Monday, December 3, 2018

Exam Season Success

'Tis the season to succeed on Law School exams! Check out these tips to make your examination period run smoothly.
Library Access
Exam time brings a temporary change to the library's access policy, most notably in the evening hours. From now until the end of exams (Monday, December 17), access to the Goodson Law Library for study purposes will be limited to current Duke Law students, faculty and staff. Card-swipe access to the library entrance will be required after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends.

Members of the Duke University community or general public who require access to the library for legal research purposes should contact the library service desk for assistance during reference service hours (Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). Additional study space is available to all throughout the building, such as in the Star Commons.
The Technicalities
If you will use your laptop to take an exam, make sure you have installed Electronic Bluebook (EBB) well ahead of time, and practice using it to ensure that your test goes smoothly! Detailed instructions are available on the Academic Technologies' Software page. If you encounter problems while downloading the software, talk to the Academic Technologies' Help Desk staff.
Study Aids
The library's Reserve collection contains many current study aids, including selected subjects in the Examples and Explanations, Questions and Answers, Nutshell, Glannon Guides, Understanding, and Mastering series. For more information on available study aids, see the Law School Success guide.

What else can you find on reserve that might come in handy for exams? There are also limited quantities of calculators on reserve for four-hour loans, in addition to noise-canceling headphones and bookstands.
Old Exams or Sample Exams
A frequent question at the Reference Services desk during the reading and exam period is where to obtain copies of Law School exams from previous years. Past exams from your professors, when available, will be posted to your class's Sakai site. The library's Archives collection contains no Law School exams dated after 2001.

However, if your professors have chosen not to place past exams on Sakai, it may be helpful to review general law examination preparation guidebooks. These provide an overview of the most common formats for law school exams, and give strategies for studying and for writing successful answers. Often, these books also provide model exam questions and sample answers, along with explanations why a particular answer is more successful than others. Titles like Law School Exams in a Nutshell: A Guide to Studying Law and Taking Law School Exams can be found in the libraries' catalog with a subject search for "Law examinations—United States". A selected listing is provided in the "Exam Preparation" section of the library's Law School Success handout, along with a helpful page of recommended "Study Guides & Aids."
Anything Else?
As always, the library staff are here to help. Visit the Service Desk on level 3 with any questions. Good luck on your exams!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

A New Context for Legal Analytics

Today, Lexis Advance launched its new Context product for legal analytics, currently featuring analysis for judges and expert witnesses. Lexis users at Duke Law can access this new tool from the grid in the top left corner of any Lexis Advance screen. (Be sure to choose "Context" and not "Litigation Profile Suite" – although the latter tool also includes profiles of judges and expert witnesses, these are separate products and do not appear to cross-link.) [Update: currently, Context access is available only to Law School faculty; student accounts will see the new product on January 2.]

If the Context report interface looks a bit familiar, you may have seen a similar version for judges on Ravel Law, the legal research start-up which Lexis acquired last year. Profiles for Judges include biographical information as well as "Analysis" data about motion outcomes, most-cited opinions and judges, and even the specific passages upon which the judge relies most heavily.

The Expert Witness portion of Context was not a feature previously offered in Ravel. Reports include biographical background as well as data on type of parties represented, amount of cases per year, and a "scorecard" for Daubert challenges. Currently available for federal courts, an expansion to state court expert witness data is planned for next year.

For more information on Context's release, and its availability for law firm customers, check out Bob Ambrogi's LawSites blog post. For help with using Lexis Advance or other legal analytics tools, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Legal Holiday Gift Guide

It's that time of year again! Since 2009, the Goodson Blogson has compiled a list of holiday gift suggestions for lawyers, law students, and anyone else with an interest in legal themes. (See past gift idea lists here.). The Goodson Blogson does not receive these items for review, or any payment for listing items in the annual gift guide.

Is your legally-minded loved one always on the go? Some travel-related gift ideas to consider include the Trtl Travel Pillow, a wrap-around scarf with built-in neck support designed to let wearers sleep comfortably on planes, trains, or anywhere else. After one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time, Baubax has just released version 2.0 of its popular travel jackets, which feature numerous hidden pockets and built-in features like an eye mask, corded eyeglass cleaning cloth, and a telescopic pen/stylus. Earlier this year, CNet reviewed The Best Travel Gadgets and Gear, offering practical suggestions for international outlet adapters, power banks, and headphones designed to make travel easier.

