Tag Archives: legal research

Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — September 28, 2015

weeklyroundup

How Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Convinced 13,000 People to Come Back

You’re used to Harris Teeter knowing you better than you know yourself because of the VIC card on your key ring. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is now proving that even civic groups with much smaller budgets can harness data analytics to improve.

Nowra Librarians Promote Joy of Books on YouTube: video

When their masters at the Shoalhaven City Council asked the librarians to detail their achievements over the past 12 months, there was little chance that anyone was going to doze off during the presentation. “We knew it could be death by Powerpoint and we’re really partial to a bit of song and dance,” said Ms Sharpe. The librarians looked for an anthem. Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody seemed right.

At Christian University, a Socialist Candidate Takes the Pulpit

Liberty University, a Christian institution that enrolls 14,000 students on campus and nearly 100,000 more online, was founded on the principles of evangelism. But on Monday it was the university’s guest, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who was preaching his beliefs.

Suit Claiming Botched Entrance Exam against Law School Tossed

A federal judge in Nevada has dismissed a lawsuit against the Florida Costal School of Law brought by a prospective student who claims he was wrongfully denied admission to the school due to a botched exam.

Could Your Firm’s Associates Pass a General Counsel’s Research Audit? Now You Can Find Out!

Casey Flaherty, formerly, the GC of Kia Motors, made headlines in 2013  by developing a basic technology audit which he administered to outside law firms. Taking a page from Casey’s technology audit and AALL’s Principles and Standards for Legal Research Competencies, The Private Law Libraries and Information Professionals SIS of AALL has published a series of research audits which were created by attendees of the 2014 PLL Summit.

The Qualities of Tomorrow’s Top Lawyers

When I graduated from law school, we did not have difficulty identifying what it would take to be a top lawyer. First, you had to be at the top of your game when it came to knowledge of the law. You did not have to graduate first in your class, but you did need the legal-knowledge wherewithal to stand out in a competitive profession. Second, you needed drive. To be at the top, you had to be prepared to put in the hours.

10 Common Misconceptions about the Constitution

On this date 228 years ago, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution. To celebrate Constitution Day, we offer you a little trivia about the document which forms the foundation of our republic.

The Ten Most Important Books to Expand Your Brain

Books suck. No question about it, almost everyone who writes a book is a crappy writer.  And this is a good thing.  It’s because the writer spent his life getting GOOD at what he was writing about. He didn’t spend his life being good at writing.

How to Find Work You Love [TED Talk]

Scott Dinsmore quit a job that made him miserable, and spent the next four years wondering how to find work that was joyful and meaningful. He shares what he learned in this deceptively simple talk about finding out what matters to you — and then getting started doing it.

You Really Don’t Need to Work So Much

Recently, the New York Times ran a front-page story about the conditions for white-collar workers at Amazon. It revealed a workplace where abrupt firings are common, grown men and women cry at their desks, and people are scolded for not responding to e-mails after midnight. The story made clear how much things have changed in the American workforce. Once upon a time, it was taken for granted that the wealthier classes enjoyed a life of leisure on the backs of the proletariat. Today it is people in skilled trades who can most find reasonable hours coupled with good pay; the American professional is among those subject to humiliation and driven like a beast of burden.

Legal Technology Survey

The ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center has surveyed practicing attorneys about their technology choices for more than a decade.  The Center’s annual Legal Technology Survey Report is recognized as the source for information regarding the use of technology by attorneys in private practice.

Shake-Up In Legal Research: Fastcase Acquires Loislaw from Wolters-Kluwer

The legal research company Fastcase has acquired one of its prime competitors among middle-market legal research providers, Loislaw. Fastcase has purchased Loislaw from Wolters Kluwer, which had acquired it in 2000 for $95 million.

Three Words That Should Be Banned: Work-Life Balance

When I lead workshops on reducing stress, anxiety, and increasing productivity, a topic that often comes up is the idea of work-life balance. Often, the participants will express feeling like they’re failing at both work and life. When they’re at work, they often feel as though they should be home, spending time with their significant other, spouse, or children. When at home, the reverse is true. They think about all the work left undone.

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How to Find and Use the Library’s Catalog

Recently, we had one of our student workers scan through previous blog content and choose a few of the ones she found most helpful as a current Charlotte Law student.  We’ll be re-posting this content throughout the summer so it’s readily available to all of our incoming and returning students for Fall of 2015.  This post originally ran in January of 2015.

A recent student survey showed that many students do not know where to find the library’s catalog or how to use it. This blog post is a guide for using ENCORE, the name of the library’s catalog.

