Celebrating Women’s History Month: The Honorable Justice Mary M. Schroeder

schroeder-mary.jpg__310x393_q85_crop_subsampling-2_upscaleIn celebration of Women’s History Month, the Ross-Blakley Law Library will have a recurring series of social media posts dedicated the women who helped shape the state of our legal system.

In this episode we will cover the Honorable Justice Mary M. Schroeder.  Justice Schroeder is currently a Senior Circuit Judge with her chambers in Phoenix, Arizona and ranks 4th in seniority of the 49 members of the 9th Circuit.  Justice Schroeder began her legal career when women attorneys (let alone judges) were a rarity in the United States and was among the Women Trailblazers who inspired a generation of women to begin their legal studies.

Both of Justice Schroeder’s parents were professors at the University of Pittsburg when they met.  The couple moved to Boulder, Colorado, got married, and Justice Schroeder was born in 1940.  Justice Schroeder recalls that, from an early age, she understood her mother to be a thoughtful feminist.  Her father was a bibliophile who owned “mountains of books” and she adored him.  Both of Justice Schroeder’s parents were experts in parliamentary procedure and they passed this love of order and the written word to their daughter.

Academic Excellence
Justice Schroeder received her B.A from Swarthmore College in 1962.  While at Swarthmore she received a Ford Foundation grant to go to Washington DC to study legislation.  This opportunity ignited a passion for law and politics, however, she knew that as a woman in 1962 she “could go nowhere in government without a law degree from a good school.”  Schroeder’s credentials could not be denied, she was accepted at the University of Chicago Law School.  Women in law were rare and the University of Chicago still had policies in place that made law school an even more challenging experience than it usually was: there was no housing for women on campus so Schroeder had to walk a mile and a half (in Chicago winters) to class. Women were not even allowed in the dining areas.  Schroeder became so sick  during her first semester that she collapsed on the eve of her final exams and a classmate had to lobby her professors for extensions.  Of the seven women accepted that year, two dropped out due to the grueling conditions.  Justice Schroeder persevered and graduated in 1965.

Legal Career
The job market for women in law was bleak when Justice Schroeder entered law school but she graduated the year after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, so government agencies were running to the top law schools to find high-achieving women candidates to fill their ranks.  In 1965 she accepted a job at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Civil Division as a trial attorney where she served until 1970 when she parted for a yearlong clerkship with Justice Jesse A. Udall of the Arizona Supreme Court.  After her clerkship she briefly entered the private sector in 1971 for the firm of Lewis and Roca in Phoenix, AZ – where she became a partner in only two years.

Justice Schroeder was elected to serve on the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One from 1975-1979.  During that time, Justice Schroeder became Visiting Professor Schroeder here at Arizona State University College of Law where she taught Civil Procedure (1975), Appellate Advocacy (1976), and Discovery (1978).  ASU recognized Justice Schroeder with the Distinguished Achievement Award in 1977 and ASU continues to recognize her excellence with Mary M. Schroeder Public Interest Prize.

In 1979 she was nominated to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by President Jimmy Carter.  She became the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the 9th Circuit from December 2000-2007 and still serves on the 9th circuit as a Senior Circuit Judge.

Noteworthy Achievements
Justice Schroeder is a member of the prestigious American Law Institute (the organization that publishes the American Law Reports) where she has been a member of the ALI Council since 1993.  Justice Schroeder serves as advisor on the Principles of Government Ethics project and the Restatement Fourth, The Law of Consumer Contracts project. She is also on the Members Consultative Groups for the Restatement Fourth, Foreign Relations Law of the United States project and the Model Penal Code: Sentencing project.

She, like Justice O’Connor, has an impressive list of publications and awards that I will not attempt to summarize but you can see them on her ABA Profile from “Women Trailblazers.”

Other Resources
If you would like to see a breakdown of Justice Schroeder’s rulings on the 9th Circuit, you can see them by following this link with your Westlaw credentials.

The ABA has a wonderful series of oral transcripts with Justice Schroeder where she is interviewed long-form about her early life and distinguished legal career.

Sean Harrington, Electronic Resources Librarian

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Sandra Day O’Connor

March is Women’s History Month which commemorates and encourages the study, observance, Sandra-Day-OConnor-law school portraitand celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Ross-Blakley Law Library will have a recurring series of social media posts dedicated to the women who helped shape the state of our legal system.

