Monthly Archives: March 2020

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Justice Ruth V. McGregor

Justice McGregorJustice Ruth Van Roekel McGregor was among the most successful students at Arizona State University’s College of Law in a time of significant gender disparity in the legal profession. She became a judicial star in her own right and supported the rise of one of the profession’s greatest trailblazing women.

In 1981, Justice McGregor became one of the first clerks for the Supreme Court justice who would become the College’s namesake, Sandra Day O’Connor. Although most law clerks are recent law school graduates and she had a lucrative career at the private law firm Fennemore Craig, Justice McGregor brought additional experience to support the first woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.

There, Justice McGregor galvanized her legacy of support for gender equality. One of the other Supreme Court clerks with whom she served, Deborah Jones Merritt, reflected in the Arizona State Law Journal that Justice McGregor worked on the influential case Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan. That case forced MUW to stop discriminating against men in its nursing program.

She would continue her life of public service, working her way through the Arizona court system to become Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court in her final term before her retirement in 2009. In addition to her service to Arizona jurisprudence, through her professional associations she served legal education and supported the advancement of women in the legal profession as a member of the Board of the National Association of Women Judges.

Justice McGregor’s legal career began to blossom at Arizona State’s law school, from which she graduated summa cum laude. There, she served as a second-year member and Senior Comment Editor for the journal Law and the Social Order, the predecessor to the Arizona State Law Journal.

As a student, she co-wrote a comment with Margaret Rhys Tinsley titled Juries and Jurors in Maricopa County, analyzing statistics to determine how well the Arizona county that includes Phoenix was adhering to the constitutional requirement that juries be representative of the community. The authors noted that women might have been overrepresented because they were less likely to be employed at that time. However, they concluded that despite clear underrepresentation of the young adults and older people as well as the economically and educationally disadvantaged that Maricopa County was largely fulfilling its obligation.

Justice McGregor went on to write several articles for law reviews and journals during her career, including a piece in the Syracuse Law Review analyzing whether the merit selection system of judge selection in states including Arizona adequately preserved judicial independence. She also explored the evolution of legal education toward a more outcome-based model and measured the educational benefits and drawbacks of the Socratic method and practical legal clinic work in the Phoenix Law Review. She also returned to the Arizona State Law Journal to provide updates on developments in Arizona constitutional jurisprudence, highlighting the judiciary’s ultimate goal of shaping a body of law that accurately and objectively interprets the state constitution.

She also wrote several pieces, including one published in the Harvard Law Review, praising her boss at the Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor, for her trailblazing and her support of the advancement of women in the legal profession. Justice McGregor hailed Justice O’Connor’s accessibility and her outreach to young girls to help them see their own potential. Through her work for the judiciary and legal education, Justice McGregor has provided a shining example of success and service in Arizona.

If you have an interest in examining the legal issues underlying topics such as gender equality and the court system, the reference librarians at ASU’s law library have research expertise to get you started. Meet with a Librarian to discuss your ideas in person or online.

Andrea Gass, Reference 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

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

Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research: March 30th Deadline Approaching

Paper ContestDo you want to win $500?  Do you want something special to add to your resume? How about all the pats on the back you will get from family and friends if you win this prestigious award?  You better get to work!

The deadline to enter the annual Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research is March 30th at 9:00am.

The purpose of the award is to encourage students to focus on practical skills and to refine their research abilities beyond ordinary proficiency to achieve their personal best. We are most interested in your research process. Submissions may be, but are not limited to, papers written for a class or as a journal note.

Two award recipients will be selected.  The first place winner will receive $500.00 and a Certificate of Recognition.  The second place winner will receive $250.00 and a Certificate of Recognition.

A panel composed of two Law Librarians and one Legal Writing Instructor will judge submissions based on how well they demonstrate the following:

  • Sophistication, originality, or unusual depth or breadth in the use of research materials, including, but not limited to, online and print resources, search engines and databases, primary and secondary legal resources, interdisciplinary resources, and empirical resources
  • Exceptional innovation in research strategy, including the ability to locate, select, and evaluate research materials with discretion
  • Skillful synthesis of research results into a comprehensive scholarly analysis

To learn more about the award including eligibility, acceptable papers, selection criteria and application procedures, please visit: Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research

You can read about past winners here: Ross-Blakley Award for Exemplary Student Research Winners

And remember, if you need help with your research, don’t forget to Meet with a Librarian.

Good Luck!

