U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, and Appeals

A new library collection is available through the Law Library’s HeinOnline database: U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, and Appeals. This library features:

… the reports, decisions, and records, this library is a complete collection of the official case law of some of the United States most important U.S. Federal Agencies such as: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It also includes more than 65 GPO best selling legal titles (from HeinOnline).

Users can browse this collection by Agency, Agency document, or GPO best sellers.

To access this collection: from the Law Library Homepage > Research Resources > Research Databases > HeinOnline, and the US Federal Documents, Decisions, and Appeals library will be available from the HeinOnline homepage.

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Written by CDS.

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News From Lexis!

This just in, from LexisNexis ® :

I’m excited to let you know that we’re again offering students unlimited access to Lexis Advance this summer! Here’s an update on the LexisNexis® 2014 Summer Access program, Think Like a Lawyer program, and related teaching tools as you prepare your students for their summer and post graduate positions. We appreciate any assistance you can provide in ensuring your students know about the summer access program and all training opportunities prior to starting their summer jobs.

Summer 2014: All-Access to Lexis Advance®

1Ls & 2Ls: Students may continue to use their current Lexis Advance® ID for any purpose this summer– including work they perform at a law firm, corporation or government agency.

Lexis Advance ID all summer long for:

Any purpose at all
All legal content and news on their current law student ID
Unlimited hours-per-week
Graduating 3Ls, can register for one of our Graduate Program IDs that will extend their access beyond graduation. To learn more, visit www.lexisnexis.com/grad-access.

Think Like a Lawyer

Please share this Think Like A Lawyer link with your students so they can take advantage of training opportunities prior to heading out this summer. As you know, many employers require or highly recommend their incoming associates attend all applicable training offered at their school. Think Like a Lawyer training opportunities include Professional Research Certification designed to include the research skills expected among incoming associates based on feedback from commercial customers. The site also provides links to the summer access and 3L Graduate ID programs.

If you have any questions about your LexisNexis ®  subscription, please do not hesitate to contact (in no particular order):

  • Reference Librarians (lawlib [at] camden [dot] rutgers [dot] edu);
  • Lexis Representative Melissa Gorsline (melissa [dot] gorsline [at] lexisnexis [dot] com); or
  • Lexis Student Representatives, usually seated by the circulation desk of the library.

Posted by CDS.

Judicial Internships, Externships & Clerkships

It’s that time of year, again.

Many first-year students (and probably some 2Ls and 3Ls) are applying, or have already applied for, internships, externships, or clerkships with local state and federal judges. While some of you have an idea of the most important criteria for applying or accepting a position, consider supplementing your considerations with other practical information about the judges for whom you might be interested in working.

The interview is critical for any job, especially for such competitive positions. In some cases, having some background information on a judge you wish to work for can lend insight into that judge, and can give you an edge over other potential candidates. Information can include the judge’s career summary, case history, current docket, and more. Here are some sources to get your research started:

Judgepedia.org
This free Wikipedia site allows you to search for or browse judges by state. Information includes: Education, career, and awards & associations.

Almanac of the Federal Judiciary on Westlaw Next
This well-known resource provides objective judicial profiles of every federal judge (including bankruptcy judges and magistrates) from interviews with the lawyers that have argued before them. Information includes each judge’s academic and professional background, experience on the bench, noteworthy rulings, and media coverage along with candid, revealing commentary by lawyers.

Litigation Profile Suite on Lexis Advance
Information includes rulings history, jury verdicts & settlements, dockets, cases, news coverage, publications, and more.

People Search on Bloomberg Law
Though it does not explicitly state what types of people can be searched, the People Search can provide really in-depth information about a particular judge. This information includes career history & education, cases, news, and more.

If you have any questions about applying for job, please contact the Career Planning Office.

If you have any questions about the resources mentioned, please contact a Reference Librarian.

CDS

HONE YOUR SKILLS NOW! Panel: How Legal Research, Writing, and Oral Communication Skills Can Help You Succeed in Your Summer Job

Some 1Ls deprioritize LAWR in favor of other core classes, thinking “Hey, it’s fewer credit hours per semester.”  These students couldn’t be more wrong, however:  your LAWR class may be one of the most important classes you take in law school.

That’s the takeaway from a recent panel discussion hosted by Sarah Ricks, Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Law School’s Pro Bono Research Project.  The panelists—3 recent graduates and 1 current 4L, a JD/MBA candidate—spoke to current students about how their LAWR classwork will translate in the real world, including the job hunt.

Although they are newer lawyers, the panelists collectively had worked in federal and state clerkships, internships, and jobs in mid- and large-sized law firms. Each speaker attributed their individual success to the skills that they acquired in their legal writing courses.

Whether you know exactly what you want to do or are still looking for your passion or your place in the legal community, these basic tenets will hold true:

1. KNOW WHERE & HOW TO FIND ANSWERS

Don’t search aimlessly in Westlaw or Lexis: learn about practice-area and subject-specific treatises. These secondary sources contain the law you need in your practice area and can save you time!

Learn how to research in print. In practice, searching online can drive up your client’s costs, and most clients aren’t willing to pay for expensive research.  One panelist admitted that even big firm lawyers often turn to books for answers because, when billing hours, every minute matters.

