Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Legal Research Bar Association Benefits

Why do lawyers join the American Bar Association and state or local voluntary bar associations? These organizations provide attorneys with a professional networking community, access to continuing legal education (CLE), and discounts on products and services. In 49 states and the District of Columbia, bar association membership also comes with the benefit of free access to an online legal research service: either Fastcase or Casemaker. (California is the only state bar association that does not provide statewide legal research access, but many local bar associations in California offer members a similar benefit.) Law firms with access to premium research services like Westlaw and Lexis may require their attorneys to consult these low-cost alternatives first; for other attorneys, the state bar research benefit may be their primary source for online legal research.

Both of these legal research services provide attorneys with access to case law, statutes, and regulations. Fastcase also includes access to law reviews (through a partnership with HeinOnline, and its own Full Court Press), treatises (through its acquisition of Loislaw and independent publishers), and selected state ethics opinions, CLE materials, and jury instructions (including North Carolina). Casemaker's additional features include foreign case law and legislation through a partnership with vLex, and integration with the CosmoLex practice management service.

Currently, Fastcase claims the majority of state bar partnerships, with Mississippi becoming the 30th state-level bar association to adopt its service on June 1. Casemaker is available as a benefit of 21 state bar associations. (Texas offers access to both Fastcase and Casemaker.) The Duke Law Library map of Legal Research via State Bar Associations has been updated to reflect the latest changes to state bar benefits.

Want to learn more about the legal research benefit in the state where you plan to practice? Current members of the Duke community may access an educational version of Fastcase with their NetID and password. Current Law students and faculty may create an account on CasemakerX. For access to other legal research resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

CLE: The Learning Never Stops

As reported in the ABA Journal this week, the North Carolina State Bar has proposed an amendment to its annual requirements for continuing legal education (CLE). Attorneys in North Carolina are already required to complete 12 credit hours of approved CLE each year; the proposal, if approved, would mandate that one of those hours be focused on "technology training" topics. (As outlined in the State Bar website, some of those hours must already focus on professional responsibility topics, including substance abuse awareness.)

Back in 2012, the American Bar Association amended Model Rule of Professional Responsibility 1.1 on competent representation, in order to include an understanding of technology within its scope. Comment 8 to the rule now reads, "To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject" (emphasis added). Since that time, 31 states have formally adopted a similar duty of technology competence for attorneys in their professional rules.

In 2016, Florida became the first state to require CLE credit hours focused specifically on technology topics. As noted in the ABA Journal this week, Pennsylvania is considering a similar update to its CLE requirements, and many more states will likely follow suit.

Continuing legal education requirements already vary widely by jurisdiction. The West LegalEdcenter maintains a helpful interactive map of required credit hours, with links to state bar websites for more information. CLE is mandatory in nearly all states, with the exceptions of Maryland, Massachusetts, and South Dakota (the District of Columbia bar likewise does not have mandatory CLE). Within mandatory CLE states, there is wide variety in the amount of credit hours required, the length of the reporting period, specialized topics required, and whether credit hours may be completed online. (Note: Current Duke Law faculty and staff who need to complete CLE credit hours can be added to the West LegalEdcenter.)

Beyond fulfilling professional education requirements, CLE publications can be useful legal research tools. Historical North Carolina CLE publications can be found in the online catalog. Current publications from North Carolina and other states can be found online:
  • Bloomberg Law: To browse CLE publications, follow the path All Legal Content Search > U.S. Secondary Sources > Books & Treatises to view titles. State CLE publications are available from Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJ ICLE), North Carolina Continuing Legal Education (NC CLE), and the Oregon State Bar.
  • Lexis Advance: Under Content Browse, select "Secondary Sources" to view publishers. Available state CLE publications include Continuing Education of the Bar (California), The Florida Bar, Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA), Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, North Carolina Continuing Legal Education, The Missouri Bar, State Bar of Arizona, South Carolina Bar, and CLE materials from the University of Kentucky.
  • Westlaw: Under Secondary Sources, click the Publication Type filter for "CLE & Seminar Materials" to view available titles. State CLE publishers in Westlaw include Maryland Continuing Legal Education, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, and the State Bar of Texas.

For help with locating a particular CLE publication, or with other questions about attorney professional responsibility requirements, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Library Summer Renovation Update

The start of summer always brings changes to the Law Library – most notably, access and service desk hours (now weekdays 8:00 am – 5:00 pm until the start of fall classes in August). But some important additional changes are taking place this summer, with accompanying moves to library collections and equipment.