Need a Break? Read a Book – ASU Library Provides Free E-Book Access

Need a BreakDo you have a long list of books that you’ve been meaning to read?  You have many resources available to you simply by virtue of being a member of the ASU community. ASU libraries has a plethora of resources for you to access eBooks digitally on virtually any device.  Notably, we have access to ProQuest’s eBook Central. This is but one of the many eBook platforms that we subscribe to for students, staff, and faculty.  So grab a beverage, settle into your favorite seat, and let yourself get lost in a book.

The Internet Archive just announced the opening of the National Emergency Library which is a collection of books that supports emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries are closed.

In addition to eBooks, we also have access to free streaming services for documentaries and TV shows like Kanopy, Films on Demand, and Filmakers Library Online.

As always, we are happy to help you gain access to these resources if you would like to contact us.

I would also like to note the fantastic supplemental resources that we’ve received from some of the publishers to help you study remotely. A wide range of free digital textbooks and study guides have been made available to students who are unable to get to the physical library. You can read about them in our Remote Access to Law Library Resources: COVID-19 Response LibGuide.

Sean Harrington, Electronic Resources Librarian

Celebrating Women’s History Month: United States Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

Kyrsten_SinemaSandra Day O’Connor College of Law alumnae have blazed many new trails in the legal profession and the judiciary. Kyrsten Sinema broke new ground in the political realm, becoming the first woman to be elected to the United States Senate from Arizona.

Sen. Sinema is a 2004 juris doctor recipient, who previously earned a master’s degree in social work and subsequently earned an MBA and a Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. She is the first Democrat to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate since Sen. Dennis DeConcini left office in 1995, and the first openly bisexual woman to serve in the chamber.

She maintains offices in Phoenix and Tucson as well as in Washington, D.C. Her official website indicates that she prioritizes safety, job creation, and veterans’ issues in Arizona.

Before serving in the Senate, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives three times, serving a district representing parts of the Phoenix area including surrounding communities such as Scottsdale and Tempe. Before that, she served in the Arizona Legislature, in the state House of Representatives from 2005 to 2011 and the state Senate from 2011 to 2012.

Sen. Sinema maintains strong ties to her alma mater, teaching classes on the intersections of law and social work and in public policy at Arizona State’s Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions.

And she returned to ASU Law in 2019 to deliver a commencement address, emphasizing how much education helped her achieve after rising from her humble beginnings. She inspired the Class of 2019 to make their own impact with their law degrees.

Sen. Sinema was a staff writer an Associate Articles Editor for the Arizona State Law Journal from 2003-05. The Journal published her case note, Overton v. Bazzetta: How the Supreme Court Used Turner to Sound the Death Knell for Prisoner Rehabilitation, in its Spring 2004 issue. In it, she decried the Supreme Court’s decision as “unjust and unconstitutional,” and argues for a return to a standard of reviewing prison regulations that better preserves inmates’ rights, such as a limited freedom of association.

She has also published two books. Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions That Win and Last (2009) charts a more cooperative path forward in politics, emphasizing the advantages of forging unlikely alliances over going negative on opponents and engaging in fear-mongering to win an election. Who Must Die in Rwanda’s Genocide? The State of Exception Realized (2015) discusses the political atmosphere and the underlying factors leading to devastating violence in the small African country. She points out that the near extermination of the Tutsi minority was possible because of extremists in government and popular approval of the genocide.

At the Ross-Blakely Law Library, reference librarians have the experience to help students interested in governance and election law contribute to the scholarship in their field. We can help you find the statutes, legislative histories, and proposals to help you explain and describe the state of the law, and chart your own suggestions for how to move forward. Click here to make an appointment.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

CALI: Like Having Your Own Tutor

CALI SlideCALI Lessons are online interactive tutorials that cover narrow topics of law. CALI publishes over 1,000 lessons covering 40 different legal subject areas. These lessons have been used over 10 million times by law students over the years. To access CALI, click here: Using CALI


#1- CALI Lessons are another way to learn the law.
CALI Lessons are another way to learn the law. They are interactive web-based tutorials that both teach and apply your understanding of what you just read. You learn the law from casebook readings, faculty instruction, and from supplements. Many commercial supplements are not written by law faculty and are simplified and watered down versions of the law. CALI Lessons are not. CALI Lessons present hypothetical situations and then quiz you on your understanding using follow-up questions and branching to make sure you got the right answer for the right reasons.

#2- CALI Lessons are a formative assessment for you.
Do you want to make sure you are understanding what you study? The only way to be sure is to assess and CALI lessons provide a form of self-assessment. You get feedback on every question – whether you get it right or wrong – and you get a final score that tells you how you are doing on a specific legal topic.