First up, our namesake, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

If you have not already, please visit the Ross-Blakley Law Library LibGuide, Sandra Day O’Conner: Her Life and Legacy, which gives her a far more robust treatment than we could manage in a single blog post.

Born in El Paso, Texas Sandra Day O’Connor grew up on a 198,000-acre ranch called the “Lazy B” in South East Arizona near Duncan, Arizona.  The ranch did not have running water nor electricity and was nine miles from the nearest paved road.  When she was six years old she was sent to El Paso to live with her maternal grandmother. Schooling options near the ranch were limited for a young woman. O’Connor attended Radford School for Girls and then graduated from Austin High School. She did return to the life on the cattle ranch during the breaks. She learned to brand cattle at the age of eight.

Academic Excellence
Sandra Day O’Connor was a gifted student with a tenacious spirit.  At the age of 16, she began her college career at Stanford University. In 1950 she graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Economics.   She then attended Stanford law school where she served on Stanford Law Review with later colleague Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist. She completed law school in just two years as opposed to the usual three. In 1952 she graduated from Stanford law ranked third in her class. To give some context, Harvard didn’t even accept women applicants until 1950. This remains the only law school class to produce two Supreme Court Justices in the same year.

Legal Career
Finding a legal job in the 1950’s was not easy for women and O’Connor, despite her flawless credentials, was no exception.  While her male peers like Justice Rehnquist went to clerk for judges or work for large law firms, she found that none of the large California firms would hire a woman. She began her legal career working for the county attorney of San Mateo for free, after turning down a paid position as a legal secretary. Having proved herself as an asset, she got a job as the deputy county attorney.

In 1954, O’Connor left California to work in Frankfurt, Germany as a civilian attorney for the Quartermaster Masker Center, a site abroad for the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, while her husband served mandatory military service. After his service was complete, the couple returned to Phoenix, Arizona. While her husband took a good job in corporate law with a prominent firm, O’Connor opened up her own private practice with one other lawyer. In 1965, she began working as the Assistant Attorney General for Arizona. In 1969 the Governor of Arizona appointed her to fill a vacancy in the Arizona senate – she ran for the position and won it the subsequent year.  Three years later she became the state senate’s first female majority leader. In fact, she was the first female majority leader in any state senate

In 1975 Justice O’Connor was given her first set of robes when she was elected to the Arizona State Superior Court.  In 1979 she was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals by the governor of Arizona where she presided until she was nominated for the United States Supreme Court in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan.

While on the SCOTUS, she authored a number of opinions on a wide range of issues.  She was frequently the swing vote and received the respect of both political parties for ability to compromise on tough issues.

Justice O’Connor’s meteoric rise and brilliant career are a testament to a woman who, despite roadblocks and closed doors, achieved a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States. She is a prolific author, has received countless awards and honors including the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.  In later life she created the non-profit, iCivics, which promotes civics education to students so they might become active citizens.

Courageously, on October 23, 2018, Sandra Day O’Connor announced in a letter that she is in the early stages of what is likely Alzheimer’s disease and is retiring from public life.

A generous gift to the law school from the O’Connor estate has allowed the Law Library to come into possession of a great number of books from Justice O’Connor’s personal collection.  We are currently in the process of organizing these items for display in the 5th floor reading room.  We have received everything from inscribed books to artifacts from her desk at the Supreme Court.  Look forward to future announcements about this fascinating collection.

3L Walter G. Johnson Wins Highly Respected Burton Award

Walter Johnson Burton Award

A huge congratulations to 3L Walter G. Johnson on winning the most revered and highly respected Burton Award. The Burton Awards program is designed to reward major achievements in the law, ranging from literary awards to the greatest reform in law. The Burton Awards academic board selects ten law school students a year to honor with their distinguished legal writing award. Johnson won the Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award for his paper Governance Rules for Second Quantum Revolution, 59 Jurimetrics 487 (2019). He also won first place for the same paper in last year’s Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research.

Winning authors of the Burton literary awards display a true understanding and mastery of the law as well as clear, cogent, and concise writing. The Burton Awards program is held in association with the Library of Congress, presented by lead sponsor Law360, and co-sponsored by the American Bar Association. The awards are generally selected by professors from Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, Stanford Law School, and Columbia Law School, among others. The award ceremonies are held annually in the spring at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

Well done Walter!

