarians are here to help with research questions, legal citation, or to bolster research you’ve already done. Click on Meet with a Law Librarian to schedule a brief, efficient, time-saving appointment with a JD reference librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

It’s Never too Late to Research Efficiently

Legal researchers should never allow a late semester time crunch lead to disordered research. Taking shortcuts in legal research can slow you down and add confusion, pressure, and tedium to the process. In addition, going without a plan can lead you to struggle through an enormous list of irrelevant results, misunderstand the law, or even select the wrong database altogether, missing important resources.

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

A few specific examples of what the reference librarians can help you with:

(1) showing you how to access and navigate the many available legal secondary sources so that you feel more confident in your search results

(2) identifying databases, both legal and interdisciplinary, outside of Westlaw and Lexis that may have relevant content for your inquiry

(3) providing tips and strategies for reducing the volume of irrelevant or unhelpful search results

In addition, we may already have a research guide that can help you identify helpful resources for your particular topic. We have guides on Bankruptcy Law, Tax Law, International Law, and much more!

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

Study to Your Strengths with the Law Library

Everyone learns a little differently and when it comes to acing a law school final, studying with tools that work particularly well for you can be critical. The resources listed below address a number of learning styles and format preferences across a broad range of legal subjects, and we hope they will prove helpful as you begin to prepare for final exams. We want to emphasize that above all, however, pay attention to your professor and the direction he or she provides. He or she is the one who wrote your test!

  • In-depth explanation: The Examples and Explanations series provides detailed discussions of how the law operates. It also tests learners’ understanding with problems that can help a reader apply the law to a variety of fact patterns. E&E can be particularly useful to review any concepts that may have been more challenging in class.

  • Flashcards: Many students respond well to the challenge of recalling definitions, elements, or factors of legal concepts. Ask at the circulation desk about the law library’s collection of flashcards and check out our October post about creating your own flashcards.

  • Audio/videoVideo lectures and audiobooks can help students replicate the interpersonal, human approach to learning during Reading Week.

  • Flowcharts: The Crunchtime series provides flowcharts, which help students break down the often complicated procedures for analyzing facts into a series of simple steps.

  • Practice questions: The Exam Pro series provides an extensive array of practice questions to help students prepare for multiple choice finals, and the Friedman’s Practice Series challenges students spot issues in large fact patterns before essay exams.

Meet with a reference librarian for help finding the best resources for your learning style. Good luck with finals!

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Highlights from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Personal Library

Justice O’Connor’s interests were wide – the items received by the Ross-Blakley Law Library from the Justice’s personal library include joke books, photography volumes of the American West, historical texts, and fiction titles, among many other categories. Today we highlight a few books from the Justice’s collection that are in some way about one of the three branches of government.

Legislative branch
Before her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor served in a number of legal roles in the state of Arizona. One of those roles was as a state senator from 1969, when she was appointed by Governor Jack Williams to fill a vacant position, until 1974 when she was elected as a Maricopa County Superior Court judge. Some of the items that Justice O’Connor kept in her personal library from her time in the Arizona Legislature were the Senate Rules pamphlet (1973-1974), Rules of the House of Representatives pamphlet (1973-1974), Parliamentary Speaking: A Handbook for Legislators (helpfully sub-titled “WHEN to say it; WHAT to say; HOW to say it”), and the Directory of the 31st Legislature (1973-1974).

Executive branch
Justice O’Connor also owned an 1857 copy of the “Memoirs of Washington” by Mrs. Caroline. M. Kirkland. The book bears a beautiful inscription to the Justice noting her important place in American history. The Internet Archive has made a copy of this title available digitally here.

Judicial branch
Finally, a title with a focus on the judicial branch in Justice O’Connor’s collection was “A More Obedient Wife: A Novel of the Early Supreme Court” by Natalie Wexler. The author’s website states that the book “tells the story of two women in the 1790’s—each in a troubled marriage to a Supreme Court Justice—swept up in the little-known but fascinating early history of our nation’s premier judicial institution.” An inscription from the author states: “For Justice O’Connor, In grateful appreciate of your enthusiasm for this project.”

