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

Internship, Externship, New Job: Stand Out from the Crowd on Day One

Starting a new internship, externship, or job during law school can be nerve-wracking.  We want our work product to stand out so that we looked especially competent. To help you prepare, the Ross-Blakley Law library has put together a handful of resources from our legal research databases so that you can look your best on day one!

1 – Interactive Videos from Hotshot Legal:

Hotshot Legal is a company that makes attractive training courses for law students and junior associatesMany Am Law 100 firms use these training courses to prepare their new associates to be “practice ready.”  These courses are also implemented by Harvard and Stanford to get students ready for clinic work and Big Law internships. 

As an ASU Law student, you can sign up for a selection of entry-level courses like Civil Litigation Basics, Depositions, Mergers and Acquisitions, and more.  All you need is your @ASU email address. 

https://www.hotshotlegal.com/

2 – Lexis

Lexis has recently started to provide updated Summer Associate Resource Kits.  These extensively hyperlinked guides, “review the fundamentals of key transactions within a practice area with step-by-step guides, checklists, practice notes and forms, giving you a starting point and confidence to tackle assignments from senior associates and partners.”

There are currently 78 kits available and they cover a wide range of areas of law:

Link to all available kits:
https://plus.lexis.com/api/permalink/e653f284-e398-4454-bb7d-7509cf46f545/?context=1530671

3 – Westlaw

Westlaw provides year-round access to their legal research certifications through their Knowledge Center:

https://trainingtools.thomsonreuters.com/

If you’re working at an institution with Westlaw, they are a great way to get prepared so that your research stands out for your supervisors.  In addition to generic research certifications, they also provide narrower instruction on areas like transactional research and litigation. 

4 – Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law has developed an In-Focus Center called “In Focus: Core Skills – Litigation” dedicated to getting future litigators ready to practice.  The Core Skills Toolkit provides Practical Guidance on research, writing, document review, and other key aspects of litigation practice.  In addition to providing useful BLaw content for new associates, this resource has infographics of work processes so that you can make sure you’re doing a thorough job.

If you are graduating this Spring, make sure to check our Summer 2021 & Post-Graduation Use of LexisNexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law post so you know when your accounts will close.  As always, if you have any problems with access or want personalized, 1-on-1 training with any of these tools Make an Appointment with a Law Librarian

Sean Harrington, Electronic Service Librarian

Exam Prep: The Law Library Can Help

The Law Library has an abundance of resources to help you prepare for your exams. Our online study aids subscriptions will help build your confidence.

Wolters Kluwer Online Study Aids
West Academic Study Aids

  • CALI tutorials are written by law faculty and librarians from American law schools. They are reviewed and revised on a regular basis. The lessons are designed to help you become accustomed to taking multiple-choice examinations and provide feedback to your answers.

  • Our print Study Skills Collection is located on the third floor of the Law Library across from the Circulation Desk. The collection brings together an array of study aids to help you prepare for your exams. All the materials in the Study Skills Collection may be checked out for two weeks and are renewable twice. We also have a print collection of Exam Preparation Guides you may find useful.

  • You may access Law School Past Exams from the Law Library’s web site. Many faculty members make their past exams available to students as a teaching aid.

The law library collects a wide range of study materials because they present similar material differently. We want to accommodate for different learning styles. Some 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). To determine which you like the most, it is best to skim the content either in the library or online to see what will work best for you. Please consult our succinct study skills materials chart to guide you through the semester:

PDF icon Study Aids Chart

If there is anything specific you might need help with as you prepare to study for your exams, please don’t’ hesitate to schedule an appointment to Meet with a Librarian.

We wish you the best of luck!