Monthly Archives: September 2019

Seven Reasons to Meet with a Librarian About Your Open Memo

  1. We can help you navigate research resources and identify relevant information quickly: WePinClipart.com_clip-art-face_111485 (1) are here to show you ways to narrow down search results to cases and statutes pertaining to your legal issue without tedious, time-wasting trial and error using search bars. Taking advantage of tools such as annotations, headnotes, and secondary sources on Lexis Advance and Westlaw Edge can save you valuable time for your other classes.
  2. We have J.D.s, and we understand the process: Beth, Tara, Sean, and Andrea have all been through law school, and understand the process of writing open memos. Our primary focus at the library is you, and we can help you succeed. Use our Meet with a Librarian form to set up an appointment in our private offices behind the circulation desk on the third floor.
  3. We are within the bounds of the Honor Code: We won’t read your writing, and your professors are happy to let us help.
  4. We can help you get used to Bluebook’s blue rules, white rules, and tables: Legal citation will become second nature as you practice during your 1L year, but we understand that it has a lot of unfamiliar intricacies. We can identify resources that will be helpful in your citation practice, such as the Interactive Citation Workstation exercises, Examples & Explanations (see Appendix B), and Legal Citation in a Nutshell. We can also guide you through the Bluebook’s rules and help you answer questions.
  5. CRuPAC, CREAC, IRAC, or IREAC? We can help you find resources, such as textbooks, study aids and examples to organize your writing, whether you have a single, in-depth issue or need to analyze a variety of sub-issues.
  6. You will likely start working this summer or next fall: The lessons we provide in efficiently and thoroughly researching only the relevant legal issues will help you in practice. For now, it might seem like the only concern is reading and going to class—and that should be your primary concern—but our research tips will help you long after you turn in your research memo and start looking to build real-world legal experience for your resume.
  7. We can introduce you to materials that can help you succeed in your other classes too! Struggling with Civ Pro? Concerned about Contracts? Troubled by Torts? Need some peace of mind? Learn better with audio you can listen to on the light rail? The law library has a wide variety of study aids to appeal to your particular learning style, and you can make an appointment with the librarians for help.

Take if from someone who could have used a lot more efficiency during her 1L research projects: You should Meet with a Librarian early on for your open memo. The time you save trying to navigate Westlaw and Lexis alone will be more than worth the 20-30 minutes for your appointment!

Andrea Gass, Law Library Fellow

Free Digital Subscription to the New York Times

NYTASU Students, faculty and staff can sign-up for a digital subscription to the New York Times for freeThe New York Times reports on a wide range of topics which makes it a powerful resource for academic research. Your free subscription includes access to the NYT archives dating back to 1851. In addition to the current news and archive features, NYT offers other apps such as cooking, virtual reality, real-estate, podcasts, and more.

This is a valuable resource provided by Arizona State University. Please use the link below to create an account. You must be logged into your My ASU to redeem the free access.

Problems: Ask a Librarian

Faculty Spotlight: Professor Hinshaw and the Peacemakers of ADR

adrProfessor Art Hinshaw’s teaching and research focuses on alternative dispute resolution, a field that looks to forge peace between adversaries that, among other things, can save their money and the courts’ time. At the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Professor Hinshaw teaches Negotiation and directs the Lodestar Mediation Clinic. The students, for their part, have been winning awards in ADR moot court competitions and building connections with ADR professionals through the student organization DRSA. ADR methods include mediation, in which neutral a third party facilitates communications between disputing parties in an attempt to resolve matters, and arbitration, in which a third party hears the dispute and drafts an arbitration award stating who prevails in the dispute.

West Publishing recently released the sixth edition of a popular casebook Professor Hinshaw co-authored, Dispute Resolution and Lawyers: A Contemporary Approach, which provides an overview of the latest developments in arbitration, negotiation, and mediation. Oxford University Press is scheduled to publish his next book, Discussions in Dispute Resolution: The Foundational Articles, which revisits several foundational works in the field, and he has a forthcoming magazine article and book chapter will analyze negotiation ethics.

