The Law Library now has chat reference. We can chat with you between 9 and 5 on weekdays and from 1 to 5 on Saturday, the same hours that we have reference service. So now you can ask your research questions in person at the desk, by phone, by email and by chat reference. We are using a chat program called Chatroll which is very easy to use. You can find the chat box on our web site here. You will be asked to click a sign-in button and will be given a guest number; then you will be able to ask your question. Remember that many questions require in-depth answers and research advice and are better handled in person at the desk. You might be asked to come to the reference desk if you ask for detailed help with a research project. Otherwise, we are ready to respond to your chat questions, so ask away!
This week you received a Bloomberg Law password via email. What is Bloomberg Law? It is a database that allows you to search for primary law, as well as news and company information. One of the major benefits from using B-Law is that you can keep your password and continue to use it over the summer. Our Bloomberg Law rep is Pamela Haahr. She will be here on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 5th and 6th, to distribute information and answer your questions about this service. She will be set up at the table outside the Reading Room (in the 3rd floor stacks area) from 10am to 5pm. Feel free to stop by and get a short demo of this alternative to Lexis and Westlaw.
The Law library is hosting an open house for all students on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 11:00am-1:00pm, in the Gould Reading Room. Library resources and services will be featured at stations throughout the room, including:
• An introduction to “hidden” online databases;
• Information regarding personalized research consultations;
• An overview of upper level research classes;
• Our open access repository of Cornell student and faculty scholarship;
• Demonstrations of our library catalog and interlibrary loan services;
• A rare book display;
• And more.
Students who visit every station will receive a library pen and be entered in a grand prize drawing to win their choice of two round trip Campus-to-Campus bus tickets to New York City, or a limousine wine tour for 2-4 people. Other prize drawings will feature $25 gift certificates to local businesses including Gimme! Coffee, Cinemapolis, and Purity Ice Cream. Drawings will occur at 1pm; students need not be present to win.
A book sale will be held simultaneously with the open house. All books will be available for $1 at the East end of the Reading Room.
Join us for some quick, informative fun and snag a seasonal snack from Cornell Orchards!
Want something interesting on your resume? Look into the Law Library Research Fellow program. This year we are looking for two law students (2Ls or 3Ls) to work as Fellows conducting research for faculty who don’t have their own research assistants or who need additional help with a project. Research Fellows’ hours are extremely flexible and the pay is the same as for a faculty research assistant. If you are interested you can find an online application at Library Research Fellows.
Competition is thriving in the online legal information market. And perhaps the most successful of the new players is Bloomberg Law, or B-law, outgrowth, of course, from the wildly successful Bloomberg financial news and data service. They describe their edge as “the first real-time legal research system that integrates innovative search technology, comprehensive legal content, company and client information, and proprietary news all in one place.”
Bloomberg Law has a new web interface to which Cornell Law School users will be introduced on Wednesday, July 13, at 10:30am, in room 273. This update session will be conducted by our Bloomberg Law representative, Pamela Haar. Please join us if you are interested in this up and coming competitor to Lexis and Westlaw.
Research consultations are a great way to prepare for your summer employment or full-time job. A consultation is a one-on-one meeting with a Research Attorney of your choice or the Research Attorney assigned to you if you have no preference. The consultation focuses on specific research questions or the general area of law that you will be researching. The benefits of a research consultation are getting an edge on the competition, getting a handout covering important resources in your area of law, and getting a sense of relief when it comes to worrying about your upcoming job. You can request an appointment for any time, before or after finals. Just use the online form at http://library2.lawschool.cornell.edu/forms/resappointmentform.asp. We hope you take advantage of this helpful service.
Bloomberg Law passwords will be available on Monday, April 4 in alcove 43 of the Reading Room between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Stop by to meet our Bloomberg representative and get your password for access to up-to-date business, news and law reports.
