Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Avoid Exam-Induced Eyestrain with AudioCaseFiles

At the beginning of the school year, we reported on AudioCaseFiles, which provides audio recording of case law from many of the most popular law school casebooks, calling it “an ideal service for auditory learners, those with long commutes, and perhaps even insomniacs.”

With final exams a month away, we recently revisited AudioCaseFiles and discovered that the option to “Browse Audio by Casebook” includes MP3s of the cases from several 1L casebooks on the spring 2009 book list: Criminal Law and Its Processes: Cases and Materials (Kadish); Constitutional Law (Chemerinsky); and Property: Cases and Materials (Cribbet).

AudioCaseFiles also offers material of interest beyond the first year: more than 4,000 hours of trial practice videos from real cases in a variety of jurisdictions. The full list of trial video is available at http://www.audiocasefiles.com/crl_cases; you may also browse video by practice area or jurisdiction.

Register for AudioCaseFiles with your law school e-mail address. Access a quick link through the library's Legal Databases and Links page.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Research Refreshers: See What You've Been Missing

The reference librarians are conducting their annual spring "Research Refresher" series until Friday, April 3. Each hour-long workshop tackles a different area of legal research, and is intended to help students make a smooth transition from law school to law practice. Slides, handouts, and audio from this week's refreshers are posted at http://www.law.duke.edu/lib/workshops/.

After you catch up on what you've missed, join us for the remaining refreshers! There are still several great topics to be covered in the series: business and company information; free and low-cost sources for legal research; health/medical research; immigration law resources; and tax law research. The final workshop in the series will discuss strategies for "Putting it All Together: Taking a Research Assignment from Start to Finish." Classes are conducted each weekday from 12:15p.m.-1:15p.m. in the library's Fite Training Room (level 2). View the full schedule and RSVP (optional) on Facebook.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Prepare for Practice with Lexis/Westlaw Trainings

Over the next several weeks, LexisNexis representative James O'Leary and Westlaw representative Greg Halbrook will lead training sessions which are designed to teach new summer associates more cost-effective research skills. Although most employers provide in-house training for new associates, taking these courses ahead of time will give you a competitive advantage upon arrival at your firm. View the calendar and sign up for classes at the following links (login required):
For more legal research tips and tricks, take advantage of the library's Research Refresher series, which runs from March 23-April 3 from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in the Fite Room. Each day brings a new topic-- check out the full list in the above-linked post, or RSVP (optional) on Facebook.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Top Tax Questions Tackled

With one month left until the April 15 deadline for filing federal income taxes, the Goodson Law Library usually begins to hear an increase in tax-related questions from library users. Here are our top three tax questions:

1. Does the library have tax forms? The Goodson Law Library does not maintain a collection of printed tax forms, but visitors are able to access and print the IRS’s collection of Forms and Publications or state tax forms on our public-access workstations. (If you prefer paper copies of forms, check your local Durham County Library branch.)

2. Can library staff help me do my taxes? Library staff are unable to provide substantive advice on legal problems or interpret legal materials for you, including tax laws. However, Duke Law does have a student organization, VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), which assists low- and moderate-income taxpayers with the preparation of tax returns. VITA’s website provides a calendar with various locations; appointments are recommended for most VITA sites.

3. Where can I apply for an extension if I need more time to file? Federal tax form 4868 allows you to extend your filing date until October 15, 2009. North Carolina taxpayers may apply for an automatic six-month extension by filing Form D-210. Note that in both cases, an extension of time to file does not mean an extension to pay estimated taxes owed!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Erase Your Online Footprint

Most legal job-seekers already know how to carefully craft resumes and cover letters, and that they must dress-- and behave-- professionally at interviews and call-backs. But it’s how they behave in their "off" time that may ultimately cost them the job: last year, nearly a quarter of hiring managers surveyed by CareerBuilder.com admitted to investigating candidate profiles on social networks and other websites; of these employers, one-third had declined to interview or hire a candidate based upon what they found. (Full Story)

Suddenly haunted by that Facebook photo album from last year’s Halloween party? Worried about all those spirited debates you had on that geeky listserv back in college? Looking up resources to legally change your name? Hold on! The Goodson Blogson is here to help you clear your good name.

