Exam Prep: The Law Library Can Help

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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

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Justice Ruth V. McGregor

Justice McGregorJustice Ruth Van Roekel McGregor was among the most successful students at Arizona State University’s College of Law in a time of significant gender disparity in the legal profession. She became a judicial star in her own right and supported the rise of one of the profession’s greatest trailblazing women.

In 1981, Justice McGregor became one of the first clerks for the Supreme Court justice who would become the College’s namesake, Sandra Day O’Connor. Although most law clerks are recent law school graduates and she had a lucrative career at the private law firm Fennemore Craig, Justice McGregor brought additional experience to support the first woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.

There, Justice McGregor galvanized her legacy of support for gender equality. One of the other Supreme Court clerks with whom she served, Deborah Jones Merritt, reflected in the Arizona State Law Journal that Justice McGregor worked on the influential case Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan. That case forced MUW to stop discriminating against men in its nursing program.

She would continue her life of public service, working her way through the Arizona court system to become Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court in her final term before her retirement in 2009. In addition to her service to Arizona jurisprudence, through her professional associations she served legal education and supported the advancement of women in the legal profession as a member of the Board of the National Association of Women Judges.

Justice McGregor’s legal career began to blossom at Arizona State’s law school, from which she graduated summa cum laude. There, she served as a second-year member and Senior Comment Editor for the journal Law and the Social Order, the predecessor to the Arizona State Law Journal.

As a student, she co-wrote a comment with Margaret Rhys Tinsley titled Juries and Jurors in Maricopa County, analyzing statistics to determine how well the Arizona county that includes Phoenix was adhering to the constitutional requirement that juries be representative of the community. The authors noted that women might have been overrepresented because they were less likely to be employed at that time. However, they concluded that despite clear underrepresentation of the young adults and older people as well as the economically and educationally disadvantaged that Maricopa County was largely fulfilling its obligation.

Justice McGregor went on to write several articles for law reviews and journals during her career, including a piece in the Syracuse Law Review analyzing whether the merit selection system of judge selection in states including Arizona adequately preserved judicial independence. She also explored the evolution of legal education toward a more outcome-based model and measured the educational benefits and drawbacks of the Socratic method and practical legal clinic work in the Phoenix Law Review. She also returned to the Arizona State Law Journal to provide updates on developments in Arizona constitutional jurisprudence, highlighting the judiciary’s ultimate goal of shaping a body of law that accurately and objectively interprets the state constitution.

She also wrote several pieces, including one published in the Harvard Law Review, praising her boss at the Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor, for her trailblazing and her support of the advancement of women in the legal profession. Justice McGregor hailed Justice O’Connor’s accessibility and her outreach to young girls to help them see their own potential. Through her work for the judiciary and legal education, Justice McGregor has provided a shining example of success and service in Arizona.

If you have an interest in examining the legal issues underlying topics such as gender equality and the court system, the reference librarians at ASU’s law library have research expertise to get you started. Meet with a Librarian to discuss your ideas in person or online.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

The Law Library Can Help You Try Out for Journal

IMPORTANT: There will be a mandatory Journal write-on exam meeting on Monday, March 30, 2020 via Zoom to learn more about the Law Journal Write On Competition This meeting is mandatory for anyone who plans to take the Write On Exam this year. The meeting will be held on March 30th at 12:15 at https://asu.zoom.us/j/847873412

My Post (5)At the end of the semester, you will have the opportunity to take a marathon write-on exam to test your Bluebook and writing skills under challenging conditions. The reward could be a staff position on Law Journal for Social JusticeJurimetricsSports and Entertainment Law JournalCorporate and Business Law Journal, or the Arizona State Law Journal

Working on a journal is a great educational experience, giving you the opportunity to work with professional legal and policy arguments by law professors and legal practitioners while honing Bluebook skills. And it can help employers appreciate your resume.

So, how can you boost your chances of getting on Journal? The law library has resources and expertise to give you a leg up.

At the end of a marathon of oral arguments, final briefs, and four final exams, you may all be welcoming the opportunity to wave goodbye to 1L. But, our First Year Legal Writing Guide provides many great resources to help you prepare for the written portion of your exam. So, just think of the All-Journal Write-on exam as your last act as a 1L. Resources for brushing up on memo writing will critical, because this time you have only hours, not weeks, to polish a solid piece of legal writing. 

We recommend Legal Method and Writing by Professors Charles Calleros and Kimberly Holst, if you haven’t already pored over it for your two writing classes so far. This resources is particularly useful for refining your logical demonstrations of why the law applied to your facts would create a particular outcome. Examples & Explanations: Legal Writing, which Professor Judith Stinson co-authored, helps you demystify the process and write fast, clear, efficient CREACs (or IRACs or CRuPACs). One of the big challenges will be organization: This will help you craft a logical, coherent, modular argument that marshals unfamiliar resources quickly. You can find this E&E on the Wolters Kluwer study aids websiteProfessor Stinson’s own The Tao of Legal Writing provides a framework for achieving your full potential as a legal writer—and most importantly for write-on purposes, an efficient strategy for outlining and writing your response that will leave you plenty of time for revising and polishing to help you stand out to the journals.

