Category Archives: Legal Research & Writing

Robert Skousen ’17 and Simon Goldenberg ’17 Honored for Exemplary Student Research

The Ross-Blakley Law Library at the Sandra O’Connor College of Law is pleased to announce the 2016 recipients of The Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research.

Robert Skousen is the first place award recipient for his paper, Redefining New Water: Inland Surface and Groundwater Desalination and Simon Goldenberg earned second-place honors for his paper, Considering Abusive Marriages in the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Community and Ways for Agunot to Escape. Their 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 Victoria Trotta and Beth DiFelice and Clinical Professor Kimberly Holst selected the winners from the very competitive entries.

In addition to receiving a monetary award, the winners are also invited to publish their papers in the Law Library’s digital scholarship repository and to feature their papers in the Law Library Display Case.

Congratulations to our 2016 Winners!

Summer use of Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law

Wondering which research tools you can use this summer?  We have outlined summer access policies for Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law below.  Remember that you also have unlimited access to hundreds of other legal databases and interdisciplinary databases through the Law Library and ASU this summer!

Westlaw
Westlaw offers limited summer research access – up to 40 hours a month for June and July.  Full access is available to students who are participating in select academic pursuits over the summer. If you will be doing any of the following, you can apply to extend your full access to Westlaw by using the Summer Extension link inside Westlaw:

  • Summer law school classes and study abroad programs
  • Law review and journal – including write-on competitions
  • Research assistant
  • Moot court
  • Unpaid internship/externship

Students with any other type of summer employment must use their employer-provided password for Westlaw access. Full academic access resumes to returning students on August 1, 2016.

Graduating students: Westlaw’s Graduate Elite program allows you to apply for limited Westlaw access for 6 months after graduation.  Use the Grad Elite link within your Westlaw account to apply for the program.

Lexis
Lexis 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 November.  You do not need to take any additional steps to secure this post-graduation access.

Bloomberg Law
Bloomberg Law also 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.

Free Access to Electronic Study Aids and a Promo Code

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The Ross-Blakley Law Library is pleased to provide you with online access to hundreds of study aids to help you prepare for your upcoming exams through West Academic.  Our subscription to these study aids allows you to view hundreds of electronic books 24/7, as well as highlight text, take and save notes, and even print content.

Through January 31, 2016 West Academic is also offering ASU students 25% off any print study aids product ordered through the West Academic Store (store.westacademic.com). Use promo code: UPANDRUNNING

We wish you all the best this exam period!

Fastcase on HeinOnline

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to its incredible collection of law reviews, congressional documents, and international materials, HeinOnline now offers case law via Fastcase.   You can also save and bookmark cases by creating a MyHein account, making access to favorite cases quick and easy. All HeinOnline content is available to Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law students on campus or remotely with your ASURITE.

Case law coverage in HeinOnline includes the judicial opinions of the Supreme Court (1754-present), Federal Circuits (1924-present), Board of Tax Appeals (vols. 1-47), Tax Court Memorandum Decisions (vols. 1-59), U.S. Customs Court (vols. 1-70), Board of Immigration Appeals (1996-present), Federal District Courts (1924-present), and Federal Bankruptcy Courts (1 B.R. 1-present). The state case law covers all fifty states, with nearly half of the states dating back to the 1800s. Coverage for the remaining states dates back to approximately 1950.

Economic and Banking Data from FRASER

Have you heard of FRASER?  The Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research is a data preservation and accessibility project of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the U.S. Government Publishing Office.  The website provides access to a variety of resources containing economic and banking data, including:

  • Publications of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Publications of District Federal Reserve Banks
  • Statements and speeches of Federal Reserve policymakers
  • Archival materials of Federal Reserve policymakers
  • Economic data publications
  • Statistical releases
  • Congressional documents
  • Books
  • Reports by various organizations

You can browse resource by title and date, as well as perform keyword searches.  To learn how to fully utilize FRASER, read through the website’s How to Use FRASER page.

HeinOnline On the Go

Hein app

A new app is available for HeinOnline!  The app allows you to view the database’s image-based PDFs, access content by citation, browse by volume, navigate a volume with the electronic table of contents, and use full advanced searching techniques on an iPhone or iPad.  The app can be downloaded from iTunes. HeinOnline has also created a User’s Guide to maximize your use of the app.

Note on access:  ASU utilizes IP authentication for students, faculty, and staff access to HeinOnline, so in order to IP authenticate using this app, you must be on campus. After you IP authenticate via the app on campus, the authentication will be good for 30 days.  After 30 days you will need to once again authenticate on campus.

