Category Archives: Uncategorized

Reliable Sources: Law Librarians Can Help You Identify Sources to Boost Your Article’s Credibility

For the academic researcher working on a law review article, book, or graduate writing requirement, traditional, academic sources continue to have advantages over websites. Namely, they offer more reliable, complete, and professionally vetted information that can be and often is superior to more convenient Internet resources. (please see reference at the end of this post)

The Internet is unquestionably an important tool for all legal researchers and all academics. Yet, for all its benefits in bringing forth up to date, widely accessible information, it can and does lead writers astray. False information can flourish online, and researchers might struggle to identify questionable resources. Websites can change or disappear, even in an age of permalinks and Internet archives. And, perhaps most importantly, experts who publish academic books and articles have a depth of expertise and a level of detailed knowledge that popular Internet pages cannot match.

The reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library are specialists in finding these academic materials written by experts. We understand the allure of using reading accessible Internet information. We even can point you toward more reliable Internet resources (.edu and .gov websites) and away from more suspect resources (Wikipedia and purveyors of “fake news”). We also understand that overreliance on suspect materials can make your grade and your publication chances suffer.

We cannot do your research for you, but we can show you the way. The Law Library offers a series of specialized legal databases that can help you ensure that your article is reliable. We can also help you navigate the vast array of interdisciplinary databases that ASU Library offers to elevate suspect footnotes in your research. And yes, sometimes dusty old books (or dust free digital ebooks) will give your paper more credibility and authority.

We can help you at every stage of your research process, from choosing a paper topic to beginning your legal research, upgrading the sources you cite, and formatting your citations in conformity with the Bluebook. If you’re noticing too many .coms and .orgs in your citations, Meet with a Librarian to learn where to find information that your academic audience can trust.

[1] See, e.g., Carrie W. Teitcher, Rebooting the Approach to Teaching Research: Embracing the Computer Age, 88 L. Libr. J. 555 (2007).

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

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

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

Magna Carta Display in the Law Library

Magna Carta, which means “The Great Charter”, is one of the most important documents in Anglo-American legal history. It established the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the king, and it guaranteed due process protections to citizens.

The Law Library was gifted a beautiful illuminated copy of Magna Carta by Emeritus Professor Myles Lynk. It is hanging along the west wall of the third floor library space. This copy of Magna Carta is printed in an early form of English instead of the Latin of the original and is spread over six or seven heavy paper pages, instead of the one vellum sheet on which the original was written. It was produced for the 800th Anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta and purchased by Professor Lynk from the Honorable Society of the Inner Temple Inn of Court in London, England. Professor Lynk was participating as a panelist on comparative legal ethics at the American Bar Association’s commemoration of the 800th Anniversary event.

Professor Lynk’s generous gift was presented to the Law Library in appreciation of the Library staff’s “incredible support and assistance to the students and faculty at the law school.” We welcome you to stop by and take a close look at this beautiful document!

Study to Your Strengths with the Law Library

Everyone learns a little differently and when it comes to acing a law school final, studying with tools that work particularly well for you can be critical. The resources listed below address a number of learning styles and format preferences across a broad range of legal subjects, and we hope they will prove helpful as you begin to prepare for final exams. We want to emphasize that above all, however, pay attention to your professor and the direction he or she provides. He or she is the one who wrote your test!

  • In-depth explanation: The Examples and Explanations series provides detailed discussions of how the law operates. It also tests learners’ understanding with problems that can help a reader apply the law to a variety of fact patterns. E&E can be particularly useful to review any concepts that may have been more challenging in class.

  • Flashcards: Many students respond well to the challenge of recalling definitions, elements, or factors of legal concepts. Ask at the circulation desk about the law library’s collection of flashcards and check out our October post about creating your own flashcards.

  • Audio/videoVideo lectures and audiobooks can help students replicate the interpersonal, human approach to learning during Reading Week.

  • Flowcharts: The Crunchtime series provides flowcharts, which help students break down the often complicated procedures for analyzing facts into a series of simple steps.

  • Practice questions: The Exam Pro series provides an extensive array of practice questions to help students prepare for multiple choice finals, and the Friedman’s Practice Series challenges students spot issues in large fact patterns before essay exams.

Meet with a reference librarian for help finding the best resources for your learning style. Good luck with finals!