Much of Professor Hinshaw’s published work focuses on attorney negotiation ethics, a topic he argues is widely misunderstood, in large part because of his empirical work surveying practicing attorneys in Doing the Right Thing: An Empirical Study of Attorney Negotiation Ethics.  This research also led to a piece titled Gender and Attorney Negotiation Ethics, which explored possible reasons for an unexpected result in a study of the reaction of men and women when asked to engage in fraud.  He has written several pieces arguing that lawyers need to internalize their understanding of negotiation ethics in order to follow the requirements of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and in Teaching Negotiation Ethics he offered advice to fellow law professors on how best to teach the subject.

More recently he has analyzed the evolutionary psychological understanding of emotions, and how mediators can harness outbursts of anger or moments of gratitude to resolve disputes in Outbursts: An Evolutionary Approach to Emotions in the Mediation Context. A piece in the Harvard Negotiation Law Review, Regulating Mediators, concerns the potential for scammers to fleece the public resulting from under-regulation of mediators, and suggests innovative solutions.

You can read Professor Hinshaw’s scholarship at the ASU Law Library’s Faculty Repository. If you have an interest in research or practice in the growing ADR field, check out the Lodestar Dispute Resolution Center, and watch the Daily Disclosure for information on the next Dispute Resolution Student Association session. And if you’d like to do your own research on negotiation, mediation, or arbitration, you can Meet with a Librarian to get started.

Andrea Gass, Law Library Fellow

Speedy and Thorough: Research Tips for Time-squeezed 1Ls

researchAt the end of June 2017, I finished my 1L year at ASU by sleepily turning in my final memo for Intensive Legal Research and Writing. After the All-Journal Write-on Exam, thirty writing assignments in one month instilled a sense of urgency in my legal research: I want it done fast and I want it done well the first time. My friends and I pulled off several all-nighters in that great class working on objective memos, persuasive motions, informative client letters, and tough-talking demand letters to learn the following lessons:

Look for ambiguities: A lot of the most interesting discussions in law come in the gray areas—where the law and the facts are not entirely settled or clear. This “it depends” territory can create interesting analytical puzzles for you to solve in your memo: you will want to show that you can see both sides to an argument, and you will want to demonstrate the critical reasoning skills to form a solid conclusion.

Seek secondary sources: If they’re available, secondary sources on your legal issue can quickly set you on the right path for your research. Not only can they provide a quick explanation of the law and an overview of the factors courts consider in deciding on those legal issues, but they list primary law that you will want to analyze. It’s tempting to want to “save time” by diving into the statutes and case law directly, but a little advance reading can make research a lot faster, easier, and more complete.

For relevant case law, use headnotes, KeyCites, and Citing Decisions rather than trying to “Google” everything: Lawyers at Lexis and Westlaw have analyzed cases and the legal issues they contain and have grouped together related authority to help legal researchers perform faster, more thorough research than keyword searching alone. In Lexis, when you find your legal issue, you can click “Shepardize – Narrow by this Headnote” to find more relevant authority. In Westlaw, KeyCites will arrange the legal areas and issues that a headnote addresses, from general to specific. Click on the KeyCite codes for more relevant authority.

For statutes, start by looking at the statute, and find secondary sources from there: Underneath the statutory text, Lexis will break apart the statute into the key legal issues it addresses. If you find one of the issues that your memo is intended to address, you get a quick, one-line summary of a judicial interpretation of the statute, along with a link to a case that could be super-relevant. In Westlaw, you can find similar information in the Notes of Decisions tab at the top of the page, and navigate to helpful secondary sources that will collect relevant case law, such as the ALR Library, underneath the Context & Analysis tab.

CREAC tips: When you’re explaining a precedent case, it may not be enough to list the facts the court considered and tell the reader how the court ruled. You want to analyze why the court ruled the way it did on a variety of factors. Contrasting and comparing the facts in your writing prompt will then much more clearly indicate to the reader whether or not a particular ruling will further the legal principle at issue.

We are here to help. Meet with a Librarian today!

Andrea Gass, Law Library Fellow

Be here now.

ZenMuch of law school involves looking ahead: I am in a professional school and want to make connections and do the right things academically to get my dream job. Unfortunately, it also involves looking behind: did you spot that issue in the Torts final?

Visualizing our ultimate success can help make it so! But some of the best advice you’ll get in law school is to quietly leave it in the past after you turn in an exam. Post-exam parties with friends can be fun, not stressful re-enactments. Be here now.

