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ALR Student’s Corner: Regulations.gov Blog

The Regulations.gov is a great place to locate information on the development of Federal regulations (e.g Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and Environmental Protection Agency) issued by the United States government. This site provides helpful information regarding various rules, proposed rules, and public comments on regulatory issues that affect the entire society.  Regulations.gov is managed by the eRulemaking Program Management Office with the assistance of several federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency. The eRulemaking Program was created in 2002 as an E-Government project. Additionally, Regulations.gov aims to promote more efficient and effective rulemaking through public involvement.

Searching Regulations.gov.


Let’s research whether the Bureau of Prison has enacted or proposed any new rules that deal with overcrowding and housing conditions in federal prisons.  First, we need to click the Advanced Search link located in the middle of the page, just below the main search box.  When using the “Advance Search” field, there are options to limit your search results to keywords, document types, and by agency or docket.  A keyword search is search based on a general topic and common words used in the rule or topic. The document type option allows the user to limit the search result document to public submission, notice, rule, proposed rule and/or other supporting and related material.

Let’s now run a keyword search by typing “housing condition” in the text box.  Scroll down to middle of the page and in the “By Agency” box, type “Federal Prisons Bureau.” This section encompasses an auto-fill feature that allows the user to limit the agencies results as the text is being typed. Then click, search.  When searching by agency filed, we can search particular agencies to locate documents in a particular area of law.

After the page redirects, you will see a list of two proposed rules, one enacted rule, and three public submissions.  The page is displayed by title, document type, agency,  document identification, and posted date. Using the option field located at top left of page, you can sort your results by display topic, filter the result by other agencies, by category, or by comment status.

By clicking on an enacted rule, you can review the comments, the summary of rules, and the contents of the new rules.  By clicking on the Proposal Rule, you can review the notice of proposal changes, the deadline, the procedure for submitting comments, and the summary of proposal changes. The Public Submission is a detailed list of comments submitted by the community.

After reviewing the regulation of interest, you can provide comments to a document that is open for comments. To do so, click the “Submit a Comment” link either on the Search Results page or Document Details page.

After click the “Submit a Comment” link, a web form will open and allow you to enter your contact information and submit a comment.  The comment will be sent directly to the particular agency.

After submitting your comment, a comment tracking number will be issued.  This number can be used to quickly search for and locate your comment once it has been posted to Regulations.gov. This number is also permanently tied to your comment.  (Note: Since the Federal Prison Bureau comments for housing condition have closed, the section above is an illustration on how to submit a comment.)  

~Brian Tyson, L’12~

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ALR Student’s Corner: LegalTrac

LegalTrac is a resource which can be used to find legal publications.  It provides indexing for more than 1,400 titles including major law reviews, legal newspapers, bar association journals and international legal journals, along with law-related articles from over 1,000 additional business and general interest titles.  All articles contained in LegalTrac have been published between 1980 and 2012.  Currently 1,635,213 articles can be found in LegalTrac as of April 1, 2012.

LegalTrac may be accessed through the Charlotte School of Law homepage by clicking on “Law Library”–>”Electronic Resources”–>”A-Z Index of Databases” tab, then locate “LegalTrac” under “L”.

To locate articles within LegalTrac you may begin with a basic search.  This basic search allows you the choice of searching either by keyword, subject, publication title, or entire document.  As you enter one or more words into the input box to begin a search, a “search assist” feature will make suggestions based on the text you type.  You may further limit your search by checking one or more of the boxes below the input box.  And it is that simple!  Just click the search icon and the system will display your results, with the documents organized by type of content.  You may further refine your results in the left-hand sidebar.

You may also choose to search for a publication by clicking on the “Publication Search” tab.

This screen allows you to search for a specific publication.  You may either click on “List All Publications” above the search box which yields a list of all 2,757 publications in LegalTrac’s database, or you can type a search term to locate a relevant publication.  For example, if you wished to find a publication on criminal law you would begin by typing “criminal law” into the search box.  As you type this term search assist will begin populating relevant publications in a dropdown form as illustrated:

You may either select a publication which populates or finish typing your term then click on the search icon to receive a list of relevant publications.  You may further refine your results to publications with full text and/or to peer-reviewed publications.  It is important to know, as well, that not all articles are available in full text, but rather some articles found in LegalTrac are only available as citations or abstracts.

LegalTrac can be a valuable resource in a search for legal articles and publications.  You will find the site is very user-friendly unlike some other electronic research resources.

