Friday, July 19, 2024

College Sports in the Courts

It's been three years since the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston that the NCAA's rules on player compensation violated federal antitrust law. Since then, Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals have proliferated for college athletes, and universities and fans alike are grappling with the changes and their impact on the recruitment and retention of top prospects.

You can read more about the history and future of these developments in College Sports Law in a Nutshell, a newly published title now available in the West Academic Study Aids Library. Attorney Dan Lust and Ole Miss sports law professor William W. Berry III cover such topics as NIL, the transfer portal, and the impact of conference realignment.

West Academic Study Aids Library also includes Walter T. Champion, Jr.'s Sports Law in a Nutshell, 5th ed. 2017, which includes some content about collegiate athletics. Other general sports law treatises can be found in the major legal research services, often grouped with entertainment law in subject area browsing. On Westlaw, select the practice area Arts & Entertainment & Sports Law to view available titles, such as Champion's Fundamentals of Sports Law 2d. On Lexis, the Entertainment & Sports practice area includes the treatise Sports Law Practice as well as sports contracts in the Forms and Analysis section. PLI Plus includes the treatise Sports Law: A Practical Guide to Protecting the Interests of Athletes.

Keep up with the latest developments in the world of sports law with additional titles like the Hackney Publications in HeinOnline, a collection of two dozen sports law journals that include Legal Issues in Collegiate Athletics and Title IX Alert. The Athletic’s coverage of college and pro sports is available to current members of the Law School community through our group subscription. To sign up, follow the instructions listed at Legal Databases & Links.

For help with accessing these or other sports law resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Black's Law Dictionary 12th Edition Now Online

A new 12th edition of Black's Law Dictionary was published in June. Once the library's hard copies arrive and are processed, you will find a print copy at the Reserve Desk and on the dictionary stand in the library Reading Room. Online, the Black's Law Dictionary database on Westlaw has already incorporated the 12th edition changes. (To access it on Westlaw Precision, type BLACKS into the main search bar and select the source from the drop-down suggestions, or retrieve it from the Secondary Sources content menu.)

What's new in the 2024 edition? As with the 2019 update, the publisher promises a revision to every single page. More than 2,500 new terms (such as ghost gun and shadow docket) have been added, bringing the total number of definitions higher than 70,000. Last month, longtime editor Bryan A. Garner joined David Lat's Original Jurisdiction podcast to discuss the new edition and his editorial process for revising the much-cited source.

Of course, while Black’s Law Dictionary includes terms with long histories, sometimes legal researchers need to look up the text of dictionary definitions from earlier eras. All historical editions of Black's Law Dictionary are also available in print in the Law Library on Reserve, but electronic access is also available for most editions. Westlaw provides access to the text of historical editions back to the 4th revised (1968), on the right-hand sidebar of the Black’s Law Dictionary search screen (or by searching for the source title Black's Law Dictionary - Historical). The first (1891) and second (1910) editions are also separately available online with a Duke University NetID and password.

For an alternative historical dictionary source from the 1960s, Ballentine’s Law Dictionary, 3d ed. (1969) is available electronically to the University community via Nexis Uni or to the Law School in Lexis+.

For help with locating Black's Law Dictionary or with finding legal definitions in other sources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Resources for Finding People

A common question at the Law Library reference desk involves how to find contact information for various people: potential academic collaborators, government employees like court clerks or agency officials, or attorneys who participated in a particular case. A basic web search on your favorite search engine may reveal contact information for academics and other public figures. (Go beyond the usual suspects with PC Mag’s "Best Alternative Search Engines.") If contact information is omitted or behind a login wall, though, some additional free options are available:

  • SSRN contains author contact information, although researchers are restricted to accessing the email addresses of 3 contacts per day (click the author's name to access their profile, then the down arrow next to "Contact," then the link to "Email"). This can be a good method to locate contact information for academic authors whose emails are not provided on their institutional website.
  • State bar directories may include email addresses and other contact information about attorneys who are licensed to practice in a particular jurisdiction. For example, the North Carolina State Bar's Membership Directory includes a lookup feature with contact information. For additional jurisdictions, check out Justia's List of Lawyer Directories by State Bar Associations).