You will be able to save so much time and regain valuable focus by practicing mindfulness, taking a moment to be aware of your breath, your feelings, your thoughts as they pertain to this moment in time. Living in the moment can prevent you from dwelling on distractions and refocus your attention, and it just might help you let go of harmful stress.

The Ross-Blakley Law Library has resources to help you build mindfulness into your law experience. ASU Law’s own Professor Chad Noreuil offers practical tips on studying, taking exams, developing healthy thoughts, and building relationships with peers, professors, and professionals in The Zen of Law School Success, available in our study skills section on the third floor. Professor Noreuil also can help 3Ls beginning to think about the bar exam get past negative thoughts and emotions and focus on practical skills to sharpen their legal analysis in The Zen of Passing the Bar Exam. Mindfulness for Law Students can help you train your brain for academic success, let go of pain and worry, and improve your physical health. Professors can also learn to incorporate mindfulness into your classroom, or even teach a course on the growing trend of mindfulness in the law.

The newly founded Zen Law Students Association (ZLSA) offers an encouraging, accepting, and kind space to breathe, rest, and unleash your creativity. You are invited to join them on September 24th for Zen Tuesday with Professor Noreuil to boost your serenity and productivity. Be here now.

The ASU Mindfulness, Compassion, and Resilience Center offers more information, resources and events to guide you along the path to mindfulness.

For more stress relieving advice on research and study skills, please click on Meet with a Librarian on the Law Library home page. Librarians Beth, Tara, Sean, and Andrea have been through law school and are delighted to help. Any 1Ls who make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win their own autographed copy of Professor Noreuil’s The Zen of Law School Success!

Andrea Gass, Law Library Fellow

ASU’s Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion Changed My Life

Hi, I’m Andrea, and I adore ASU so much that I’m now working as a research fellow at the law library. But I started law school feeling a little vulnerable. As a transgender woman, I found strong support groups with other trans* and LGBTQIA+ people to help me navigate daily life, but I knew I would be undertaking two great challenges simultaneously, and Civil Procedure was hardly the most daunting.

I faced many obstacles to being who I am today: my true self, complete with a JD! The light rail and my daily running routes were not always safe spaces. But Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and its law library absolutely helped me grow with strong support. I was just another woman learning the law and how to help people. The consistent respect and affirmation I found at ASU helped me achieve a sense of dignity and personal autonomy in a way I never thought would be possible.

Beth DeFelice, for whom I worked as a research assistant after my 1L year, is committed to providing a safe space to help all students thrive at the law library. We can help anyone with study or research needs or concerns. And with four reference librarians holding JDs in our private offices behind the circulation desk on the third floor, we can help get any research or advocacy project off the ground. Please set up a time to Meet with a Librarian or ask any questions at the reference desk during business hours or by phone or email. You can also reach out to ASU Law’s many student organizations to find support from fellow students and faculty members.

I hope you’ll join me at the Diverse Students Coalition lunch discussion Monday, September 23 at 12:15 PM in Room 240. The panel will provide tips for all law students on thriving at ASU. Feel free to drop by my office at Room 350E anytime, or email me at

Andrea Gass, Law Library Research Fellow

Celebrate Constitution Day with the New Constitution Annotated

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.  To celebrate this year’s Constitution Day, the Law Library of Congress is launching the new online Constitution Annotated. Prepared by the American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service, it provides a comprehensive overview of how the Constitution has been interpreted over time. The website brings the Constitution Annotated into the 21st century with Boolean search capabilities, case law links, browse navigation and related resources. The new Constitution Annotated is not only a historical record but also an analysis of current constitutional understandings.

The new website is a great example of the Library’s mission to put users first, says Carla Haden, Librarian of Congress. It maximizes public access to the Constitution Annotated and, through it, to the Library’s expansive collections: now people across the country can access and use the same resources that are available to Members of Congress.

Happy Constitution Day!

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Professor Saks and the Psychology of Criminal Law

Picture1In addition to his first-year criminal law class and his upper-level course on empirical, scientific evidence and the law, Professor Michael Saks extensively researches the science behind the law, including social psychology. He has been involved in more than a dozen book projects touching on science and the law.

