Category Archives: Law Library Resources

Highlights from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Personal Library

Last year the family of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor generously gifted the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the Ross-Blakley Law Library with a significant collection of books from Justice O’Connor’s personal library and mementos from her long legal career. Many items from this gift will be added to the print collection of the Law Library and displayed in the College of Law’s fifth floor reading room in the year(s) to come; during that time we will be spotlighting some particularly interesting titles and items here on the blog.

Today we are showcasing two Arizona-specific titles, both gifted to Justice O’Connor in the 2000s. Arizona Sketchbook, published in 1952, was written by prominent Arizona businessman and political activist, Frank Cullen Brophy. The Arizona Historical Society provides some brief biographical information on Brophy and his family here.

Justice O’Connor’s copy of the Arizona Sketchbook, which features fifty historical sketches of Arizona landscapes and landmarks, includes a lovely inscription from Margaret McChesney, a granddaughter of the author. McChesney wrote:

To Justice Sandra Day O’Connor,
A true Arizona pioneer.
With greatest respect and
sincere appreciation for
your contribution to our
State and our country.

Arizona Nights, a 1907 book described by the publisher as “A series of spirited tales emphasizing some phase of the life of the ranch, plains and desert, and all, taken together, forming a single sharply-cut picture of life in the far Southwest,” predates Arizona statehood!

Justice O’Connor’s copy of the book includes a handwritten note on stationary with heartfelt details making it clear the gift was from a family friend who knew Justice O’Connor and her husband, John O’Connor, well. The author of the note states that “the illustrations…are terrific period pieces. I thought it might amuse you or your grandchildren to read about the impressions of Arizona in a bygone time.”

Stay tuned for future glimpses into Justice O’Connor’s personal library – we look forward to showing you more of the many wonderful titles she owned!

Chained Books

Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, an English judge, published a compilation of English cases in 1516, seeking to reconcile medieval common law with a rapidly changing society. The Ross-Blakley Law Library owns a 1577 copy of this book, titled La Graunde Abridgement; a digitized version of the book is also available on HeinOnline.

One of the many interesting features of the Law Library’s copy of La Graunde Abridgement are the holes in the front and back cover.  These holes allowed the book to be secured within an English medieval “chained library”; through the holes, a metal clip was riveted to an iron chain and ring, which in turn was attached to an iron rod secured to a bookshelf or reading desk by a hasp and padlock. 79 Scientific American 122 (1898). The books were chained
upright with inward-facing spines so that they could be pulled from the shelves and consulted at a nearby table, without having the chain removed. Dymphna Byrne, 37 History Today 5 (1987).

Books were chained at this point in time due to their rarity and value; it was not until the mid-eighteenth century, as book-printing became less expensive and more common, that religious and academic libraries in England stopped chaining their books. Id. at 6. One of the oldest chained libraries in England, and one of the few still in existence, is the Hereford Cathedral chained library, pictured below.

https://www.herefordcathedral.org/chained-library

A video about the Hereford Cathedral chained library, narrated by Cathedral Librarian Dr. Rosemary Firman, can be viewed on the YouTube page of History West Midlands. In addition, a short New York Times article from 1931 provides fascinating information about the 1920s restoration of the Hereford Cathedral chained library – the article is accessible via ASURITE here.

Finally, we cannot leave this look at our 1577 law book without remarking upon the marginalia within it – it seems that the practice of making notes in the margins of law books dates back at least to the sixteenth century!

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

Wolters Kluwer and West Academic Online Study Aids – Your Keys to Success

Welcome to all our new students and welcome back to our continuing students. The Law Library is pleased to make available to you two online study aids services.

Wolters Kluwer Online Study Aids provides unlimited online access to hundreds of titles. Some series that are available include:

  • Examples & Explanations (a law student favorite)
  • Emanuel Law Outlines
  • Glannon Guides
  • And much more!

Use this link to create an account: WK Online Study Aids Click register to create an account. Once you create an account, your WK login will ensure off-campus access to the study aids. You will also be able to print, download, highlight, and take notes. You can download the iPublishCentral Reader App and study anywhere

West Academic Study Aids offers you easy online access to hundreds of study aids, treatises, and audio lectures to help you succeed in law school. To access the collection, click here West Academic.

You must use your ASU email address to create an account. West Academic will recognize you as a member of the ASU community and allow you to create an account when you use your email address as your username. Once you create an account, your West Academic login will ensure off-campus access to the study aids and will also enable you to print, download, highlight, and take notes. You can download the RedShelf App and study anywhere (available in iTunes and Google Play for Android).  Note: You must follow the directions provided by West Academic precisely in order to use Redshelf.

If you have any questions, please contact Electronic Services Librarian, Sean Harrington.

Have a great semester!

How Do I Know Which Study Guides are Right for Me?

Are you rudderless in a sea of books, guides, and online materials? Do you need help taming an onslaught of resources? Help is here. The Law Library’s Electronic Services Librarian, Sean Harrington has prepared a succinct study skills materials chart to guide you through the semester:

Study Aids Chart

Sean says, primarily the reason we collect such a wide range of study material is because they present (usually similar) material differently – we want to accommodate for different learning styles. To determine which you like the most it is best to skim the content (either in the library or online) to see which sparks your interest.

Secondarily, some of the 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).

We hope the chart helps and please remember you can always Meet with a 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.

Hit the Ground Running: Law Library Orientation Videos

The Law Library has a series of New Student Orientation videos you can watch at your convenience to get you started on your road to success in law school. You will learn about our resources and what our expert staff can do to help you throughout your law school experience. All videos are also published on our YouTube channel where we also provide instructional content, like how to research Federal Regulations. 

The first video in the series is a library tour and orientation.  It will show you beautiful footage of our library while providing an overview of the most popular services that we offer.

The second video in the series will explain the law library’s homepage and give you an overview of the New Student Resource Guide.

The reference librarians are happy to give you advice on which study aids may be right for you. You may check them out using the self-checkout machine located on the east end of the circulation desk or with the help of the friendly circulation desk staff.  The third video in the series will introduce you to the wide variety of extremely useful study aids available to you through our subscriptions to West Academic and Wolters Kluwer, including how to set up your own account so you can access all study materials away from campus. Materials on CALI can supplement your course lectures when you run into tricky topics:

The video One Search and Library Catalog demonstrates searching for materials and accessing them, including an explanation of how to retrieve materials from other branches of ASU Library.

Finally, we wrap up the tour series with our most popular service, Meet with a Librarian. This is how you connect to get personalized, 1-on-1 instruction from a law librarian. Students in recent years have been flocking to these appointments due to their unique utility. We can help you be more efficient and effective legal researchers. We’re pros who fulfill the research needs of the entire law school and we love sharing this knowledge with you. Make an appointment today!

The Law Library’s New Student Resource Guide

The New Student Resource Guide is a fundamental resource to help new and returning law students. Even if you’re a 2L or 3L, the guide will lead you to library tools that will help you succeed.

We have made establishing your research and study database accounts easy:  Westlaw, Lexis, Bloomberg Law, and CALI Access. Here, you will find a link to a streamlined page enabling you to set up these essential accounts in just a few steps, including registration codes and contact information should you need help troubleshooting a problem.

Our Tour and Orientation Videos were created to provide you with a personal and practical introduction to the resources and services the Law Library provides.

Please subscribe to the Ross-Blakley YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of our helpful and practical instructional videos.

Our New Student Guide also features the many different ways you can reach out to us for Research Help.  You can make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian. We meet with you one-on-one at time which is convenient for you. We can connect with you in-person and via Zoom, email, chat, or phone.  We prepare for the meeting ahead of time and are ready to assist you because we know how valuable your time is. We are here to help you make the most of your time. We can help you navigate research resources and identify relevant information quickly. You can also chat, text, send us, an email or if you just have a simple question, call us 480-965-7161.

The Study Materials section of the New Student Guide features the Wolters Kluwer and West Academic study aids platforms which provide easy online access to hundreds of study aids, treatises, and audio lectures to help you succeed in law school. We also have a print collection of study skills books located on the 3rd floor of the Law Library right across from the Circulation Desk.

Our Class and Exam Prep section has the latest resources on how to efficiently read and summarize cases for class, help you learn how to outline and prepare for exams, and includes exam practice questions you can use to prepare for the real thing. For your clinical classes, our First Year Legal Writing section guides you to resources to make your memos, briefs, and oral arguments stand out from the crowd.

Finally, Stay in the Know throughout the semester by subscribing to our blog and YouTube channel. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep receiving timely information and advice from our expert reference librarians. We will have posts throughout the semester to help you find what you need to meet each challenge along the way.

Please reach out to us when you need help. The Law Library is here to help you succeed.

Stay in the Know: Our Blog is Here for You Throughout the Semester

Welcome to a new semester! Especially for those just joining us, it will be a new and exciting experience. And it’s a time to connect with those who have experience with ASU Law to learn, grow, and build ties to the legal community.

The Law Library is here to help and our blog is just one of the resources that can help you. Throughout the semester, we will share information on helpful study resources, efficient and thorough legal research, exam prep, career development, and even maintaining your calm focus on the task at hand.

Early in the semester, we will help you find the right resources to keep you well prepared for class by highlighting resources in our study aids platforms. We will examine the Socratic method and help you achieve success and overcome unnecessary anxiety.

Later, when research assignments arrive on the scene, we will turn our attention to Westlaw, Lexis, and beyond with resources to help you find what you need and avoid wasting precious time on what you don’t need.

We will then touch briefly on using midterm exams to your own advantage before returning to legal research and helping you wrap up your research projects. By then, you’ll be ready to attack your final exams with authority, armed with our exam prep materials and guide on crafting exam answers. And when you submit your last Scantron, we will help you get a jump on the job hunt.

Subscribe to our blog and YouTube channel. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep receiving timely information and advice from our expert reference librarians. And if you are a new student, be sure to take a look at our New Student Resource Guide.

We are here to answer questions about study aids, legal research databases, citation, troubleshooting problems with legal research or study skills websites, and more. Contact us via Ask a Law Librarian. We can help you via email, chat, in our Zoom reference room for shorter questions or Meet with a Librarian for more involved questions.

Have a great semester!

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

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