Congratulations to Luwam Dirar, Cornell JSD student, who recently published the research guide for Eritrea she co-authored with Kibrom Tesfagabir. The guide, entitled Introduction to Eritrean Legal System and Research, includes the following sections:
- Government (National Assembly, Executive, Judiciary)
- Court structure (regular courts, military courts, Sharia courts, etc.)
- Legal education
- Resources for researchers
The guide is published by Globalex, an online collection of research tools for foreign and international law hosted by the Hauser Global Law School Program at NYU Law. Globalex publishes research guides for many countries, and these are a great, free place to help familiarize yourself with that country’s legal system and legal publications, including Web sites. The foreign law guides are generally written by lawyers who have studied and practiced in these countries. Globalex also publishes research guides about international law and comparative law.
When members of the legal community think about legal scholarship, what typically comes to mind is the concept of a print law journal (e.g., the Cornell Law Review, the Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy, the Cornell International Law Journal, etc.). These works undoubtedly serve a very important function, but I wanted to write a bit about another relevant legal journal sited at Cornell Law School: the LII Supreme Court Bulletin. I am fairly familiar with this Web site, having served as an LII editor during the 2009-10 academic year (my now-outdated biography is viewable here). The LII Supreme Court Bulletin (“Liibulletin”) contains previews of cases on the Supreme Court’s (“SCOTUS”) docket. Because the previews are written with recourse to the relevant parties’ submitted briefs (the full versions of which are usually available here) and are published before the decisions are handed down, the previews generally reflect a balanced view of the legal issues unaffected by the bias of hindsight.
Liibulletin is a fantastic resource for people who are interested in keeping abreast of SCOTUS cases, but don’t have tons of free time to do so (e.g., law students who have more than enough assigned reading for courses). But one of the really neat things about LII bulletin is that it is particularly comprehensible and may be utilized by people without legal educations or backgrounds. In order to ensure that LII previews remain accessible to lay persons, all the previews contain hyperlinks to a free legal dictionary and encyclopedia called Wex. You will also note, by the way, that this dictionary, although frequently embedded within Liibulletin, is its own free-standing resource.
Each preview contains the following sections:
(1) A few key subject areas and descriptive terms. These lists of terms are useful since anyone can perform a subject-matter search in Liibulletin across SCOTUS terms.
(2) An executive summary. This section, which is emailed to all Liibulletin subscribers, succinctly identifies the relevant facts, issues, and arguments of the case. It also generally addresses the legal (and, if relevant, nonlegal) significance(s) of the case.
(3) Itemized questions presented. These are copied verbatim as provided on the Supreme Court’s case schedule.
(4) Itemized issues. As I mentioned earlier, Liibulletin is published with the underlying goal of making the law accessible to the public. In this way, this section can be thought of as a simplification of the questions presented section.
(5) Factual narrative. Predictably, this section tells a balanced story of the case and discusses facts pertinent to the controversy before the Court.
(6) Discussion. This is the section that focuses on the greater picture. It calls into question the consequences of the case from largely a policy perspective. This section more or less explains the importance of the case.
(7) Analysis. The analysis section is a detailed and balanced analysis and explanation of the legal issues before the Court. It typically goes beyond summarizing the parties’ briefs and actually synthesizes the lower courts’ opinions and the briefs submitted by amici curiae.
(8) Conclusion. The conclusion essentially restates the executive summary by tying everything together. Once in a while, LII editors will include their own opinions about how the Court should rule.
(9) Additional Sources. Each preview concludes with a list of additional legal sources that discuss the case.
I absolutely encourage anyone (or better yet, everyone) with an interest in learning about the Supreme Court’s docket to peruse the previews. If you’d like to have the previews sent directly to your email address, you can subscribe to Liibulletin here.
Daniel Shatz, Cornell Law School 3L Student
Photo courtesy of dbking’s Flickr stream.
The webinars on HeinOnline Searching have been rescheduled for this week on Thursday, March 3, at 10am & 2pm.
It’s not too late; you can still register for one of these sessions:
- Sign up for 10am at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/122053890
- Sign up for 2pm at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/619093115
For more information about the webinar, click here.