Archive for the 'Law Library' Category

Apr 02 2015

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Ethical considerations and Technology. Users Beware!

Filed under Law Library,Technology

Technology permeates our personal and professional lives. Are you familiar with the ethical considerations required of lawyers using technology in the workplace and when interacting with their clients? Every state bar has ethics rules and opinions that address these issues, some of which are modeled after the ABA’s Model Rules discussed in this Law 360 article:

Ethics In The Tech Age: What Every Lawyer Should Consider

Check out the Mass State Bar Rules HERE.

And for more helpful information on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, check out our Research Guide HERE.

 

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Apr 01 2015

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Using Westlaw for Court Documents

A previous post discussed the Bloomberg Law docket search feature and access to federal court filings from the PACER system. While provided in different way, Westlaw Next also provides access to many court dockets, briefs and other court filings.

If you were researching, for example, Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., the pregnancy discrimination case decided recently by the Supreme Court, you could begin by retrieving the case on Westlaw Next. In the KeyCite information above the case report, the History tab provides information about lower court proceedings, in both list and graphical format. The Filings tab provides access to dockets, briefs and other court filings–not only for the case at the Supreme Court, but at lower courts as well. The Adobe icon indicates a document that is available in PDF; other documents are in HTML. (Click images below to expand.)

WLN-young     WLN-40 filings

 

Starting with a published case is the easiest way to locate court documents related to that case, but you can also find these documents by searching appropriate databases on Westlaw. From the main browse menu, Westlaw Next provides databases for briefs, dockets and argument transcripts, allowing the researcher to select smaller databases for those documents arranged by jurisdiction.

WLN-browse menu     WLN-search results

For example, an advanced search of briefs filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit retrieves three briefs from the Young case before that court.

While these databases on Westlaw Next do not provide the full list of all filings in lower court proceedings–and is less comprehensive than Bloomberg Law for current federal cases–it is a major source of dockets and other court documents for federal and some state courts.

For more information on locating court documents, consult our research guide or speak with a reference librarian.

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Mar 28 2015

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Legal History and Digitization

Filed under Law Library

One of the areas that has really boomed in this era of digitization is legal history.  Want to see a first edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries?  We have it – LLMC Digital has put Yale’s entire collection of Blackstone’s Commentaries online.  Looking for the trial of Lizzie Borden?  We have it – Hein has collected famous World Trials.  Looking for the laws passed by the French National Assembly in the wake of the French Revolution?  We have it – Gale has created a set of databases called the Making of Modern which has foreign primary sources.  Get your legal history now!

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Mar 23 2015

Profile Image of Stefanie

Researching International Arbitration

Filed under Law Library

There are several different types of international arbitration: between commercial entities, between commercial entities and governments, and between governments.  The best resource for all of these is Kluwer Arbitration.  International arbitration between governments has been in the purvue of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.  Investment claims are the majority of disputes between businesses and governments, and we have Investment Claims Online which covers this topic.  These are often before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).  For arbitrations between between businesses there are many venues: London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the International Court of Arbitration from the International Chamber of Commerce.  All these forums for arbitraiton have their own rules and standard clauses for contracts.  Most of their decisions are never published, because businesses prefer to have their disputes settled privately.
IntArb

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Mar 19 2015

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Two days left to make-up missed Certification classes

Filed under Law Library

One class short of completing your Certification in Legal Research Skills for Practice?

 

Today, Thursday, and tomorrow, Friday March 20th is your last chance to take one of the following make-up classes on offer:

Thursday, 1pm, Administrative Law (Rm 335) and Free Legal Research (Rm 336)

Friday, Finding the Best Way (Rm 335) and Statutory Research in Print (Law Library, Tax Library) are both offered at 12pm.

Go HERE to Register and for more details.

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Mar 18 2015

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The State of Same-Sex Marriage and the Law

Over the past year, no U.S. legal issue has generated more news coverage and commentary than the legal status of same-sex relationships, particularly the questions whether the Constitution requires states to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize such licenses grated in other states.

