End of Westlaw Classic

Westlaw recently announced that they will be retiring Westlaw Classic for law school accounts on July 1, 2014.  WestlawNext will then be the only Westlaw platform available to the law school community.  This timetable applies only to law school accounts, so it’s still possible that students and new graduates will see Westlaw Classic at their jobs even after July 1.

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Get Ready for Finals

It’s hard to believe finals are already here.  As always, the library has a number of resources and services to help you get ready for finals.

Sample Exams – The Law Library has a number of sample exams for BYU Law professors and courses.  These sample exams are available electronically and can be located here or through the “For Law Students” section of our webpage.  BYU Law students with a current BYU Net ID and password can access these exams.  Sample exams can be browsed by professor or by class.  We currently have sample exams for Professors Augustine-Adams, Backman, Benson, Brinton, Durham, Fee, Ferrin, Lee, Mangelson, Rasband, Scharffs, Thomas, Todd/Nydegger/Richards, Wardle and Wilkins.  If your professor doesn’t appear on this list, you will still likely be able to find sample exams for the class that you are taking on the sample exams page.

Flash Cards – One of the popular study helps we offer are flash cards by Law in a Flash.  Near finals time it’s tough to keep these puppies on the shelf.  You can check them out for 2 hours at a time at the circulation desk.  We currently have the following sets of flash cards: Civil Procedure (parts 1 & 2), Con Law (parts 1 & 2), Contracts, Corporations, Criminal Law, Crim. Pro., Evidence, Fed Tax, Future Interests, Professional Responsibility (parts 1 & 2), Real Property, Sales, Secured Transactions, Torts, and Wills and Trusts.

CALI – The Law Library’s subscription to CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, provides BYU law students with access to nearly 900 internet-based lessons on 35 different legal topics.  Lessons range from core 1L courses to many different 2L/3L courses.  In addition to being web-based, CALI lessons are often interactive–asking you questions to test your knowledge as you go along.  Not only does this help you retain things better, but it can help add some variety to your study techniques.  If you don’t have a username and password already, email me at neverss@law.byu.edu and I can get you our authorization code.

Study Guides – We collect a number of study guides that may be useful as you brush up for finals.  They are available in the Reserve Library and can be found by browsing  or by searching the library catalog.  The best way to find them is to pull down the drop-down next to the library search box on our home page, select Study Guides and search for your subject.  Study Guides in the Reserve Library are available for 2 hour checkout to law students.

Extended Hours – As of Monday, April 7, the Law Library is now open until 1am Monday-Friday until finals end.  We will continue to close at 11pm on Saturday.

Study Rooms – The law library is home to 14 group study rooms that are especially popular during finals.  Law students can reserve study rooms online in 2 hour blocks.  We ask that you please be respectful of others as groups transition between study rooms.

Quiet Reading Room - The Quiet Reading Room in the northeast portion of the library’s main floor is also available for study.  This room is for law students only (so bring your ID card to swipe in) and quiet study will be enforced.  We ask that you help us keep the noise down in there.

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Inns of Court

The American Inns of Court is a wonderful organization that allows students to rub shoulders with and learn from practicing attorneys and judges.  BYU law students interested in litigation should seriously consider applying for student membership in next year’s A. Sherman Christensen Inn of Court I.  If you need an application, email me at neverss@law.byu.edu.  The application deadline is Friday, April 11.

Our Inn meets once a month during the school year to eat dinner together and to discuss various aspects of the practice of law.  This is a great opportunity for students to hear first hand from attorneys and judges about important issues in a litigation practice.

BYU has a special tie to the American Inns of Court.  Chief Justice Warren Burger asked Dean Rex Lee and President Dallin Oaks to form the first Inn of Court.  After its initial success here, the Inns of Court program spread throughout the country.  Our Inn, the A. Sherman Christensen Inn of Court I, is recognized as the first Inn in the country.  You can read more about the history of our Inn in this Utah Bar Journal article by our Inn President, Isaac Paxman.

I hope all BYU Law Students will consider applying to be a part of this great program.


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HeinOnline Alumni Access

The Howard W. Hunter Law Library is excited to announce that it can now offer BYU Law Alums access to HeinOnline’s law journal database.  This database contains PDF versions of over 1,900 law reviews and journals, with coverage of each beginning with the first issue published.  While the majority of our online resources are restricted to use within the Law Library, we’re excited to be able to offer BYU Law Alums access to this database wherever they are.

If you are a BYU Law Alum you can access this database by going to this HeinOnline Alumni Access link, which is also found on the Quick Links sections of the Law Library webpage and the Alumni webpage.  You will then need to sign in with your BYU Net ID and password.  Help is available from the sign-in page for those who have forgotten their NetID or password or who need to create a NetID.  (You can also call 801-422-7236 if you are having trouble creating a NetID.)  This short video tutorial will walk you through the process of accessing the database and give a brief demonstration of the Law Journal Library.