Premium subscription resources at Duke may also provide some access to contact and other biographical information.

  • Leadership Connect contains more than 6 million profiles for employees in the U.S. federal and state/local legislatures and government agencies, courts, law firms, lobbying organizations, the nonprofit sector, and the news media. This resource is a good option to locate email addresses and phone numbers for judicial clerks, administrative staff members, and corporate executives. Contact information may be outdated or inaccurate; however, this resources can be a helpful way to identify the email naming conventions of an organization (such as firstname.lastname vs. first initial/lastname) that could assist with composing a web search for the possible combinations of an individual’s email address to help confirm the correct one. The "Suggest Updates" link in the upper-right corner allows users to provide corrections to erroneous records.
  • Lexis Public Records "Find a Person Nationwide" database is available to current members of the Law School community. Access Public Records from the site menu in the upper left-hand corner. (Newly-registered students may not see Public Records access until their second semester; contact the Reference Desk if you require access for research work.) Database results often include email addresses used by an individual, as well as address history, real property records, and voter information.

Other useful resources for more general biographical information include:

  • Almanac of the Federal Judiciary provides biographical information about Article III judges. Contact information includes phone numbers but not email addresses; unique features of this resource include "Lawyers’ Evaluation," quoting from survey responses of attorneys who have appeared before the judge; links to financial disclosure reports and Senate questionnaire responses are also provided.
  • Ancestry Library Edition is a great resource for historical biographical research, including databases on vital records, censuses, local directories, and newspaper obituaries.
  • World Biographical Information Systems (WBIS Online) "Biographical Search" points to biographical entries from reference books published from the 16th to the 20th century, providing access points to numerous historical biographical directories like the Who's Who series. Many of these titles will be available to request in the Duke Libraries Catalog.

For help with accessing or searching these resources, or for questions related to biographical research resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024


The United States Supreme Court has designated two opinion release days this week: Thursday and Friday. With more than two dozen still-pending decisions from October Term 2023 to release before the traditional end of the term (including five from the November and December oral arguments), the next few weeks promise to be busy at One First Street!

You can keep up with the activities of the Court at its website, including new opinions as they are released. Seasoned Court-watchers gather at the SCOTUSblog homepage on opinion days at 10:00 am Eastern for expert commentary and live updates on opinion releases. The blog's Cases section includes helpful overviews of the issues under review, with links to relevant case documents. The Statistics section also includes handy information about decided and pending decisions. The Newsfeed provides daily updates on pending petitions, opinion analysis, and other Court activities (such as the justices’ financial disclosures, released earlier this month).

Other good sources for keeping up with the Court include the United States Law Week Supreme Court coverage (available to the Duke Law community on Bloomberg Law), the Justia Supreme Court Center, including Justia Daily Opinion Summaries for the Supreme Court, and Oyez. For historical information about the Court and help locating opinions and case documents (such as briefs), check out the library’s research guide to the U.S. Supreme Court or Ask a Librarian.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Summer Reading Staff Picks

Whether you're hunting for an audiobook for long commutes or seeking out a perfect beach vacation read, it can be daunting to pick the right title. After all, no one wants to be stuck on a long plane ride with a book that turns out to be a dud! To help you find something good to read this summer, the Goodson Law Library staff are once again sharing their recent recommendations. You can see some of these titles in person at the service desk display this month, along with special summer reading bookmarks.

Book cover of Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link, depicting a woman holding a small animal
Magic for Beginners: Stories, by Kelly Link (2005). (Request a print copy or read the e-book!). "Based on the recommendation from a friend and fellow librarian, I began reading this book as an escape from the everyday, and it has not disappointed. Kelly Link's short stories paint of world of magic that lurks behind the mask of the ordinary." –Julie Wooldridge, Research Services Librarian and Senior Lecturing Fellow