New Law Library Guide Helps Job-Seeking Law Students Do Homework on Employers

Job GuideNo matter how glorious your resume and transcript or how many glowing recommendations you collect, you have to know a lot about a job opportunity to let your employers know that you want it and are right for the position. Success in the legal job market, as in law school, takes a lot of homework.

And we at the Ross-Blakley Law Library are here to help! Our new Law Employment Research Guide job seeking law students and graduates, Employment Research, compiles resources to help get tabs on law firms, to land a clerkship with a judge, or just to build essential lawyering skills such as networking and compiling contracts.

The Researching Law Firms tab gathers resources to help you get a feel for how your potential employer operates, and how you can set yourself up to be its most appealing interviewee. Litigation analytics tools give you insight into practice areas, specialties, biographical details about attorneys. Legal news resources can help you brush up to keep the conversation flowing. Books give you background information on legal employment opportunities, and advice on your application materials and interviewing strategies. Online resources provide general career tips, and other online tools help you get a more complete picture of the life and culture of a law firm before you try to dive in.

The Clerkship Interviews tab features litigation analytics on judges, their histories of motions, and the practice areas in which they tend to work. Books and legal news will help you connect with your judge on a human and intellectual level, and advice on finding your judge’s opinions will help you get more personal. Online resources help you find openings and land your clerkship.

Finally, the Professional Development tab includes resources to help you build the skills to be a more effective attorney, and to be a better-known job candidate. Networking opportunities resources will help you connect with different facets of the legal community to build a higher profile that can translate into job opportunities. Books will help with the transition from law school to legal practice, keeping yourself happy and balanced as you meet the challenges of life as an attorney. Finally, practical job preparedness and practice tools can give you a leg up on the job, gathering resources that can help you operate effectively and efficiently.

If you make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian, we can give you some pointers on research tools to uncover the information you will need to wow your future employers in cover letters and interviews. And make an appointment with Career Services for more detailed assistance on landing a job and developing professionally. Good luck on all your interviews to come!

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Congratulations to the 3L Haiku Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered. The judging was difficult but we did manage to pick two winners.

Drum roll…and the winners are:

Haiku Contest Winner 2020

Thank you to Prof. Noreuil for his inspiring Haiku and for signing the prizes which are copies of his book The Zen of Passing the Bar Exam. All the entries are below. Good luck to everyone taking the Bar Exam. We know you will do great!

What is the bar, friend?
Studying, books, law law law
But in truth? Coffee.
-Nick Walter

Let’s pass our finals,
Kill it on the Bar Exam,
And be great lawyers.
-Heather Martin

Oh the dread I feel
But hope’s on the horizon
I’m prepared to win
-Austin Cromack

Become a lawyer.
All it takes is two days, right?
Really — stop whining.
-Jenny Adams

Want to graduate,
but I know waiting for me
is a big gut punch.
-Austin Marshall

The bar will be hard
It is stressful and tricky
but lunch will be free
-Basil D’Souza

Oh god oh god oh
God oh god oh *coffee* god
Oh god oh god oh
-Andrew Weber

Was it all worth it?
Countless hours, books, funds, and tears
The bar will decide
-Andrew Weber

The Monkey Bar, Hang
A life in Cartoon Motion
The Bar Exam, BANG!
-Salvador Navarro

It is time to shine.
The bar test will be just fine.
Trust in you this time!
– Jordan Buckwald

West Academic Study Aids: New Interactive Study Resources Provide Instant Feedback

West Academic has a new, interactive resource to provide instant feedback as you prepare for final exams. The popular Exam Pro Objective series, featuring multiple choice practice questions for core law school subjects, now has an interactive quiz feature that provides a modern spin on exam prep.
exam pro
Click on “Take Quiz” in the bottom right corner of the gray box containing the book title and image. This opens the page containing multiple practice exams of twenty-five questions each. Click on “start” or “continue” to take a quiz.

There, you will find the multiple-choice questions that students have long used to prepare for multiple choice exams in a different format. You may skip questions and return to them by clicking “back” or “next,” or end the quiz early to view feedback. Each time you submit an answer you will get instant feedback on whether you chose the best answer, and an explanation for why your selection was or was not correct.

This format can help you prepare for your final exams in law school, and possibly the biggest exam of all: the bar. Some bar preparation materials have a similar online format, so you can get a jump-start on clearing the final hurdles on the way to becoming an attorney.

