Autumn Fun!

Keeping balance in Law School can be a daunting, almost impossible task.  One of the many advantages of being in Boston is the endless variety of cultural events and venues both indoors and outdoors waiting for you!

Check out for a regularly updated list of local happenings.

Get out and see the foliage and devour some cider doughnuts! Here’s an article highlighting some of the regions best foliage activities.

Frequent the City’s local classical  music scene to zen out.

Get out on a bike before the weather turns frigid, check out Boston City’s unique biking initiative at Boston Bikes!

Go pick apples, visit the winery and take a hayride at: The Russell Orchards

Head to the banks of the Charles River for the “Head of the Charles” Regatta

And for a truly New England experience, try a nighttime Corn Maze



Beginning Soon: The Supreme Court’s 2013 Term

Each year, the U.S. Supreme Court Term begins with oral arguments on “the first Monday in October.”

For those following the Court’s proceedings, its web site is an indispensable source, providing a wide range of information, including the Court’s docket, oral argument calendar and transcripts, Order lists and much more. In addition, many independent tools are available to stay current with news developments, research the background of pending cases and receive notifications of the Court’s opinions.

If you’re following particular cases or the Court’s proceedings generally, some tools you may find especially helpful include:

  • SCOTUSBlog: Followed by Court watchers everywhere, this high-volume blog includes news, analysis and detailed reporting and commentary that is second to none; use a news reader to track new posts, or follow SCOTUSBlog’s Twitter feed; the Merits Cases section is a great way to locate background information on pending and recent cases, including briefs filed in the case
  • United States Law Week: Now part of the Bloomberg/BNA library of legal information, U.S.L.W. provides extensive coverage of the Supreme Court, including new opinions, docket summaries, preview and review articles, coverage of oral arguments, an extensive subject index to its coverage, and related material such as Circuit splits; for new users, an online tour of the “Supreme Court Today” section of U.S.L.W. is available here
  • Supreme Court Bulletin: Available for a free subscription from Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, this email news update is a good way to get summaries of the Court’s decisions and previews of upcoming cases
  • Justia’s Opinion Summaries, which can be received on ongoing basis by email after a simple registration process
  • Useful Twitter feeds also include those of journalists who cover the Court–e.g., Marcia Coyle, Adam Liptak, Tony Mauro; searching or monitoring the hashtag #scotus is a quick way to locate very current news and commentary

The Term begins in less than two weeks. Signing up for news updates now can help you to avoid missing important information later.



Topsy, a Twitter Search Engine

Following up on David’s post from last week on Twitter and Legal Information, let’s look at a couple of different way to find information on Twitter. Why? Not only do Twitter users share information they find relevant and interesting, they also tweet about newsworthy events and things they’ve done, and hold real-time conversations So many real-time conversations. It can be a great source historical first-person information, as well as a potential source of evidence, especially in family and criminal law cases (See, e.g., People v. Harris, 945 N.Y.S.2d 505 (2012) (noting that under default account settings, a user’s tweets are public information and holding that Twitter was required to turn over defendant’s tweets as there were “reasonable grounds to believe that the information sought was relevant and material to th[e] investigation.”)

Topsy is the only search engine that searches Tweets going back to Twitter’s inception in 2006. Twitter’s search feature focuses more heavily on recent tweets and its own relevance ranking, so Topsy is the best way to find older information and prior conversations. Users can search everything, or narrow their searches to links, tweets, photos, video, and “influencers” (defined as the most influential people on a given topic). You can also follow current social trends or see what was trending at a particular time. Topsy’s advanced search allows for boolean searching, searching just a particular user’s tweets, searching for tweets about a particular user, or tweets containing links to a particular website. You can also limit your searches to various languages, including French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, and Portuguese, among others.

From minor misspellings to truly embarrassing and later thought better of, and everything inbetween, Politwoops  is an archive of tweets from politicians that were shared and later deleted. Search by keyword, or sort by party, state, or position. Included metadata contains information on how the tweet was first posted, and how many minutes elapsed before deletion.

While not yet publicly available, the Library of Congress Twitter Archive is working to catalog and preserve all tweets from 2006 on. A recent white paper details the challenges of organizing 170 billion tweets.

And, of course, our new favorite Twitter feed is a search of a different kind altogether: @BULawFood, ghost-authored by your friendly Lexis reps, searches out sources of free food in the Law Tower and tweets their location. While we still suggest checking out a food truck while the weather’s nice, no doubt this one will come in handy starting around November.


