Pardon Our Dust

It may still be spring on the rest of the continent, but with our 2011 graduates off to begin the lawyering life, it’s officially summer here. This is often the time of year when we stir up some dust so that we can spruce up our facilities for the fall. Transformation is already in progress in the Reference area on the second floor. 

  New Carpet Summer 2011 - Reference Area 014

Summer library users will find some noise and a bit of disarray in the Reference area for the next couple of weeks as old carpet is pulled up and new carpet is installed, but we promise the short-term pain will be worth the long-term gain. If you need a book that’s temporarily been displaced, just ask at the Reference Desk and we’ll find it for you. We’ll post updates on MoreUs as the work progresses.

– Amy Wharton

 

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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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Surviving Finals Time in the Law Library

It's finals time in the law library! We appreciate that this can be a stressful time for law students and have some guidelines to help make life easier during this busy period.

Food. As you're probably aware, we tend to be on the permissive side when it comes to food in the library. Drinks with covers and low profile snacks—no problem. However, please don't drive your fellow students over the edge with pizza, Chipotle, kettle chips, pop rocks, carrots or that square of Pont-l'Évêque your mother sent you in a finals care package.

Noise. We realize that the loudest people in the law library are often us librarians. We'll keep in mind that people are especially sensitive to noise at this time of year and we ask you to do the same. This is especially true in areas such as myLab or the group study rooms. You can close the doors, but remember that those rooms are not soundproofed.

Adverse possession. Please do not monopolize the tables or group study rooms. The group study rooms are particularly popular this time of year so keep other students in mind when reserving them. And please do not leave your stuff on a table “reserving” it while you are gone for extended periods.

Restricted Access. The little blue signs have appeared, meaning this is the time when we have restricted access to law students and people using our legal materials. Please, no vigilantism. If there is a problem, let us know and we can help. At the same time, if there are plenty of available tables and the interlopers are not disruptive, then why not practice your collaborative justice skills and study and let study! And, yes, law professors are allowed to walk through the library to get to their offices during this time.

Common sense.  This is a safe library, but things have been stolen in the past. Please do not leave valuables unattended. The last thing you want to be concerned with during finals is a missing laptop.

Perks. Let’s not forget about all the fun that comes with finals time in the library: free coffee, candy at the circulation and reference desks; massage chairs in the reserve room, games in myLab, librarian dance-offs. . . plus we open earlier (6 am) and stay open later (2 am)! Whew! No wonder we have to restrict access.

More Cowbell! Based on our latest patron survey, we're pleased to announce that this year we'll be doubling the number of cowbells available in the library as study aids.

– 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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Supreme Research

Now that you’ve made your oral argument in Legal Research and Writing class, continue developing your advocacy skills by listening to how the pros make their cases in the Supreme Court. You can hear oral arguments from as early as 1955 on Oyez.org (for example, check out the Nixon administration’s argument in 1971 that newspapers shouldn’t be allowed to publish the Vietnam War Pentagon Papers in New York Times v. United States). Oyez has audio for select cases starting with the 1955 Term, and all available audio from 1970 to the current Term. You can also listen to audio of oral arguments as soon as the Friday after they are made on the Supreme Court’s website (written transcripts are posted to the site the same day a case is argued). Visit the Court’s site to hear U.Va. Law’s own Supreme Court Litigation Clinic in action in this Term’s cases Abbott v. United States (Jim Ryan), Borough of Duryea v. Guarnieri (Dan Ortiz), and Fox v. Vice (Mark Stancil). Both Oyez.org and the Supreme Court’s website let you listen online and download MP3s.   

The Supreme Court did not even require parties to file briefs in the 1790s and early 1800s, instead basing its decisions on hours (and sometimes days) of oral argument. Nowadays, attorneys’ written briefs can make or break their case. Briefs also can help your research by alerting you to relevant cases, statutes, and regulations, and by explaining legal concepts. Find PDFs of briefs filed in older cases in the subscription database U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978. This database’s records of what happened at the trial and appellate stages can be great sources for researching the factual background of a Court case. You can download briefs filed in more recent cases for free on the American Bar Association’s website, or link to them directly from cases in Westlaw. SCOTUSblog can keep you up-to-date on all things Court-related with live feeds describing opinions as they’re issued, e-mail alerts, and handy summaries of this Term’s cases.

