Labor Day 2015 (Library closed on Monday)

The Law Library will be closed on Labor Day, Monday, September 7. Weekend hours remain unchanged.

Want more information about Labor Day?

The U.S. Department of Labor website is a good place to start. The Department also provides statutory, regulatory, and general information about issues that come under its jurisdiction, including: wage & hours, occupational health & safety, workers’ compensation, whistleblowers, and family leave. Find a “Summary of the Major Laws of the Department of Labor” here.

Enjoy the holiday!

CALI Resources for Incoming 1Ls

Your orientation packet included a CALI registration code. What is CALI?

CALI stands for the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction. It is a nonprofit consortium, established in 1982, that now includes most U.S. law schools and many other entities that are interested in legal education.

For law students, CALI is primarily a source for hundreds of concise lessons written by faculty and librarians. These online tutorials serve to introduce or review substantive legal topics, legal writing, legal research, and other useful subjects.

There are several introductory CALI Lessons created especially for 1Ls, listed here and including:

Give them a try! If you’ve lost your registration code, please see a Reference Librarian.


The library staff welcomes all new students to GMUSL!

Librarians are looking forward to meeting you during the Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis (LRWA) Program and in the law library. During the first two weeks of classes, you will be stopping by the Reference Office (on the main floor of the library, past the Circulation Desk) to complete your self-guided library tour. When classes are in session, Reference Librarians are available to assist you in person or by phone:

Monday-Thursday 9:00am – 9:00pm
Fridays 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sundays, 2:00pm – 9:00pm.

We may also be contacted by email. All the Reference Librarians are experienced legal researchers, and we look forward to assisting you as you develop your legal research skills. We are here to help, and we enjoy answering questions–so please don’t hesitate to come and see us!

For technology needs, please contact one of the members of the technology staff. Their office is located on the third floor of the library, Room 362.  More information about technology services is available here.

Contact information for the entire library staff is found in the Library Directory.


Preparing for the Bar Exam

GMU Law Library welcomes those studying for the bar.  Please check the law library website for information about regular and special summer hours. Mason Law ’15 grads retain all library privileges until September 30.

Below are are list of resources related to bar preparation that may be helpful:

Law Library Print Resources

Law School Website


Independence Day marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. But what exactly is this document?  It is printed in Statutes at Large.  It is included in the United States Code as one of “The Organic Laws of the United States of America.”  It has been mentioned periodically in Supreme Court decisions. Not surprisingly, the legal relevance of this document has been the subject of some debate by members of  the legal academy. “Declaration of Independence” as a title search in HeinOnline will yield several articles.

Visit the National Archives website to view images of the Declaration of Independence and to read a brief history of this document. The original is housed in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. You can also view a 1998 video of then members of the Supreme Court reading the complete text.

The law library will be closed on July 3 and 4 in observance of Independence Day. Enjoy the fireworks!


On June 15, 1215 at Runnymede, King John affixed his seal on Magna Carta. Eight hundred years later Magna Carta remains one of the world’s most important documents, especially in America where it heavily influenced the drafters of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Magna Carta remains relevant today as a symbol of liberty and the fundamental principle that no one is above the law:

No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned, or disseised, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any other way ruined, nor will we go against him or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.

–Magna Carta, Clause 39

Want to learn more about Magna Carta?  Please see the law library’s new guide to Select Resources about Magna Carta.

In the News: the USA Patriot Act

After the horrific events of September 11, 2001, Congress acted quickly to pass the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, better known as the USA Patriot Act. It was signed by President Bush on October 26, 2001.

The Act expanded the investigative authority of federal officials, including their ability to track and intercept communications, in addition to other enhanced powers to combat domestic and international terrorism. The Act has been very controversial because of its impact on civil liberties.

Effective midnight May 31, certain provisions of the act expired, including § 215 which had been used by the National Security Agency as authority to collect of millions of telephone records. Prior to this sun-setting, the House had passed H.R. 2048: the USA Freedom Act of 2015. Today, the Senate passed this bill and it was signed by President Obama. His signing statement is available on the White House Website. Track the law’s history on

To learn more about the Patriot Act, please consult the law library’s National Security Research Guide. Resources available in the library include a five volume compiled legislative history of the Act. To discover more about the controversy surrounding this law, GMUSL patrons may wish to search these databases, in additional to traditional news sources:


In observance of Memorial Day, the law library will be closed Sunday, May 24  and Monday, May 25.

A brief Memorial Day History is available on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Website. Also of interest may be two famous Memorial Day speeches delivered by Oliver Wendell Holmes, one in 1884 and the other addressed to the graduating class at Harvard Law School in 1895.  PDFs of these speeches are available using The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises Database (GMUSL users may link to this database here).

And where is Memorial Day officially designated a Federal holiday? Title 36 of the United States Code includes statutes relating to “Patriotic and National Observances.” 36 U.S.C. § 116 designates the last Monday in May as Memorial Day.



Access to Legal Databases:

  • Bloomberg Law: Full access continues until December 31, 2015. No action needed.
  • Lexis Advance
    • Full access through July 1, 2015. No action needed.
    • Graduates who register here will receive access to a Graduate Home Page with tailored content, resume tips, virtual research training, and current legal news from Law360® through December 31, 2015.
    • If you are working for a nonprofit or public interest organization you may apply here for one year of free access through the ASPIRE Program.
  • Westlaw:  
    • Access to job-related resources for 18 months. No action needed.
    • Graduating students may extend their password here for unlimited Westlaw access through November 30th for Academic purposes, finding a job, for updating research/note/comments, etc.

Access to Library Services:

  • Student IDs are valid through October 12, 2015—so new graduates may reserve study rooms, check out books (until Sept. 30), and use the computer labs.
  • The library is open to the public for conducting legal research, so please feel free to use our print resources and publicly available databases— including in-library access to Keycite, Shepards, Bloomberg Law, and HeinOnline. There are also Westlaw and Lexis Patron Access Terminals with limited primary sources. More information about the library’s access policy is available here.
  • Reference librarians are also happy to assist you in person, by phone 703.993.8076, or email.