(DOJ Archives Logo from http://www.justice.gov/archives)
A more serious look that our usual technology Thursdays, but an interesting one nonetheless–the U.S. Department of Justice has released a previously unseen series of opinions ranging from the 1930s to the 1970s from the archives of the Office of Legal Counsel. In many cases, the opinions do not reflect the current positions of the office, but illustrate how areas of law developed around previously hot-button issues and thus, may shed light on how similar issues will be dealt with in this day and age, such as domestic surveillance and violations of the Espionage Act of 1917 (For example, in 1941, the OLC weighed in on the Naval Intelligence Service’s desire to listen in on phone calls to use the records “in prosecutions involving espionage, sabotage, and subversive activities,” and in 1942, they opined on the criminal liability for newspaper publication of naval secrets under the Espionage Act).
The opinions also look at historical political issues, such as the legal and practical consequences of a blockade of Cuba, and the removal of Japanese citizens from Hawaii to the United States, as well as recurring constitutional issues, like the President’s power in the field of foreign relations. At 508 pages of historical legal goodness, with contributions from legal heavyweights like Antonin Scalia, William H. Rehnquist, and Robert Bork, they’re perfect for some end-of-summer beach reading. Pick up the PDF from the OLC here or read the highlights from the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
* hat tip: Above the Law
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:
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.
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.
With exams starting in less than a month, you are probably at least thinking about outlining, if not actually beginning to outline. Outlines are great because they help you organize a lot of class material in a logical way. The one problem with traditional outlines is that they are linear. This is fine for classes where you’re making checklists of elements (torts, criminal law, etc.), but what about when a point on your outline is connected to more than one area of the class? Mind maps, which organize information spatially, allow you to connect one idea to multiple ideas and see how concepts are connected.
You have options when creating mind maps. You can draw them by hand, or you can take advantage of many different mind mapping programs. You might chose one over the other based on how you learn or time constraints. When I was in law school, I created mind maps by hand (using information from a longer typed outline), because I know I remember things I hand write better than ideas I type.
Exam preparation should be whatever helps you learn best. That may be long outlines, issue spotting checklists, mind maps, flashcards, or a combination thereof. There is no wrong way to study, so if you think a traditional outline is not the best approach for you, don’t be afraid to try something you think will be more closely aligned with your learning style. For many people, combining different study aids and techniques will be the ticket, because the strengths of one method compensate for the weaknesses of another. Good luck with your exam preparation!
Have a smart phone? An iPad? Another type of tablet? Some other cool gizmo entirely? If you do, you need to take a look at our new research guide on Apps for Lawyers and Law Students. Are we missing something? Let us know!
I know some of you cannot stand to be parted from your beloved Bluebooks. Your suffering can now come to an end because there’s a Bluebook app (for iPhone and iPad), which can be downloaded through rulebook. For just $39.99, you and the Bluebook never have to be apart. Some of the features of this app include the ability to bookmark rules and keep multiple rules open at the same time to flip back and forth (which could be helpful when combining Rule 18 with the underlying source rule to create the appropriate Internet citation). Hat tip to the University of Wisconsin Law Library.
For the most part, the bar review companies are good at creating anagrams or mnemonics to remember lists of elements. However, you may encounter, as I have, a list of factors you need to memorize that doesn’t come with a pre-packaged memory aid. For me, it was the list of factors the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court must consider when determining an equitable distribution of property during a divorce proceeding.
The first thing I did was identify the main term in each factor, and wrote down the first letter of that word. My letters were snpaicndol. I entered these letters in Word Grabber, which allows you to enter up to 15 letters and it will display words composed of those letters. One of my words was panics. I used that plus the remaining letters to create:
Length of the marriage
Occupation, employability, and vocational skills of each party
Dependent children’s present & future needs
Property to which a party holds title
Age and health of the parties
Needs and liabilities of each party
Income, including the opportunity for future acquisition of capital income and assets
Conduct of the parties during the marriage
Station in life of each party
Granted, LOD PANICS isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot easier to remember than the entire list of factors without any organization. Use Word Grabber to make your own hard-to-memorize lists more manageable.
The law student’s life is a constant balancing act.
Learning to be as productive as possible is why effective research skills and use of available technology is crucial to your success.
Here are some reviewed and recommended extensions to make the internet work more productively for YOU.
While the US may lag significantly behind some other nations in the provisioning of a national, free high speed internet network, Hanover County, NC, has just started a test of the first free “white space” wi-fi network.
A “white space” network is one that takes advantage of frequencies freed up when the US moved from analog to digital television frequencies. Its apparent advantage is that dense foliage and other obstructions play less havoc with connectivity and is seen as a major improvement in the quest to provision national high speed internet services.
See, the article here: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20120127/ARTICLES/120129724
As an introduction as your new Legal Information and Digital Services Librarian, it seems only appropriate that I announce as my first blog a free online course being offered by CALI (the Computer Assisted Learning Initiative) beginning Feb. 10. This ten-week course will explore the role of technology and digital tools in the practicing lawyer’s workplace.
CALI is a great resource you should investigate as they have a wide range of free courses available you can take advantage of to augment your learning here at the Pappas Law School.
Click here for more details about this course offering:
(Stop by rm. 342 for a CALI password if you’ve forgotten yours.)
I look forward to meeting you soon!