Author Archives: Andrea Gass

Research and Reference Resources to Support Your Journal Ambitions

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 Journalor 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 to give you a leg up.

At the end of a rush 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 be 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. This resource 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 retired Professor Judy 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 Aspen study aids website. Professor 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 will put your skills to the test in advance of the write-on. 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 Research 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.

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

Talk the Talk: Law Library Resources Enhance Oral Advocacy

Lawyers and librarians alike have a way with words, spending much of their time with books and internet databases, reading, researching, and writing. But we also must step up and let our voices be heard. Whether law students are undergoing the first year rite of passage of delivering oral arguments in their finest legal attire or honing their presentations for a moot court championship, the librarians can help budding public speakers maximize their persuasiveness.

Students preparing for the Legal Advocacy argument should check out the Law Library’s First Year Legal Writing page. This research guide points to useful resources for modeling and enhancing oral arguments. Our print study skills collection includes the updated classic Little Book on Oral Argument, which can help students nervous about public speaking channel their energy into a powerful oratorical performance. Other resources include commentary from legal communication experts and a late U.S. Supreme Court justice.

We point you to resources such as an online treatise titled Art of Advocacy—Appeals, which provides tips on presenting and engaging and persuasive case, with full length, annotated examples of effective oral arguments from which students can draw lessons about tone, style, and structure. It also helps prepare students preparing for a career in litigation for what to expect in navigating judicial procedures at courthouses.

The library also provides links to archives that enable students to observe real world court proceedings across the country, including in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Arizona Court of Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Arizona. Students may learn from the examples of the professionals, and get a sense of how quickly the judges will begin peppering them with questions.

The library’s Advanced Legal Writing: Persuasion guide includes further resources to help orators prepare persuasive presentations. Books include discussions of cognitive science as the basis for recommending certain persuasive techniques, and provide concrete examples of effective rhetorical tools to employ in writing as well as oral argument.

For critiques of your oral argument’s content and technique, contact your professor or teaching assistant. And for more guidance on library resources, feel free to Meet with a Librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Know Your Future Boss: Law Library Offers One-on-One Help in Job Hunt

Advances in technology aren’t just making our jobs as attorneys easier. They’re making it easier to land a job in the first place.

The Ross-Blakley Law Library’s research experts know the tools that can be the difference maker when employers decide who will get a callback.

Our Law Employment Research guide gathers materials to help you decide what job you want, develop networking connections, and get information on law firms, judges, and other potential employers.

Even more helpful in landing a job are the one-on-one appointments we offer to all students looking for a job. Click here to make an appointment! We can help you use new and old research tools, from cutting edge Litigation Analytics software to simple examinations of firm websites and blogs.

The information you gather can help you decide which experiences to emphasize in your resume and cover letter to maximize your chances, and it can even help you choose which writing sample you have that will be most appealing to particular employers.

Career Services can assist in constructing effective resumes and cover letters, as well as interview prep. But before you reach that stage, consider a brief, 15 minute meeting with a law librarian to make sure you know all you need to know about your potential future boss before you apply,

Trust Us, Our Antitrust Guide Will Make Your Research Competitive

Antitrust law is the body of federal and state rules designed to prevent unfairness and promote competition in the business sphere.

The Ross Blakley Law Library’s Antitrust guide is designed to help students, researchers, and practitioners make sense of and make use of these rules.

The Primary Sources tab gathers resources that contain all the federal statutes, cases, and regulations researchers will need, including the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Federal Trade Center’s rules. The Arizona Antitrust Law tab gathers state law resources and multistate resources that help identify the distinctions of Arizona law.

The Secondary Sources tab provides important treatises and reference works for practitioners, including resources explaining the intricacies of antitrust law as well as the field of economics in general. For students, the guide includes the latest study aids, including a brand new entry in the revered Examples & Explanations series. We also provide key journals an guidance on using legislative history to make arguments about the construction of statutes.

Along with resources gathering news, commentary, and interdisciplinary research databases, the resources introduced above make our new Antitrust Research Guide an essential early step in the research or study process.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

May It Please Your Prof: The Law Library Can Help You Develop Your Persuasive Skills

Legal research is not a one size fits all process. Different tasks require different strategies, different databases, different secondary sources. Few assignments will be as jarringly different as the first semester objective memo and second semester persuasive brief in Legal Advocacy class.

The Law Library is here to help. Our JD holding reference librarians have all been through the transition from dispassionate legal analysis to loyal, tenacious persuasion. If you make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian, we can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that can befall all research and find all you need to state your best case in court.

We can critique your research trail. Looking over your research and refining your strategies and search terms can make sure you can find your opponent’s best case to defuse it before it’s thrown at you.

We can also point to secondary sources that will be helpful for your particular assignment. Objective treatises and encyclopedias can help you grasp the law in the beginning. Practice guides can help you make sure you’re fully representing your client’s interests. And persuasive law review articles that can inspire you to construct your own arguments for why the law should be interpreted in favor of your client.