If you need any help accessing West Academic, or advice on research for your brief, journal note, or grad writing requirement, feel free to Meet with a Librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Update on Wolters Kluwer Study Aids: New 1L Videos and More

If you haven’t visited Wolters Kluwer Study Aids in a while, you should.  They have completely modernized and retooled their user-interface to improve your experience.


In addition to revamping the interface, they have created a series of Quimbee-style videos on a number of 1L topics: Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Business Organizations, etc.  The videos are broken down in bite-sized topics (e.g. Criminal Law > Conspiracy) and are usually around 2-5 minutes in length.  They are a great way to supplement your studying with audio/visual materials . The “Videos” tab is directly below the search bar.


Wolters Kluwer is also home to the famously popular Examples and Explanation Series.  Many professors recommend this series to their students and it is a favorite student study aid whether in print or online. The law library provides you with access to both Wolters Kluwer and West Academic so save your hard-earned money and create accounts for these two services before you purchase a study aid.


If you are looking to test your knowledge before finals and are struggling to find model essays (with answers) to practice on, Wolter Kluwer hosts the Friedman’s Practice Series.  This series has eBooks for all of your 1L courses (and many 2L/3L courses) and has both practice multiple choice questions and practice essays – with model answers and issue-spotting outlines for the essays.


Remember: To access this resource you must go through the proxy link (below) and create an account while on the ASU campus wi-fi before you will be able to access the eBooks at home.  This is the proxy link you must use (bookmark it!):


If you have any trouble accessing these resources don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  If you’d like an in-person demonstration to any of these resources, Make an Appointment with a Librarian for a  one-on-one walk-through.

Sean Harrington, Electronic Resources Librarian

Practically Attorneys: Tools for Efficient Legal Work

Pratically AttorneysBy now, all of us in law school are familiar with using Westlaw, Lexis Advance, and Bloomberg to find case law, statutes, and secondary sources. But all of the Big Three can do so much more to help you at your internships, externships, and clerkships.

The databases have compiled practical information on the substance and procedures of practices in various specific areas of law, from civil litigation to commercial real estate transactions. They each feature practice guides to help familiarize legal professionals with the substance and procedure of legal tasks. Standard documents consist of form agreements into which a client’s data may be entered to craft legal documents. Similarly, standard clauses provide customizable provisions to insert into other agreements. Checklists in all three databases compile the specific tasks necessary to complete transactions.

In Westlaw, click on “Practical Law” under “Content Types” on the homepage, or click on the black circle with the white arrow nest to the name “Westlaw Edge” to navigate to Practical Law. Here, you will find three main tabs:

  1. Practice Areas: Gathers resources for various legal practice areas, such as antitrust or international arbitration. Each link leads to key information specific to each area, such as market data, news, and common topics.
  2. Resource types: Enables users to browse compilations of resources, including customizable Standard Documents, resource compilations known as Toolkits, and State Q&As that enable users to compare and contrast the laws of different jurisdictions.
  3. Jurisdictions: Includes all states, the District of Columbia, and national/federal entries.

In Lexis Advance, click on the tic-tac-toe box at the top left and navigate to “Lexis Practice Advisor.” Here you will find five main tabs:

  1. Practice Area: Gathers resources that attorneys in particular fields, such as Corporate and M&A Law and Tax will often need to use. Each area offers up-to-date guidance, news, and information on legal developments.
  2. Content Type: Enabling users to browse for resources such as practice notes or forms.
  3. Jurisdiction: Includes the states, territories, and District of Columbia.
  4. Industry: Compiles legal resources related to established and booming industries, such as financial services and cannabis.
  5. Tools and Resources: Additional resources such as state law comparisons can also improve attorneys’ accuracy and efficiency.

In Bloomberg Law, click on the Browse icon at the top left and open the “Practitioner Tools” link. There, you will find “Practical Guidance Home.” Here, you will find resources arranged in a variety of practice areas, along with a search bar to find specific documents. Each practice area includes links to specific, commonly performed tasks and legal issues.

Bloomberg Law also offers:

  1. Chart builders that enable users to compare and contrast the laws of different jurisdictions.
  2. transactional precedents that enable users to browse or search resources such as bylaws and real property mortgages.
  3. EDGAR, a searchable compilation of business performance and financial information.