Access Bloomberg BNA Updates and Libraries

Have you explored the resources available through library’s subscription to Bloomberg BNA?

These resources can be a great way to stay current on a topic of professional interest, explore possible Note topics, locate hard-to-find documents or search for informationabout a case or legislative development.

The Bloomberg BNA library includes dozens of titles, from the comprehensive U.S. Law Week to topical weekly newsletters, such as Criminal Law Reporter and Family Law Reporter.  Especially popular with specialist practitioners are the daily updates on topics like banking, labor, tax, environmental law and international trade.


While many titles focus on traditional, highly regulated areas–tax, banking and securities–others (e.g., Digital Discovery & e-Evidence and Privacy Law Watch) cover emerging areas in law and policy. A growing number of updates have an international scope, World Intellectual Property Report and International Business & Finance Daily, for example.

Some of the richest BNA resources can be found in the comprehensive libraries that include research portfolios, primary legal source documents and links to news updates and searchable, archived stories. Among these are the Health Law & Business Library, the Tax & Accounting Center and the Labor & Employment Resource Center.

Choose among several ways to access the Bloomberg BNA products.

  • select a title from the comprehensive list: check recent articles or use indexes and search engines to find articles on your topic
  • sign up for email delivery of the updates that you want to receive: select “Sign Up for Email Updates” at BNA’s Law School Professional Information Center (there is a brief registration process); your updates can be customized to your interests
  • during a session on Bloomberg Law, select “BNA Law Reports” in the Stay Current section of the Home page

New Phone Charger!

Left your iPhone/iPad/Blackberry/Android charger at home? Now you can charge your mobile device at Law Library’s new charging station!

 charging station

The charging station is located on the third floor, inside the reading room near the MyPrint printers and has 4 Apple, three micro USB (universal/droid), and 1 mini  USB (Blackberry) chargers. Please do not leave your devices unattended. The Law Library & Law School are not responsible for loss, damage, or theft.

Still using a laptop? Macbook & PC (including Dell) chargers are available at the circulation desk. The check-out period is two hours.


Government Documents

GPO Fdsys is the home of official U.S. Government documents. Take a look at the current FDsys “Featured Collections.”

Now that’s what I call official!

The new link is spelled out below.


U.S. Constitution and Citizenship Day 2013

September 17th is officially designated “Constitution and Citizenship Day.”  The National Archives has compiled some interesting sites that allow us to explore this important document in interactive and engaging ways.
Have a look at some of these links and the mobile apps below:
And thanks to the American Bar Association for compiling the following list of civic-minded apps:
   Visible Vote 
Track how your legislators are voting,
give representatives feedback, and
participate in live events.
   White House App 
News from the White House blog and
press briefing room.
 WH Mobile
   Oyez Today
Latest information & media on the
current Supreme Court, including
searchable oral arguments and
   U.S. Constitution
Searchable U.S. Constitution and
Articles of Confederation and more.
   My Congress
Follow news, twitter feeds and
decisions of members of
   U.S. Citizenship 2013
Test your civic knowledge with flash
cards and quizzes.



Take your contracts to Pavement Coffee


Paper Chase Contracts

The new Paper Chase: Contracts App is an iPhone-only app for reviewing contracts law, including common law and the UCC. Mix ’em up, review a specific topic, and download an additional set of questions for an additional $9.99. Each question comes with an explanation and a citation to the case or UCC provision. Download it at the iTunes App Store and review for class or start brushing up for the bar exam while waiting in line for your mid-afternoon latte at the newly-renovated Pavement Coffee.



Twitter and Legal Information

If you use Twitter already, you know that–besides keeping up with friends–it can be used to monitor almost any topic or follow anyone with an account. But if you have not used Twitter that much, you may wonder what value it could have in an area like law? Or why it is worth your time to use it for academic purposes?

For someone new to Twitter–after creating an account, which is very easy–a good way to start may be to locate some people, organizations and outlets that interest you, and just follow their feeds on Twitter. Twitter feeds related to BU and BU Law include: the Law School (@BU_Law), the Law Library (@BULawLib), Dean O’Rourke (@BULawDean), Jay Wexler (@SCOTUSHUMOR) and BU Today (@butoday). Continue reading “Twitter and Legal Information”