#3- CALI Lessons are interactive and engaging.
CALI Lessons are not videos that you passively watch. The material is modeled on Socratic Dialogue where a question is asked, you answer the question, and then various aspects of the topic are explored. CALI Lessons are written by tenured law faculty with many years of teaching experience (law librarians author the legal research lessons). The lessons purposefully steer you into thinking about the topic in a nuanced way.

#4- CALI Lessons are rigorous.
It is difficult to get a perfect score on most CALI Lessons the first time through. Law is complex and CALI lessons dive into that complexity. Each lesson covers a specific topic without getting too broad in scope. The questions are tough and require serious thought from the student. A typical lesson takes 20 to 40 minutes for a student to complete. You can take lessons multiple times to improve your understanding.

#5- CALI Lessons are a good learning appetizer or an excellent learning dessert.
CALI Lessons are an excellent learning experience as a first bite at the material. They prepare you for class or subsequent readings. The material is brief and rigorous exposing you to the concepts and nomenclature of a topic without being drilled and practiced to death. In addition, CALI Lessons are excellent for study after class (alone or in a study group), after the casebook readings, or for studying for the final exam. They provide immediate and substantive feedback that can direct you to the places where further study is required.

To access CALI, click here: Using CALI

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Professor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee

Patty FergusonProfessor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee is a clinical professor of law, the faculty director of the Indian Legal Program, and the director of the Indian Legal Clinic at ASU. She has become well known for empowering her students to make a difference in Native American communities. One of the most important ways has been expanding voting rights. As we celebrate Women’s History Month and one hundred years of women’s suffrage through the Nineteenth Amendment, the Professor notes that many women and men in tribes still face obstacles in America’s democracy.

Professor Ferguson-Bohnee, a recent recipient of the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award, has been leading the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law for several years. She notes that her field is particularly important in the state where she teaches.

“Arizona has twenty-two tribes that cover twenty-seven percent of its land. It’s important for anyone practicing law to be aware of it,” she says.

The Ross-Blakley Law Library has a sizable collection of resources for students interested in exploring Native American law and related fields. Our Indian Law library guide provides resources on tribal law, with particular emphasis on Arizona tribes, along with details on federal Indian law, treaties, and cultural resources. We also provide subject-specific guides on issues including Indian Gaming and Indian Energy. We also have an extensive print collection of Indian law resources located near the circulation desk on the third floor of the law school, near the Study Skills section.

With her encouragement, students have made significant impacts. Recently, law students Shayla Bowles and Rellani Ogumoro helped coastal tribes in Louisiana, along with a tribe in Alaska, file a complaint to persuade the United Nations to force action on climate change in the face of resistance to such efforts in the United States. They allege inaction on climate change has harmed coastal tribes who are seeing land disappear due to climate change, including failures to protect the tribes’ rights to life and adequate living standards, cultural heritage, self-determination, food security, and water security.

Her students have become increasingly involved in helping tribes and their members protect their rights. Many students have participated in Arizona Native Vote Election Project that Professor Ferguson-Bohnee started to help eliminate obstacles to voting and to uncover evidence of potential vote suppression. And her Native American Pipeline to Law Initiative has helped bring more interested in the field into law school and the legal profession. Students have also worked directly with local governments, encouraging Maricopa County officials to better protect tribal interests.

Professor Ferguson-Bohnee notes many research opportunities for students interested in exploring tribal law and federal Indian law. Indian gaming law and tribal self-governance law have been gaining additional support at the law school. Different tribal legal and social customs are ripe for scholarly attention, such as the culture of peacemaking that tribes such as the Navajo engage in to settle disputes without litigation, which could provide lessons for any students interested in alternative dispute resolution. Students may also wish to explore the science of implicit bias and its role in the marginalization of minority voices.

Professor Ferguson-Bohnee’s research has focused on Native American election law and environmental law issues. In a piece for the Arizona State Law Journal titled The History of Indian Voting Rights in Arizona: Overcoming Decades of Voter Suppression, she examined the history of obstacles that Arizona tribes have faced in making their voices heard, and proposed solutions to continuing difficulties. She has also examined the impact of a key piece of civil rights legislation in The Struggle for Equal Voting Rights: 45 Years of the Voting Rights Act, noting a sharp increase in minority voter registration and the impact the law has had on elections. In the environmental sphere, she sounded an alarm years before her students helped tribes bring action regarding disappearing coastal land in Louisiana in The Impacts of Coastal Erosion on Tribal Cultural Heritage. In it, she calls for vulnerable tribal historic sites to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places to help preserve them and for the federal government to do more to protect tribes it has so far failed to recognize.

