Archive for the 'Law Library' Category

Apr 13 2015

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Executive Action and Immigration – Did Obama exceed his authority?

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The Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was begun under the Department of Homeland Securities authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion.  Now a federal judge in Texas has questioned this authority, and it is moving up to the 5th circuit.  Researching this question is not completely straightforward.  You can find most of the materials you need on AILALink.  The American Immigration Lawyers Association is one of the best publishers in the area of immigration law producing such standard works as Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook.

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Apr 06 2015

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Bird Flu in Minnesota – What does that mean for International Trade?

Filed under Law Library

Have you been following the bird flu outbreak in Minnesota?  You wouldn’t think that has anything to do with Saudi Arabia, but you would be wrong.  Trade agreements, whether multilateral, regional or bilateral, govern even events that seem purely domestic.  Saudi Arabia is suspending imports of U.S. turkeys.  If you wanted to know whether the United States has trade agreements with Saudi Arabia, the World Bank has a great free database the Global Preferential Trade Agreements Database.  It you wanted to know the latest trade related news you could search BNA’s WTO Reporter or International Trade Reporter. If the question has a WTO dimension is the best place for pithy summaries of Appellate Body Reports.  Does this suspension of trade implicate the SPS?  What is the SPS?  What decisions from the WTO have interpreted the SPS?  Trade raises many interesting issues, and for a more in depth look at resources related to international trade check out our International Trade Law research guide.


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Apr 03 2015

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Art and Museum Law

Filed under Law Library,LibGuides

In March, Representative Engel introduced H.R. 1493, which aims to “protect and preserve international cultural property at risk due to political instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters, and for other purposes.”  More information on this bill is available on  To find it, either type the title of the bill or its number into the main search box.


If you are looking to find out more about art and museum law in general, the Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries have a variety of books on the topic, including:

If you are seeking to compare the United States’ laws with those of other countries, you may also want to check out the UNESCO Database of National Cultural Heritage Laws.  This database allows you to search for documents from member states by title, key words, country, theme, language or year.  Additional sources may also be found on the Libraries’ research guide on Art, Entertainment, and Sports Law .  Finally, for background information on artists, paintings, and artistic movements, you may also want to try using JSTOR, a database of humanities articles that is available through our eResources A-Z list.

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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

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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.

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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:

Class page:

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