Don’t Let Your Texting Bad Habits Creep Into Business Communications

Although texting has led some to question whether we need to be concerned with correct spelling, in the legal world, words and their usage matter.  Although it is unlikely you will slip abbreviations into your work product, remember that e-mails, both internal and external, are professional communications.  Don’t be the summer associate whose casual e-mails include sentences where the first word is not capitalized or excessive use of emoticons.  If you find yourself in a situation where you need to consult a grammar guide, the Purdue Online Writing Lab (affectionately known as OWL), is a great resource.  The site includes tips for Workplace Writers.  If you scroll past the advice on resumes and cover letters, there are sections on e-mail etiquette, using appropriate language, comma usage, and much more.  You can also e-mail the OWL staff if you do not see an answer to your question.


Dale Carpenter on Lawrence v. Texas

Dale Carpenter’s new book, Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas tells the story of the case, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), that struck down remaining state laws that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual activity and overturned Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986).

It is a remarkable story: how the unlikely 1998 arrest of two men for having anal sex in a private bedroom–an act that, Carpenter shows, the defendants almost certainly didn’t commit– resulted in the most important gay rights victory in American legal history.

The book has been compared to other classics that provide a definitive account of other landmark cases: Anthony Lewis’ Gideon’s Trumpet (Gideon v. Wainwright) and Richard Kluger’s Simple Justice (Brown v. Board of Education). The comparison seems appropriate, as it is hard to imagine another book telling this story in a fuller or more compelling way. Continue reading “Dale Carpenter on Lawrence v. Texas”


Important Westlaw, Lexis and Bloomberg access restrictions over the Summer!

Please remember that there are important access restrictions associated with the use of our subscription-based  electronic databases.  As Summer approaches I thought a timely reminder might be helpful.

Bloomberg Law subscription remains active throughout the Summer and can be used to research federal and state cases, statutes, rules and regulations.  Bloomberg Law also includes foreign and international law databases, U.S. congressional information, federal and selected state court dockets, news and corporate information.  Bloomberg encourages law students to use their academic access to Bloomberg Law as much as possible, even when working for law firms. (For those of you graduating, BL is available for 6 months following graduation.) Sign up here if you have not yet done so.

Lexis Summer use begins on June 1st and is restricted to Lexis Advance. (This is a change from previous years’ policy.) If you have not yet registered for your Advance ID and PW, check your email(s) for notice from Lexis, and if you don’t see it – contact, to obtain your Advance temporary ID and PW.( Graduating students have access through August 31st on Advance.) Access restrictions include these points:

Lexis Advance:

  • Summer course preparation and assignments
  • Research associated with Moot Court, Law Review, or Law Journal
  • Research associated with pursuing a grant or scholarship
  • Service as a paid or unpaid research assistant to a professor
  • An internship, externship or clinic position for school credit or graduation requirement
  • Study for the bar exam
  • Research skill improvement for educational purposes
Students working in 501(c)(3) public interest organizations this summer are eligible for free access to LexisNexis with the ASPIRE program. You can apply for ASPIRE access now, or anytime throughout the summer. For eligible spring 2012 graduates, ASPIRE access may extend until September 2013.

Westlaw Summer access begins on June 1st and ends on August 1st.

You are eligible to register for a Summer extension if you are:
· enrolled in summer classes,
· working for a law review/journal or moot court,
· working for a faculty member as a research assistant, or
· working in an unpaid public interest internship/externship (excluding court and government settings).  Unpaid means ANY form of compensation (including stipends, fellowships, or expense reimbursements) invalidates the qualification.
The link for requesting extensions is here.

If you do not qualify to request an extension as explained above, your access will be limited to 40 hours of access in each of the months of June and July.

Graduating Students may apply to extend their passwords beyond May 31st for 5 hours of access per month in June and July.


Do You Have a Public Library Card?

When a book, video or database that you would like to consult is not available through BU libraries, a public library may be a solution. Many Boston area public libraries have collections that include popular books, DVDs, CDs and other materials that university libraries may not have.

To obtain a Boston Public Library card, it is not necessary to reside in the city of Boston. Any Massachusetts resident is eligible. A card and PIN number is all that you need to access the full range of databases made available through BPL. Among the online BPL resources that have helped BU Law researchers are news sources such as America’s Historical Newspapers (1690-1922); and topical databases in such areas as business and health.

The Minuteman Library Network (MLN) is a consortium of public libraries from dozens of surrounding towns, including Brookline and Cambridge. Residents of any town within the MLN system can get a library card that allows them to use and borrow from all 42 member libraries.

