Myron Taylor Hall, home of Cornell Law School, under construction

In the past, many of you have told us how much you like the Legal Research Engine.  For those of you not familiar with the Research Engine, it searches a librarian-curated selection of online legal research guides from many different sources to help users easily find the guide covering their topic of interest.

We really appreciate everyone’s compliments on, and use of, the Research Engine.  We have had to take it down, however, to perform maintenance and update content.  It should be running again this fall with an improved search engine experience.  An announcement will appear here as soon as it’s up to snuff and ready to use.

The Law Library has acquired two major databases for the use of Cornell students, faculty, and staff.

HOLlogo_fullcolorHeinOnline Session Laws Library contains fully searchable images of the official bound session laws of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands from inception to date.  Session laws for all states are current within 60 days of the printed publication.  Finally, it includes Acts of the Parliaments of Australia (1901-2011) and of Canada (1792-2011) and the Official Gazette of the Bahamas (1968-1996).

MOML_PS_lgMaking of Modern Law: Foreign Primary Sources, 1600-1970, was just released this week.  It offers fully searchable images of over 1500 historical legal codes, statutes, regulations, and commentaries on codes from the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, and Switzerland.

Both databases may be used by all Cornell students, faculty, and staff both on and off campus with the links given above.

Questions? Contact Nina Scholtz, Digital Resources Librarian, or Law Library Reference.

The False Prophet!” shrieks one cover.  “Confession of Ann Walters, the Murderess!” proclaims another.  “Death in the Mail” is the lurid title of a third.

These are all pamphlets digitized in the Cornell University Law Library Trial Pamphlets Collection, which has just received the American Association of Law Libraries’ Law Library Publications Award, Nonprint Division.

We call them trial pamphlets because most are contemporary accounts of trials of prominent citizens or that dealt with especially controversial or lurid topics.  Some are confessions; some include “execution sermons” (in which readers were given a moral lecture).  As the titles quoted suggest, they were sold to a public eager to learn the juicy details of a recent murder or other crime.

For present day scholars, the pamphlets offer not only valuable evidence, such as trial transcripts, frequently not available elsewhere, but also indications of the political, economic, and social transformation of the United States, especially in the 19th century.

The trial pamphlets are freely available for full-text searching or browsing on the Trial Pamphlets Collection site.  Law Library staff responsible for the project are Thomas Mills, Associate Director for Collections and Administration and Rare Book Curator, and Janet Gillespie, Access Services Manager.  Barbara Berger Eden, Cornell University Library’s Director of Preservation, and the entire project staff made the digital collection possible.

HOL_BlackonWhiteBackgroundThe Law Library is pleased to announce that HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library is now available to Cornell alumni. This database contains more than 1,700 law and law-related journals with a broad range of coverage.  Alumni can search the database by article title, author, subject, state or country published, or by using keywords. Articles can be downloaded in a searchable PDF format.

Cornell alumni can log in to Law Journal Library using their NetID.  A log-in link is also available on our website (on the home page, scroll down to the link for HeinOnline Alumni Access in Research Tools).  Don’t have a NetID?  Go to Cornell University NetIDs to set up alumni access to this and other electronic resources provided to alumni by Cornell University Library.

Currently, HeinOnline Alumni Access does not work with Internet Explorer 8 or earlier.  If you are having trouble logging in to HeinOnline, please try using Internet Explorer 9 or 10, Firefox, or Chrome.

For answers to questions about using Law Journal Library, please contact Nina Scholtz.

Dog_04_30As our readers know, at exam time each semester we offer a pet visitation event.  Our pet guests come to us courtesy of Cornell Companions, a pet visitation service sponsored by Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine.  The Cornell Companions program operates on a volunteer basis at no charge to the facilities and institutions its pets visit.

Why does Cornell Companions offer this program at no charge?  To quote its Mission Statement:

“The purpose of Cornell Companions is to provide the therapeutic effects of animals with the people whom we visit. We strive to educate our volunteers on the beneficial effects of the human-animal bond, and to foster positive relationships between people and animals, and also between different groups of people.”

You can read more about Cornell Companions, the human-animal bond, and the therapeutic effects of animals on the Cornell Companions website.  (The Vet School’s Facebook page is a lot of fun, too.)

We thought you all would enjoy seeing some photos from our pet visitation event on April 29.  We had three guests, two dogs and a llama.  Thanks, Cornell Companions!


Cornell law students may be wondering whether they can use Westlaw, Lexis, or Bloomberg this summer.  Here’s some information to get you started:

Students may use Westlaw for academic-related work.  Otherwise, you may not use your Cornell Westlaw password over the summer.  Go to Westlaw’s Password Extension page for more information and to request extension.

Students may use their Cornell Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law accounts over the summer for any purpose, academic or commercial.

Questions? Contact Law Library Reference for more information.