As a student you have almost limitless access to many legal databases: take the time to see what they offer!  Database companies want you to get comfortable with their systems in the hopes that you’ll stick with that service in practice. But don’t just learn each system’s resources; learn what tools they make available that can make you a more efficient researcher.

2. KNOW HOW TO COMMUNICATE YOUR FINDINGS

When you’re given a research assignment by a senior attorney, that person most often will not know the answer and will be relying entirely on you.  You must know how to find the correct answer and convey your findings effectively.  And unlike in law school, you will not be reminded on a regular basis that you have an assignment due.

Take writing-intensive classes.  While you may have many opportunities to learn substantive law in practice, school is the best place to hone your writing skills: ask questions, get feedback, and practice, practice, practice.

Take practicums that allow you to develop your skills. Most of the panelists mentioned that they had practiced and honed LAWR skills in clinics and competitions.  Specifically, the ability to craft correct and well-supported arguments and communicate them effectively will distinguish you from an applicant pool.  And as one panelist pointed out, “writing is only one aspect of communication.” You need to be able to verbalize persuasively and concisely.

PROOFREAD. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is easy to skip when you’re under pressure. Make sure all punctuation is in place; make sure all citations are included; make sure you say what you need to say and cut everything else.

One panelist mentioned that when he interviewed for his first internship, he had one bad grade on his record, but strong 1L LAWR writing samples.  The interviewing judge told him that, had he had perfect grades and a sub-par writing sample, he would not have gotten the internship.

3. KNOW HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME EFFECTIVELY

The panelists reiterated that now is the time to practice managing your time. As students, you have 2-3 months to study an issue and write a concise research memo. In this time, you’ll receive feedback so that you can improve. Heed that advice and, where possible, seek out more.

In practice, you may have as little as 30 minutes to write a memo for a senior attorney or judge.  When time is tight, knowing where to look for the answer will give you more time to read and process the information that you’re finding. This is critical.

Straight talk: your workload will probably not decrease from school to practice. Sure, now it seems like you have an overwhelming amount of work, but realistically your workload is only likely to increase.  When you’re juggling many tasks, you’ll need to be able to jump from issue to issue seamlessly. Practice managing and budgeting your time now.

Use this time to think about your own approach to research, analysis, and writing.  Don’t wait!  Visit your professor’s or TA’s office hours today.

Written by CDS.

Edited by GBT.

WestlawNext’s Advanced Search

All too often , you’ve probably heard your colleagues, professors, representatives, or librarians  talking about ‘natural language’ searching versus ‘terms and connectors’ searching in online databases. Maybe you’ve shied away from using terms and connectors in your searches because you’re unfamiliar with all of the tricks and tips.

Don’t get me wrong, natural language searches have their time and place. But when you’re looking for something very specific, even if you don’t know exactly what it is yet, typing a Google-style question into a search box and using post-search filters to try to whittle down the huge number of results can seem overwhelming and almost a waste of effort.

Here’s why: vague searches return vague results. Sure, sometimes you get lucky  and what you’re looking for floats to the top of the results list. But more often than not you’ll end up trying to be clever with post-search filters to find a given document.  Maybe you don’t have time for that.

Try using a ‘terms and connectors’ search. In WestlawNext, the main search bar allows you to search for databases, not just cases, statutes, articles, etc. When you’re in a specific database, the name of that database will appear in a tab above the main search bar.

In any of WestlawNext’s many databases,click on the “advanced” link immediately to the right of the “Search” button. This will take you to an advanced search form where you can input information into different “fields.” (Depending on the database you’re in, these fields will change.)  For example, a Cases database will allow you to search for parties, judges, attorneys, docket number, holding, and more; a Statutes database will allow you to search the caption, preliminary, text, historical notes, etc.

Pro Tip: When you are on the advanced search page for any database, there should be an image of a document above the list of “connectors and expanders.” This will open a PDF document that informs you how Westlaw defines each field with respect to the database that you’re in.

Entering your search terms into the form fields on the advanced search page will automatically build a terms and connectors search in the search bar at the top of the page. The search will begin with “advanced:” followed by abbreviations for the field in which you entered text below, as well as the exact text you entered in that field.

There’s no need to memorize field abbreviations to build a more precise search. Use the advanced search forms and you’re on your way to better search results!

 

Written by CDS.

Introducing Bloomberg Law

bloomberglaw

Rutgers-Camden faculty and students now have unlimited access to Bloomberg Law!  Like Westlaw and LexisNexis, Bloomberg Law is an easy-to-search source for case law and other primary legal sources.  Bloomberg Law also provides excellent coverage of court dockets (including comprehensive access to federal dockets and underlying court papers found on PACER), EDGAR filings and other SEC materials, hundreds of news feeds, and useful business information.  A link to Bloomberg Law is now available via the Law Library’s Research Databases page.

Getting started is simple.  Visit www.bloomberglaw.com and click the yellow “Request a Law School Account” button on the right-hand side.  Click “Get Started Now” to fill out your registration information; be sure to use your Rutgers email address!  Once you’ve submitted your information, you’ll receive an email with your system-generated login credentials.

Once you have logged on, you will have unlimited access to all Bloomberg Law content.  First year law students will receive orientation to the service in your LAWR classes, but any and all students (and faculty!) are encouraged to stop by the Reference Desk with any questions about navigating the website or finding specific information.  We are here to help you get the most out of Bloomberg Law and all our research tools.

Written by Genevieve Tung.