How to Find the Catalog

There are several ways to access the catalog.

1. The primary method for student access is to use the Bookmarks on the left side of the page when you log into OrgSync at orgsync.charlottelaw.edu.

catalog12. Another way, appropriate for external patrons such as our library members, is to use the new CSL website. Search for Charlotte School of Law or go to http://www.charlottelaw.edu/.  The library is located under the Academics drop down at the top of the page. There is a button for the catalog under the Search the Collection section.

catalog2
How to Use the Catalog
Charlotte School of Law’s online catalog called ENCORE has features that would be helpful for anyone doing research. Although the catalog has a Google-like search box, it also has an Advanced Search option.

catalog3

ENCORE supports a basic Boolean search. Searches can be done by Keyword, Title, Author, or Subject. Search limits include Format (Kit, Graphics, Audio CD or Cassette, DVD, EBook, Electronic, Maps, Microform, Printed Material, and Video Tape), Language (English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish), and Publication years. Below is a screen shot of the Advanced Search page.

catalog4
Some search tips:

  • An asterisk (*) can be used for right-hand truncation and as a wildcard within a search string. A question mark (?) can be used as a wildcard character, replacing a single letter within a word.
  • Use “and” or “or” or “not” to specify multiple words in any field, any order.
  • Keyword search results are grouped by relevance, bringing the top three most relevant titles to the top of the list. Then ENCORE brings up the top three most relevant articles.
  • If after looking at the results you are interested in a particular format, the different types are listed in the column on the left. The catalog also indicates how many of that type of format are in the catalog. For example, a search on Animal Law shows there are 14 Printed Materials (most often these are books).

catalog5

Electronic items can be opened on your computer. The entry for each Printed Material gives information on its availability, location in the library, and call number. For example, Careers in Animal Law is available, located in the Treatises section of the library at KF299.A55 E37 2011.

Because of partnerships between ENCORE and databases like HeinOnline, the search results include articles. HeinOnline is a legal database that contains the full text, PDF of legal documents from most major law reviews and journals. The top three most relevant articles come in this section. Clicking on the PDF button will get to the article.

Advanced features of ENCORE include a “My Research” account which can hold results. The discovery features include Did you mean? A Related Searches (Additional Suggestions) section appears at the bottom left of the search results to help with further searching.

Finally, there are links to other library services such as a form for suggesting purchases, new purchases, and a way to email comments.

If you have any questions about ENCORE, please contact any of the Reference Librarians at libreference@charlottelaw.edu or call 704-971-8573. We are always happy to help.

If you’d like to download a print copy of this post, click here: How to Find and Use the Library.

~Betty Thomas~

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Filed under collection, electronic resources, Information Literacy, Library, Student Information

Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — June 22, 2015

weeklyroundup

Put Lawyers Where They’re Needed

Millions of Americans lack crucial legal services. Yet enormous numbers of lawyers are unemployed. Why can’t the supply of lawyers match the demand?

Marginalia, the Anti-Library, and Other Ways to Master the Lost Art of Reading

Warren Buffett is undoubtedly considered one of the greatest investors of all times. His empire, Berkshire Hathaway, is worth $355 billion, an increase of 1,826,163 percent since 1964 when Buffett took over. He owns (or owns big chunks) of some of the biggest brands in the world including GEICO, Dairy Queen, NetJets, half of Heinz, and significant holdings in companies such as American Express, IBM, and Wells Fargo.  But Buffett’s very best investment—responsible for literally billions of dollars in profits over the years—was very cheap. Because it was a book. That’s right, a book.

Flying Solo: A Survival Guide for the Solo and Small Firm Lawyer [event]

Thinking about going solo? Get practical and ethical advice from our esteemed panel on the new state of the practice of law, what considerations you should make, and how to get started.

Introducing the Access to Justice Research Network!

Access to justice issues have frequented academic, legal, political and mainstream debates for many years (with Slawyers often initiating or driving the dialogue happening in the Canadian blogosphere!). Yet, until now, there has been no identifiable, central platform in Canada where a wide range of justice stakeholders can exchange research and resources, raise questions and share ideas and concerns about access to justice issues.

5 Things You Can Do Today to Optimize Your Twitter Profile

Your Twitter profile is your chance to completely own the messaging about who you are. You control all of the content, and you can make it as detailed or as vague as you like.  However, too many users spend time crafting the perfect profile when they create a Twitter account, but forget to keep it fresh and updated as they go.