Gift box subscription services continue their explosive growth of the last five years, and can be a nice way to extend a gift well beyond a single holiday. We've previously written about Try the World's subscription service for international gourmet foods and snacks, but these days it seems like there is a gift box service for almost any interest. Some additional gift subscription services to consider include a membership to Flaviar's mail-order whiskey-tasting club, Birchbox for beauty products, and Craft Coffee samplers.

Any "Notorious RBG" fans on your gift list? Besides a DVD or Blu-Ray copy of the summer’s breakout documentary hit RBG, you might also consider a gift inspired by one of the film's most memorable sequences: octogenarian U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg working out with her longtime personal trainer, Bryant Johnson. Johnson has authored the 2017 book The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong...and You Can Too! (which you can review for yourself on level 1 of the library), and also sells replicas of the justice's "Super Diva!" workout sweatshirt, with proceeds from certain styles benefiting a cancer charity.

For someone who's never caught without a notebook to jot down ideas, try one of the lovely leather etched map notebooks from The Grommet, with maps available for nearly two dozen U.S. cities or three international cities. For a variation on this theme at a lower price point, Kaufmann Mercantile offers simple leather notebooks in two sizes and five colors. If your recipient isn't a fan of animal products, attractive personalized "vegan leather" journals are also available on Etsy.

For the foodie and/or entertainer on your list, Grant Achatz of Chicago's acclaimed Alinea restaurant has just released The Aviary Cocktail Book, available in both an $85 hardcover and a $135 boxed "reserve edition." Cocktail enthusiasts may also enjoy a sampling of Raleigh's own Crude Bitters, available in a small set of 6 or large set of 4. Another thoughtful gift for the entertainer are drink chillers that won't water down beverages: there are a number of varieties out there, but Uncommon Goods's On The Rocks Set is both affordable and stylish.

Finally, an annual reminder to also consider your locally-owned businesses, in addition to the online shopping options listed here. Saturday, November 24 is Small Business Saturday, an alternative to Black Friday online deals that supports your area merchants. We hope that you (and the lawyers and law students on your gift list) have a very happy holiday season!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

All About Faculty Authors

Last week, Duke Today published the fall installment of its Guide to Duke Author Books Series. The roundup of recent faculty book publications features several new titles by Duke Law faculty, including:
  • Joseph Blocher and Darrell A.H. Miller: The Positive Second Amendment: Rights, Regulation, and the Future of Heller (watch video introduction)
  • Allen Buchanan: Institutionalizing the Just War
  • Charles T. Clotfelter: Big-Time Sports in American Universities, 2d ed.
  • Brandon L. Garrett, co-author: The Death Penalty
  • Laurence R. Helfer, co-editor: International Court Authority
  • Jack Knight, editor: Immigration, Emigration, and Migration

The Goodson Law Library has print or online access to these and hundreds of other publications by Duke Law faculty. The display case at the library entrance features book publications and article offprints from roughly the last two years; additional print copies of faculty books can be found in the library stacks. To locate call numbers and availability, search the Duke Libraries Catalog for authors or titles. Note that Faculty Collection copies have more limited circulation (and require staff assistance to retrieved from a locked area), while Stacks copies follow Standard Loan periods.

Want to read even more faculty publications? You can find more than 3,400 faculty-authored articles and book chapters in the Law School's open access Scholarship Repository. The repository can be browsed by date, author, or subject tag, and can also be keyword searched.

The Law Library and Office of the Dean also co-sponsor Faculty Author Celebrations throughout the academic year, highlighting selected book publications. You can watch video of past celebrations on the Duke Law YouTube playlist for Faculty Authors. Be on the lookout for more great celebrations in the spring 2019 semester.

For help with locating publications by Duke Law faculty members, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Design Thinking and Law

You may have seen the Duke Law Tech Hub on the third floor of the Law Library. The Tech Hub is a space to engage with and learn about different legal technology and tools. From virtual reality to analytics to design thinking, the Hub has a little bit of everything.