~Emily Little, L’12~

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Bloomberg BNA Environment Reporter: Customizing the Reporter to Provide Current Research for YOU

The Bloomberg BNA Reporters can be accessed through the Law Library section of the Charlotte Law website and using the A-Z Index of Databases or at the link above. The Bloomberg BNA Newsletter Package provides you with BNA resources for nearly all areas of law and can all be customized for a personalized reference to current research.

The Bloomberg BNA Environment Reporter is a multi-part environmental resource that is published and updated weekly.  The Environment Reporter is an excellent resource to stay up to date on rapidly changing developments in courts, Congress, federal agencies and environmental organizations.  While this post focuses on the Environment Reporter, many of these features can be used for any of the other Bloomberg BNA Reporters of interest.

The Reporter can be customized in many easy ways in order to provide a user with relevant sources depending on their preferences.  First, along the left side of the main screen, the Recent Topics, Agencies, States, Courts and Federal Statutes can all be customized to narrow the subscriber’s research results quickly.  As you can see below, I have customized the Recent Topics Section to include topics of interest for an upcoming project on Renewable Energy Law.

After clicking on one of the Topics, a window opens with relevant research regarding that Topic only, organized by date from newest to oldest, as shown below.

This feature can be very helpful in narrowing results not only from topics of interest, but from articles pertaining to North Carolina only, specific jurisdictions or specific regulatory laws or federal statutes.

After locating relevant articles, BNA makes it very easy to save the research using the MyFolders tab and organize it by Project, Name or Date Added.  Above the full text version of an article, BNA gives an option to Add to MyFolders, Share or Print, as shown below in the upper left hand corner.

The MyFolders tab is located at the top of the Reporter and will list all saved articles and organize the information by Project, Name or Date Added.  This feature provides an efficient way to accumulate relevant research and save it for future use.

Finally, one of the easiest customized features provided by Bloomberg BNA is the BNA E-mail Registration.  Each Reporter gives you the option to receive alerts outlining the current highlights in the news, as well as the ability to select how frequently you would like to receive them.  Links are provided to the articles listed, and can be saved to MyFolders after opening for easy access later.  Below is an example of the E-mail the Environmental Reporter sends each week, according to my preferences, organized by Topic.

With minimal effort, the Bloomberg BNA resources can be customized to each subscriber’s personal interests allowing an efficient way to stay up to date on areas of law for personal or professional use.

~Sara Garske, L’14~

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ALR Student’s Corner: Bloomberg BNA Antitrust & Trade Regulation (A&TR) Report

When it comes to learning about competition law and fair business practice amongst government regulators and international market traders, the Bloomberg BNA Antitrust & Trade Regulation (A&TR) Report houses all the necessary information needed to stay up to date on the practice area. Since 1961, the A&TR Report has covered all the major topics of competition law, including monopolization, mergers and acquisition, and price fixing while also tracking the progress of cases and international enforcement initiatives for the  DOJ and FTC.

With all the website has to offer, including recent U.S. and international court decisions and a list of law firms who were recently involved in antitrust litigation, I will focus on using the search feature in “Recent Topics”.

Let’s use this example: As a compliance director for a university, you are concerned with the growing number of student-athletes who are being harmed because of their involvement with sports agents. You wish to see if there are any federal laws regulating the interaction between sports agents and student athletes.

First, visit CSL’s website, hover over “Law Library” in order to click on “Electronic Resources,” click on “A-Z Index of Databases” and scroll down to the A&TR Report listed in the A’s. After clicking on the link, it will take you to the home page, which will feature highlights from the issue of the particular week.

Near the top of the screen and towards the middle, you will the tab “Recent Topics,” which will give you an alphabetical heading list, that can be broken down to give you particular cases, legislation or official action within that area. Next you can click on the letter “S” at the top of the next screen and then click on the “Sports” tab to expand the heading.

This does not provide you with much help, so in order to locate additional articles, use the “Search” feature of the index located near the top of the screen on the right hand side. You type “sports” in the general search box, hoping that there is more information available to you regarding the area than the first search provided. You receive more than 300 documents back, which is good to know but you do not have the time to look through each one to figure out if it pertains to you.

Using “Advanced Search”, right under the search box, you can focus on terms like “sports agent” and “student athletes,” while also limiting the search to the past 10 years to get exactly the results you are looking for.

While the only real limitation I see is that you have to search the entire report for a topic rather than one index at a time, the resource is a great tool for all attorneys, no matter the area of practice we may end up in.

~Taurian C. Houston, L’13~

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