100 Best Android Apps of All Time

App value is always a subjective thing; but, this list of the 100 Best Android Apps of All Time has some apps that have changed lives. Most of them are free. Until we are all cyborgs or clones, these will serve us very well, thank you.

FYI – A New User’s Guide to the 20th Edition of the Bluebook Will Be Released Next Month

The new 20th edition of the Bluebook is out now and thus West Academic Press plans to publish next month a new user’s guide to go along with it called Anthon’s The Bluebook Uncovered: A Practical Guide to Mastering Legal Citation. In addition to helping students navigate the Byzantinian citation rules, it also includes several exercises you can assign in class to help test their knowledge of the rules.

Are You Missing Out Because You’ve Always Done It That Way?

Whether in the form of a meme, an inspirational quote, or written on the walls of a boardroom, there has been a ubiquitous adage that has taken over the corporate landscape over the past couple of years. You’ve likely heard or seen some variation of it. The initial question: “What are the seven most expensive words in business?” The answer: “Because we’ve always done it that way.”

Three Things You should Stop Doing This Summer

As the summer begins, many of us are busy setting writing goals, drawing up to-do lists for household projects, and scheduling a bit of travel, whether for work or play. All of those are good things to be doing right now.  But in addition to planning out what you want to do this summer, it can be really helpful to figure out what it is that you don’t want to do.

The Value of Teaching Print Legal Research

This summer I taught an Intensive Legal Research class composed entirely of 2Ls, in which not a single student had ever used print resources to locate primary law. My students were not trained in print legal research in their 1L research and writing course and had never had a reason to pull any print resources off the shelves—not until the first day of this summer course, at least, when they found out they would have a graded assignment requiring them to do just that.

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ALR Student’s Corner: The Rainmaker: A Review

Legal research was conducted differently in 1990’s than it is today and that difference shaped how law was practiced. Technology has advanced a great deal in 20 years and lawyers are now able to reach the vital information they need in a quicker and more precise way than ever before.

The Rainmaker , based on the John Grisham novel of the same name, is set in the mid-1990s and involves a young man, recently graduated from law school and eager to break into the profession. Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) has come from an impoverished background and graduated from the University of Memphis Law School.  Not coming from a privileged background and lacking the connections which would have opened the doors to prestigious Memphis firms, Rudy works part time as a bartender as he applies for attorney positions.

Rudy’s struggle to become an esteemed attorney is an uphill battle from the start. The obstacles he needs to overcome include:

  • Becoming an associate for a corrupt attorney, portrayed by Mickey Rourke, whose offices are raided by the F.B.I.
  • Setting up a “practice” with Deck Shefflet (Danny DeVito), a paralegal who has failed the bar multiple times and who has an unsteady grasp on the concept of professional responsibility
  • His own lack of trial experience
  • A handful of time-intensive, destined-to-lose cases and poor clients
  • An unscrupulous opposing council (Jon Voight)
  • A trial judge who lacks patience for any case which gums up the judicial process and, finally
  • Easy access to affordable Westlaw, LexisNexis or alternatives.

The practice of law and likewise, researching the law, was different in the 1990s from what it is today.  Twenty years ago, legal research was conducted, for the most part, in print.  Westlaw and LexisNexis existed, but usually only at law schools, large firms or for courts and government.  The internet had just begun to take off about 1996 and only gradually did legal research services come to be hosted on an electronic platform.  Eventually, lower-cost alternatives to Westlaw and LexisNext also began to develop.

This lack of ease, when it comes to research, is very intriguing. We live in a world where individuals are so technologically savvy that it is amazing to think there was a time in our recent past when we didn’t have information readily available at our finger tips.

The one major resource throughout the entire film that would have helped Rudy would have been access to online research. At that time, even print research was a challenge for solo practitioners or attorneys in small firms. Attorneys who couldn’t afford reporters, digests, statutes and rule books were required to physically travel to state, county or law school libraries in order to conduct research or update their authorities. Rudy’s lack of practical trial experience was an issue for him as well.  There were many precedential cases that he was not familiar with.

Having access to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, or the evidence rules within the state in which he practiced would have been so beneficial to a young lawyer with no real court experience. The books that he carried around were accessible through only the index or the table of contents.  He couldn’t simply type a word into a search box and retrieve the answer. He had to do a lot of digging and looking in order to find the correct answer.

The technological developments which have made WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, Bloomberg Law, etc. more accessible have made it easier for lawyers to conduct thorough legal research. This has really helped new lawyers. In the movie, the seasoned lawyers were familiar with a great deal of top cases, rules, and procedures, and this gave them a wild advantage over the new eager lawyers.  Online information   services have helped streamline legal research by making it easier to find and retrieve relevant case law and rules.