Book cover of The Firm by John Grisham, with the title in large gold letters on a green marble background and a man in a business suit holding a briefcase hanging by puppet strings
The Firm, by John Grisham (1991). (Borrow a print copy or DVD of the movie version!). "Star Harvard Law student Mitch McDeere is recruited to join a small tax firm based in Memphis. Although the firm presents itself as a family...the term 'family' is clearly a double entendre, as Mitch learns about the high body count among partners. As he uncovers more and more secrets, he finds himself literally running for his life, all while (perhaps more fear-inducing) studying for the bar. Who knew that being a tax lawyer was this kind of exciting?" – Wick Shreve, Head of Scholarly Services and Senior Lecturing Fellow

Book cover for No One Would Listen, depicting the shadow of an unidentified person on a cobbleston street at night
No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller, by Harry Markopolos (2010). (Borrow a print copy  or access the e-book!) "Before Bernie Madoff’s $64 billion Ponzi scheme finally collapsed, quantitative analyst Harry Markopolos warned the S.E.C. repeatedly--five times over nine years!--that Madoff’s supposed investment strategy simply didn’t add up. No One Would Listen is at once a tick-tock of Markopolos and his team's fruitless attempts to expose Madoff's fraud, an insider's view of life at investment companies, and a scathing (and surprisingly funny) account of regulatory capture. For a fascinating bigger-picture analysis of Madoff and his scheme, The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust (request a print copy!) by award-winning financial journalist Diana Henriques is also highly recommended." – Laura Scott, Assistant Director for Reference, Clinics, and Outreach and Senior Lecturing Fellow

Book cover of The Dictionary People, featuring 19th-century style drawings of various men and women in Victorian dress
The Dictionary People: The Unsung Heroes Who Created the Oxford English Dictionary, by Sarah Ogilvie (2023). (Borrow a print copy!) "Every 1L consults the Oxford English Dictionary during LARW appellate brief research, and most probably don't think about how it came into being. The OED's original publication was a massive, decades-long undertaking that crowdsourced definitions and usage examples from thousands of members of the public. One particularly notorious contributor's story has been told in places ranging from The Professor and the Madman to Drunk History, but The Dictionary People delves into the biographies of many, many more individuals who helped to shape the first edition of the OED. A delightful read for word nerds!" –Jennifer L. Behrens, Associate Director for Administration and Scholarship and Senior Lecturing Fellow

Book cover of No Hard Feelings, depicting a boardroom table with cartoon animals representing The CEO (an elephant), Your Boss (a roaring lion), Your Teammate (sloth), and You (a wide-eyed owl)

No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work
, by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy
(2019). (Request a print copy, borrow the audiobook, or access the e-book!) "No Hard Feelings is one of the most relatable and useful books about work that I have read. The authors deal with emotional intelligence, productivity, and work/life balance in a way that is humorous, practical, self-aware, and kind. I loved that the authors give advice in a way that made me feel understood, helped me to understand others, and felt like I was receiving advice from a mentor." –Chelsey McKimmy, Research Services Librarian and Lecturing Fellow

To locate additional recommended readings this summer, try the NoveList Plus database, which provides curated lists on specific genres as well as an "appeal mixer" tool to generate customized recommendations based on your parameters about the book's pace, characters, tone, and storyline. The New York Times has also recently released an interactive timeline of The Book Review's Best Books Since 2000. (Remember that current Law School community members can join the group subscription by following the steps described at To see if recommended titles are available in the Duke campus libraries, search the online catalog.

For help with accessing these resources or obtaining additional information, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Summer Access to Research Resources

Hard to believe that summer is almost here! Whether you are graduating from Duke Law this month or continuing your legal studies next year, your access to legal research services and other campus databases may change this summer. Below is a summary of policies for the major legal research databases that you might wish to access in the next few months.

