Library Notes: News You Can Use

Spring 2013

Welcome Back!

We hope you were able to recharge over the break and are ready to tackle another semester.  Here at the library, we’ve been rearranging the reserve and reference collections, so if you can’t find something, please ask us!  We are also gearing up for the Certification program, which you can read more about below.  We hope you enjoy this issue of Library Notes.  If you have suggestions for future content, please contact Jennifer ( or Steven (




Certificate in Legal Research Skills

Want to build on the legal research basics you learned during your first semester?  The library’s Certification classes allow you to acquire more advanced legal research skills you will use in practice.  We are offering 16 classes focusing on different topics including cost effective legal research, legislative history, keeping up with legal developments, and more.  Come hear about the value of solid legal research skills at the "Skills for Success" panel on January 29th at 1PM in Room 1420.  The panel features BUSL graduates and practitioners who are using these skills in practice. If you don’t need any more convincing, sign up for classes here.  In order to receive the certificate, you need to attend and complete the assignments for at least 6 classes.


Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis and Westlaw Classes

Our dedicated vendor representatives provide specialized training on their respective databases throughout the semester. Here are upcoming dates:

Visit the respective Westlaw and Lexis Law School homepages to register for their trainings:

E-mail our Bloomberg Law Representative directly to register for BLaw training dates: Eric Malinowski @ Or, alternatively, see one of the student representatives in the Law Lobby on Thursdays from 10-2 to sign-up. Bloomberg Law dates include the following:

  • February TBA
  • March 19, 20, 21: 1-2 pm and 3-4 pm rm 323

More dates to follow! Contact Eric for more information.

Alternatives to the "Big Three" legal databases: Or, What to do without access to Westlaw, Lexis or Bloomberg Law.

Think your unlimited Lexis and Westlaw access will continue outside of law school? Think again! Whether you’re graduating, considering solo practice, or just preparing for a summer internship, attend our "Alternatives to Lexis and Westlaw" class on Monday, April 1st or Wednesday, April 3rd to learn how to use other legal research databases like Loislaw, Fast Case, Mass Cases, and Casemaker (included with a Massachusetts Bar Association membership).


Featured Librarian: Ellen Richardson

Ellen Richardson is our new Legal Information Librarian for Emerging Technologies. She received her J.D. and an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from Cornell Law School in 2010 and her MLIS with a certificate in Law Librarianship from the University of Washington in 2011. She is excited to be joining BUSL after a stint at the University of South Carolina. Her areas of research interest include government documents, administrative law, emerging legal and educational technology, and the intersection of law, privacy, and personal data. Please join her this semester for her classes in the certification program: Federal Legislative History and Congressional Documents and Finding People and Other Public Records Research, Alternatives to Lexis and Westlaw and Massachusettes Litigation Research.



We'd like Your Counsel!

Give us your opinion on our student newsletter and be entered in a drawing to win a study aid or book of your choice! (Max value 50$)

(To access this form you will need to hit Ctrl and Enter in the "Name" field.)

Resources Available to Research the Supreme Court

2013 looks to be a year when the decisions of the Supreme Court will once again take center stage in the national conversation. With the Court having taken up or potentially looking at same-sex marriage, affirmative action,voting rights, abortion rights, electronic surveillance, and international cases in domestic courts, there is little doubt that at least some of its decisions will ignite controversy and significant legal scholarship.

Becoming an adept researcher of the Court and its decisions requires moving beyond the usual legal research suspects and broadening your use of databases and legal blogs. Here are just a few of the multitude available to assist you:

Scotusblog is a great starting point with comprehensive blog coverage of every merits case, often with links to the relevant briefs, and coverage that encompasses pre-argument, after-argument and after-decision developments. (Interestingly, law students are periodically recruited to write for the Blog.)

The Oyez Project is unique in its compilation of multimedia about the Court. Aside from its fun virtual tour of the Court, it aims to be be a "complete and authoritative source for all audio recorded in the Court since the installation of a recording system in October 1955."

United States Law Week reports on Court news and publishes the full-text of all decisions, court dockets,brief summaries and related US legal news. (You will be directed to sign-in using your BU credentials.)

The Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978 is another subscription database available to assist you with historical research about the Court. The collection contains over 150,000 cases from the beginnings of printed Court records in 1832 through 1978.

The Supreme Court Opinion Writing Database provides a "behind the scenes" look at the workings of the Burger Court (1969-1986), through the publication of memos and drafts circulated by the Justices during this prolific Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court Official site

Results from Last Semester's Poll

Of the following, where is your favorite place to have lunch near the law tower?

What's Your Opinion?

(You will need to click on CTRL and Enter to access this form.)


Summer Job Research

Starting to think about where you want to work this summer?  The library has lots of great resources to help you find a rewarding summer experience.  You can learn more about these resources on our Career Resources Guide.  For individuals interested in a judicial externship, check out our Clerkship Guide.  If you would like to learn more about how to conduct job research, please make an appointment.


Please e-mail us with questions, comments or ideas for future newsletter articles: Jennifer Ekblaw ( or Steven Ellis (