The library's former Document Production Room on level 3 will be transformed into a new classroom and meeting space this summer. As a result, ePrint station 3A has moved to the end of the library service desk, along with one overhead scanner. The other overhead scanner, and color printer/photocopier device have moved to the Microforms Room on Level 1, where additional ePrint stations and a Lexis printer are already available. The document feed scanner/outbound fax device is temporarily located outside of the library entrance, next to printer 3C (it is expected to move back into the library Reading Room later this summer).

Changes are also coming to the four library alcoves on levels 2 and 3. New locations for the affected collections are listed below:
  • Christie Jurisprudence Collection: now located at the top of the stairs on Level 4. (The former alcove's wooden table and chairs, which were original to the 1930s Law Library, can now be found next to the Nixon portrait nearby.)
  • Walker North Carolina Area: former alcove contents now located in the Reading Room, at stack numbers 53-58. (The Practice & Procedure collection materials formerly shelved in this area, including form books and federal litigation treatises, can now be found nearby in Reference.)
  • Gann Tax Area and Thigpen Tax Collection: now located in call number order within the Level 2 stacks, with some titles in Superseded Tax and/or Government Documents on level 1.

Maps and directional signage throughout the library and in the Duke Libraries Catalog reflect the former locations of collections until updated floor plans are received. Please ask staff for assistance with locating items.

Renovation work may be noisy and disruptive at times. Foam earplugs (courtesy of CALI) are available upon request at the library service desk; headphones may also be borrowed at the Circulation/Reserve desk during library service hours. We apologize for any inconvenience as this work is completed over the summer.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Prestatehood Legal Materials Meet the 21st Century

[This guest post by Reference Librarian Wickliffe Shreve highlights the new digital version of Prestatehood Legal Materials in HeinOnline.]

Depending on your outlook, a request to do a legislative history or other legal historical research for a project can inspire dread, excitement – or perhaps a mixture of both. The Goodson Law Library's guide to Federal Legislative History helps get you started so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel...as long as the question is, of course, one of federal law. If you need to do research on a state statute or regulation, not only will you have to learn the state's government structure and legislative process, you may have to cobble together sources from the state law library, state courts, and local law schools to be sure that you have covered all your bases (see, for instance, Indiana University's State Legislative History Research Guides Inventory).

But what if your research requires looking to sources of law that existed before the state was even a state? Before there was even a "United States"? This week, HeinOnline added Prestatehood Legal Materials to its database collection. This seminal 2005 research guide, edited by former Duke Law librarians Michael Chiorazzi and Marguerite Most, has previously only been available to the Duke community as a two-volume set in our print Reference Collection (Ref.
KF240 .P688 2005). Both versions provide a comprehensive collection of legal materials from the colonial period for all fifty states, as well as New York City and the District of Columbia.

The new database version allows users to access an interactive map, and by clicking on an individual state you can access its historical legal documents. Each "chapter" is compiled by a state expert and written in their own individual style. For instance, clicking on North Carolina will bring you to "North Carolina Colonial Legal Materials," co-authored by Duke Law's Interim Library Director Melanie J. Dunshee. It provides a historical background of the development of the state's laws, as well as descriptions of and sources to help locate its constitutions, organic acts, legislative materials, executive materials, and judicial materials. The new electronic interface allows users to link out directly to web resources. Most chapters include secondary sources for additional research as well as extensive bibliographies.

For help accessing or using the Prestatehood Legal Materials database, or for more information on state research, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

--Wickliffe Shreve, Reference Librarian

Friday, April 20, 2018

Researching Gun Regulation

Today marks 19 years since the shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in which two students killed 13 of their classmates before committing suicide. Since that tragic day, such incidents have become sadly more commonplace, with Education Week creating a statistical tracker to record school shootings in 2018. Already this year, 22 people have lost their lives in school shootings, with the majority of these victims killed during the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The Parkland shooting has since galvanized the national debate about gun control reform.

Yesterday, legal research database HeinOnline announced the release of a free new online library on Gun Regulation and Legislation in America, which is now available to the Duke University community. This library compiles federal legislative histories of firearms laws, congressional committee hearings, Congressional Research Service reports, Supreme Court briefs, and related books and scholarly articles.