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Feeling the Rush? How the Law Library Can Help Save You Time

When you’re fighting against the clock and calendar, the Ross-Blakley Law Library can back you up. The JD reference librarians have been through the whole law school experience and know the best methods for conducting research efficiently and effectively, and they want to share those skills with you! Make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian and get help with any of the following tasks:

  • Midterm prep. We can tailor advice on study aids for your particular classes, whether you are a 1L looking for help with Criminal Law and Property or a 3L trying to master the Federal Rules of Evidence. And we have a bevy of materials to cater to every learning style. The Exam Pro series on West Academic puts learners to the test with challenging multiple choice or essay  questions and explanations of right and wrong answers. The Crunchtime series on Wolters Kluwer provides practice questions as well as flowcharts to help you visualize, for example, the intricacies of whether statements fall in the scope of hearsay and whether exceptions will enable them to be admitted in court. Our study aids subscriptions also include both audio and video resources for auditory and visual learners.

  • Research projects. If you are a 1L, we can offer feedback on your research process if you’re feeling stuck. If you’re in a seminar or writing an independent study paper or journal note, we can help you narrow down a topic and navigate the rich array of ASU Library research resources.

  • Job search. We can help you use cutting edge analytics tools and other efficient research strategies to help you crush your interviews for an externship or law firm placement.

  • Citation mastery. We know the Bluebook and can help you polish your citations to improve your grades or your publication chances.

Reference librarian meetings typically last about 30 minutes and can save you hours of research time, as well as help you approach your projects with more confidence and preparation.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School

In the midst of a busy semester it may seem like you have no time for anything other than schoolwork, but it can be good for both body and soul to take a moment to clear your mind. The Ross-Blakley Law Library’s guide on Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School is focused on resources that can help Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law students find mindfulness resources to relieve stress, focus their attention, and stay in control in difficult situations. It offers information about fully secular meditation practices, with resources to explain how and why it works, and how to incorporate mindfulness practices into your routine.

Regular meditation practice can reshape your mind in many ways, improving concentration, awareness, and compassion while reducing stress and anxiety. Even if you’re not regularly practicing, taking a break to breathe can help you manage in times of increased pressure. Here are instructions to get you started, adapted from The Anxious Lawyer co-author Jeena Cho on Above the Law:

  1. Sit on the floor or a cushion with your legs crossed in front of you, upright with your spine straight. Your arms should be relaxed with your hands resting on your knees. (Palms may face downward or upward depending on your preference.) Alternatively, you may sit in a chair with your legs uncrossed and your feet firmly on the floor. You can also meditate lying down if that is most comfortable.

  2. Close your eyes or allow their focus to soften, and take a deep breath or two. Feel your body make contact with your surroundings, and feel the tension in your shoulders relax as you exhale deeply.

  3. Pay attention to your breath. Notice the sensation of the air.

  4. Your mind will likely wander. Don’t fret or mentally reprimand yourself; visualize the thought dissipating and return your focus to your breath. Our brains are made to produce thoughts, and law students will have a lot on their minds, particularly around finals.

  5. Alternative methods of focusing the brain include mentally expressing gratitude, repeating a word or phrase, or focusing attention on sensations throughout the body.

  6. You can set a goal to meditation for 5 to 10 minutes or more, but even short, calming breaks can provide rest and peace.

For stress-relieving help with research related to your studies, memos, papers, or employment, make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian.

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 Advanced Legal Writing: Persuasion 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

Holistic Student Development: Studies, Social Events, and Professional Development

Studying, cold calls, and exams constitute just one important aspect of the law school experience. Landing a dream clerkship, government placement, or law firm associate position will be easier for students who get involved with your fellow students and professors at the law school, as well as with practicing attorneys and judges.

Getting prepared for your mixers and interviews is an important skill to develop during your law school career. You have already begun to form the professional networks that will help you succeed in the profession. And it’s important to make a good impression in the classroom, through the student organizations, and—especially—at the interview table.

The Ross-Blakley Law Library provides a number of tools to help students fulfill their professional dreams.

  1. Background research for professional opportunities: We understand how to use the research tools of the trade, including the new litigation analytics tools within Westlaw and Lexis, to help you land and prepare for a big clerkship or job interview.

  2. Study and research aid: We have an extensive collection of study materials and the expertise to help students select the proper guides for their situations. For students with a commute on the light railCALI’podcasts may be the right fit. For students with plenty of time to build a thorough understanding of the material, Examples & Explanations is a perfect fit. For those who need a faster, more accessible overview, the Acing series can help. Before a midterm or a final, Crunch Time helps visual and experiential learners thrive.

  3. In-depth understanding of your practice area: We have tools geared toward specific areas of law you can use to build expertise in your field to improve your performance on the job, in interviews, and in the social scene. Meet with a librarian to get started!

  4. Research skill building: After you land in a placement, your attention will turn to making a good impression and building your professional career. We provide student-driven, efficient training tips that can help you make a splash as a thorough, efficient researcher and writer. Meet with a librarian to get an edge.

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has numerous resources to help all of its students thrive academicallysocially, and professionallyCareer Services provides amazing support to help students enter the profession, from fashion tips to interview guidance.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian