Technology and the Law

Increasingly programs are being built that are designed to aid lawyers in answering routine client questions.  Services have arisen that say they will answer your legal questions online.  How does these developments play into traditional legal careers, and is there something out there for the law student technology wiz?  Here is a panel from a recent conference attended by some of the innovators in legal technology which discusses how technology could fundamentally change lawyers, law firms, and the practice of law itself.


Bestlaw – a companion to Westlaw

Joe, a law student a Berkeley (who happens to be a programmer), decided there were things he wanted Westlaw to do better.  So he designed a Chrome extension he calls Bestlaw.  It allows you to do some of the things Westlaw already does – like copy with citation and highlight terms, much more easily.  And it allows you to do other things that Westlaw does not do, like toggle to a readable version of the text and unhighlight search terms.


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Learn About Awesome Apps Next Week!

Ellen and Steve are offering an Awesome Apps session next Wednesday, April 17th from 1-2PM in Room 334.  This session will include a discussion of apps you can use to be more productive in practice.  Have questions about this session?  Please contact Steve or Ellen.


LibX: BU Libraries in Your Browser


BU Law LibX is a browser extension for Firefox and Google Chrome that allows you to search library resources directly from your browser.

If you have a known item, you can use the LibX Toolbar to search for it without going to the library catalog:LibXBrowserSearch

Or highlight text on a webpage, right-click, and use LibX to search it as a keyword, subject, title or author.

If you find a book or article referenced online, highlight it and right-click to find it in our catalog:


LibX also embeds a “cue” on search results on New York Times Book Reviews, Amazon, Google Scholar, and other search engines if BU Libraries owns this item. Click on the BU Law button to access the catalog record for the item.


Download the toolbar at BU Law’s LibX page.

See how it works here.


Lexis Social Studies

Despite the name of this app, it has nothing to do with a 4th grade class where you learned the history of whatever state you grew up in.  Lexis Social Studies attempts to bring you the best of Facebook, Google Drive, and LexisAdvance to help you organize your study group in one place.

How does it work?  After signing away your Facebook rights (allowing Lexis to post statuses and go into your notifications), you are asked to provide your Google identifier to match up with your Google Drive account.  From there, you can create your group: make it public or private, invite friends, etc.  Once you have your group set up, you can create documents that are stored on Google Drive (and have all of that functionality).  Additional features include the ability to create polls to determine the best time to meet and the ability to make comments on your group page.

Journals, think this would be a great place to put your source coordination documents?  It may be in the future, but not just yet.  PDF uploads are currently not supported.  Right now, you are limited to files that can be reformatted as Google Docs.

One thing I could not figure out is how to delete a file after uploading it.  I tried to delete it from Google Drive in my “Shared with Me” folder, but when you upload documents to the app, Lexis Social Studies is considered the author on Google Docs, not you, so that doesn’t work.  There is an arrow at the end of the file on the group page, implying there should be a dropdown (and maybe that’s where delete is hiding), but right now it is not functioning.

Want to learn more about Lexis Social Studies?  Check out the promotional video or get started creating your own group here.


There’s an App for That . . . Except When You’re Off Campus

You may have discovered that there are apps you can use to access content from some of our amazing subscription databases, such as BNA.  However, once you leave campus, your IP address is no longer recognized by the service as from BU, and it wants a username and password to access articles.  What’s the workaround?  Use the BU VPN on your phone.  That way, the service sees a BU IP address just like it does when you’re physically on campus.

To use the VPN, you first have to download the client (we use Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client) from iTunes (iOS) or Google Play (Android).  To run the client and establish a VPN connection, follow the instructions for your device on this page.  You will need to initiate a VPN connection each time you want to use the app off campus.  If you have any questions about setting up the VPN, please see a reference librarian.