The librarians can also suggest texts and treatises that can build the writing skills necessary to craft a compelling brief. See our First Year Legal Writing and Persuasive Legal Writing research guides to get a jump start on honing your craft. The guides discuss everything from effective organization of your document, to choosing the best words to change a judge’s mind.

And our assistance doesn’t end with the four corners of your document, because we can help make sure your oral argument pleases your professor. We have a number of guides from the experts on how to craft compelling presentations for your judges, and how to field their questions to advance your client’s interests. We also have tips for calming and channeling the nervous energy that comes from facing a panel of decision makers in your best suit. To improve your skills, few things are more effective than watching the experts, so you should also check out our our compilation of links to oral argument recordings from the Ninth Circuit, Arizona Court of Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court.

Finally, even with the experience of Bluebooking your first objective memos behind you, citation can be tricky. We are more than happy to field questions about your citation sentences; just Ask a Law Librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

The Law Library Can Help You Shine for On Campus and Virtual Interviews

Law students send resumes far and wide with the hope of landing their dream placement. During On Campus Interviews, or OCI, you won’t have to venture far, or maybe you’re interviewing via Zoom or similar software. The Law Library can help you highlight the knowledge and skills that will help you stand out from the crowd.

The Library’s reference librarians are happy to meet with job seekers to help you research firms and other employers. We can help you identify cases that attorneys have argued to assemble talking points, find judges’ past decisions, and gather details such as the types of cases that law firms tend to handle most frequently. This can help you keep a steady rapport with your interviewers when they ask you what you’d like to know about the placement.

We can also help you identify ways to stay up to date on developments in your field. Reading through blogs and other legal news, as well as engaging with expert commentary, are ways you can highlight your mastery of and dedication to your particular field during interviews and networking events. We can help you set alerts on your favorite research databases so you can be sure that you’ll have the latest information when you need it.

In addition, we can introduce you to tools of the legal trade, including materials in the library collection that practitioners frequently consult. Online practice guides and document templates can help you impress interviewers, and then produce professional work efficiently. We have experience using specialized tools and research databases for particular practice areas, which can give you a leg up over competitors with more baseline research skills.

Furthermore, our Law Employment Research Guide assembles tools job seekers can use to tailor your resumes and cover letters and to prepare for interviews. Books from the library’s collection provide focused advice on landing particular jobs and thriving in the legal profession. Legal news websites can help you stay current. We have focused advice on researching law firms, with websites and litigation analytics tools that provide data on employers.

The guide also has advice if you are seeking a clerkship. It lists texts and blogs that provide tips on standing out, as well as resources on finding job openings and reading up on judges’ work. Finally, within the Professional Development topic, we introduce networking opportunities, such as specialized legal associations in Arizona as well as student organizations at ASU. The law librarians have firsthand experience navigating the legal employment landscape, and the skills and experience that can help you land your dream job during OCI. Meet with a Librarian to get an edge before you button up your best interview suit.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Warming Up to Cold Calls: The Socratic Method

As a law student you experience the Socratic Method instructional model, which is based on the asking and answering of questions in class with the goal of stimulating critical thinking. 

The Law School Academic Support Blog has advice on turning the Socratic Method into a positive experience:

  • Predict: Think about the answers to questions you hear frequently in class while you are doing your class preparation.
  • Contextualize: Consider the case not only on its own, but in the context of other cases you’ve read and the development of legal doctrines.
  • Pause: A deep breath can be the difference between a well thought out answer and a blurted out mistake.
  • Relax: Your classmates are not judging you because they are busy taking notes, feeling relieved they are not on the spot, or preparing to answer next.

Here are more tips from the reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library.

  • Find your study aid: The law library offers a variety of guides so you can find a study strategy for your particular learning style and understand the cases before you go to class. Study aids may include more information than your professor’s syllabus covers, so don’t sweat the irrelevant stuff. Learn more about study aids hereNew Student Resource Guide: Study Materials and here How Do I Know Which Study Guides are Right for Me?
  • Case briefing: Whether you are highlighting, book briefing by marking the areas of text containing issue statements or the controlling rule, or composing marginalia as you study and write your case brief, focus on identifying the most important facts, rules, and the reasons for the court’s decision. Are you highlighting all the facts, or zeroing in on the key details? It’s a skill you can learn, and CALI provides a lesson on effective case briefing.
  • Active listening: Try to imagine how you would answer if you were on the hot seat when a classmate is talking. If you pay attention to what the professor tests your classmates on, you can give yourself an edge for finals week. Learn more about active listening here, Active Listening and here, Listening Skills in the Law School Classroom.
  • Meet with a Librarian: With JDs and experience instructing students, the reference librarians can help you find study aids and research strategies that will help you succeed in doctrinal and writing courses, even though they cannot help you interpret your cases. Make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian or contact us with questions: Ask a Law Librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Research with Conviction: New Criminal Law Research Guide

United States criminal law is a complex beast, with variations among all states and the federal government. Researchers and advocates challenge criminal convictions at several stages of the criminal process. And heated criminal justice policy controversies pervade scholarly and popular literature.

