Monthly Archives: April 2020

Hit an Internship Gap? Try Taking This Bridge to Practice

Summer is a golden opportunity to fortify the legal skills that will make employers notice you. But 2020 is different, and some opportunities to practice law have drifted away because of lifesaving social distancing to limit the spread of covid-19. But the outbreak doesn’t need to put learning on hold.

West Academic can help keep your head in the game even if you are staying home during the pandemic. One series is specially geared toward building practical legal skills by simulating legal assignments. The Bridge to Practice series includes twelve volumes, covering broad doctrinal areas of law such as property or specific practice areas such as immigration law.

The introduction to each of the twelve volumes explains the series’ premise: Simulating the progression of cases and clients’ needs from start to finish. The chapters provide students with learning objectives and introduce the legal doctrines governing the clients’ legal issues. Narratives introduce the client or issue, and many of the simulations also display the documents that lawyers will commonly encounter. Dialog reveals how lawyers tailor their language to respond to requests from clients and to make demands from others on behalf of clients. Appendices in each volume gather documents related to particular clients and other key players.

Cases progress throughout the books. For example, in the immigration book, client Susan Vasquez’s legal concerns arise in Phoenix, where she is arrested on theft and immigration-related charges after visiting a hospital. Chapter 2 includes a client interview with Vasquez that raises new legal questions. In Chapter 3, Vasquez faces an emergency as she reports being transported for deportation, which raises ethical concerns and highlights the need for lawyers to be able to rapidly digest problems and find solutions. Remaining chapters involve legal proceedings and distill the experience of advocating for Vasquez in front of a judge and how attorneys collaborate and share their expertise on particular legal issues.

Throughout many of the volumes, questions and research prompts challenge students to engage directly the key primary and secondary authority in the practice area. Further, the cases emphasize the nuances of particular legal tasks and impart lessons on the variety of skills that students should develop to achieve success as attorneys. They also provide excellent reviews of common legal doctrines, such as offer, acceptance, consideration, and defenses in contract law. Criminal Law Simulations: Bridge to Practicefeatures lessons such as the principles of punishment, the elements of crimes in general, particular crimes, and special issues such as accomplice liability.

The Bridge to Practice series includes the following subjects:

To access the Bridge to Practice series and other study resources, go to West Academic’s webpage. You must use your ASU email address to create an account. West Academic will recognize you as a member of the ASU community and allow you to create an account when you use your email address as your username. Once you create an account, your West Academic login will ensure off-campus access to the study aids and will also enable you to print, download, highlight, and take notes. You can download the West Academic Library Mobile App and study anywhere. West Academic distributes additional resources on developing professional skills. If you have questions about accessing study resources, finding materials to help with legal tasks, or researching legal issues in general, feel free to make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian via Zoom or email.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Annotations: SCOTUS and Law Librarians Cherish These Research Tools

“Terrorism” has many legal definitions, with Black’s Law Dictionary defining no less than a dozen terms including the word. But when the State of Georgia tried to stretch the meaning and label free distribution of state law annotations as an element of a “strategy of terrorism,” the Supreme Court snapped it back.

The contentious, 5-4 victory for a nonprofit seeking to provide free access to Georgia’s state code prevents the pay service LexisNexis from claiming exclusive rights to distribution of the statutes and their Lexis-produced annotations. Lexis had agreed to limit the price of the annotated Georgia code and freely distribute the code without annotations in exchange for exclusive copyright. Even the state’s governmental websites direct users to Lexis’ 2020 Georgia statutes. Although the public may find current print statutes in libraries and older versions online, until the recent holding that statutes as well as annotations are not-copyrighted as “government edicts,” Lexis had been able to restrict access to the current, annotated Georgia Code.

By contrast, although Arizona’s Legislature has agreed to credit West’s Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated as the official state code, the current statutes are freely available online without channeling through a publisher’s website. Current and superseded versions of the statutory code are available in print in the Ross-Blakley Law Library.

As for Georgia, the Supreme Court, through Chief Justice John Roberts, held that officials who create law, such as legislators in this case, and judges in previous decisions, may not copyright legal materials they produce in line with their duties. When a nonprofit posted the annotated statutes online, Georgia sued. After the state saw its district court victory overturned in the circuit court, the Supreme Court crushed the state’s copyright claims by reasoning that legislators cannot be the “authors” of official works. This official distinction extends to annotations in legislative works just as it does to headnotes in judicial works. If the law can presume, as it does, that everyone has a duty to know the law, the Court reasoned, decisions that exclude the entirety of legal works are necessary to preserve important legal principles. Copyright barriers to annotations might keep important information from people, such as whether provisions are unenforceable, and might empower states to monetize their codes at the expense of legal integrity.

In dissent, Justice Thomas emphasized that annotations do not necessarily represent the will of the people, and that it should be a legislative and not judicial decision as to whether to copyright them. He worried that lack of copyright protection might discourage states from investing in annotations. Justice Ginsburg, furthermore, dissents on the grounds that annotations are not official lawmaking duties, merely summarize nonbinding commentary, and are mere conveniences—“they aid the legal researcher” but being included alongside noncopyrightable statutes “does not alter their auxiliary, nonlegislative character.”

Here at the Ross-Blakley Law Library, we have a strong appreciation for how much annotations, commentaries, and summaries of cases can “aid the legal researcher.” Whether or not they are subject to copyright and free to all, secondary materials make research more efficient and thorough. As Chief Justice Roberts’ controlling opinion indicates, they quickly provide valuable information that readers of plain case law or statutory text would likely overlook. Regardless of their stance on whether copyright applies, all three opinions underscore the importance of annotations. If you’d like to know more about how to use them to improve your legal research, Meet with a Librarian! We’ll be happy to chat over Zoom or email.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Brent Bihr, 2L & Olivia Stitz, 2L Honored for Exemplary Student Research

The Ross-Blakley Law Library at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of the Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research.

Brent Bihr is the first-place award recipient for his paper: Dark Patterns, Warcraft, and Cybersex: The Addictive Face of Predatory Online Platforms and Pioneering Policies to Protect Consumers.  Bihr is a second year student. Olivia Stitz is our second-place winner for her paper: Comity, Tipping Points, and Commercial Significance: What to expect of the Hague Judgments Convention.  Stitz is also second year student.

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 Beth DiFelice and Tara Mospan and Clinical Professor Kimberly Holst selected the winners from a number of very competitive entries. We received more submissions this year than in any other year.

To read more about the winning papers, please follow this link: The 2020 Recipients of the Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research

Congratulations to our 2020 Winners!

You can view all past award winners here: Ross-Blakley Award for Exemplary Student Research Winners

ASU Library Guide: COVID-19 Resources for Indigenous Peoples

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended normal life in Indigenous communities as it has throughout the world. And the unprecedented impact to public health, economic activity, and daily life is unique to everyone.

To offer news, advice, and resources to help Indigenous people and tribes during the coronavirus response, Arizona State University’s Labriola National American Indian Data Center and the ASU Library have produced a new guide: COVID-19 Resources for Indigenous Peoples.

The guide includes a bevy of resources particularly relevant to Arizona tribes. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona provides tips sheets, news, and epidemiology data. The Navajo Epidemiology Center Coronavirus Response page includes data on the tribe and the disease’s spread in its region of Northern Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. The Tribal Epidemiology Centers’ COVID-19 site tracks similar data from tribes in other regions. The Arizona Department of Health Services and Maricopa County provide updates on coronavirus infection statistics, in the Important Links section at the bottom of the Home page. ASU has tips for students and the Phoenix area community on recognizing the disease, preventing infection, and fighting its spread, as well as information on the university’s response.

The new guide also delves into general Indigenous-centric resources, including information on tribal news, easy to follow tip sheets, and advocacy tools. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service explains on the federal response, including disaster relief and COVID-19 testing data. Organizations including ASU’s American Indian Policy Institute and the National Council of Urban Health track news and Indigenous perspectives on fighting the coronavirus outbreak. Also, women face particular challenges and dangers, and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center helps protect survivors of domestic violence with tips and by coordinating support for assistance programs.

The guide moves beyond raw data to help people with the mental, spiritual, and social impact of the pandemic. It highlights feel-good resources and cultural strength as well as tips on managing stress and the boredom of social distancing, such as connecting with Native artists and YouTubers and celebrating culture. It also includes resources to for students and researchers to keep up with education and stay current on Native news. With schools committed to slowing the illness’s spread, the guide sends a lifeline to parents to keep children entertained and informed in quarantine, including full episodes of educational cartoons, lessons on Native languages, and story readings.   

For informative visuals to promote healthy behavior, Johns Hopkins’ Center for American Indian Health distributes info sheets and images suitable for sharing on social media. Videos on the Labriola guide’s Home page, including one from the Tuba City Regional Health Care Corp., informs viewers about the situation in Northern Arizona and the nature of the coronavirus. Maps and statistical graphics provide further insight into the pandemic’s spread.