The Cornell Law Library is pleased to announce the 2013 recipients of The Cornell Law Library Prize for Exemplary Student Research:

First Place: Libor Integrity and Holistic Domestic Enforcement, by Milson C. Yu, 3L

Milson YuMilson Yu crafted a coherent and well-written note embracing a complex and wide range of sources.  He looked at the history and methodology of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), an estimate of the cost of short-term borrowing for large London banks; examined the limits of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s enforcement authority in the context of rigging Libor; and outlined “a two-part plan to engage the CFTC in active oversight and enforcement of Libor.”  His sources included a sophisticated collection of unpublished private reports, administrative regulations, decisions, and reports, briefs and orders from federal litigation, federal case and statutory law, legislative history materials, and articles and empirical studies in law reviews and business journals, among other sources.

Through extended research into his area of interest, Milson discovered that advanced research techniques such as combining search terms with Boolean connectors and tracking updates to his research significantly improved his search results.

Second Place: How to Kill Copyright: A Brute-Force Approach to Content Creation, by Kirk Sigmon, 3L

sigmon_kirk_kas468Kirk Sigmon’s idea and research were quite original; he wove a collection of very different sources together for an interesting thought experiment.   In the course of examining the topic of copyrightable content randomly generated by computer, he drew on both research in computer science and a mix of primary and secondary legal sources to support his discussion of whether copyrightable content could be generated, whether the content would be amenable to copyright, and the legal ramifications of generating this content.

Kirk comments about his paper:  “It is a fusion of cryptanalytic science, computer science, and intellectual property law – a sort of hybrid that does not easily lend itself to research in a standard library.  But that was what made it a fun paper to write.”

A review panel comprised of Librarians Amy Emerson, Matt Morrison, Nina Scholtz, and Carissa Vogel selected the winners from among 19 competitive entries.

Funding for the Prize is provided by an endowment given to the Law Library by Barbara Cantwell in honor of her late husband, Robert Cantwell, a 1956 graduate of Cornell Law School.

In addition to receiving a monetary award, the winners are also invited to publish their papers in Scholarship@Cornell Law, the Law Library’s digital repository, and to feature their papers in Reading Room displays.

retrieverDon’t forget!  All Cornell law students, faculty, and staff are invited to enjoy pet therapy in the Saperston Student Lounge on Tuesday, April 30.  Two dogs and a llama will be available from 11am-1pm for relaxing companionship.  No sign-up required; drop by anytime.  Spouses, partners, and children are welcome.

llama-webThis program is co-sponsored by the Cornell Law Library, Cornell Companions (a pet visitation program sponsored by the Cornell University veterinary community), and the Cornell Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, who will provide refreshments.

Just posted in Scholarship@Cornell Law is “Unborn Communities,” a working paper by Gregory S. Alexander, A. Robert Noll Professor of Law at Cornell. From the abstract:

Do property owners owe obligations to members of future generations? Although the question can be reframed in rights-terms so that it faces rights-oriented theories of property, it seems to pose a greater challenge to those theories of property that directly focus on the obligations that property owners owe to others rather than (or, better, along with) the rights of owner. The challenge is compounded where such theories emphasize the relationships between individual property owners and the various communities to which they belong. Do those communities include members of future generations? This paper addresses these questions as they apply to a property theory that I have developed in recent work, a theory that we can call the human-flourishing theory of property.

If you’re not familiar with Scholarship@Cornell Law, it’s Cornell Law Library’s digital repository of 1,000 scholarly articles, papers, and presentations, all available online, for free.  Scholarship@Cornell Law is part of bePress’s Law Commons, where Cornell Law Library has one of the top five most popular repositories.

While both published and working papers by Cornell law faculty make up the bulk of Scholarship@Cornell Law, we also have papers by students, including winners of the Cornell Law Library Prize for Exemplary Student ResearchPapers from many different law school centers and programs, the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice and Dorothea S. Clarke Program in Feminist Jurisprudence and the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative are also found at Scholarship@Cornell Law.

A couple of months ago, we featured here a guide for law clerks and externs.  Now, we have another title that should help law clerks and externs greatly: the third edition of Judge Ruggero Aldisert’s Opinion Writing.  Judge Aldisert is Chief Judge Emeritus and Senior U.S. Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.  His handbook includes discussions of, among other things, the process of reaching and justifying a decision, the different sections of an opinion, and writing style, and offers checklists for both appellate opinions and trial court opinions.  He offers suggestions for using the book by experienced and new judges and law clerks.  For the latter, he says: “This book is for you.  Start reading this book your very first day on the job” (p. xxx).

Opinion Writing is available on two-hour reserve at the Law Library’s circulation desk.

For a slightly different audience is Cracking the Case Method: Legal Analysis for Law School Success, by Paul Bergman, Patrick Goodman, and Thomas Holm, all of UCLA.  Professor Bergman and his colleagues explain the process of legal analysis — that is, the “process of distilling discrete legal issues from stories and developing arguments to support the resolution of those legal issues” (p. xi) — for beginning law students.  They include a discussion of final exam strategies.

Cracking the Case Method is available for check-out at the Law Library.


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