His most recent book, The Psychological Foundations of Evidence Law, examines how the rules of evidence limit lawyers’ ability to use psychological techniques to influence judges, juries, and witnesses to promote fair, accurate trials. He has also been involved in academic treatises concerning scientific evidence and expert testimony. He has written on social psychology, and the pressures that small groups, such as juries of fewer than twelve people, may exert to force dissenters to join the dominant group.

Professor Saks is prolific in the legal and scientific academic communities. His most recent article Capital and Punishment: Resource Scarcity Increases Endorsement of the Death Penalty, appeared in 2019 in the scientific journal Evolution and Human Behavior and presented findings supporting the hypothesis that areas with heightened concerns about resource scarcity are more likely to endorse putting criminals to death.

He has published extensively in Arizona State University’s scientific-legal journal Jurimetrics, with his most contribution coming in 2018: Granular Patient Control of Personal Health Information: Federal and State Law Considerations. This article concerned the increasing control over health records that patients can control and analyzed Arizona and federal law concerning particularly sensitive medical information. Psychological Aspects of Food Biodesign (with ASU Professor Roselle L Wissler) examined public anxiety regarding genetically modified foods; Jurors and Scientific Causation: What Don’t They Know, and What Can Be Done About It? (suggested ways of improving juries’ ability to evaluate scientific evidence; and Parallels in Law and Statistics: Decision Making Under Uncertainty (with ASU Professor Samantha L. Neufeld) analyzed the parallels between statistics and law in how to make concrete decisions with incomplete information.

He has also published in the Arizona State Law Journal, presenting a model act law students helped produce to prevent erroneous convictions in Model Prevention and Remedy of Erroneous Convictions Act.

His recent works include Improving Judge & Jury Evaluation of Scientific Evidence in which he explores the paradox inherent in the legal system in which judges must evaluate the validity of expert testimony intended to assist judges and juries with matters beyond their understanding; Methodological Triangulation, in which he presents a new, efficient approach to studying jury behavior and how to affirm the validity of certain experiments by comparing their results with other analytical methods; and The Disregarded Necessity: Validity Testing of Forensic Feature-Comparison Techniques, in which he suggests a shift away from the customary acceptance of forensic science evidence despite questionable empirical foundations.

You can read Professor Saks’ scholarship in the Law Library’s Faculty Scholarship Repository. If you have interest in criminal or scientific/legal research, the reference librarians can help you get started on an article of your own. Stop by the third floor reference desk during reference hours or make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian.

Andrea GassLaw Library Research Fellow

Bloomberg Law: In-Focus Content

What is it?
In-Focus pages are intended to be a one-stop-shop for issues that are currently in the headlines.  They have everything from introductory materials, to links to statutes, to news alerts.  They are a curated in-depth analysis so that an attorney could feel competent dealing with a complicated or technical issue.

Think of them like a Wikipedia page on steroids…. but for legal professionals.

Who makes them?
Bloomberg hires prominent attorneys in the subject fields to collect these materials – people who have extensive knowledge of the subject matter and can anticipate what an attorney would want to know.

For example, Laura Jehl, who has years of experience in securities, privacy, and cybersecurity has drafted the In-Focus: Blockchain (she even advises the DOJ and FBI on these issues).

But what is in them?
Let’s take a closer look at the In-Focus: Blockchain page that I’ve linked above.  Here’s a video to lead you through the process of navigating there.

I won’t cover everything but I’ll give you some highlights.  Top Right (1) you can see that they have a few different Primers (of different depths and scopes).  Dead center (2) they have Bloomberg Law Trackers – these are machine algorithms that go out into the web and scrape data related to the topic.  Just below that (3) they have Bloomberg Analysis, which is generally a deeper look at contemporary topics by legal professionals (like a news article but written by an attorney instead of a journalist).  Further down and on the right sidebar (4) they have links to Dockets and Court Opinions about blockchain – you can see the most recent litigation or search within this subject-specific database.  Wayyyyy down at the bottom (5), they have a map that shows how each state is dealing with regulation (you can click-through to see the actual legislation).

What other topics are covered?
They add new topics as trends emerge.  Here’s a random sampling:

Sean Harrington, Reference/Electronic Resources Librarian