Yesterday Lexis Advance released its Explore Content feature which allows researchers to browse sources by subject or by jurisdiction. This is something I have been waiting on for a while as it allows a researcher to drill down to the specific content they are interested in and search just that content. While some of this functionality was available by typing in your desired source into the red search box, there was not a good way to search a set of sources – like law reviews and journals. This will be especially helpful for academic researchers who are often required to search the law review and journal database.
Law students looking to apply for federal clerkships will want to be aware of the library’s subscription to the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary. Now available electronically, the Almanac provides biographical information for all federal judges, as well as information about notable rulings and evaluations from lawyers. Among other things, lawyer evaluations focus on the judge’s legal ability, judicial demeanor, how active they are at oral argument, whether they encourage settlement, and the quality of their written opinions.
Indian Claims Insight is a database covering 1789- present that allows researchers to trace the history of specific claims made by Indian Nations and access associated full text documents.
The database includes compiled docket histories for searching full text content relating to each Indian claim such as:
- Court documents
- Citations to treaties, congressional documents, & maps
Compiled histories for Indian Nations/ Tribes include:
- related treaties, maps and court documents
- compiled pages that follow U.S. Indian removal policies and tribal efforts to seek redress.
The geographic indexing feature allows researchers to narrow searches to records of specific States and Territories.
Regulatory Insight is an administrative law research tool that includes regulatory histories organized by public law.
Regulatory histories include:
- Compilations of Federal Register notices
- Proposed rules
- Rulemaking process for specific Public Laws
We do our best to help our students out during finals time. Here are some resources and services we hope will make this time a little less stressful.
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 found 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., Environmental Law, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 search for your subject in the library search box and then when the results come up, you will see a place to narrow the search to “study guides.” Here’s an example for torts. Study Guides in the Reserve Library are available for 2 hour checkout to law students.
Extended Hours – The Law Library is 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 13 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.
Good luck getting through finals!
Loislaw will no longer be accessible after November 30, 2015. Fastcase has partnered with Wolters Kluwer to help provide former Loislaw users with a new research platform. This transition will be an easy one for students and faculty here because we already have a subscription to Fastcase. Let’s take a minute to review what Fastcase has to offer.
Fastcase’s libraries include primary law from all 50 states, as well as federal coverage. The Fastcase collection includes cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, and constitutions. Fastcase also provides access to a newspaper archive, legal forms, and a one-stop PACER search of federal filings through its content partners.
All Fastcase libraries are seachable by keyword (Boolean) and natural language search, or by looking up a citation.
- It’s fast! Like Google, Fastcase sorts the best results of your search to the top of the list so you can find the most important quicker.
- Visual search results help you see the important cases at a glance.
- Fastcase’s integrated citation analysis automatically includes the number of times each case has been cited.
In addition to first year legal research, two advanced legal research classes will be taught next semester. One is the general Advanced Legal Research class that will be taught Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-4:50. The other is a Federal Tax Research class that will be held Tuesdays from 9:30-10:20. These are great classes to expand your legal research skills and make you more marketable for employers. Below are the class descriptions.
Federal Tax Research – This course focuses on researching the basic documents generated by the IRS. Students are introduced to various hardcopy and online resources available to research these documents. They are assigned to research specific documents in assigned resources and to present an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the resources so that each resource can be compared and contrasted with other resources. The course culminates in an annotated bibliography by each student of a tax topic of the student’s choice, approved by the professor, in which the student uses the various resources introduced during the course of the semester to complete the bibliography.
Advanced Legal Research – Building on the skills taught in the first-year legal research courses, this course covers a variety of legal research topics and skills that will prepare students to become effective legal researchers in practice. Topics covered include advanced searching, free and low-cost legal research, statutory research, legislative history, administrative law, litigation practice materials, corporate and transactional research, municipal law, Utah legal research, and research in specific practice areas.
The Library is now offering access to a great new resource, PLi Discover Plus. This expansive eBook library includes practice-centered materials including books (treatises, answer books, course handbooks), legal forms, and CLE program transcripts.
Some of the 23 practice areas covered include:
- Intellectual Property
- International Law
- Trusts & Estates
Take a minute to explore the many titles this platform has to offer by accessing the Discover Plus Coverage List.
New Database Acquisitions
The U.S intelligence community has been monitoring major wars and conflicts in the Middle East since 1945. These conflicts include civil wars, terrorist attacks, clashes on country borders and insurgencies. This resource includes numerous documents, that until recently had been classified, which show the U.S.’s spying and analytic efforts throughout the Arab world. Areas covered include the Middle East, the Near East, and North Africa.
This collection of formerly classified documents show the successes and failures of U.S. intelligence efforts during the Cold War as the U.S. attempted to spy on the Soviet Union.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals will be hearing oral argument at BYU Law School next week. The Law Library has compiled the briefs and lower court opinions in the various cases for law students and faculty to review.
Are you a 1L working through one of your weekly research assignments? Are you doing research for your substantial writing? Do you have research questions for work? If so, we’d like to help you! Manned by trained law students and professional law librarians, The Reference Desk can help you find the resources and answers you are looking for. The desk is open Monday- Friday, 8 AM- 9 PM and Saturday 9 AM-5PM. You can drop by in person, call us at 801-422-6658, or click the “Ask a Librarian” button. We look forward to assisting you.