Category Archives: Legal Research & Writing

Five Reasons You Should Make CALI Your Study Partner

CALI Lessons are online interactive tutorials that cover narrow topics of law. CALI publishes over 1,000 lessons covering 40 different legal subject areas. These lessons have been used over 10 million times by law students over the years. To access CALI, click here: Using CALI

#1- CALI Lessons are another way to learn the law.
CALI Lessons are another way to learn the law. They are interactive web-based tutorials that both teach and apply your understanding of what you just read. You learn the law from casebook readings, faculty instruction, and from supplements. Many commercial supplements are not written by law faculty and are simplified and watered down versions of the law. CALI Lessons are not. CALI Lessons present hypothetical situations and then quiz you on your understanding using follow-up questions and branching to make sure you got the right answer for the right reasons.

#2- CALI Lessons are a formative assessment for you.
Do you want to make sure you are understanding what you study? The only way to be sure is to assess and CALI lessons provide a form of self-assessment. You get feedback on every question – whether you get it right or wrong – and you get a final score that tells you how you are doing on a specific legal topic.

#3- CALI Lessons are interactive and engaging.
CALI Lessons are not videos that you passively watch. The material is modeled on Socratic Dialogue where a question is asked, you answer the question, and then various aspects of the topic are explored. CALI Lessons are written by tenured law faculty with many years of teaching experience (law librarians author the legal research lessons). The lessons purposefully steer you into thinking about the topic in a nuanced way.

#4- CALI Lessons are rigorous.
It is difficult to get a perfect score on most CALI Lessons the first time through. Law is complex and CALI lessons dive into that complexity. Each lesson covers a specific topic without getting too broad in scope. The questions are tough and require serious thought from the student. A typical lesson takes 20 to 40 minutes for a student to complete. You can take lessons multiple times to improve your understanding.

#5- CALI Lessons are a good learning appetizer or an excellent learning dessert.
CALI Lessons are an excellent learning experience as a first bite at the material. They prepare you for class or subsequent readings. The material is brief and rigorous exposing you to the concepts and nomenclature of a topic without being drilled and practiced to death. In addition, CALI Lessons are excellent for study after class (alone or in a study group), after the casebook readings, or for studying for the final exam. They provide immediate and substantive feedback that can direct you to the places where further study is required.

To access CALI, click here: Using CALI

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.

Free Access to PACER Opinions and Orders via CourtListener.com

A new resource for free access to federal court opinions and orders is now available online at CourtListener.com. This resource, known as the RECAP Archive, allows users to search approximately 3.4 million orders and opinions from approximately 1.5 million federal district and bankruptcy court cases dating back to 1960. New opinions are downloaded in to the Archive every night to keep the collection up to date.

Library Summer Research Workshop Series

The Ross-Blakley Law Library is pleased to announce the 2017 Summer Research Workshop Series. Five different workshop topics are being offered; each topic is intended to help Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law students participating in summer associate or externship opportunities improve their real-world legal research skills.

Each workshop will be offered at three different times to accommodate varying work schedules – please feel free to come to any session of any workshop. We look forward to seeing you this summer! Please contact Tara Mospan with any questions at tara.mospan@asu.edu.

Workshop #1 – Best practices for starting a research project
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
– 7:30-8:30am – BCLS 352

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
– 12:00-1:00pm – BCLS 450
– 6:00-7:00pm – BCLS 352

Workshop #2 – Researching state and federal statutes
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
– 7:30-8:30am – BCLS 352

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
– 12:00-1:00pm – BCLS 450
– 6:00-7:00pm – BCLS 352

Workshop #3 – Researching state and federal regulations
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
– 7:30-8:30am – BCLS 352
– 12:00-1:00pm – BCLS 250
– 6:00-7:00pm – BCLS 352

Workshop #4 – Terms & connectors/advanced search techniques
Tuesday, June 06, 2017
– 7:30-8:30am – BCLS 352

Wednesday, June 07, 2017
– 12:00-1:00pm – BCLS 650
– 6:00-7:00pm – BCLS 352

Workshop #5 – Free (and reliable!) research resources
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
– 7:30-8:30am – BCLS 352

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
– 12:00-1:00pm – BCLS 250
– 6:00-7:00pm – BCLS 352

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

Wondering which research tools you can use this summer?  We have outlined both summer 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, ending November 30, 2017. You do not need to take any additional steps to secure this post-graduation access.

Please contact our Bloomberg Law representative, Shaina Zamaitis, 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 November.  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, Melissa Hagar, with questions.

Chelsea Gulinson ’18 & Jameson Rammell ’18 Honored for Exemplary Student Research

The Ross-Blakley Law Library at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is pleased to announce the 2017 recipients of The Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research.

Chelsea Gulinson is the first place award recipient for her paper Embryonic Stem Cell Tourism. Jameson Rammell takes second-place honors for his paper Polarizing Procedures: Transsexual Inmates, Sex Reassignment Surgery, and the Eighth Amendment. 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 a number of very competitive entries.

To read more about Chelsea and Jameson’s papers, please follow this link: Announcing the 2017 Recipients of the Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research

Congratulations to our 2017 Winners!

Summer Research Workshops Survey

The Law Library is planning a series of early summer Research Workshops for summer associates and externship participants. We will also be hosting sessions specifically for our recent graduates later this summer, after the bar exam. We are seeking student input for the topics to be covered as well as the timing of the workshops. Please take this three question survey to offer your opinion: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8GBVR9Y

Please e-mail Tara Mospan at tara.mospan@asu.edu with any questions, as well as to get on the notification list for upcoming workshops. Thank you and we look forward to your response!

Exciting Westlaw Update

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The Law Library is pleased to announce that thanks to a new agreement with Westlaw, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law graduates will 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.

In addition, all current and graduating students are gaining immediate access to Drafting Assistant and Doc & Form Builder, as well as a number of other powerful practice-ready transactional tools on Westlaw.

* Graduating students must activate their 18 month password extension within their Westlaw account.

Combating link rot: U.S. Supreme Court Web Citations

“Link rot,” when the URL provided via a hyperlink no longer functions, is a troublesome issue for legal scholars and practitioners.  A 2014 study found that half of the links provided in Supreme Court opinions and over 70% of links cited to in the Harvard Law Review “do not produce the information originally cited.”  As Jonathan Zittrain, one author of the study, put it in an April 2014 interview with NPR, this is “extraordinarily bad for the long-term maintenance of the information we need…to understand the law.”

An exciting new tool for combating link rot was recently unveiled by the U.C. Berkeley Law Library: U.S. Supreme Court Web Citations.  This web application captures snapshots of all web citations in new Supreme Court opinions immediately after publication. The snapshots are archived using perma.cc’s API. U.S. Supreme Court Web Citations users have the ability to browse citations by opinion or by justice and can also subscribe to receive notification of new citations.