Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

Meet with a Librarian: Deadline to Enter is October 31st

1Ls: Would you like some expert help and a chance to win a signed copy of Prof. Noreuil’s book, The Zen of Law School Success? Make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian and you will be entered into a drawing to win one of 6 copies of Prof. Noreuil’s book which offers a comprehensive approach to succeeding in law school based on the principals of simplicity and balance.

Our expert librarians can provide you with 1L memo assistance. We can teach you how to conduct a preemption check, help you choose a paper topic, offer feedback on your research strategies, Bluebook guidance, and so much more!

The deadline to enter is October 31, 2020.

Help is just an appointment away. We can’t wait to meet with you.

The Law Library is Here for You Over Fall Break

The reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library are happy to help you find or navigate research resources. You can connect with us via Zoom, Chat, and Meet with a Librarian. You can also send us an email or give us a call.

Zoom Reference
Meet with a Librarian
Chat with a Librarian
Email a Librarian
Call Us: 480-965-6144

Have a great fall break!

Bluebook 21: The Most (Foot)Noteworthy Updates

Despite its spiral binding, the Bluebook is not known for flexibility.

It’s A Uniform System of Citation, and that uniformity means usually requires demanding attention to detail and rigidity. For a long time, legal writers had to turn to their well worn Rule 1.4 to check out the order of authorities for their string citations. It always followed a strict pattern roughly approximating the persuasive weight of the source material, from constitutions at the front end to secondary sources at the back end, with books always preceding periodicals, student written journal pieces always following professional works, and websites always bringing up the rear.

The new 21st Edition of the Bluebook gives us a rest. One of the big changes in the new citation manual is a major simplification of Rule 1.4. Now legal writers simply use their judgment and prioritize the most relevant materials in a string citation.

We are staying on top of these changes at the Law Library so we can help you produce the best, most up to date footnotes and citation sentences. We can also suggest study materials and online lessons to help you bring your citation A-game.

In other modernizations, the Bluebook is opening up to online resources, as Rule 12.3 has shifted to more readily accept unofficial federal codes from Westlaw or Lexis. Rule 12.5(b) follows suit, welcoming more online state and municipal codes into legal citations. And we no longer need to determine the release date of the last print edition of the United States Code: Rule 12.3.2 eliminates the date parenthetical from federal code citations.

International lawyers and students also have a wider range of online materials at their disposal, as Rule 21 now acknowledges the wider availability of treaties and other international materials. And in an increasingly visual online world, Rule 18.8 gives photographers and other visual artists their due, providing more concrete guidance on citing photos and graphics.

In a move that journal editors will cheer when they’re cite checking, Bluebook no longer includes separate tables for abbreviations in case names and common words in periodical titles: All of that information is now in the expanded Table 6, with Table 13 continuing to provide abbreviations of institutions such as universities and law schools.

The Bluepages have a few updates as well, with updates to Bluepages Table 2 to keep up with rules changes in various jurisdictions. And if you are practicing in a jurisdiction that limits the number of words that can appear in a document, the new Rule B6 provides a welcome change, providing the option to close spaces in the abbreviations of case reporters to conserve space, like so: F.Supp.2d.

And those changes are just some of the highlights to the new Bluebook, which also omits the bulky Table 2 on foreign materials from the print edition and places it on the website for free access.

Whether you’re adding footnotes to your graduate writing requirement or crafting a memo for your externship, the reference librarians are here to help. Feel free to make an appointment to meet with us via Zoom. For simpler questions, email us!

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Spotlight on Law Library Resources: Award Winning BLASE – Sports and Entertainment Law Database

Back in October 2019 we highlighted a new (at the time) database hosted at HeinOnline: Business and Legal Aspects of Sports and Entertainment (“BLASE”).

Since then, this database has received industry acclaim by receiving the Joseph L Andrews Literature Award for 2020.  The Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award recognizes a significant textual contribution to legal literature.

HeinOnline makes heavy use of the LibGuides platform to provide detailed explanations of their databases and they have a guide for BLASE.

What does it contain?

  • 1.3 million pages of sports and entertainment related content.
  • 120 landmark sports law cases.
  • 65 landmark entertainment law cases.
  • A collection of important articles on both of these topics, curated by the editors, after reading over 8,000 scholarly works. 

When would I use it?

Essentially any time you are starting research in these bodies of law.  This is a great place to start your research since it is a curated databased, created specifically for these two topics.  It can help you ensure that you’re not missing any big cases or articles.  It can also help you interpret complex statutes.  You can build your research on the foundation laid by two experts in these areas

This database also has a useful topic index for the categories that it covers – so that you can weed out the irrelevant hits you might receive if you did a keyword search (or if you simply don’t know which terms to use).

How to I get to it?

Please see the video below.  Soon many of these titles will be integrated into the ASU catalog.  Until then, you must access them through HeinOnline:

(Pro-Tip: if you click the image box, it will convert the .PDF original to a text format so you can cut-and-paste.  This works for nearly all HeinOnline .PDFs.)

And take a look at the Law Library’s Sports Law LibGuide.

Sean Harrington, Electronic Resources 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