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The Indiana Law Library Blog

Library Summer Diversions

So, you’re in Bloomington for the summer. Doing an externship for credit, maybe a B706, waiting to begin as a summer starter, or worst of all, about to begin a bar review course. Kind of makes you wonder why you wanted to be a lawyer, right?
Don’t despair. Law can be interesting, dramatic, even amusing, and we have the resources in the Library to prove it. When you need a break from studying, consider borrowing a movie from the Library’s video collection. The Library collects titles that “have a lawyer as a central character or have a legal theme.” That covers a lot of ground, and should provide something to everyone’s taste. Need a reminder of why you wanted to become a lawyer? Try watching episodes from the old TV series, Perry Mason. Have a more anglophile taste for the life of a barrister? Then Rumpole of the Baily will be your cup of tea. Or maybe you like the idea of Christmas in July. Miracle on 34th Street is there for the taking. All videos are cataloged, so you can look them up by title in IUCAT. Or, just browse the list of current titles.
If you want to dig a little deeper, and have a more arcane (ok, peculiar) sense of humor, consider these other possible diversions the Library has to offer. Try searching The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises, 1800-1926. If you do a subject search for “law-anecdotes, facetiae, satire, etc.”, you will retrieve close to 100 titles, such as Humorous Phases of the Law, an 1882 account of various misadventures before the bar, and The Pleader’s Guide : a Didactic Poem, in Two Parts : Containing Mr. Surrebutter’s Poetical Lectures on the Conduct of a Suit at Law. The latter is a 200 page poem in witty doggerel, comprising a not-so-serious introduction to the art of advocacy. You may question the attraction of 200 pages of bad poetry, but it sure beats studying for the bar, and there is always the possibility of a trip to Nick’s to finish off an evening’s light reading.
Finally, if you need a quick diversion, consider looking into the current issue of The Table. This is the journal of the Society of Clerks-at-the-Table in Commonwealth Parliaments, the professional parliamentarians responsible for maintaining the rules of order in legislative bodies throughout the former British empire. Each issue of The Table includes a section, entitled Unparliamentary Expressions, which reprints parliamentary remarks ruled out of order by the clerks-at-the-table. These remarks can be anywhere from surprisingly crude to surprisingly witty. Who knew venomous slander could sometimes be so funny? At any rate, a quick glance through Unparliamentary Expressions will cure any thought that “civil discourse” in the U.S. is uniquely corrosive. And who knows? Maybe it will provide just the epithet you have been looking for.
So there are many ways to make your Library work for you this summer. All it takes is a little time and a little research. Enjoy!


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