Finally, the guide helps people contribute resources to stand in together in solidarity, helping to distribute supplies and manage the crisis. One of the new guide’s cocreators, the Labriola Center, provides scholarship, news, and historical resources to preserve and promote Indigenous research and activism. ASU libraries are open for remote services during the pandemic. The ASU Law Library offers online resources, including a guide to promote wellness and mental health during the coronavirus. The Indian Law library guide further assists study of Arizona tribes, federal law, treaties, and cultural resources. To learn more, make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian via Zoom or email

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

HeinOnline’s New Criminal Justice & Criminology Database

A small percentage of criminal cases even reach trial, let alone the appellate courts that produce many of the cases law students are accustomed to reading on Westlaw or Lexis. Students researching criminal law policy will want to reach outside the usual channels to get a deeper perspective of the issues arising from criminal statutes, law enforcement, the court system, criminal law’s effect on society, or the nature of justice and punishment.

The big picture of crime extends far beyond the courtroom, and far beyond basic legal research.

HeinOnline’s newly expanded and renamed Criminal Justice & Criminology library goes far beyond the Model Penal Code and the courtroom to help researchers see the effects of our crime-fighting efforts on individuals and society as a whole. Criminology, as HeinOnline explains, is a multidisciplinary topic, drawing on knowledge from philosophy and science as well as the law.

The HeinOnline collection includes articles and dedicated criminal law and criminology journals; full-text books; attorney general’s opinions; congressional hearings; and other government reports. HeinOnline’s recent expansion added more than 1,300 works to the collection, and 110 more criminal justice periodicals.

The expanded collection offers a wealth of information to find a topic and learn the doctrine. It includes sixteen subject areas of relevance to the criminal scholar, including criminal statistics; investigation and forensics; law enforcement; reform and recidivism; and victimology. Criminal law touches on so many areas of life that changes in the system reverberate throughout society, and change is constant: HeinOnline describes advances in science that have called longstanding investigatory methods into question, and the concern about mass incarceration of offenders is creating pressure for reforms.

Each legal issue arising in the criminal law context impacts a variety of stakeholders. Students may consider investigating, for example, how proposed policy changes would impact not only individual cases but the work of law enforcement officers as a whole, and how those policies could impact the lives not only of inmates and their families but also of crime victims. Students can find perspectives on both sides of the courtroom, prosecution and defense, on current controversies in the field. HeinOnline also includes much more historical content than the more familiar databases, including criminal justice works from as early at the 1760s.

It’s a lot to take in! HeinOnline’s guide on the Criminal Justice & Criminology library and Venn Diagram search feature can help. The reference librarians at can also help you navigate and find materials relevant to your particular topic, as well as point you to the vast array of legal resources and interdisciplinary sources that ASU students have access to. Feel free to Meet with a Librarian for help on your seminar paper or grad writing requirement.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Summer 2020 & Post-Graduation Use of LexisNexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law & More

My Post (18)The Law Library provides you with unlimited access to a number of premium resources while you are in school but it’s important for you to know the dates that you will lose access (if you graduate) and the limitations that you have while using these platforms outside of school work.  In addition, we have received temporary eBook access to some textbooks from publishers and you should be aware of the tentative dates they will stop providing access. Publishers may choose to continue this access, but we have provided the dates below we have been given at the time of this post.

Free eBook Access for COVID-19 Closures

Publisher End Date
Wolters Kluwer (including Aspen & Carolina) May 25, 2020
Follett (Redshelf) May 25, 2020
West Academic (including Foundation) June 1, 2020

Information on accessing these items can be found in our Remote Access to Law Library Resources: COVID-19 Response LibGuide.

Summary of Legal Research Platform Access

Service Summer Access Post-Graduation Access Important Notes
Bloomberg Law Unrestricted access (academic or commercial use) June 1, 2021 Extended by courtesy of Bloomberg for the COVID-19 closures.
Lexis Advance Unrestricted access (academic or commercial use) 6 months after graduation Can apply for 12 months  of access if working at a non-profit 503(c)(3)
Westlaw EDGE Full access for select academic use 6 months after graduation (60 hours per month) Must register for summer and post-graduation access on site (see full info below)
Casetext Unrestricted access No post-graduation access

More Detail on Legal Research Platforms

Lexis Advance

Limitations on Access
Lexis Advance’s Terms & Conditions allows you to use the platform during the summer months and after graduation:

Lexis Summer

After Graduation
Once you graduate, you’ll automatically receive access for 6 months through the graduate access program.  If you’re working in the non-profit sector (at a 501(c)(3) corporation), you can apply for 12 months of access through their ASPIRE Program.  More information is available here: https://www.lexisnexis.com/grad-access/

Please contact our LexisNexis account executive, Alan J. Mamood, with questions.