In June 2013, the Supreme Court decided United States v. Windsor (2013), which struck down as unconstitutional a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined “marriage” under federal law to exclude same-sex couples. After Windsor, numerous federal and state courts ruled that the Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriages. In November 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reached a different result, upholding bans on same-sex marriage under the laws of several states.

By granting certiorari in cases from the four states comprising the Sixth Circuit–Bourke v. Beshear (KY), DeBoer v. Snyder (MI), Obergefell v. Hodges (OH) and Tanco v. Haslam (TN)–the Supreme Court decided to address two questions left unresolved by Windsor. (Click below to expand image.)

 SSM questions

The Court has scheduled oral argument for April 28. In the past two weeks, dozens of briefs have been filed. Many of them are amicus curiae (or “friend of the court”) briefs, filed by persons or entities that are not parties to the case but wish to provide their perspectives to the Court. Most of them–including those of The American Psychological Association, The Cato Institute and the United States government–support the right of same-sex couples to marry. The Court’s decision is expected by the end of June, with these cases among the last to be decided in the Court’s October 2014 Term.

For those monitoring the topic, some of the best information sources are organizations that have been involved in the legal battle–e.g., Freedom to Marry and Lambda Legal. Other good sources include The New York Times and SCOTUSblog.

For worldwide information, the Jones Day law firm provides a database of jurisdictions, detailing the degree to which each country recognizes the status of same-sex relationships.

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Mar 17 2015

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Certification Makeup Class: Keeping Up With the Law

The class on current awareness tools, Keeping Up With the Law, is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, 1 p.m. (Room 335).

Slots are still available. If you haven’t registered, you can do so at:  http://lawlibraryguides.bu.edu/certification/register

Class page: http://lawlibraryguides.bu.edu/cert2015_keepingup

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Mar 16 2015

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Environmental Law Research

Filed under Law Library

Environmental law is a tangle of regulations and agency guidance.  Sorting out this tangle is best accomplished with a good treatise on your area of law.  With BU Libraries Search you can find books like Greenhouse Governance: Addressing Climate Change in America which is available online to help you see the larger structure of this area of the law.

3-13-2015 11-12-13 AM

Then you can use a one-stop shopping resource like the Environmental Law Reporter to see if there are any federal laws, regulations, agency guidance or state developments.

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Mar 15 2015

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Certification Make-up Class: Court Documents

The make-up class on Court Documents research is scheduled for Monday, March 16, 1 p.m. (Room 335).

Slots are still available. If you haven’t registered, you can do so at:  http://lawlibraryguides.bu.edu/certification/register

Class page: http://lawlibraryguides.bu.edu/cert2015_Court-documents

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Mar 04 2015

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Biographies of the Justices

Filed under Law Library,SCOTUS

Like most law school libraries, the Fineman & Pappas Law Libraries collect books about Supreme Court Justices, including biographies and analyses of their jurisprudence. New titles about the members of the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts continue to arrive, such as Bruce Allen Murphy’s Scalia: A Court of One and Ralph Rossum’s Understanding Clarence Thomas.

It’s easy to discover other titles using the BU Libraries search engine. One approach is to start with a known title and use the record for that book to locate others. For example, starting with the record for the Murphy book on Scalia, the “More Information” tab provides the Library of Congress subject headings assigned to that book. By clicking on one of those headings (e.g., “United States. Supreme Court — Biography”), the user can retrieve a list of items that have been assigned the same subject heading. That is well over 100 books.

For a more refined list, the Advanced Search feature allows the user, for example, to retrieve just records for books published in the last 10 years. The resulting search retrieves 33 titles. (Click image below to enlarge.)

 

Scalia_record     Scalia_subject-heading

 

Another approach is to use a basic keyword search. Limited to books from the last 10 years, the keywords “supreme court biography” retrieved 101 titles.

 

Sct-biography-search

 

See the Help menu here for guidance on searching for books, for articles, or for “everything” within the scope of a BU Libraries search. For other tips on research strategy, ask a reference librarian.

 

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