Please direct any questions or comments to me at neverss@law.byu.edu.  We hope you’ll find this to be a helpful resource.

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New York Times Access

BYU Law students and faculty can wave goodbye to the 10 article monthly limit on the New York Times website.  The Law Library has recently entered into an agreement to provide unlimited access to nytimes.com for students, faculty, and staff.  The agreement also provides access to the NY Times smartphone apps.

A recent New York Times Press Release, Top Law Schools to Offer Unlimited Digital Access to the New York Times, announced the agreement between the Times and NELLCO, a consortium of law libraries of which the BYU Law Library is a part.   The press release specifically mentions BYU Law School along with Harvard, Yale, Penn, and American Law Schools.

The BYU Law community will soon receive an email from the New York Times providing instructions for creating a username and password with their BYU Law email address.

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Jimmer and the Law

As the NCAA tournament rolls around I’m always reminded of a 2012 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals case in which Judge Thomas B. Griffith cited a YouTube video of Jimmer Fredette’s performance against Gonzaga  in the 2011 Tournament.  Writing about metaphors in Kiewit Powers Constructors Co. v. NLRB (see p. 11), Judge Griffith says, “Indeed, such metaphors are part and parcel of competitive spirit. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6mqFMdhDe4 (describing college basketball phenom Jimmer Fredette as ‘destroy[ing]‘ an opponent with his combination of long-range proficiency and acrobatic drives).”  Go Cougars!

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Clark Memorandum

All issues of BYU Law’s semiannual publication, the Clark Memorandum, are now digitally available in the Law Library’s Digital Collections.  The Clark Memorandum is published by the Law School, the BYU Law School Alumni Association, and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and connects law students, lawyers, and others committed to public service and professional excellence modeled on the character of J. Reuben Clark, Jr.  The Clark Memorandum consistently provides excellent articles by outstanding authors.  The last issue alone has articles by Utah Judge Sheila McCleve (Guardians of the Law), Professor Brett Scharffs (Revisiting Humility), Idaho Judge Gregory Moeller (Defending Innocence), California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu (Martin Luther King and the Good Samaritan), Senior Advisor of the Joseph Smith Papers project, Jeffrey Walker (Oliver Cowdery), and Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund, Hannah Clayson Smith (In Defense of Religious Freedom).

Back issues of the Clark Memorandum also provide a number of articles about the history of the law school, including Unfolding in Time, Stories that Defined Our Law School, The House that Rex Built, Glimpses of the Law School’s Founding, Anonymous No More, The Charter Class Looks Back, and Becoming J. Reuben Clark’s Law School.

With the inclusion of the Clark Memorandum in the Library’s Digital Collections, all available issues are now full-text searchable.

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BYU Law Ranked #36

BYU Law School moved up 8 spots to #36 in the latest U.S. News Law School Rankings.

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Lexis Advance Enhancements

A couple of weeks ago, Lexis released some changes to Lexis Advance.  I wanted to run through a couple of them that I thought might be useful to you.  The first is the ability to select a source from the search bar.  When Lexis Advance was first released, there was no good way to select a particular source like Moore’s Federal Practice.  Eventually Lexis added the Browse Sources link next to the search bar, which provided this functionality but was not the easiest to use.  In the current release of Lexis Advance, researchers can now simply type the name of the source into the search box and the matching sources will be displayed below.  This makes things a lot easier for researchers trying to get to a particular source.

The one problem I still see is that researchers cannot select a specific database, like law reviews and journals.  This addition would make Lexis Advance much more useful, especially for law students and faculty.

The other enhancement that I’ve been waiting for is a tweak in the Lexis Advance algorithm that would reduce the number of results in a given search.  If you’ve used Lexis Advance you’ve likely noticed that a search may bring back millions of results.  The results at the end of the list provide no relevant results, perhaps having just one of the search terms, so why include them?  For example, a search of federal cases for affirmative action higher education used to bring back about 2 million results.  With the change to the algorithm, this result is now roughly 180,000.

Much fewer, but I thought the result would be even more restrictive.  A similar WestlawNext search, for example gives 452 results.  So, while this is an improvement in Lexis Advance, I still think there’s a ways to go.

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Law Journal Rankings 2013

The Washington & Lee Law Library has recently updated its Law Journal Rankings to include data from 2013.  The rankings take into account citations to journals during the last eight years, with the combined score looking at impact factor and total cites.  Much more detail on the ranking methodology is available here.  Over the last few years BYU Law School faculty have published or will soon publish scholarship in many of the top ranked law reviews and journals according to the Washington & Lee Rankings.  Some of these top placements since 2012 include the UCLA Law Review (twice) (#7), Michigan Law Review (#8), Minnesota Law Review (#11), Fordham Law Review (#14), Cornell Law Review (#15), Indiana Law Journal (#29), and the George Washington Law Review (#31).

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