Yellow Books Now Online

They (yes, the immortal “they”) say it’s not what you know but who you know that counts in this world. Being in academia, we think it’s actually a bit – okay, a lot – of both. Whether your summer or post-law school aspirations involve a judicial clerkship, working for a large law firm, finding a job in government or the nonprofit sector, or foreign relations work, you now have a resource at your fingertips to identify the right people to contact. The Law Library has just subscribed to the Leadership Directories Online (LDO) service, which is the online version of a series of print directories known as the Yellow Books. There are fourteen Yellow Books in all: Judicial, Congressional, Federal, Federal Regional, State, Municipal, Government Affairs, Law Firm, Corporate, Financial, News Media, Associations, Nonprofit Sector, and Foreign Representatives in the U.S. By combining the data from all of these sources into one database, LDO gives you the ability to generate graphs and lists of people from across multiple organizations, subject specialties, and even your alma mater. Now, instead of battling your fellow students for the library’s copy of the Judicial Yellow Book for information on judges, you can create your own list of names and addresses from the comfort of your laptop.

Access to LDO is limited to Law School students, faculty and staff and can be accessed only through LawWeb. Look for the link at the bottom of the “Library” section. We encourage you to take the LDO Quick Tour before you go exploring. Note that we don’t subscribe to the downloading and alerts features. If you have questions about using LDO, please contact us.

– Amy Wharton 

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The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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Westlaw and Lexis and Bloomberg, Oh My!

With the introduction of Bloomberg Law, UVA Law students now have access to five different general legal research databases: WestlawNext, Westlaw.com, LexisAdvance, Lexis.com, and Bloomberg Law. With so many choices, which one should be your go-to information resource? If you know that your future employer uses one of these databases in particular, it would be a good idea to practice using it yourself. Better still would be to practice them all and be “multidextrous.” It’s true, though, that some of these databases work better than others for different types of legal research. In the law school world, where you have free access to all five, it may be useful to know which work best.

Here is our collective opinion as librarians on how you might rank these databases in order of currently most useful:

1. WestlawNext. At this point, WestlawNext is the most well-developed and easy to use of all the choices for general legal research. With its sophisticated digest system, West has long had an advantage for case research. WestlawNext has preserved that advantage in a user-friendly interface that provides easy searching of cases, statutes and secondary sources such as law review articles.  If we had to pick one database to use for most of our legal research, this would be the one.

2. Lexis.com.  Lexis.com is of the previous generation of legal databases and may soon be obsolete. However, it’s still a good database for some types of information. Its news searching is comprehensive and sophisticated, providing easy access to papers such as the New York Times,Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. It also contains a number of legal treatises, such as Lex Larson’s Employment Discrimination, that you won’t find elsewhere. We don’t like the case searching features of Lexis as much as Westlaw’s but if you know that your future employer uses Lexis, this is still a good general legal research database to use for case, statutory or secondary source researching.

3. Bloomberg Law. At this stage in its development, we don’t use Bloomberg Law for our general case, statutory or law review searching as it doesn’t compare to WestlawNext in those areas. However, Bloomberg Law is a great resource for some specific types of information. Through Bloomberg’s Docket Search, you can access filings from all the federal courts and get documents such as complaints or orders you will not be able to access through Westlaw or Lexis. It also has useful practice treatises on several business-focused legal topics. Before entering the legal world, Bloomberg focused on news and business information, so those areas of its database are already well-built. We frequently turn to Bloomberg Law for this type of information, which we cannot get as easily through Westlaw or Lexis.

4. Westlaw.com. Like Lexis.com, Westlaw.com is a previous generation database and will inevitably give way completely to WestlawNext. Since WestlawNext has done a nice job of preserving the useful search features of Westlaw.com in a more user-friendly format, there are few reasons to use Westlaw.com for basic case, statutory or law review searching. Even if your future employer is committed to keeping Westlaw.com for now, it shares its advanced search techniques with WestlawNext so that you can switch between the two databases with ease. However, WestlawNext has not yet incorporated some of Westlaw’s resources, such as foreign and international legal materials, and features, such as WestClip. Since the migration to WestlawNext is not complete, there is some research that requires a return to Westlaw.com for now.

5.  LexisAdvance. In our opinion, its searches produce too many documents without enough ways to narrow retrieval or achieve confidence in your results.

– Ben Doherty 

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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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Making Your Research Go Viral

In a paper soon to be published in the American Economic Review, economists Scott Stern and Jeffrey Furman studied biology scholarship and found that making research materials easily available to others has a viral effect. When the research materials were placed in a Biological Resource Center easily accessible to other researchers, “the post-deposit citation boost is estimated to be between 57 percent and 135 percent.”

Would making legal research easily available to other researchers have the same viral effect on legal scholarship? It just might—ask Professor Brandon Garrett. With the help of the law library, Professor Garrett has made much of his research accessible online, including the research for his book Convicting the Innocent, the set of corporate prosecution agreements he used for a 2007 article “Structural Reform Prosecution,” and the corporate plea agreements used for his 2011 article “Globalized Corporate Prosecution.”

