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.

Do you Ctrl+F?

According to an article in The Atlantic, 90% of web users don’t use Ctrl/Command+F to help find specific words in a Word document or on webpages.

The article cites a study conducted by Dan Russell, a search behavior expert at Google.  Russell discovered this inefficient search behavior based on sampling ”thousands” of people.  Most people skimmed through long documents trying to find the one thing they were looking for rather than using Ctrl+F to save time.

Sounds like a short cut worth remembering!

Spading Guide

If you are working on a journal spading assignment, you might like the assistance of the Library’s Scholarly Writing & Spading Guide, which is linked from the Library’s homepage. The second half of the guide is designed to help you find materials for your spading assignment. Of course, don’t hesitate to ask a law librarian for help. Our contact information is here.

Summertime Access to Loislaw

The law school has an agreement with Loislaw to provide students complimentary access to Loislaw online research, which includes searchable primary materials for all 50 states and federal jurisdictions. Unlike Lexis and Westlaw, Loislaw is offered on a year-round basis, and students are encouraged to use Loislaw for part-time and summer positions. Students also have free access for six months after graduation.

To obtain the GMUSL access code for Loislaw, please email Melanie Oberlin at moberlin@gmu.edu or drop-by the Reference Office. To obtain a copy of the Loislaw Subscriber Handbook, please drop by the Reference Office. For more information on Loislaw, click here.

University of Michigan Law Students Protest Commencement Speaker

University of Michigan Law School students staged a silent  protest in response to Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s speech at graduation.  Students objected to Senator Portman’s opposition to gay adoption and marriage.  According to one report, close to 100 students quietly exited the commencement ceremony when Portman was introduced, and the majority of graduates wore rainbow buttons or ribbons. 

Would you like to explore the legal issues related to sexual orientation?  In addition to primary legal materials, some resources available to members of the GMUSL community include:

  • Westlaw:  Sexual orientation and the  Law (SEXORIENT)
  • Ebsco:  LGBT Life with Full Text
  • Library Catalog:  Search related subject headings such as:  Gay Rights, Same-sex marriage, or Gay couples–legal status

     

Law and the Death of Bin Laden

Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee today that killing Bin Laden was “justified as an act of national self-defense.”   One more specific authorization cited by commentators is the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force  (Pub. L. No. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224). This joint resolution (S.J. Res. 23), issued one week after the September 11 terrorist attacks, authorizes the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those . . . he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided” these attacks.  

To explore this issue, please consult the library’s research guides on Homeland Security and International Law.

World Intellectual Property Day

Since 2000, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has designated April 26 as “World Intellectual Property Day.”  The WIPO is an agency of the United Nations focused on “developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system.”  It administers a number of international treaties focused on copyright and related rights.  World Intellectual Property Day was established to increase public awareness and understanding of the significant role of IP in fostering “music, arts and entertainments” and ”all the products and technological innovations that help to shape our world.”

Resources on the WIPO website include an overview (including links to PDFs) of United States IP-related statutes and regulations, and WIPO-administered treaty membership.  Please consult the law library’s Intellectual Property Research Guide  to locate additional useful resources related to copyright, trademark, and patent law.