1. Google thyself. See what potential employers will see. Put your name in quotation marks; experiment with and without your middle initial. If you have a very common name, try adding your hometown as an extra keyword, or your college/university name. Although you have limited options for removing any damaging material on someone else’s website, Google does offer a help page for Removing Information from Google. If it’s your own site that you’d like removed from search results, see Webpage Removal Request.

Remember that although Google is certainly the engine of choice for most users, different search engines will yield different results. Pipl, a people-finding search engine, also allows you to search based on a person’s name, an e-mail address, or a screen name (such as AIM). Pipl crawls the “deep web” to find pages that other search engines do not generally unearth, and is a good secondary place to check for information that may give potential employers pause. A quick check of your personal profiles on social networks like Facebook may also be helpful. Again, your control over the content on others’ sites may be limited, but if you are aware of what potential employers will find, you can meet any embarrassing questions head-on.

2. Close up shop, if necessary. Did your self-search reveal that terrible blog which you haven’t updated since freshman year? A recent PC Magazine article, How to Delete Accounts from Any Website, covers the cancellation procedures for major social networking sites and online retailers, including MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger. Note: even if you’ve deleted your account on a site, old material may still show up in a search engine cache or on the Wayback Machine.

3. Don’t go completely off the grid. Keep in mind that an applicant need not erase all traces of his or her presence on the web. For example, Facebook offers a wide variety of privacy settings that keep you in control of who views your profile, and the site also allows you to remove tags of embarrassing or incriminating photos...allowing you to happily Facebook amongst friends, and keep your profile locked down from nosy HR staff.

For advice about taming the beast of social networking, see the Social Media Law Student blog series, “What Career Service Office Advisors Should be Telling Law Students about Social Media”. The author, a 3L at St. Louis University School of Law, offers practical tips about effective and professional usage of LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, and other social media.

These few simple steps at the start of your job search might save your resume from the “recycling” pile. Once you've erased or addressed the past, remember the old adage in the future: try not to put anything on the Internet that you wouldn't want to read on the front page of the New York Times tomorrow (or, perhaps, Above The Law).

Friday, March 6, 2009

Prepare for Summer Jobs with a Research Refresher

Each year, law firms report some dissatisfaction with the research skills of summer associates and new associates. (For the results of a recent survey, see Partnership and Solutions for Preparing Job-Ready Attorneys, July 2008.) In today's economy, top-notch research skills could give you a competitive edge in the job market. But what if you've already forgotten everything you learned in LARW?

Research Refreshers to the rescue! This two-week, 10-class workshop series will review the building blocks of legal research and also demystify some advanced topics which are commonly encountered in real-world legal practice.

All classes will take place in the Fite Room (Level 2 of the library) from 12:15-1:15 p.m. on the following days:

Mon 3/23: "You Want Me to Research What?!?": Getting Background & Keeping Current
Tues 3/24: Statutes & Legislative History
Wed 3/25: Cases & Court Documents
Thu 3/26: Regulations & Administrative Law Materials
Fri 3/27: Researching Business & Company Information
Mon 3/30: Free & Low-Cost Legal Research
Tues 3/31: Attorney’s Guide to Health & Medical Research
Wed 4/1: Research Methods in Immigration Law
Thu 4/2: Tackling Tax Research
Fri 4/3: Putting It All Together: Taking a Research Assignment from Start to Finish

Each class will be led by an experienced research instructor from the LARW program. Is ten hours too large a time commitment? No worries! Come only to the topics which interest you the most. Contact the library's Reference Desk with any questions about the Research Refresher series.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Library Hours for Spring Break

The Goodson Law Library will operate under reduced service hours from Friday 3/6 until Sunday 3/15, in observance of the Law School's spring break.

Fri 3/6: Library closes at 5 p.m.
Sat 3/7-Sun 3/8: CLOSED
Mon 3/9-Fri 3/13: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Sat 3/14: CLOSED
Sun 3/15: Regular hours resume

Over the break, current Law School students, faculty and staff will retain 24-hour building access with a DukeCard.