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Law Library Evening Workshops: Researching Statutes in Print

Starting tonight, the Law Library’s Evening Workshop Series continues.  Our sessions this week (October 21st – 24th) will be dedicated to: Researching Statutes in Print.

Don’t let your upcoming LRW assignment *spook* you!  This workshop is exclusively for 1Ls and will cover the location of law library’s state codes, statutory search strategies, and will be chock full o’ tips, not tricks.

There are four sessions available:

When:              7:30 pm – 8:00 pm, October 21st-24th.  *Each will cover the same material.*

Where:            Law Library’s lobby (in front of the Circulation Desk)

Who:               1Ls

If you have questions about this workshop, please contact the Reference Office for more information.  You can call us at (812) 855-2938 or — better yet — stop by and ask us about it.  We hope to see you this week!

Welcome New Students!

Today we welcome a fresh 1L class.  Law school can be wonderful, frustrating, exciting, and challenging, all rolled into one.  We very much look forward to being with you through all of it.  We hope that you think of the Law Library as a comfortable and welcoming place for studying, researching, or whatever you need.  Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions. Welcome to the IU Maurer School of Law, and to the Law Library!

Advice on Entering the “Real World”

3 Geeks and a Law Blog has a very interesting post today in which they asked legal professionals from several different backgrounds what advice they would offer to students on preparing for the real world.  They offer ideas from several perspectives, from solo firms to marketing to the library. Some are things to remember once you are actually in the real world, but some of the advice, like maintaining good relationships with your classmates, being careful what you post on Facebook, getting in some clinic work, and learning to be an effective researcher are things that you can start doing now.

Use CALI Lessons to Perfect Your Legal Research Skills

CALI lessons are an excellent tool that you can use to hone your legal research skills.  The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) publishes a library of online interactive tutorials for anyone interested in legal education.  The lessons cover all legal topics from Administrative Law to Wills and Trusts, and include researching primary and secondary sources of law and federal and state jurisdictions. 

Whether you are graduating in a few weeks or about to finish your first year of law school, you should use CALI lessons if you plan on doing any legal research this summer.  Here are some CALI lessons that you should try out:

CALI also includes lessons on state-specific legal research such as “Colorado Legal Research – Secondary Source Materials” and “Georgia Legal Research – Primary Source Material.”  Librarians Jennifer Morgan and Cindy Dabney have created a lesson on Indiana legal research, “Indiana Primary Resources.”  Our lesson will be published in a few weeks, so keep an eye on the CALI website (or this blog) for an announcement of this new lesson.

The Library has a subscription to CALI, so you need a password (i.e., student CALI authorization code) to be able to access CALI lessons.  Stop by the reference desk to get your CALI password.

A Guide for OneLs–Books on Law School

With one week down for our summer starters, and many other new law students getting ready to come in the fall, we though that you might be looking for some good preparatory reading material.  Everyone had different ideas on the best books that you should read to get ready for your law school career, so we have a few different lists to consider. A few years ago the Volokh Conspiracy asked for readers to suggest the best books for people starting law school.  The list includes books that are intended for 1Ls, leisure books, and even some magazines. has a page devoted to pre-law books and branches out into pre-law movies. LawVibe has a top ten books list as well.  There are also multiple user lists on Amazon with good suggestions, like this one, this one, or this one.

There are lots of good resources out there for starting your law school career.  Take a look at the lists, pick a book or two, but also remember not to worry yourself too much.  There is a reason that Volokh contributors suggested fun books as well as serious ones.

Know Your Resources!

We have mentioned this in the past, but we thought it was time to devote a whole entry to it, especially with new careers and summer jobs on the horizon.  One of the most important things that you can do, no matter what level your research skills are at, is familiarize yourself with the resources that are available to you. This was a theme in the Jumpstart classes, too, for those who attended them. The first think that you want to know, when you start your new job, is what you have to work with.  Do you have Lexis? Westlaw? Something else?  What kind of books are there on hand? Where is the nearest public law library?  Is there a company file of the forms they use most? What are the free online resources for your particular area of law?  It’s a good idea to find these things out early.  And if worse comes to worse, you can always call the reference desk here for help. 

With that in mind, have a wonderful summer!  The BLAWg may be slightly more sporadic this summer than it is during the school year, but we will still be bringing you the latest as it come up.

Jumpstart Returns!

The extremely popular Jumpstart research program returns to the Law Library for the next two weeks. The program, designed by the Reference librarians, will again work towards preparing law students for summer clerkships and the first year of practice. In addition to group sessions on basic legal research skills, there will also be individual sessions dealing specifically with the Internet and Web applications. During last year’s sessions, a number of students learned the necessary research skills for dealing with materials such as legislative history, administrative law and the regulatory process, and computer-assisted legal research.

Following the formula established in previous years, each of the Jumpstart sessions will begin with a brief review of the basic legal resources so that every student has a complete grasp of the legal research process. The librarians will also provide information about more specialized types of reference books, including practice aids and form books. The Jumpstart sessions will then focus on individual student problems and questions about legal research, with an emphasis on the type of practice student participants will be seeing in the summer. During individual electronic research sessions, Peter Hook, the Computer Services Librarian, will discuss applications and uses of these extraordinary computer sources in the law office and on the job. The Internet/Web sessions will include hands-on exploration of the various Web sources.

If you have any questions about the Jumpstart programs, be sure to drop by the Reference Office and speak to a reference librarian. We’d especially like to hear from those of you who already know in what jurisdiction you’ll be working this summer and any special areas of law with which you’ll be dealing. We tailor the Jumpstart sessions to your particular needs in order to make the program a continuing success.

New & Noteworthy (Sort of): Not Your Father’s Legal Thriller

Connelly, Michael. The Lincoln Lawyer: A Novel. New York: Little, Brown, 2005 [PS 3553 .051165 .L56 2005]

The law library doesn’t buy a lot of fiction. Still we do purchase the occasional legal based novel and of course the latest legal thriller (Grisham/Turow/etc.) So it shouldn’t be a surprise that when, a few years ago, I read a review of The Lincoln Lawyer, I decided it was an appropriate addition to our library. Connelly is perhaps best known as being one of Bill Clinton’s favorite writers and he had a string of successful “hard boiled” detective novels published in the 1990s. A fan of the like of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, Connelly’s writing is as rough as 24 grit sandpaper. The Lincoln Lawyer, his first jump into the legal thriller genre, is no exception. Full Story »

A Guide for OneLs—Mistakes Are Made

Everyone makes mistakes, and lawyers are no different. According to a recent article one complaint was allowed even though it misspelled the names of both parties and forgot to list the amount of damages. The defendants asked for a dismissal based on the numerous errors, but the judge decided that the mistakes were not sufficient grounds to dismiss the complaint. The same site references an older article about a solo practitioner who did not notice when his spell checker replaced every occurrence of the term “sua sponte” into “sea sponge.”

There are any number of potential mistakes waiting to be made. Legal terminology is unusual, and you don’t want to be dependent on your spell checker. It is important to edit your own work. And you always want to get the parties right. It is worth checking and double checking your papers and briefs for errors. But is it also true that mistakes are not the end of the world, in law school or even in the real world. Forgive yourself a few mistakes, and get on with your career and you life. But never forget the importance of learning from those mistakes.

A Guide for OneLs—the Job Hunt ran an article recently about looking for a summer job in the current economic climate. Everyone takes a different approach to the job search, some of you may have already begun applying, others not yet thought about it, but if it is important to you to get a good legal job this summer it does not hurt to start thinking about it early. There are lots of resources for job seekers out there. The article mentions the National Association for Law Placement, and there are other good sites like the FindLaw career center.

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