We do not know the exact effect of making his research publicly available, but the pages for these materials have been accessed more than 16,000 times. Professor Garrett’s research has certainly received national attention. Convicting the Innocent has been featured in the New York Times (and here and here), cited by Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor in a recent dissent on eyewitness testimony, and used by the New Jersey Supreme Court to support its sweeping changes in how eyewitness testimony will be treated in New Jersey courts. “Structural Reform Prosecution” has been cited over fifty times in law reviews and other secondary sources.

If you would like to think about making your research similarly publicly available, just contact Jon Ashley in the law library. He and Professor Garrett are currently working on making the data sets even more accessible by adding faceted and full-text search functions.

– Ben Doherty 

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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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Mark Your Calendar. Bloomberg Law is Coming!

The Law Library is about to debut a new legal research database that’s gaining rapid adoption by law firms and select law schools. Bloomberg Law, or “BLAW” as it’s known to friends, offers a growing body of legal information such as court opinions, statutes, regulations, secondary sources, and news, as well as the range of corporate and financial information you’d expect from a product by Bloomberg.

One particularly noteworthy feature of BLAW is its exceptional dockets database. Federal district, appellate, and an increasing number of state court filings can be searched and retrieved through the site. You can even sign up for email alerts to keep on top of new docket activity.

If you’re a law student or faculty member and you’d like to have a password for Bloomberg Law, please drop by the library computer lab on January 31 or February 1 between 9 and 6. Representative Beth Goldfinger will be here to register new users and help them get started. Beth will also hold a training session in the Fox Seminar Room (WB114 in the library) on February 1 at 2 p.m.

– Jon Ashley 

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The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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Talking Turkey

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Law Library will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23, and remain closed through Friday, November 25. We will resume regular (8 a.m. to midnight) hours on Saturday, November 26.

Do thoughts of Thanksgiving have you in the mood for Turkey? If so, the Law Library holds a number of resources that may be of interest. See, for example, Introduction to Turkish Law (Tugrul Ansay & Don Wallace, Jr., eds., 5th ed. 2005), Ergun Özbudun’s The Constitutional System of Turkey: 1876 to the Present (2011), or foreign law journal articles on Turkey via the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) on HeinOnline. Or if you’re so excited about Turkey that you’re planning a trip there, don’t pack your bags until you’ve perused our Eyewitness Travel Guide for Turkey. If you prefer to enjoy Turkey from home, you might check out the Turkish film Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven) (2007) on DVD.

However you’re planning to enjoy Turkey this Thanksgiving, the Library Staff wishes you a safe and happy holiday.

– Amy Wharton and Cathy Palombi  

 

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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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From the E-Stacks: Customary International Humanitarian Law

Since its publication in 2005, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s two-volume Customary International Humanitarian Law has been widely cited by scholars and human rights practitioners seeking to establish customary rules for armed conflict. The ICRC has now provided a free online database of these volumes, providing easier access to researchers around the world.  

ICRC
 
The online version incorporates information about national and international practice through the end of 2007, with further regular updates planned.

Find links to this database and many others in our International Law Guide.

– Ben Doherty 

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The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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Taking Advantage of WestlawNext

With its tasteful use of orange highlights, WestlawNext has been taking UVA Law by storm.  At the library we’re enthusiastic about this new direction for legal databases (and are looking forward to Lexis’ future contributions to the trend). If you’ve hopped on the WestlawNext bandwagon, we say good for you, but make sure you are using it as a critical researcher:  taking advantage of everything it has to offer and noting what it may not provide.

While WestlawNext’s main search box works well for many searches, be sure to take advantage of its advanced search screens.  The advanced searches available in specific databases are particularly robust.  For example, try selecting the “Federal Cases” database under the Federal Materials tab and then clicking on the “advanced” button at the top. That opens up all of the document fields and a list of “connectors and expanders” to which expert Westlaw and Lexis searchers are accustomed.  You can do the same types of advanced searches from Next’s main search screen. However, you have to know the right connectors or field abbreviations to enter, kind of like having to know to order your burger “animal style” at In-N-Out Burger, even though it’s not on their menu.  Using the advanced search option in the different WestlawNext databases gives you the menu, so that you can take advantage of those more precise search tools.

Keep in mind too, that WestlawNext is a work in progress. There is a lot of information that you can get in Westlaw.com (or Lexis) that has not yet migrated to WestlawNext, such as foreign or international legal material. As a savvy researcher it is as important to realize what Next cannot yet do as it is to take advantage of all it has to offer.  Finally, our law firm colleagues would have our heads if we did not remind you that once out of law school you’ll need to pay attention to cost. Like its content, WestlawNext’s pricing structure is evolving, but upon arriving at a firm or other organization, asking the librarian or whoever is in charge of Westlaw or Lexis there how the pricing for your organization works is always a good idea.

– Ben Doherty

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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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