If you’re a 1L looking for your first job, schedule a time to Meet with a Librarian to get a leg up on researching your employer and finding the information that you need to prepare for interviews, especially that most dreaded query: “Do you have any questions for us?”

Speaking of that: Do you have any questions for us? Let the law librarians know if you need access to any of the databases or if you have any questions about how practical legal tools can help in your next placement.

Andrea Gass, Law Librarian

Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research

Paper ContestDo you want to win $500?  Do you want something special to add to your resume? How about all the pats on the back you will get from family and friends if you win this prestigious award?  You better get to work!  The deadline to enter the annual Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research is March 30th at 9:00am.

The purpose of the award is to encourage students to focus on practical skills and to refine their research abilities beyond ordinary proficiency to achieve their personal best. We are most interested in your research process. Submissions may be, but are not limited to, papers written for a class or as a journal note.

Two award recipients will be selected.  The first place winner will receive $500.00 and a Certificate of Recognition.  The second place winner will receive $250.00 and a Certificate of Recognition.

A panel composed of two Law Librarians and one Legal Writing Instructor will judge submissions based on how well they demonstrate the following:

  • Sophistication, originality, or unusual depth or breadth in the use of research materials, including, but not limited to, online and print resources, search engines and databases, primary and secondary legal resources, interdisciplinary resources, and empirical resources
  • Exceptional innovation in research strategy, including the ability to locate, select, and evaluate research materials with discretion
  • Skillful synthesis of research results into a comprehensive scholarly analysis

To learn more about the award including eligibility, acceptable papers, selection criteria and application procedures, please visit: Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research

And remember, if you need help with your research, don’t forget to Meet with a Librarian.

Good Luck!

Cite Check: Just Do It

Cite CheckWhy do law librarians and legal writing professors make such a big deal about the cite-checking process? In this blog post I will give some examples of legal research and cite-checking (or shepardizing) gone horribly wrong.  Imagine that you’re standing before your legal writing professor and arguing your appellate brief, or that you’re being shadowed by your supervising attorney during your first court appearance, or that you’re presenting your brief to a senior partner that you greatly admire.  Now imagine that you didn’t take the time to properly check your work and missed a crucial piece of information.  As a law librarian, these terrifying scenarios cause me to break out in a flop-sweat.

Example 1: The classic, often-cited example of a failing to shepardize comes during the biggest pop-culture trial of the last 50 years – the OJ Simpson trial.


Marcia Clark was center-stage during a trial where around 95 million people across the world tuned in daily to see if OJ Simpson would be convicted of murder.  To give some context, that’s nearly how many people watched the Superbowl last year (this was before streaming services when most people had basic cable).  The stakes were high and the pressure was incredible for Ms. Clark.  During this clip we see Judge Ito probe Ms. Clark about a law that (he knows) has been applied in a criminal context, despite her claim that it has not.  Ms. Clark’s claims end up being wrong because it turns out that she’s relying on second-hand information from one of her junior associates – and that associate has not performed thorough research.  To be fair to Ms. Clark, this trial was enormously stressful for her for a number of reasons.  Regardless, this is a situation that could have been avoided if a proper research plan had been executed.

Example 2: Court clerk’s failure to shepardize results in defendant’s conviction being reversed.


[The case was subsequently recalled and vacated… but I bet this clerk got an ear-full.]

Example 3:  Attorney is sanctioned and later sued for malpractice because they did not adequately research the law.

McCandless v. Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co., Inc., 697 F.2d 198 (7th Cir. 1983)
(Westlaw password required.)

“Before filing suit, it would seem to be a reasonable expectation that the attorney do some basic research on the applicable law.”  – Judge Pell


Example 4:  Ostrich-syndrome related to subsequent rulings results in sanctions.

Precision Specialty Metals, Inc. v. US, 315 F.3d 1346 (Fed. Cir. 2003)

“Counsel’s ‘ostrich-like tactic of pretending that potentially dispositive authority against [his] contention does not exist[] [is] precisely the type of behavior that would justify imposing Rule 11 sanctions.’”

CaseText provides a useful analysis of various automated cite-checking resources (to double check your work).  Keep in mind that CaseText is a software company that is trying to sell their product.  If you want a more neutral take, please refer to our Legal Citation  research guide.  This guide is in progress and is likely to see substantive updates and the semester continues so make sure to check back in once we get close to the end of the semester (and your papers are due).

Sean Harrington, Electronic Resources Librarian