You will also face a test of your citation acumen, and we have you covered there, too. Our Legal Writing library guide can help you navigate the Bluebook in the Legal Citation section, which features books and online resources that provide examples and explanations of the rules. Speaking of that, Examples & Explanations: Legal Research can help you brush up on the principles of citation in its appendices, so that you can better understand why we cite the way we do and begin to make complex citation decisions second nature. We recommend Understanding and Mastering the Bluebook to help you make sense of some complicated rules in the white pages of the Bluebook, which are the main focus of law journals but not first-year writing courses. 

The Interactive Citation Workstation on Lexis Advance will put your skills  to the test in advance. The Bluebook can be notoriously finicky, so the instant feedback and machine precision that the workstation provides can help you get accustomed to the cite checking life. By clicking on the different topics, you can practice forming citation sentences, and the program will check to ensure compliance with standards for italics, small capitals, spacing, and abbreviation, and it can help you practice citing to unfamiliar sources such as administrative regulations, legislative histories, and law journals.

Finally, our Journal Cite Checking library guide will help you with one of the tasks most dear to the hearts of librarians—finding older or obscure resources in print or online. We have resources in place to help you do your research for cite checking, from interlibrary loan, to digital book repositories, to research databases, to government archives. And when you get stumped, our reference librarians are here to help.

If you’re thinking about Journal and want to know more about what it’s like or how to brush up your skills to make the staff, feel free to Meet with a Librarian. We can help you walk through complicated citation problems and get you started on research for your note or comment. 

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research: March 30th Deadline Approaching

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

You can read about past winners here: Ross-Blakley Award for Exemplary Student Research Winners

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

Good Luck!

Need a Break? Read a Book – ASU Library Provides Free E-Book Access

Need a BreakDo you have a long list of books that you’ve been meaning to read?  You have many resources available to you simply by virtue of being a member of the ASU community. ASU libraries has a plethora of resources for you to access eBooks digitally on virtually any device.  Notably, we have access to ProQuest’s eBook Central. This is but one of the many eBook platforms that we subscribe to for students, staff, and faculty.  So grab a beverage, settle into your favorite seat, and let yourself get lost in a book.

The Internet Archive just announced the opening of the National Emergency Library which is a collection of books that supports emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries are closed.

In addition to eBooks, we also have access to free streaming services for documentaries and TV shows like Kanopy, Films on Demand, and Filmakers Library Online.

As always, we are happy to help you gain access to these resources if you would like to contact us.

I would also like to note the fantastic supplemental resources that we’ve received from some of the publishers to help you study remotely. A wide range of free digital textbooks and study guides have been made available to students who are unable to get to the physical library. You can read about them in our Remote Access to Law Library Resources: COVID-19 Response LibGuide.

Sean Harrington, Electronic Resources Librarian

Celebrating Women’s History Month: United States Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

Kyrsten_SinemaSandra Day O’Connor College of Law alumnae have blazed many new trails in the legal profession and the judiciary. Kyrsten Sinema broke new ground in the political realm, becoming the first woman to be elected to the United States Senate from Arizona.

Sen. Sinema is a 2004 juris doctor recipient, who previously earned a master’s degree in social work and subsequently earned an MBA and a Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. She is the first Democrat to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate since Sen. Dennis DeConcini left office in 1995, and the first openly bisexual woman to serve in the chamber.

She maintains offices in Phoenix and Tucson as well as in Washington, D.C. Her official website indicates that she prioritizes safety, job creation, and veterans’ issues in Arizona.

Before serving in the Senate, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives three times, serving a district representing parts of the Phoenix area including surrounding communities such as Scottsdale and Tempe. Before that, she served in the Arizona Legislature, in the state House of Representatives from 2005 to 2011 and the state Senate from 2011 to 2012.

Sen. Sinema maintains strong ties to her alma mater, teaching classes on the intersections of law and social work and in public policy at Arizona State’s Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions.

And she returned to ASU Law in 2019 to deliver a commencement address, emphasizing how much education helped her achieve after rising from her humble beginnings. She inspired the Class of 2019 to make their own impact with their law degrees.

Sen. Sinema was a staff writer an Associate Articles Editor for the Arizona State Law Journal from 2003-05. The Journal published her case note, Overton v. Bazzetta: How the Supreme Court Used Turner to Sound the Death Knell for Prisoner Rehabilitation, in its Spring 2004 issue. In it, she decried the Supreme Court’s decision as “unjust and unconstitutional,” and argues for a return to a standard of reviewing prison regulations that better preserves inmates’ rights, such as a limited freedom of association.

She has also published two books. Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions That Win and Last (2009) charts a more cooperative path forward in politics, emphasizing the advantages of forging unlikely alliances over going negative on opponents and engaging in fear-mongering to win an election. Who Must Die in Rwanda’s Genocide? The State of Exception Realized (2015) discusses the political atmosphere and the underlying factors leading to devastating violence in the small African country. She points out that the near extermination of the Tutsi minority was possible because of extremists in government and popular approval of the genocide.

At the Ross-Blakely Law Library, reference librarians have the experience to help students interested in governance and election law contribute to the scholarship in their field. We can help you find the statutes, legislative histories, and proposals to help you explain and describe the state of the law, and chart your own suggestions for how to move forward. Click here to make an appointment.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

CALI: Like Having Your Own Tutor

CALI SlideCALI 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