The Ross-Blakley Law Library’s new Criminal Law Library Research Guide helps students, practitioners, and scholars navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system and the vast array of resources that explain and critique it.

To find primary law, researchers should turn to the Federal and National Criminal Law & Procedure and  Arizona Criminal Law guides. Treatises explain the effect of these criminal provisions in courts and synthesize the constitutional provisions and cases establishing the law of criminal procedure. Statistics and data on crime can assist scholars considering particular crimes and criminal issues.

For practitioners in Arizona and elsewhere, our Criminal Law and Postconviction Practice gathers resources including in-depth practice guides to explain how to handle various cases, as well as research databases providing law, courts’ rules, and legal news.

More focused, subject specific pages will be useful to researchers of particular aspects of the justice system. For example, anyone interested in how criminal victims can influence court proceedings will find information on victims’ rights, specialized legal services organizations, and policy debates in our Victims in Criminal Procedure guide.

Whether you are an intern seeking guidance on a criminal motion or an academic researcher delving into criminal justice policy, the J.D. holding reference librarians have the expertise to critique and guide your research. Click on Meet with a Librarian to set up a one on one session with a research expert.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Welcome, New Students! Get an Edge by Meeting with a Librarian

The Ross-Blakley Law Library can help you chart a path to success as you begin your first semester. Check out our New Student Resource Guide to get familiar with library materials and services, including our collection of online study materials. Our video collection can get you up to speed quickly, and our blog will provide timely advice as you progress through the semester.

 We also strongly suggest meeting with a reference librarian early and often for expert advice on efficient study, research, andexam prep methods and materials: Click here! The reference librarians have been through this before, each of us successfully completing our JDs.  

Whether you are pursuing your master of legal studies degree, a master of laws (LLM) degree, or you are a 1L beginning your three year journey to a JD, we can help with all of the following:

  1. For your doctrinal courses, we can suggest popular and effective study aids in the library collection you can use to keep up with course readings, prepare for the cold calls of Socratic legal instruction, actively participate in class discussions, and write effective outlines to prepare for your exams.
  2. If final exams are already on your mind, we can point you to useful past exams in the library collection, as well as study aids specifically designed for test preparation.
  3. For your writing courses, we can demonstrate efficient research methods, introducing valuable secondary sources that can help you stay on the right track and find the most important and relevant primary authority. We can demonstrate how researchers who find relevant authority can use research databases’ tools to quickly find all of the cases, statutes, and other legal materials they need. (Students in fields of study other than the JD who are preparing to write seminar research papers can find guidance on navigating specialized legal and academic research databases.)
  4. We can help you access the resources the library provides to you, quickly troubleshooting when you struggle to access Lexis, Westlaw, or other legal research platforms.
  5. We candemystify the Bluebook, explaining how you can use its two sets of rules and array of tables to craft accurate, professional citation sentences or footnotes.
  6. When you have questions, we can chat on the phonevia email, via our web based chat, or you can meet with us
  7. When the time comes, we can help you build your professional resume, helping you research employers and volunteer opportunities. 

Welcome to the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law! The reference librarians are eager to meet with you and provide support on the path to your degree and your career.

Summer at the Library: Research Heats Up

Summer is not a vacation for the librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library. The end of spring semester only renews our focus on research and study services. Meet with a Librarian to get professional, expert advice from JD holding research experts on the following:

Summer classes and bar exam prep

Summer employment and externships

  • Summer job/externship research project assistance.Our work is not done when classes are dismissed. We can meet with you to discuss non-confidential questions related to your internship, externship, or clerkship
  • Evaluate and strengthen your sources. We can critique your research and suggest stronger academic sources if you fear your paper may be too dependent on less than reliable materials. 

Academic and professional development

  • Prepare for journal work. We can show you some tricks of the trade for finding resources you’ll need for cite checking. When all else fails, give interlibrary loan a try! We can provide lessons to ease the citation transition from the Bluebook’s practice oriented blue pages to the academic white pages. 
  • Be a star research assistant. If you’re working for a new professor for the first time, the librarians can get you up to speed. We work closely with most law school faculty members and can help you become a shining academic aide.
  • Land your next job. We know the ins and outs of evaluating employers and gathering intel on what they value in job candidates. We can show you the latest tools to get a sense of an employer’s operations and needs.

For your reference

  • Clarify Bluebook citation. Sometimes, the Bluebook gives clear, unambiguous guidance on citation questions. We are here to help for the many times it does not.
  • Get answers. We will continue to provide reference services through Ask a Librarian, and our circulation staff will be on hand to help you track down and manage library resources.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian