Category Archives: Bloomberg

Research certifications keep you in business during winter lulls

Bloomberg Law, a research platform best known for its extensive collection of court dockets and for integrating business and legal research, has a new certification program. This program, along with similar offerings–Westlaw’s Knowledge Center and Lexis Learn—provides opportunities to hone your research skills and stand out to employers. They’re perfect for downtime during winter break.

Bloomberg’s training program gives students guidance on research fundamentals including primary and secondary sources. Other subjects include legal ethics, litigation practice, transactional practice, and subject specific lessons on tax research. Likewise, Westlaw provides basic and advanced legal research along with litigation and transactional training. Lexis Learn delves into constructing keyword searches, the basics of case and statutory research, and drafting legal documents.

Bloomberg’s new BLAW Skills Center contains more than just the certification program, with recorded webinars on legal research and career preparation. It provides checklists on handling a legal research assignment from beginning to end, along with a handy flowchart of the research and writing process. How-to guides help readers unlock the full potential of Bloomberg’s search tools, including dockets, EDGAR (a collection of filings the Securities and Exchange Commission uses), and litigation analytics.

All of these skills will be invaluable to law students making their early forays into externships or associateships in the legal profession. Moreover, all three platforms’ training programs require minimal commitment. They’re free with your academic login, and students can complete prerecorded video lessons and quizzes at their own pace.

For more guidance on advanced legal research, researching businesses, and preparing to enter the legal job market, Meet with a Law Librarian!

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Graphics of Legal Research – Part 2: Depth Analysis or: Don’t Get in Too Deep!

When conducting legal research in Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law, you will encounter a number of graphics and symbols that are simultaneously helpful and confusing. In this three-part Graphics of Legal Research series, we are going to demystify some of the most common graphics that you may encounter when conducting legal research:

Part 1 – citator symbols
Part 2 – depth analysis
Part 3 – Ravel Law

Lexis shows how deep into the case one must read to find references to the authority in question. A depth bar with four blue boxes will be more likely to be relevant to your research than one with fewer colored spaces. Cases and statutes may be merely mentioned and not discussed in depth in opinions, so paying attention to the color bars will help you find useful analysis without wading through irrelevant cases. It’s a good, but not foolproof, way to research efficiently without spending undue time on irrelevant case law.

  • Open the case you want to research further.
  • Click on “Citing Decisions” at the top of the page.
  • Citing references are arranged by courts, with cases from the same jurisdiction as the authority being examined at the top.
  • Find the depth graphics below the names of the citing decisions.

Westlaw provides depth tools in its “Citing References” tool in legal materials. A depth bar with four green boxes will be more likely to be relevant to your research than one with fewer colored spaces.

  • Open the case you want to research further.
  • Click on “Citing References” at the top of the page.
  • Citing references are arranged by the nature of the treatment of the authority you are researching, with the most negative treatment at the top.
  • Find the depth graphics at the right side of the screen.

Bloomberg Law also includes depth signals, with a ranking out of five instead of Lexis’ and Westlaw’s four. However, it functions much the same.

  • Open the case you want to research further.
  • Click on “BCite Analysis” along the right side of the opinion.
  • Open “Citing Documents.”
  • Find the depth graphics at the right side of the screen, next to the case name.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Graphics of Legal Research – Part 1: Citators

When conducting legal research in Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law, you will encounter a number of graphics and symbols that are simultaneously helpful and confusing. In this three-part Graphics of Legal Research series, we are going to demystify some of the most common graphics that you may encounter when conducting legal research:

Part 1 – citator symbols
Part 2 – depth analysis
Part 3 – Ravel Law

On to citator symbols!

A citator is a tool that provides you with a list of documents and resources that cite to a specific document or resource, and alert you to whether any of those citing references are negative. Westlaw’s citator is KeyCite, Lexis’ is Shepard’s, and Bloomberg’s is BCite. A citator is helpful to a researcher who is trying to determine whether a particular piece of primary authority is still “good law” – it is vital that a lawyer does not rely on primary authority that is no longer “good law.”

  • Cases – “good law” means that a case has not been reversed or overruled by a subsequent court opinion or legislative action
  • Statutes – “good law” means that a statute has not been repealed by legislative action or invalidated by a court opinion
  • Regulations – “good law” means that a regulation has not been repealed by an executive agency or invalidated by either a court opinion or legislative action

Watch the short video below for a famous example of a lawyer who did rely on primary authority that was no longer “good law.”

KeyCite
KeyCite uses status flags to alert researchers to negative treatment. Not every piece of primary law will have a status flag – if it does not, the law is still “good,” but if it does, it means the law has at least some negative treatment. For cases, this negative treatment could be overruling, superseding, or another negative action. The two most significant symbols to watch for in Westlaw are the red flag and yellow flag.

A red flag warns that the case is no longer good law for at least one of the points of law it contains.
A yellow flag warns that the case has some negative history but has not been reversed or overruled.

Shepard’s
Shepard’s also uses color-coded symbols to alert researchers to negative treatment. A lack of a citator graphic indicates the law is still “good.” The two most significant symbols in Lexis to watch for are the red stop sign and the yellow trinagle.

A red symbol indicates that citing references contain strong negative history or treatment of the case.
A yellow symbol indicates that citing references contain history or treatment that may have a significant negative impact on the case.

BCite
BCite has a red/yellow color system as well for its two major citator symbols.

A red box with a white line in the center indicates the most negative results from the Direct History of Case Analysis, indicating the case was reversed, vacated, or depublsihed in full or in part.

A yellow box with a white triangle in the center indicates some negative/cautionary results from the Direct History or Case Analysis, indicating the case was modified, clarified or amended.

**IMPORTANT LAST NOTE ABOUT CITATOR SYMBOLS** – just because a piece of primary authority has a citator symbol next to it in one of the legal databases does not automatically mean it cannot be used for your purpose(s). The legal databases add a citator symbol for ANY negative treatment; that treatment could be from a different jurisdiction as the primary authority or for an issue unrelated to the one that you are relying on the law for – in both of those instances, the primary authority may still be “good law” for the legal issue on which you want to use it.

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