Wait. What is design thinking, you ask? In short, design thinking is a problem-solving methodology for innovation. Rooted in engineering, design thinking has permeated education, business, and legal practice. More and more law firms are looking into how design thinking can help make their practice more efficient, while others adopted it long ago.

With the growing popularity and curiosity around design thinking, the Tech Hub is hosting a lunch panel on Design Thinking and the Law this Monday, Oct 29th, with two leaders in the field: Camillo Sassano, IBM Design Principal & Kevin L Schultz, IBM Hardware Design Lead. IBM has been implementing design thinking into their business model for over a decade and did research into the method's economic impact. In addition to the lunch event, there will be a design thinking exercise and software available in the Tech Hub throughout the day.

If you want to learn more about design thinking and its application, there are many eBooks in the Duke Libraries catalog to get you started. With election season in full swing, you can see how design thinking can be used to rethink the way we vote or the rule of law. Design thinking can be applied to urban planning, catalyzing social change, and restructuring your life. Try a subject or keyword search for "design thinking" to see available resources, and Ask a Librarian for help searching or accessing titles.

--Cas Laskowski, Reference Librarian and Lecturing Fellow

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Bar Association Research Benefits Reach State 50

Last week, Fastcase announced a new partnership with the California Lawyers Association. Beginning in 2019, CLA members will receive access to Fastcase as a benefit of bar association membership. This move means that bar associations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia now provide their members with access to at least one of the low-cost research services Fastcase and Casemaker. This fills in the State Bar Association Research Benefits map that the Goodson Blogson has been tracking for several years, updating a map originally developed by 3 Geeks and a Law Blog in March 2010.

Currently, 30 jurisdictions on the state-level list provide their members with free access to exclusively Fastcase; 20 states provide access to exclusively Casemaker. 1 state (Texas) provides its members with access to both services. In addition, a number of county and local bar associations have struck their own deals with the research services.

Both Fastcase and Casemaker contain U.S. federal and state case law, statutory and regulatory codes, court rules, and constitutions. Additional features vary within each service. Fastcase has increased its secondary source libraries in the last few years, offering access to publications by Loislaw and Carolina Academic Press while also launching its own Full Court Press publishing imprint. More recently, the company announced its acquisition of the Law Street Media legal news company. Casemaker partners include the CosmoLex practice management system, the LegalResearch.com memo bank, access to legal forms, and content from the vLex global law database, featuring primary and secondary legal material from more than 100 countries.

The Duke University community has access to an academic subscription version of Fastcase. Law students and faculty are also eligible to sign up for an educational version of Casemaker called CasemakerX. For information about other online research services, check out the library's research guide to Legal Research on the Web or Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Food For Fines: October 10-26

Even the most responsible library users can find themselves incurring the occasional late fee. Maybe you just needed one more day to finish that recalled book, or you were traveling, or the item was buried under a pile of other stuff. However that fine got there, if your Duke Libraries account shows an unpaid balance in the Fines/Credits/Fees section, we have some good news for you.

From Wednesday, October 10 through Friday, October 26, every library on East and West Campus at Duke University will accept "Food for Fines" to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. Each unopened, unexpired, non-perishable food item (or household good) donated will remove $1 from your library fines (up to a $25 maximum per account). You can bring the items to any campus library during the food drive – no need to travel to the specific library that charged the fine.

The chart below details the most-needed food and household items for the Food Bank:

Food Drive Most Needed Items from Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC

A few important points to know for the donation drive:
  • Limit $25 in forgiven fines per person.
  • Each donated item counts toward $1 in fines, regardless of the item's actual cost.
  • We cannot accept items in glass containers, or any expired food.
  • Any fines that were already paid or transferred to the bursar cannot be waived.
  • Waived fines only apply to late fees. Charges for damaged or lost items cannot be waived.
  • All Duke libraries are participating in the drive, and can collect donation information in order to waive fines from other Duke libraries. Bring your donations to the library that is most convenient to you, even if it isn’t the library that charged the fine on your account.

If you don't have any fines on your account, you are still very welcome to donate needed items to the food drive. The Food Bank serves a network of more than 800 agencies across 34 counties in Central and Eastern North Carolina, including soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and programs for children and adults. If you would prefer to donate cash to this very worthy cause, you can visit Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC to make a direct donation.