Duke Law's new Repository of Historical Gun Laws is another valuable resource for researching the history of firearms regulation in America. Created by Duke Law Professors Joseph Blocher and Darrell Miller, the authors of the forthcoming book The Positive Second Amendment: Rights, Regulation, and the Future of Heller, this database includes transcriptions of state and national gun laws from the medieval age to 1776 in England, and from the colonial era to mid-1900s America. A recent Duke Law News story explains the genesis of the project and describes its creation.

The Goodson Law Library and Duke University Libraries collection contains many additional resources on firearms regulation and the Second Amendment. Many titles can be found in the Duke Libraries Catalog; for assistance with finding them or with using online resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Summer Access to Research Services

Whether you're heading to a summer job or graduating this May, your access to legal research services like Westlaw, Lexis Advance, and Bloomberg Law will change.

Continuing Students

For rising 2Ls and 3Ls, your Law School research access generally continues uninterrupted over the summer. Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law both allow student usage over the summer for educational as well as for commercial purposes. (However, check with your employer before using your Law School accounts for paid work – many employers prefer that summer associates avoid using their school accounts for researching firm matters.)

Westlaw restricts continuing students' summer access to non-commercial/educational research purposes only. The eligible categories for summer access include:
  • Summer coursework for academic credit
  • Research Assistant assignments
  • Law Review or Journal research
  • Moot Court research
  • Non-profit or clinical work
  • Unpaid externship

Continuing students will receive 60 hours of Westlaw research access during the months of June and July, and full access in August.

2018 Graduates

Before leaving Duke Law, check out the library’s information page on Library Services for Recent Grads/Alumni, which contains helpful details about accessing legal research services, borrowing library materials, and extending building access for bar study.

For graduating 3Ls and LLMs, Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law automatically extend educational accounts for 6 months following graduation.

Lexis additionally offers the ASPIRE program, providing 12 months of free access to graduates who work in public interest. Proof of work with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is required. To learn more about ASPIRE, visit http://www.lexisnexis.com/grad-access/.

Westlaw's "Grad Elite" access continues for 18 months after graduation. Under this program, law grads are allowed 60 hours of usage per month for services like Westlaw and Practical Law, with no restrictions against using them for professional purposes.

For help with your summer access to these or other Duke resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian. The library's summer hours, which take effect at the end of final exams, are Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Little Rascals Daycare Case Papers

A new display in the Riddick Room case features material from the library's most recent archival acquisition, the Little Rascals Daycare Case Papers. The collection concerns seven people who were falsely accused of sexually abusing dozens of children at a daycare in Edenton, North Carolina in the late 1980s. The case is one example of the preoccupation with perceived abuse taking place at daycares and preschools in the 1980s and 1990s. Often, these cases also involved allegations of Satanism or devil worship. Like the Little Rascals case, most of these daycare abuse accusations turned out to be false.

Riddick Room display of Little Rascals Daycare Case Papers;
curated by Lee Cloninger & Cas Laskowski
The Little Rascals Daycare material primarily concerns State v. Kelly, the trial of Robert "Bob" Kelly, the husband of the daycare's manager, Betsy Kelly. Both were members of the "Edenton Seven." Only two of the seven ever went to trial. Although both were convicted, the convictions were later overturned. For more detail about the collection, refer to the finding aid. Potential researchers should be advised to contact the Law Library in advance of their visit to make sure the collection is on-site.

"Exonerate Edenton Seven" t-shirt from Little Rascals collection and display. Donated by Lew Powell.
"Exonerate Edenton 7" t-shirt, donated by Lew Powell.


The Little Rascals archival material was generously donated by retired Charlotte Observer journalist and author, Lew Powell. Powell has worked to keep the Little Rascals Case in the public eye as a cautionary tale, maintaining a website and blog. The site includes video from a PBS Frontline documentary broadcast series about the case, Innocence Lost.

Donor Lew Powell has also published three books about North Carolina history and trivia, including Carolina Follies: A Nose-Tweaking Look at Life in Our Two Great and Goofy States, which can be viewed in the Rubenstein Library. Powell also amassed a large collection of North Carolina souvenirs and memorabilia; in 2007, he donated that collection to the North Carolina Collection at UNC’s Wilson Library.

For more information about the Little Rascals display and collection, or for additional resources on wrongful convictions, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

--Lee Cloninger, Digital and Archival Initiatives Associate