BU Law community members can request items through the law library’s interlibrary loan (ILL) service, when a book, article or other item is not available through BU campus resources. Among other alternative sources, consider also the Boston Library Consortium (BLC). The BLC allows BU faculty, staff and graduate students to visit and borrow from 19 major research libraries (including Boston College and MIT) in the region. Note: It is necessary to obtain a BLC consortium card to borrow from BLC libraries.


U.S. v. Arizona

The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in U.S. v. Arizona next Wednesday.  This case will examine whether federal law preempts provisions of Arizona’s controversial S.B. 1070, which among other things, allows law enforcement officers to question individuals about their immigration status after stopping them on reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct and having reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal alien.

For a summary of the case and comparison to last year’s Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting (albeit an interested view), see this post from the Heritage Network.

Want to learn more?  Check out:


Certification Classes in Cost Effective Legal Research

The library’s certification class in Cost-Effective Legal Research will be offered in 2 parts, this week and next.  Part 1, which focuses on legal research without searching, is scheduled for this week on Tuesday at 1pm and Thursday at 2:30pm.  Part 2, which will focus on low- and no-cost alternatives to Westlaw and LexisNexis, will be offered next week on Tuesday and Thursday at 1pm.  All classes are in room 334.  See you there!


Bar Prep Materials

Although the first words that come to mind upon hearing Bar Prep are probably BarBri, Kaplan, or Themis, you may be interested in some materials to supplement your bar review course.  I thought I would review some of the materials I have been using to prepare for the Massachusetts Bar while I’m waiting for my course to start next month:

MBE: Beginning Your Campaign to Pass the Bar Exam

  • Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free.  This book is intended to be used before starting a bar review course by individuals at risk of not passing.  It provides some practical advice and prioritizes the subjects tested, so you know which areas you must master (ex. negligence is one of the most heavily tested areas on the MBE).  It also provides examples of commonly missed questions so you know what kinds of pitfalls you should look out for.  The questions also provide you the opportunity to identify your topical strengths and weaknesses.  For someone like me, who will have a year between law school and the bar exam, this book was helpful to review the MBE areas and think about study strategy.  However, if you’re graduating in May and taking a review course for the July exam, you probably don’t need this book.

What Not to Write: Real Essays, Real Scores, Real Feedback

  • First: this book is Massachusetts-specific (but it is also available for New York and California).  The title is pretty self-explanatory; this book presents you with the question as it appeared on the exam, and then shows you an answer.  There is space for you to evaluate the answer before you read the authors’ evaluation of the essay.  The beginning of the book has the best answers that scored 7s, and it works its way down to the 1 answers.  Occasionally there will be an opportunity for you to create an outline and compare it with the test taker’s outline.  I found this book helpful because it shows that your essay does not have to be perfect to receive a perfect score.  It also beats basic rules of writing a bar exam essay, which differs slightly from a law school exam essay, into your head.  There is a copy of this book in the reserve area ( KFM 2476 .S53 2008), but I would recommend buying it so that you can make notes and issue spot in the margins (Please don’t write in the library’s copy!!) .

Emanuel Confidential for the MBE Audio Review

  • If you spend time commuting on the T, this is a way to do bar review during that time.  The entire recording is 2-3 hours and covers Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.  I recommend listening to this in order, as opposed to shuffle, because some tracks are only a heading name, and then the corresponding description is a separate track.  This recording is only a basic MBE outline; it does not go into a lot of the exceptions that apply in particular areas.  There are also a few instances where the recording was not properly edited, but it’s not horrible.

Kaplan PMBR MBE Review Flashcards

  • I had quite a few friends who, although they were taking another bar course last summer, signed up for the Kaplan PMBR MBE Final Review Course as well for the extra MBE-related detail.  These flashcards provide that as well.  The answer side of each card provides the rule, examples where it does and doesn’t apply, and exam tips, which remind you about rules and/or exceptions that are related to the original concept.

Daily Reflections for Bar Exam Study: An Inspirational Companion for Law Students and Experienced Attorneys Taking the Bar

  • My mom bought me this book.  I haven’t read it yet, as it has only 40 reflections and I want to save the pep talks for closer to the exam (when I’ll need them!).  If you’re into a holistic experience, this might be a good book for you.

Passing the Bar

  • I actually have not played this game, but I have friends who really enjoyed it.  It adds competitive and social elements to bar prep, but basically it’s the same as using flashcards.

Good luck on the bar exam!