One aspect of a case in the Rainmaker concerns stolen evidence.  Earlier in the movie Mickey Rourke’s character had told Rudy and Deck about a case in the same state with the same issues.  Today, it’s likely that Rudy would have been able to conduct his own research through one of the major subscription services or a lower cost alternative.  He wouldn’t have relied upon the memory of a seasoned attorney.

Today, as students and young attorneys, we tend to take for granted the ease by which we locate relevant cases. We shouldn’t; we’re fortunate to have access to the online services.

As the legal profession has advanced technologically, we like to believe that the ethics and integrity of lawyers have grown exponentially as well. In the movie we see lawyers who are doing the wrong thing, coercing clients and trying to get around the ethics of the profession. The ethical shame and lack of research technology shaped the movie and really showed the struggles that were faced by the legal profession back then.

Lawyers today strive for excellence and the legal profession polices itself more rigorously.  Today the advancement of legal research and the ethical stronghold of the profession have led to the greater production of outstanding lawyers, which will hopefully lead to lawyers being more widely accepted and not continuously looked at as sharks that are out for blood.

Rudy successfully wins his case, but turns away from the law.  Once he was exposed to the ugly side of the legal profession, he decided he’d had enough.

The DVD, “The Rainmaker” is available as part of the Charlotte School of Law Library collection.

~Ashley Russell, L’15~

Class Advisor, Susan Catterall, Esq.

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Filed under Advanced Legal Research, Library

How to Find and Use the Library’s Catalog

A recent student survey showed that many students do not know where to find the library’s catalog or how to use it. This blog post is a guide for using ENCORE, the name of the library’s catalog.

How to Find the Catalog

There are several ways to access the catalog.

1. The primary method for student access is to use the Bookmarks on the left side of the page when you log into OrgSync at orgsync.charlottelaw.edu.

catalog12. Another way, appropriate for external patrons such as our library members, is to use the new CSL website. Search for Charlotte School of Law or go to http://www.charlottelaw.edu/.  The library is located under the Academics drop down at the top of the page. There is a button for the catalog under the Search the Collection section.

catalog2
How to Use the Catalog
Charlotte School of Law’s online catalog called ENCORE has features that would be helpful for anyone doing research. Although the catalog has a Google-like search box, it also has an Advanced Search option.

catalog3

ENCORE supports a basic Boolean search. Searches can be done by Keyword, Title, Author, or Subject. Search limits include Format (Kit, Graphics, Audio CD or Cassette, DVD, EBook, Electronic, Maps, Microform, Printed Material, and Video Tape), Language (English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish), and Publication years. Below is a screen shot of the Advanced Search page.

catalog4
Some search tips:

  • An asterisk (*) can be used for right-hand truncation and as a wildcard within a search string. A question mark (?) can be used as a wildcard character, replacing a single letter within a word.
  • Use “and” or “or” or “not” to specify multiple words in any field, any order.
  • Keyword search results are grouped by relevance, bringing the top three most relevant titles to the top of the list. Then ENCORE brings up the top three most relevant articles.
  • If after looking at the results you are interested in a particular format, the different types are listed in the column on the left. The catalog also indicates how many of that type of format are in the catalog. For example, a search on Animal Law shows there are 14 Printed Materials (most often these are books).

catalog5

Electronic items can be opened on your computer. The entry for each Printed Material gives information on its availability, location in the library, and call number. For example, Careers in Animal Law is available, located in the Treatises section of the library at KF299.A55 E37 2011.

Because of partnerships between ENCORE and databases like HeinOnline, the search results include articles. HeinOnline is a legal database that contains the full text, PDF of legal documents from most major law reviews and journals. The top three most relevant articles come in this section. Clicking on the PDF button will get to the article.

Advanced features of ENCORE include a “My Research” account which can hold results. The discovery features include Did you mean? A Related Searches (Additional Suggestions) section appears at the bottom left of the search results to help with further searching.

Finally, there are links to other library services such as a form for suggesting purchases, new purchases, and a way to email comments.

If you have any questions about ENCORE, please contact any of the Reference Librarians at libreference@charlottelaw.edu or call 704-971-8573. We are always happy to help.

If you’d like to download a print copy of this post, click here: How to Find and Use the Library.

~Betty Thomas~

Leave a comment

Filed under collection, electronic resources, Information Literacy, Library, Student Information