If you’d like to help by researching the legal issues affecting Native American communities, please schedule an appointment with a librarian. We have the experience to help you find all you will need, including the most helpful information from familiar resources such as commercial legal databases as well as critical subject-specific information from resources less familiar to law students.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Celebrating Women’s History Month: The Honorable Justice Mary M. Schroeder

schroeder-mary.jpg__310x393_q85_crop_subsampling-2_upscaleIn celebration of Women’s History Month, the Ross-Blakley Law Library will have a recurring series of social media posts dedicated the women who helped shape the state of our legal system.

In this episode we will cover the Honorable Justice Mary M. Schroeder.  Justice Schroeder is currently a Senior Circuit Judge with her chambers in Phoenix, Arizona and ranks 4th in seniority of the 49 members of the 9th Circuit.  Justice Schroeder began her legal career when women attorneys (let alone judges) were a rarity in the United States and was among the Women Trailblazers who inspired a generation of women to begin their legal studies.

Both of Justice Schroeder’s parents were professors at the University of Pittsburg when they met.  The couple moved to Boulder, Colorado, got married, and Justice Schroeder was born in 1940.  Justice Schroeder recalls that, from an early age, she understood her mother to be a thoughtful feminist.  Her father was a bibliophile who owned “mountains of books” and she adored him.  Both of Justice Schroeder’s parents were experts in parliamentary procedure and they passed this love of order and the written word to their daughter.

Academic Excellence
Justice Schroeder received her B.A from Swarthmore College in 1962.  While at Swarthmore she received a Ford Foundation grant to go to Washington DC to study legislation.  This opportunity ignited a passion for law and politics, however, she knew that as a woman in 1962 she “could go nowhere in government without a law degree from a good school.”  Schroeder’s credentials could not be denied, she was accepted at the University of Chicago Law School.  Women in law were rare and the University of Chicago still had policies in place that made law school an even more challenging experience than it usually was: there was no housing for women on campus so Schroeder had to walk a mile and a half (in Chicago winters) to class. Women were not even allowed in the dining areas.  Schroeder became so sick  during her first semester that she collapsed on the eve of her final exams and a classmate had to lobby her professors for extensions.  Of the seven women accepted that year, two dropped out due to the grueling conditions.  Justice Schroeder persevered and graduated in 1965.

Legal Career
The job market for women in law was bleak when Justice Schroeder entered law school but she graduated the year after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, so government agencies were running to the top law schools to find high-achieving women candidates to fill their ranks.  In 1965 she accepted a job at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Civil Division as a trial attorney where she served until 1970 when she parted for a yearlong clerkship with Justice Jesse A. Udall of the Arizona Supreme Court.  After her clerkship she briefly entered the private sector in 1971 for the firm of Lewis and Roca in Phoenix, AZ – where she became a partner in only two years.

Justice Schroeder was elected to serve on the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One from 1975-1979.  During that time, Justice Schroeder became Visiting Professor Schroeder here at Arizona State University College of Law where she taught Civil Procedure (1975), Appellate Advocacy (1976), and Discovery (1978).  ASU recognized Justice Schroeder with the Distinguished Achievement Award in 1977 and ASU continues to recognize her excellence with Mary M. Schroeder Public Interest Prize.

In 1979 she was nominated to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by President Jimmy Carter.  She became the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of the 9th Circuit from December 2000-2007 and still serves on the 9th circuit as a Senior Circuit Judge.

Noteworthy Achievements
Justice Schroeder is a member of the prestigious American Law Institute (the organization that publishes the American Law Reports) where she has been a member of the ALI Council since 1993.  Justice Schroeder serves as advisor on the Principles of Government Ethics project and the Restatement Fourth, The Law of Consumer Contracts project. She is also on the Members Consultative Groups for the Restatement Fourth, Foreign Relations Law of the United States project and the Model Penal Code: Sentencing project.

She, like Justice O’Connor, has an impressive list of publications and awards that I will not attempt to summarize but you can see them on her ABA Profile from “Women Trailblazers.”

Other Resources
If you would like to see a breakdown of Justice Schroeder’s rulings on the 9th Circuit, you can see them by following this link with your Westlaw credentials.

The ABA has a wonderful series of oral transcripts with Justice Schroeder where she is interviewed long-form about her early life and distinguished legal career.

Sean Harrington, Electronic Resources Librarian