Westlaw EDGE

Limitations on Access
Westlaw also allows students to use the platform during the summer and after graduation but they contain a specific limitation on usage:

Westlaw edge

Note: Private internships, unconnected from school credit, are ineligible and you may not bill private clients for this access or research.

After Graduation
The Ross-Blakley Law Library provides access to Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law graduates to enroll in Westlaw’s Grad Elite Program, which gives students access to Westlaw for 6 months for up to 60 hours each month.  Unlike Lexis, you must enroll in this program to maintain your access (for the 60 hours/mo.).  You will maintain access to your TWEN account for 18 months.  More information about this program can be found here:  https://lawschool.westlaw.com/Marketing/Display/PR/2

Please contact our Thomson Reuters Academic Account Manager, Jeff Brandimarte, with questions.

Bloomberg Law

Limitations on Access
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.

After Graduation
Bloomberg Law automatically extends your account for 6 months after you graduate and you still have access to their online training materials and practice resources.  However, due to the COVID-19 closures, they have extended their offer to June 1, 2021 for 2020 graduates.  More information can be found here:

https://help.bloomberglaw.com/docs/blh-110-law-school.html

Casetext

Casetext also provides students with free access during law school.  After graduation it is $65 per month to maintain unlimited access (included CARA AI).  If you plan to work outside of Arizona state, check with your local bar to see if Casetext access is included (or discounted) with your membership.  https://casetext.com/lawschool

If you have any questions about access or would like training on any of these resources, don’t hesitate to make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian (including via Zoom) or Email a Librarian.

Exam Prep: The Law Library Can Help

My Post (15)

The Law Library has an abundance of resources to help you prepare for your exams.

  • Our online study aids subscriptions will help build your confidence.
    WK Online Study Aid
    West Academic Study Aids
  • CALI tutorials are written by law faculty and librarians from American law schools. They are reviewed and revised on a regular basis. The lessons are designed to help you become accustomed to taking multiple-choice examinations and provide feedback to your answers.
  • You may access Law School Past Exams from the Law Library’s web site. Many faculty members make their past exams available to students as a teaching aid.

The law library collects a wide range of study materials because they present similar material differently. We want to accommodate for different learning styles. Some materials serve different functions. One title may restate class materials in a summary form (Examples & Explanations), while another may give you a boatload of practice multiple choice questions (Q&A), and another may be audio lectures for your commute (Sum & Substance). To determine which you like the most, it is best to skim the content either in the library or online to see what will work best for you. Please consult our succinct study skills materials chart to guide you through the semester:PDF icon Study Aids Chart

If there is anything specific you might need help with as you prepare to study for your exams, please don’t’ hesitate to schedule an appointment to Meet with a Librarian.

We wish you the best of luck!

Bar Prep: The Law Library Can Help Equip You for the Ultimate Final

My Post (16)Graduating from law school is a huge achievement and a new beginning, maybe more so than finishing high school or college. For most students even after they submit their last exams and papers, the ultimate final exam awaits.

And bar prep isn’t just for 3Ls. The courses you take and study skills you learn during law school can help you clear the final hurdle on your way to a legal career.

Whether you’re a rising 2L or 3L or newly minted grad, the Law Library is here for you. Our Bar Exam and MPRE Resource Guide gathers the resources you’ll need to reach the magic passing number: 273 points on the Uniform Bar Exam in Arizona.

First, we have tips for getting started, such as choosing a jurisdiction, planning a study strategy, and finding the right books for the job. We also point you to the requirements in Arizona and other states to sit for the exam and join the bar.

Analyzing and answering legal questions on the bar exam is a skill that strengthens only with practice. Print and online study aids help you develop essential exam skills and provide lots of opportunities to test your knowledge. Especially helpful resources include Professor Chad Noreuil’s The Zen of Passing the Bar Exam, which helps students find the proper mindset for success, and Steven L. Emanuel’s Strategies & Tactics for the MBE, which provides concise reviews of all multiple choice subjects, with dozens of practice questions for each.

We also point you toward the commercial bar exam review courses that most students find essential. The guide also breaks down the elements of the Uniform Bar Exam administered in multiple states, including Arizona, so you’ll know what you’ll be facing: two hundred multiple choice questions, six essay questions, and two closed-universe legal documents.

The bar exam is difficult, but as ASU students, you can be confident in your likelihood of success. The bar exam and the array of aids can be a lot to take in, so our reference librarians are happy to help you navigate the options and find the right study aids for you.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020! And best of luck on the bar.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian