Category Archives: Law Students

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

Stay in Control in Times of Stress

Staying aware of the present moment can improve your focus and performance in stressful situations, mindfulness and meditation studies indicate. It doesn’t take a deserted lakeside forest, perfect lotus posture, or hours of a silenced mind to achieve mindfulness. It’s a skill—a secular skill–useful for everyone, and particularly useful for lawyers and law students who maintain a busy schedule with overlapping work and academic deadlines as well as networking and social commitments.

Awareness of the present moment can not only dull stinging worries about the future. It can improve an attorney’s concentration, active listening, and understanding when meeting with clients or representing them. Law schools and universities are increasingly recommending mindfulness training and offering mindfulness programs to help students cope in times of increased academic pressure. And although it might sound like a luxury or one more task for an already bloated schedule, mindfulness can actually save time, with improved attention and performance.

Mindfulness is not a luxury for people with lives of leisure or an all consuming experience that must dominate a busy person’s time. In fact, some experts suggest that simply taking a minute or two to calm the mind can calm stress, and lead to a more focused practice that can clear a cluttered mind and improve health and wellbeing.

Whether you are a regular attendee of the student Zen Law and Mindfulness Association at ASU Law or you have never considered a mindfulness practice before, the law library has compiled resources that can help you build this skill. Check out our research guide Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School for academic studies, guided meditations, and brief guides to improve your attention and awareness.

And as the semester winds down, the reference librarians are here to help with research questions, legal citation, or to bolster research you’ve already done. Click on Meet with a Librarian to schedule a brief, efficient, time saving appointment with a JD holding reference librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Summer 2021 & Post-Graduation Use of LexisNexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law & More

The Law Library provides you with unlimited access to a number of premium resources while you are in school but it’s important for you to know the dates that you will lose access (if you graduate) and the limitations that you have while using these platforms for non-academic work.

Summary of Legal Research Platform Access

ServiceSummer AccessPost-Graduation AccessImportant Notes
Bloomberg LawUnrestricted access (academic or commercial use).6 months after graduation.
Lexis AdvanceUnrestricted access (academic or commercial use).Until December 31, 2021 for Spring graduates.Can apply for 12 months of access if working at a non-profit 503(c)(3).
Westlaw EDGEAccess for select academic use (see full info below).6 months after graduation (60 hours per month).

Must register for summer and post-graduation access on site (see full info below). Your lawschool.westlaw.com (TWEN) account will remain open for 1 year if you would like to earn certifications.

More Detail on Legal Research Platforms

Lexis Advance

Limitations on Access
Lexis Advance’s Terms & Conditions allows you to use the platform during the summer months and after graduation:

After Graduation
Once you graduate, you’ll automatically receive access for 6 months through the graduate access program.  If you’re working in the non-profit sector (at a 501(c)(3) corporation), you can apply for 12 months of access through their ASPIRE Program.  More information is available here: https://www.lexisnexis.com/grad-access/

Please contact our LexisNexis account executive, Alan J. Mamood, with questions.

Westlaw EDGE

Limitations on Access
Westlaw also allows students to use the platform during the summer and after graduation but they contain a specific limitation on usage:

Note: Private internships, unconnected from school credit, are ineligible and you may not bill private clients for this access or research.

After Graduation
The Ross-Blakley Law Library provides access to Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law graduates to enroll in Westlaw’s Grad Elite Program, which gives students access to Westlaw for 6 months for up to 60 hours each month.  Unlike Lexis, you must enroll in this program to maintain your access (for the 60 hours/mo.).  You will maintain access to your TWEN account for 12 months, where you can continue to earn certifications.  In order you to gain access to Grad Elite, you will receive a pop-up when you log into Westlaw after graduation or you can manually go to this website and select “agree”:
https://lawschool.westlaw.com/authentication/gradelite

Please contact our Thomson Reuters Academic Account Manager, Jeff Brandimarte, with questions.

Bloomberg Law

Limitations on Access
Bloomberg Law provides unrestricted summer access to all law students for any research purpose, whether academic or commercial.  You do not need to take any additional steps to secure summer access to your registered Bloomberg Law account.

After Graduation
Bloomberg Law automatically extends your account for 6 months after you graduate and you still have access to their online training materials and practice resources.  More information can be found here:
https://help.bloomberglaw.com/docs/blh-110-law-school.html

Please contact our Bloomberg Law Client Service Partner, Julianne Bisceglia, with questions.

Sean Harrington, Reference Services Librarian

Seeing Red Over Bluebook? Get Clarity at the Law Library

The basic rule of abbreviating, ignored by the authors of The Bluebook, is to avoid nonobvious abbreviations. The words of living judicial legend Judge Richard A. Posner in The Yale Law Journal ring out clearer than ever with the 21st Edition of the Uniform System of Citation.

The Bluebook lists a litany of newly updated abbreviations, which may be more intuitive in some instances, such as the upgrade of the shortened “professional” from “prof’l” to “pro.” and “evntl.” to “env’t.” But they can trip up legal researchers: a seeker of case law involving professional conduct rules may need to complicate their terms with a clunky (prof’l OR pro.) in parentheses. Moreover, keeping track of all these changes can be infuriating for longtime legal writers who have internalized the now obsolete abbreviations.

Leaving aside the 21st edition’s refresher of rules and abbreviations, the Bluebook is inherently complicated.  It runs to hundreds of pages of rigid commands, and they are divided into two overlapping sets of rules: blue pages for professional documents, and white pages for academic writing. New 2Ls facing their first round of Journal cite checking must not only learn a new citation system, but unlearn certain rules from their first year writing courses: case names are not always italicized in academic writing—only sometimes. (Italicize when using a short case citation but not a full case citation in an academic footnote.)

Even for a citation specialist, the complexities and inconsistencies can be infuriating. The rules on altering quotations can be so arcane and intrusive that even the Supreme Court has decided sometimes to just forgo them for a cleaner approach. Nevertheless, proper citation is important. Footnote formatting can affect your grade and publication chances. Other commentators note that consistency and clarity of citations can help legal readers notice the nature of information sources at a glance, easily distinguishing primary case law from secondary books and articles. Plus, learning the vast assortment of rules can be useful for instilling certain concepts of legal reasoning. Learning the Bluebook, and understanding the logic at play behind citation signals such as see and cf., turns law students into better lawyers, as painful as the process may be.

The Ross-Blakley Law Library can make that process less painful. The reference librarians have the know-how to walk you through the most complicated citation conundrums and confidently turn in quality, polished footnotes even if they reference materials that the Bluebook does not explicitly explain. While we cannot check all of your footnotes and make them conform, we can shine a light even into the most obscure corners of the reference tables.

Whether you are a 1L gearing up for the Journal Write-on Competition, a 3L polishing a graduate writing requirement or Journal note, or a tenured professor more familiar with earlier editions of the citation manual, Meet with a Librarian so we can make the Bluebook’s gray areas a little clearer.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Celebrating Women’s History Month

It’s Women’s History Month and the law library would like to help you celebrate by highlighting some of the women who have helped to make Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law such a wonderful place to learn and grow.  If you’re interested, you can see our series from last year where we highlighted some of notable women who have been associated with our school: Sandra Day O’Connor, Justice Mary M. Schroeder, Professor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, Justice Ruth V. McGregor, and more!

A recent project took reference librarian, Andrea Gass into the archives of the Arizona State Law Journal where she noticed that we have had many successful women at the helm of the ASU Law Review, starting with Patricia A. Metzger in 1975-1976.  In fact, our last eight Editors-in-Chief have been women!  Here is a list of all of the women who have served as Editor-in-Chief since 1975:

2020-21: Delilah Cassidy

2019-20: Sarah Pook

2018-19: Paloma Diaz

2017-18: Lauren Podgorski

2016-17: Tracy Olson

2015-16: Julie Hedberg

2014-15: Keelah Williams

2013-14: Hayleigh Crawford

2011-12: Melissa Posner

2010-11: Megan K. Scanlon

2007-08: Carolyn V. Williams

2006-07: Melissa Bengston

2004-05: Anne-Leigh Gaylord Moe

1999-00: Ann L. Merry

1994-95: Jennifer B. Wuamett

1989-90: Shirley Ann Kaufman

1988-89: Patricia Ann Hubbard

1983-84: Patricia A. Nolan

1980-81: Victoria S. Lewis

1979-80: Barbara J. Torrez 

1977-78: Judith E. Sirkis

1975-76: Patricia A. Metzger

If you’re currently working on an article for law review and would like an overview of the available databases, help researching your topic, or simply a sounding-board for research ideas, make an appointment with a law librarian.  We can give you 1-on-1, personalized feedback and care.

Sean Harrington, Electronic Services 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

MPRE Jubilee: Library Resources to Help You Pass the MPRE

The MPRE, or Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, is a preview of the bar exam to come. And it’s your opportunity to get a preview of a bar prep course for free as you study the rules of professional conduct.

The Ross-Blakley Law Library highlights MPRE study resources and exam preparation courses, including free professional responsibility/MPRE courses from bar prep providers Barbri, Themis, and Kaplan, as well as resources from the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

The MPRE is administered only three times per year, in spring, summer, and fall, so students who miss the minimum 85 score required to pass in Arizona could face a long wait to retake it. To help you avoid this potential speedbump, In addition to valuable resources in the print Study Skills collection on the third floor in front of the circulation desk, the library subscribes to online study resources to help you master legal ethics. Wolters Kluwer offers Strategies and Tactics for the MPRE, which provides tips and dozens of practice questions to help you prepare for the two-hour MPRE, which includes sixty multiple choice questions. West Academic, for its part, offers an efficient resource for last minute MPRE preppers, The Weekend MPRE, which includes two full length practice exams.

For students seeking more depth in their knowledge pool of professional responsibility, CALI offers a series of lessons highlighting specific issues arising under the law governing lawyers. Wolters Kluwer, in addition, provides detailed guidance in solving legal ethical problems in Examples & Explanations: Professional Responsibility.

Finally, we have compiled Web resources including the full texts of the rules and commentary governing attorney and judicial conduct, as well as resources offering valuable advice on study and exam taking skills.

For additional help choosing materials to prepare for the MPRE, the bar exam, or law school exams or research projects in general, please Meet with a Librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Congratulations to the 3L Haiku Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered. The judging was difficult but we did manage to pick two winners. Drum roll…and the winners are:

When the mind is full
relax and let go, maybe
we don’t need civ pro?
– Caitlyn Haitaian

Sunlight kiss my eyes
Is this dawn or dusk I see?
One more practice test.
– Mike Uchrin

Here are two more favorite Haikus:

Stressful May and June
Brings an exam that leads to
Triumphant July
– Megan Manning

Idle waiting? No.
Unlike leaves falling from trees,
I pull the tide. Go.
– Aspen Miller

Thank you to Prof. Noreuil for his inspiring Haiku and for signing the prizes which are copies of his book The Zen of Passing the Bar Exam. Good luck to everyone taking the Bar Exam. We know you will do great!

Feeling the Rush? Meet with a Librarian to Save Time

Law school instills important time management skills for all who enter. Developing efficient study and research methods to maximize time for networking, extracurriculars, personal time, and a competitive job search prepare students for successful legal careers. 

When you’re fighting against the clock and calendar, the Ross-Blakley Law Library can back you up. The JD holding reference librarians have been through the whole law school experience and developed efficient research strategies that can help you find time to land a dream job, write a powerful paper, and just breatheMeet with a Librarian to 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. We can provide flashcards or even help you make your own. And we can assist in finding audio or video resources to help train your particular brain.
  • 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 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 inside and out and can help polish your footnotes to improve your grades or your publication chances.

Reference librarian meetings typically take about a half hour. But meeting with a librarian can save you hours of research time and help you approach your projects with more confidence and preparation.

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 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 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 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 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 Wolters Kluwer 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 advanceof 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