Category Archives: General

Networking Tips During the Holidays

This is an opportunity to connect with friends and family that you don’t often see. Let them know that you’re graduating and looking for a job.

  • Contact the Career Services Office.
  • Reach out to your mentors or find them on LinkedIn.
  • Set up informational interviews. Offer to take an attorney to coffee or lunch to learn more about their practice.
  • Most bar associations and some bar sections have holiday parties and are happy to have law students attend.Check with your local bar association for a list of social events.
    • Be yourself, but be mindful of the impression you’re conveying.
    • Festive dress is fine, but be professional.
    • Consider having simple business cards made to hand out to people you meet.  However, keep in mind that you are in a social setting – you don’t want to seem pushy.
    • Follow up with any contacts you make.

Additional Resources

source: University of Texas

Why it Pays to Prepare Early for Your Law School Exam

Most law school classes only have one final exam, and your entire grade depends on it. Those three or four hours determine your grade for the entire course! Quite a lot of pressure on a single exam, right?

This is why it’s so critical that you start looking toward that exam NOW and make sure that you’re doing everything you can to achieve success on exam day!

A lot is riding on it.

Critical Questions for Law School Exam Success

Here are some questions you need to be asking to ensure you’re on track for law school success:

  1. What’s format of the exam? This is a very important question, because the format of the exam dictates how you study. (Especially what you practice.) If the exam is 50% multiple choice, naturally you need to practice multiple choice questions! If it’s all essays, you can focus your efforts on that.
  2. Is the exam open or closed book? This is also critically important when preparing your law school study materials. In theory, an outline for an open-book exam should look very similar to a closed-book exam outline. However, with an open-book exam, you may want to generate additional reference materials (attack plans, etc.) to take into the test, and you have to pay more attention to how you’re going to memorize everything you need to know on a closed-book exam. It’s also important to think about how you’re going to differentiate yourself from the crowd. On a closed-book exam, this might mean knowing more. On an open-book exam, you’ll have to shine by showing your great analysis, since everyone has the law to reference. How do you do this? Lots of preparation with hypotheticals and practice exams.
  3. Where can you get practice exams? Some professors circulate old exams in class, sometimes they’re posted on a website, and others put them on reserve in the library. Find out where they are, and get your hands on as many as possible. This will show you what the professor tests and wants you to know, knowledge that’s critical to law school exam success.
  4. Have you gone to office hours to talk with your professor about the exam? Do not be afraid to go to office hours! Your professor holds them for a reason, and many law professors will be surprisingly candid about what they are looking for in an exam answer. If you’re nervous, go with a classmate, or bring along a question from your outline or your writing practice to kick off the discussion.
  5. Are your outlines up-to-date? Outlining is a critical part of preparing for exams. I have written about why it is important to outline, how long outlines should be, and when I think you should start outlining (the answer is yesterday).[insert links] By now, your outlines should exist and you need to be updating them weekly. If not, it’s time to get on it!
  6. Where can you get other practice materials? What if your professor doesn’t circulate a lot of practice exams? There are many other resources you can turn to. Does your school have an Academic Support Program? If so, check there for a supply of practice exams. Some schools even proctor practice exams for first-year students! Don’t overlook commercial supplements. Many of these have fact patterns and multiple-choice questions you can practice on. Finally, don’t forget about bar study books. They’re full of essays and multiple-choice questions on many of the topics you’re currently studying.
  7. Are you practicing your writing? I hope so. You are foolhardy if you’re not writing every week. Practice is the only way to ensure you know the law and to confirm your outlining strategy is working for you. Practice early, practice often!

Hopefully these tips will help you feel confident going into your law school exams (the best mindset for success).  Good Luck!


Case Law

A CASE is a written decisions issued by a court, often referred to as a judicial opinion or decision.  Cases are published in chronological order in print sets called reporters or case reports.

Federal courts and state courts use a similar hierarchical organization (lowest to highest): trial court, appellate court, highest court. Courts at each level publish their decisions in chronological order in official case reporters.

There are two different categories of reporters which you need to know:               1. official reporters – which are usually published by a governmental entity       2. unofficial reporters – which are published commercially (usually by                       either Westlaw or LexisNexis).

Cases can be found three ways:                                                                                                    1. Citation:A standard three-part citation lets you know where to find the case:

Volume Number Reporter Page Number
238 F.3d 68

In the above example the notation “3d” indicates that the Federal Reporter (F)     is now in its third series. Be sure to note which numbered series your citation         points to. WestlawLexis and other online legal databases allow you to pull       up cases by simply entering the citation in a search box.

2. Name:                                                                                                             a)You can find cases and their citations using print                                                               resources by using the Case Name volumes at the end of a                                             West digest set. Some digests have volumes listing cases by                                           Plaintiffs or Defendants or both.

b)You can find a case using party names on both Lexis and                                                Westlaw and most online case law databases as well by                                                        entering the litigants’ names in the “find by name search” box.                                                                                                                  

3. Topic:                                                                                                             Cases are published in the order decided by the court – i.e. in                                         chronological order. A reporter will have cases by different judges on a                   wide variety of topics.  To find cases on a certain topic, there is a case                         finding tool called a case digest.

Every reporter published by West uses the West Digest system, which                       assigns every legal issue in a case to one of 400+ legal topics and further                   pigeon holes the issue into a subdivisions called key numbers. The topic,                   key number, and a short blurb about the legal issue (referred to                                   as headnotes) and appear as editorial enhancements at the beginning of                   each case in a West Reporter. By looking up your topic and key number in               the digest for your jurisdiction, you will find a list of citations to cases                       covering the same point.

