Monthly Archives: September 2013

CALI: Like Having Your Own Tutor

CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, is a consortium of law schools that researches and develops computer-mediated legal instruction. The CALI Library of Lessons includes more than 800 lessons covering over 30 legal education subject areas. They are designed to augment traditional law school instruction, and are written by law faculty and librarians.

As an ASU Law Student you have access to hundreds of CALI lessons and tutorials.  Stop by the front desk of the Law Library for your free authorization code and register online at  We also have free CALI cds at the front desk.

You can also obtain a password here:  CALI Guide.  You will be asked for your ASUrite login and password.

Some lessons that might be useful for first year law students include:

Have fun with CALI!


The Socratic Method and You

“I cannot teach anybody anything.  I can only make them think.”
– Socrates

As a law student you have no doubt experienced the Socratic Method instructional model, which is based on the asking and answering of questions in class with the goal of stimulating critical thinking.  You can thank Christopher Columbus Landell for that, who as the Dean of Harvard Law School from 1870 to 1895 introduced this method to legal education.  Before Landell, legal instruction was based on the lecture model, in which students memorized material from an instructional textbook and were lectured on that material in class.

Many law professors now combine the Socratic Method with the Case Method, in which they question students about appellate-level court cases to help them explore the rules that can be derived from those cases.  While this instructional model has a fair number of critics, it is something that you will need to become comfortable with in law school.  Below are a few ideas from the Law School Academic Support Blog on turning the Socratic Method into a more positive experience:

1)      Recognize what questions the professor almost always asks about each case during class.  Think about the answers to those standard questions during your class preparation.

2)      Before class, consider the case from 360 degrees.  In addition to understanding the case deeply (its separate case brief parts and details), consider the case more broadly (how does it fit with the other cases read for that day and into the larger topic).

3)      When called on, think about the question asked and take a deep breath before answering.  Many mistakes are made because students blurt out something they immediately realize is wrong or answer a different question than actually asked.

4)      Remember that most people in class are not judging you when you are the student called on for Socratic Method.  About a third are relieved it was not them.  About a third are looking ahead frantically because they realize their turns are coming up.  About a third are busy taking notes and looking for the answers.

Be sure to also check out Cracking the Case Method: Legal Analysis for Law School Success or  1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor’s Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School , both available in the Study Skills Collection of the Law Library, for more ideas on how to master the Socratic Method.


Celebrate Constitution Day with the New U.S. Constitution App

The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office (GPO) mark Constitution Day today by launching a new app and web publication that make analysis and interpretation of constitutional case law by Library experts accessible for free to anyone with a computer or mobile device.

The new resources, which include analysis of Supreme Court cases through June 26, 2013, will be updated multiple times each year as new court decisions are issued.

Get the App:  The app can be downloaded for free from iTunes. A direct link is here: An Android version is under development.

Happy Constitution Day!

Constitution Day: How Long Have YOU Had the Right to Vote?

If you would like to celebrate Constitution Day, there will be a program at Hayden Library on Constitution Day

Join us on Constitution Day, Sept. 17th to hear ASU Professor T.J. Davis speak on the history of voting rights.

  • Tuesday September 17, 2-3pm
  • ASU Libraries Location: Hayden Library C-6A/ East Campus: Tempe 
  • Cost: Free

For more information E-mail: Website: ASU Libraries: Constitution Day    Phone: 480/965-1798



The Importance of a Good Vocabulary for Law Students


A good vocabulary is essential for a law student.  It allows you to communicate effectively, boosts your powers of persuasion, and helps you make a good impression.  In his article for the September 2013 ABA Journal, Professor Bryan Garner cites research reviewed by University of Virginia professor emeritus E.D. Hirsch Jr., who states that studies have solidly established the correlation between vocabulary and real-world ability.  In fact, Hirsch affirms that the research reveals “there’s no better index to accumulated knowledge and general competence than the size of a person’s vocabulary.”

To boost your vocabulary, Hirsch recommends not that you spend a lot of time on individual word study, but rather that you acquire knowledge of new words through the social and natural worlds.  Below are some ideas for doing so.

Bryan Garner suggests:

Other suggestions:

1Ls: Learn About Your Law Library & 1L Research and Writing Tutorials

We have some short videos for you to view to get to know the Ross-Blakley Law Library.  You can access them here:  1L Orientation Videos.

Need some help with your assignments from your legal research and writing class?  Take a few minutes to check out the Law Library’s 1L Research and Writing Tutorials.

We are looking forward to meeting you on your Legal Research and Writing class library tours in the next few weeks.




New Technology Enhanced Study Room!

The Technology Enhanced Collaborative Space (TECS) is located on the first floor of the Ross-Blakley Law Library in room #112D. TECS is intended for collaborative work or study specifically for groups, defined as two or more users actively using the room and its technology. The room has a capacity for five people and includes the following equipment:

  • Media table specifically developed to promote collaboration
  • Computer
  • Laptop Connectivity for 5 laptops
  • Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
  • Two 37” video displays
  • Skype Capabilities

Study group participants can share content from their laptops on the two 37” video displays by pressing the corresponding switcher. Analog laptop electrical outlets and audio outlets are provided for each user. Students can access and share information by allowing all participants to contribute their ideas quickly and seamlessly.

Reserving TECS
TECS may be reserved up to one week in advance in person at the Circulation Desk, by calling 480-965-6144, or online through Law Interactive via the Group Study Room Reservation system under the room labeled TECS Law Library Room 112D. Your ASURITE username and password is required for making reservations in the online system.

We Want Your Feedback
The Law Library staff is in the process of planning for the new downtown building. We would like to know how you like TECS. Please email Leslie Pardo with any comments or suggestions you have about the new technology enhanced study room.