Indigenous Law Portal Makes finding Tribal Law Easier

Tribal law can be difficult to find for a variety reasons: individual tribes may not have the resources to publish their laws, may choose not to make them available electronically, or even may restrict outside access to their laws.  The new Library of Congress Indigenous Law Portal helps researchers find difficult-to locate tribal law materials by bringing together digitized historic Library of Congress resources with current resources available on tribal websites.  The Portal can be both searched and browsed by geographic region, state, and tribe name.

In addition to this new Portal, when researching tribal law be sure to also consult the Ross-Blakley Law Library’s Indian Law Portal which contains resources such as a listing of Arizona Tribal Law Sources, a listing of Tribal Law for Tribes Outside Arizona, a Federal Indian Law Research Guide, and an International Indigenous Law Research Guide.

Free Access to Historical Federal Legal Resources

The Library of Congress and HeinOnline recently announced a unique partnership that makes historical U.S. legal materials now available on the Library of Congress’ web portal, the Guide to Law Online.  While federal materials dating back to the mid-1990s have long been available for free through FDsys, the release of these materials by HeinOnline fills the access gap to the historical documents; generally, the content for each publication extends from its first print edition to the year when free access on FDsys begins.

The newly available content includes:

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law community members have access to the complete HeinOnline: The Modern Link to Legal History database, which includes all the federal materials listed above as well as significant additional content such as:

  • Law Journal Library
  • American Indian Law Collection
  • Canada Supreme Court Reports
  • Code of Federal Regulations
  • Early American Case Law
  • English Reports
  • Federal Register Library
  • Foreign & International Law Resources Database
  • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP)
  • Pentagon Papers
  • Revised Statutes of Canada
  • Session Laws Library
  • State Statutes: A Historical Archive
  • Subject Compilations of State Laws
  • United Nations Law Collection
  • U.S. Attorney General & Department of Justice Collection
  • U.S. Code
  • U.S. Congressional Documents
  • U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, and Appeals
  • U.S. Federal Legislative History Library
  • U.S. Presidential Library
  • U.S. Statutes at Large
  • U.S. Supreme Court Library
  • U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library

A New Tool for Online Legal Research – Ravel Law

Ravel Law is a new and innovative (as well as free) online legal search, analytics, and visualization platform that provides access to U.S. Supreme Court and federal Circuit Court case law.  What makes ravel so original is that it displays case search results in both list format (like WestlawNext, LexisAdvance, and Bloomberg Law) as well as in visual graphic format.  The visual display of search results has two elements: (1) a timeline of search results that shows which years had the most cases that fall under a search, and (2) a timeline that represents cases using circles of various sizes – the size of the circle indicates the importance of the case (based on number of citations).  This graphical display shows trends in cases over time and also makes it easy to see how cases relate to each other.  Ravel claims that in comparisons with traditional legal research tools, its unique “visual tools and robust analytics” cut research time by up to 70%.

Below you can see the graphical result for the case Katz v. United States (389 U.S. 347).

Ravel

 

Ravel Law for Law Students
Anyone can run a search on Ravel Law, but it’s best to create an account as this will allow you to annotate and save cases to return to later. Ravel also offers a Premium account for free to law students.  The Premium account offers access to federal district court cases (1933-present) and state cases (1950-present) in addition to U.S. Supreme Court and Circuit Court opinions.

The Case for Losing the Laptop

It is standard practice in law school to take notes in class on your laptop, but new research indicates that taking notes by hand can help you learn better and retain more information. Psychologists Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California-Los Angeles conducted the study behind this research and found that students who used laptops in class, even as intended and not for buying things on Amazon, performed worse academically than students who took notes by hand.  Mueller and Oppenheimer hypothesize that the reason for this is that laptop use affects the manner and quality of note taking. While laptop users tend to take notes mindlessly, recording everything the professor says, handwrites are more selective with what they write down – they process the material as it is delivered and select the most important content to record.  Mueller and Oppenheimer state that “whereas taking more notes can be beneficial, laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.”

With this information in mind, and as you prepare over Fall Break for the remaining eight weeks of the semester before exams, it may be worth reevaluating how you approach taking notes in class.  Read Mueller and Oppenheimer’s article on their research, The Pen Is Mightier than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking, published in the journal Psychological Science.  Author Patrick E. McLean also offers a (much more poetic) take on why handwriting is beneficial: A Defense of Writing Longhand.