Resource: Cornell Law Library

Research Review Refresher

Here are some helpful videos to help with your research:



For a complete list, go to:

In rural America, there are job opportunities and a need for lawyers

In 2013, South Dakota attracted national attention when it became the first—and so far, only—state to pay young lawyers to relocate permanently to rural areas.

Read entire article:   _not_here._in_rural_america_lawyers_are_few_and_far_between?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=navigation&utm_campaign=most_read

Soundproofing/Noise Reduction & Audio-visual technology

Circulation/reserve librarian, Torin Andrews, attended “InfoComm 2014″ in Las Vegas this past June.

Here is Torin’s summary of his experience at “InfoComm 2014″:

“InfoComm 2014, the annual conference and exhibition for professional audiovisual buyers and sellers worldwide, held June 14-20 in Las Vegas was visited by 37,048 professionals attending from more than 114 countries.” ( 39374.htmInfoComm International, June 20, 2014).

As a Law Librarian I was exploring the tradeshow and exposition for affordable soundproofing/noise reduction solutions that could possibly be installed in our library study rooms.  As an instructor I focused my attention on evolving classroom/teaching audio-visual technology and on digital signage technology and best presentation practices.

In my search for noise reduction solutions, I contacted many acoustical engineering vendors: Industrial Acoustics Co.; G & S Acoustics; Acoustical Solutions, Inc.; Radius Display Products; and Kinetics Noise Control. These vendors displayed relatively low-cost, easy-to-install acoustical noise reduction panels that might offer a good solution to the sound leakage issues our patrons are experiencing when using our library study rooms and copier/printer rooms. In addition to offering small representative panel samples, these vendors were very helpful in supplying significant informational brochures, whitepapers, and lots of helpful practical advice.

In the area of classroom/teaching technology, my exploration allowed me to compare the value and features of many digital projectors offered by Casio, Elmo, Epson, Proxima, and Sony. Casio, Epson, and Proxima were demonstrating their lines of short throw projectors designed to offer large images in small classrooms or to prevent shadows when a presenter accidentally comes between a conventional projector and the screen. Elmo and WolfVision demonstrated their latest models of digital desktop visualizers optimized for videoconferencing and telepresence. Chief, Crimson, Da-Lite, and Premier Mounts showcased their offerings of projector and display screen mounting systems designed to optimize the projection of digital images in a wide variety of different spaces, from small classrooms to huge auditoriums.

In the Digital Signage Pavilion, exhibitors showcased display hardware for a wide array of different size venues. For very large facilities there were offerings utilizing LED blocks that showcased seamless transitions between blocks. For smaller settings there were exhibits utilizing conventional HD TV screens to innovate touch and draw screens that allow the device to interact with the user. I was impressed by the wide selection of software programs offered to allow for unique and innovative display options designed to optimize the viewer/user experience. Among the prominent exhibitors were: ROE Visual, LED panels and components;, LifeSize, videoconferencing solutions; Revolabs, wireless audio equipment; SpinetiX. digital signage media players and software; Haivision, enterprise grade digital signage systems; and Gefen LLC, digital signage hardware and software.

InfoComm offers  education professionals a great opportunity to see new products and educate themselves on new technology to gain insight on how to integrate these technologies in their traditional and virtual classrooms.

Database Updates in the near future

Reference librarian, Lisa Foster,  received a grant to attend this year’s American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Conference in San Antonio, Texas, which was held from July 12-15, 2014.

The following is Lisa’s summary of some enhancements to Lexis and HeinOnline that you will be seeing in the near future.

Lexis Advance Enhancements

Lexis Advance will be launching some improvements and a new interface on September 8, 2014. These are a few of the improvements that you will see as a result of the new interface:

  • Favorites is being made more accessible on the home page
  • There will be immediate access to a Table of Contents for resources and a “Get Document” choice that will allow access to the entire source/full text
  • When an individual document is chosen from a results list, there will be an immediate Shepard’s preview and synopsis
  • There will be a link to Results List at the top of the page rather than the bottom of the page to assist with navigation
  • Notification and Alert settings will be easier to use, involving a single widget
  • There will be enhanced delivery options for printing

Be looking out for these enhancements and more when the new version of Lexis Advance launches on September 8.

What’s New in HeinOnline

Some of the new libraries and content available now in HeinOnline, or being added in the near future will include a State Reports Collection, and Women and the Law (Peggy), a . . .

New content that was still in development at the time of the conference includes:

  • World Treaty Library, due in late 2014. It will include all major treaty sets in full text, searchable, summarized in search results.
  • National Survey of State Laws Collection (this is a book that is being turned into a database)

There are also 182 new journals in Law Library Journal that have been added in the last 12 months.  Many new titles have been added to the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library and the U.S. Congressional documents, including many congressional hearings. State Attorney General Reports and opinions are now available for 39 states, and there will be 7 more states included by the end of the year.

HeinOnline and the American Bar Association have a new partnership, by fall 2014 ABA publications will be available on HeinOnline.

FastCase Basic also has a new partnership with HeinOnline to include case law in the HeinOnline database. We are currently testing a trial version of FastCase at the TJSL Library. It includes both federal and state case coverage, with half of the states’ cases available back to the 1800’s, and the rest back to the 1950’s. In FastCase, cases can be retrieved using either hyperlinks embedded in other HeinOnline documents such as articles, or by citation.

Other new features in HeinOnline include enhancements to the Welcome page, including advanced searching that is available directly from the welcome page, and the ability to view and enter subcollections directly from the Welcome page. QR codes are also available now for transferring PDF documents from HeinOnline to a mobile device.

These are just a few examples of how the databases that we use at TJSL are constantly evolving and adding new content. Be sure to check out some of these new features in Lexis and HeinOnline. If you need any help come and see us at the Library, or consult these online help resources: