Vote for Catherine Wauters’ Public Interest Application Video

Barbri has partnered with Save the Children to fund a legal fellowship position for a graduating law student. Our own 3L, Catherine Wauters, is in the final 10 finalists in this important and competitive fellowship bid. The top 3 finalists are largely decided by peer vote. Please take a few minutes to visit this page and vote for Catherine’s video. As you will see from her video, the fellowship will enable Catherine to work on an issue near and dear to her, building on her Peace Corp experience in West Africa. We are proud of Catherine and wish her the best, and we need your help to get her this fellowship.

Survey Response: Can the Library Provide Access to Pacer?

Many suggested that we provide access to PACER, the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, so that students can download litigation documents, such as complaints and motions, in federal court cases. We do provide PACER access! Because the library pays a charge for every page downloaded, we ask you to see a Reference Librarian for assistance in using PACER for academic purposes (class, note, journal, etc.).

What’s more, though, all PACER documents are available for free to academic users through Bloomberg Law. Search Dockets on BLaw. Be sure to “Update” your docket at the top of the page. Download the document(s) you want. When the notice of PACER fees pops up, ignore it, and submit your document request. BLaw does not charge academic users to retrieve these documents. The document will arrive in your email inbox within moments.

Survey Response: Where Can I Study Late Night?

For those who want to study after the Library closes, we offer an After-Hours Study Hall in classrooms 120 and 121. These rooms stay open until 2:00 a.m. If you are in the building after 11:00 p.m. (when it closes to the general public), please keep your ID with you, and don’t lock yourself out of the building or prop the building doors open. The police officers are on duty 24 hours per day, and they are accommodating of GMUSL students here until late in the night, whether you are in the two study hall rooms or in the atrium.

 

Summer Access: Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law

If you need summer access to the major legal research platforms, take note of the following. If you registered your Lexis Advance password, you can use Lexis Advance for academic purposes without taking further action. For Lexis and Westlaw (including WestlawNext), you will have to fill out the form for summer access by June 1. The link is on the right on Westlaw and is the 3rd “story”/button on the top of the Lexis page. Bloomberg Law is available for you to use all summer with no restrictions (e.g., you can use it at work) and you don’t need to take any action to have summer access.

 

Kindle Winner Announced

Thank you to all students who participated in the Westlaw v. WestlawNext study. Your time and effort are very important to the conclusions we will draw and the scholarship we will publish about the important topic of legal research search engines and databases. We drew the Kindle winner this morning. Your chances of winning were good – 1 in 24. Keep that in mind next year when we run our next study, and please consider participating. The more participants we have, the more statistically significant our results. We don’t yet know what the next study will be, but perhaps WestlawNext v. LexisAdvance.

 

Library 4th Floor Now Open

Dean Keene just announced that the Library’s 4th floor is now open for students and faculty to use. The 4th floor offers five study rooms for students’ use (check out at the Circulation Desk), several study tables, and a few soft chairs. You can access the 4th floor from the Library’s elevator or the Library’s stairwell. Please keep your voices low while studying on the 4th floor; noise will travel to the 3rd floor. As in other places in the Library: food is not allowed, and drinks must be in a container with a lid. This summer, books will be moved up to the 4th floor shelves. Enjoy this lovely, sunny, new study space. If you have any feedback, feel free to email Dean Keene at dkeene@gmu.edu.

Westlaw v. WestlawNext – the Showdown

Rob Willey and Melanie Oberlin are recruiting GMU law students to participate in our study comparing Westlaw and WestlawNext. If you complete our study in which you answer 10 questions using Westlaw and 10 using WestlawNext, we will give you a $5 gift card to Starbucks and enter you in a drawing to win a Kindle Fire E-reader. The study will take about 1 hour to complete. Our next sessions are at the following times:

  • Wednesday, February 22 at Noon in Computer Lab 342.
  • Wednesday, March 7 at Noon in Computer Lab 342.
  • Thursday, March 8 at 5:00 in Computer Lab 342.

If you’re interested in completing the study but you prefer to do it on your own time, please contact Melanie moberlin@gmu.edu or Rob rwilley@gmu.edu for more information.

Can’t Find the Email with Your Bloomberg Law Password?

If you cannot find the email sent January 18 with your Bloomberg Law password, follow these instructions. Go to Bloomberglaw.com. In the far, upper right corner, click on “Forgot User Name or Password?” Enter your gmu.edu email address. BLaw will email you your user name. Then, go to the “Forgot User Name or Password?” link again to retrieve your password using your user name. It sounds like a hassle, but it isn’t bad. The emails come nearly instantaneously, and the BLaw user name and password retrieval system is easy to use. If you still have trouble, contact Melanie Oberlin at moberlin@gmu.edu

13 Steps of Successful Academic Legal Research

Scholarly Writing students, this short article describes 13 steps to researching and writing a good academic article or note. The author writes clearly, succinctly, and with humor. I highly recommend it. Of note, he emphasizes talking to others about your topic, getting help from librarians, using the library catalog, and dividing your time as follows: 60% research, 30% writing, 10% editing.