Continuing Students
  • Westlaw allows continuing students to use Thomson Reuters products, including Westlaw Precision and Practical Law, over the summer for non-commercial research (i.e., "to gain understanding and build confidence in your research skills, but you cannot use them in situations where you are billing a client"). Examples of permissible uses for your academic Westlaw password include the following:
    • Summer coursework
    • Research assistant assignments
    • Law review or journal research
    • Moot Court research
    • Non-profit work
    • Clinical work
    • Externship sponsored by the school
    Your Westlaw summer access will continue automatically - no action is needed on your part.
  • Lexis: All returning students have automatic, unlimited access to their Lexis law school IDs for the entire summer. Law School Lexis IDs may be used for non-commercial purposes, as well as commercial purposes if your employer permits such use.
  • Bloomberg Law: Your Bloomberg Law access continues over the summer automatically. IDs may be used for non-commercial purposes, as well as commercial purposes if your employer permits such use.
Graduating Students
  • Westlaw: You may opt in to Thomson Reuters products, including Westlaw and Practical Law, for six months after graduation for non-commercial use. This "Grad Elite" access allows 60 hours of usage per month to gain understanding of legal topics, build your research skills, and prepare for your bar exam.
    In order to activate Grad Elite access, follow the instructions on the email received directly from West, or register online by logging into and clicking on your name to access Grad Elite. Please note that if you reach your 60-hour Grad Elite limit before the end of a calendar month, you will not be able to access Westlaw again until the start of the following calendar month. Use folders within Westlaw and email the contents to yourself before logging off if you are close to your 60-hour limit for a particular month.
  • Lexis: Spring 2024 graduates will have automatic access to Lexis+ via their Lexis law school IDs until December 31, 2024. Spring graduates have access to most of the same content and features available during law school, excluding public records, Law360, Practical Guidance and Lexis for Microsoft Office.
    Graduates working in the non-profit sector may also apply for a LexisNexis ASPIRE ID which lasts for 12 months beyond graduation. Learn more about the LexisNexis Graduate programs and/or apply for an ASPIRE ID at
  • Bloomberg Law: Access to Bloomberg Law continues automatically for six months after graduation. Graduated students may be limited in their ability to retrieve docket filings marked "Request," update dockets, or set up docket tracking. Graduates may download docket items already uploaded in the Bloomberg system (labeled "View").

Access to most other Duke University research databases will expire upon graduation, when your status in Duke's directory changes to "Alumni." Recent graduates who register with the Duke Alumni Association for a OneLink account receive remote access to selected databases (including ProQuest ABI Inform, EBSCO Academic Search Alumni Edition, JSTOR, RefWorks citation management, and several major university press scholarship collections).

For questions about using legal research services or other Law Library/University electronic resources this summer, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

West Academic Casebooks Archive Now Available in HeinOnline

Curious about how casebooks and study aids have treated a particular court opinion or doctrine over time? The Goodson Law Library now has access to a brand-new collection in HeinOnline: the West Academic Casebooks Archive, available to the Duke University community with NetID and password. This collection contains nearly 4,000 historical West casebooks and study aids, including the American and University Casebook series, Hornbooks, and Nutshells. Contents of this collection date from the 1830s to 2018. Hundreds of additional titles will be added in the near future.

However, don't go looking for the latest editions of casebooks and study aids here: The two most recent editions of any series are held back from the collection until a newer one arrives to push the third-oldest title into the archive. (Recent West Academic study aids series can be found in the separate database of West Academic Study Aids, while recent West casebooks assigned in Duke Law courses can be found in the Library’s Course Reserve self-checkout cabinets.)

The collection allows users to browse by series or title, or to search across the archive. Curious to see how a particular court opinion or legal doctrine was treated by various casebooks over time? The search feature provides numerous possibilities. For example, the seminal 1928 New York Court of Appeals case Palsgraf v. Long Island, read by first-year law students across America for nearly a century now, quickly landed into Torts textbooks by 1929, first appearing here in James Barr Ames's A Selection of Cases on the Law of Torts; a search for the case name in quotation marks results in close to 500 hits in the database. While the recent deadly bridge collapse in Baltimore has brought maritime law principles back into the public conversation, the database's Date filter for search results shows a clear spike for the concept of "general average" in the first half of the 20th century, as opposed to other eras. And if you thought that legislative research for your LARW appellate brief was confusing, spare a thought for the law student of the 1940s puzzling through the legislative research chapter in How to Find the Law, 3d edition.

Title-level catalog records for this collection should appear in the Duke Libraries Catalog later this spring. In the meantime, you can access the West Academic Casebooks Archive via HeinOnline or from its own entry in the Legal Databases & Links page. For help with using the new collection, or for locating historical casebooks and study aids in the library collection, be sure to Ask a Librarian.