Flash Cards and Flowcharts: Optimizing Study for Your Learning Style

Legal study aids are increasingly catering to the vast diversity of learning methods that suit different students best, from visual aids such as flow charts to practice questions to audio and visual resources. Below we have highlighted tools for creating and accessing flow charts (great for visual learners) and flashcards (useful when you need to memorize a lot of information). We highly recommend adding these study tools to your class and exam prep process.

FLOWCHARTS
Flowcharts guide you through a legal issue, asking questions about the facts each step of the way to determine whether an element applies, and whether the analysis should continue. The structure of arrows and boxes is a big help for visual learners who quickly absorb information in tools such as graphics and maps. It can also help break down a complicated legal analysis into manageable, bite size bits, demystifying questions about estates in land or the Erie doctrine.

You can make your own flowcharts in Google Slides. Check out this short how-to video from our Electronic Resources Librarian, Sean Harrington, to learn more. You can choose shapes with the shapes tool that symbolize steps along the way of a legal analysis, such as rectangles for yes or no questions and ovals for the various potential outcomes of the analysis. The line tool includes an option with arrows to help you organize a complicated analysis, including curves and angled lines to help you fit all elements of a rule into your document. Making your own flowchart helps you process the rules yourself, and understand the process in a different way from traditional distilling of the rules into words alone.

The Law Library also offers access to commercial resources with flowcharts through its online study aids subscriptions and print study aids collection; specifically, check out the Emanuel Crunch Time series (available electronically on Wolters Kluwer).

FLASHCARDS
It’s no secret that part of the challenge of studying law is memorizing vast swaths of information. It’s a big part of the bar exam. Your outline is an important part of that process of committing the law to your memory, but reading and rereading does not always work optimally for everyone – that’s where flashcards come in handy.

The Law Library also has a collection of flashcards in its study skills section, and our online study aid platforms have additional resources that may be helpful. Writing your own cards can help you process the information on a much deeper level, though, as you process the law and craft your own rule statements. Here again, Sean Harrington has a video on how Google Slides can help.

Meet with a Librarian for more study tips!

Highlights from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Personal Library

Last year the family of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor generously gifted the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the Ross-Blakley Law Library with a significant collection of books from Justice O’Connor’s personal library and mementos from her long legal career. Many items from this gift will be added to the print collection of the Law Library and displayed in the College of Law’s fifth floor reading room in the year(s) to come; during that time we will be spotlighting some particularly interesting titles and items here on the blog.

Today we are showcasing two Arizona-specific titles, both gifted to Justice O’Connor in the 2000s. Arizona Sketchbook, published in 1952, was written by prominent Arizona businessman and political activist, Frank Cullen Brophy. The Arizona Historical Society provides some brief biographical information on Brophy and his family here.

Justice O’Connor’s copy of the Arizona Sketchbook, which features fifty historical sketches of Arizona landscapes and landmarks, includes a lovely inscription from Margaret McChesney, a granddaughter of the author. McChesney wrote:

To Justice Sandra Day O’Connor,
A true Arizona pioneer.
With greatest respect and
sincere appreciation for
your contribution to our
State and our country.

Arizona Nights, a 1907 book described by the publisher as “A series of spirited tales emphasizing some phase of the life of the ranch, plains and desert, and all, taken together, forming a single sharply-cut picture of life in the far Southwest,” predates Arizona statehood!

Justice O’Connor’s copy of the book includes a handwritten note on stationary with heartfelt details making it clear the gift was from a family friend who knew Justice O’Connor and her husband, John O’Connor, well. The author of the note states that “the illustrations…are terrific period pieces. I thought it might amuse you or your grandchildren to read about the impressions of Arizona in a bygone time.”

Stay tuned for future glimpses into Justice O’Connor’s personal library – we look forward to showing you more of the many wonderful titles she owned!