– Kristin Glover

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Kristin Glover

Kristin Glover is a Research Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library.

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Shining Bright This Summer, Part 2: Handling a Project

Now you’ve started your summer job, and you’ve just been handed a real research project. What should you do?

WHEN YOU ARE ASSIGNED A RESEARCH PROJECT

Ask questions. Make sure you understand what you are being asked to do. Do you know the facts? Do you understand the legal question you have been asked to research? Did the assigning attorney suggest any sources? Do you know what type of final product is wanted? 

Don’t panic. You are not expected to be an expert at the beginning of the summer. You will be asked to research unfamiliar areas of the law. Stay calm and start with basic background research using familiar tools like Google or a blog search

Make a plan. Think about your research before you get started. Issue spot and identify the primary sources that are likely to be relevant. Write out your Lexis or Westlaw searches before going online, and take advantage of their online chat or reference lines to help you craft your search.

Go to the experts. Start your research in secondary sources, such as treatises and law reviews. Ask the librarians if there is a leading state-specific or subject-specific treatise that would help you. You might also consult the list of major treatises the Law Library provides on its website. Tables of contents and indexes may help you quickly locate relevant information and alert you to issues you may not have already considered.

Keep track of your research. Make notes of the sources you use and the searches you run. This will save you a lot of grief if you have to recreate or defend your research. 

Be thorough. Keep in mind that various layers of law (e.g. federal/state/local or statutory/regulatory) may apply and don’t forget to Shepardize or KeyCite.

Keep your facts in mind at all times.  This is real life. Don’t write a 30-page dissertation on the topic generally, but focus on the facts in your case.

There is no such thing as a draft. The assigning attorney is your client, so edit, proofread, and Bluebook your work before it leaves your hands.

– Leslie Ashbrook

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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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Shining Bright This Summer, Part 1: Preparing for Work

You have a summer job lined up. The only thing standing between you and a successful summer is finals – that is until you start thinking about the research you may be asked to do this summer. Whether you are working in a firm, for a judge, in a non-profit, with an agency, or researching for a professor here in Charlottesville, your librarians have put together a short “how-to” guide to help you through summer research. 

BEFORE YOU START YOUR SUMMER JOB

Go online and take some time to get familiar with your organization, judge, or professor. Refresh yourself on the attorneys in your practice group and look to see if there are major cases or matters in which your firm is involved. Does your judge handle a particular type of case? What areas of law is your professor researching?

Become acquainted with your jurisdiction. If you will be working with state law issues, become familiar with the state’s court structure and the state legislature. Most official state websites provide free access to the state code, pending legislation, and recent court decisions.

Attend Lexis & Westlaw training sessions. These can help you be more cost-effective researchers. 

WHEN YOU FIRST START YOUR SUMMER JOB

Take a tour of the library, if there is one, and introduce yourself to the librarian. There are likely to be sources that are important to your practice group or supervising attorney, and the librarian can point you towards those sources and help you learn to use the ones you haven’t worked with before. Your librarian can also tell you how Westlaw and Lexis are billed in your organization and about other databases available to you through the organization. 

– Leslie Ashbrook

 

On Friday: "Shining Bright, Part 2: Handling a Project"
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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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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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Both Then and Now, a Celebration with “Great Éclat”

Yesterday the University celebrated founder Thomas Jefferson’s 268th birthday. Among the events were a tree planting on The Lawn and the annual awarding of three Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals. The presentation of the Medal in Law has been a Founder’s Day tradition since 1977, the year the current honoree, Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser, graduated from the Law School.  

Founder’s Day has always been celebrated in style at the University. An entry from the diaries of Law School Dean William Minor Lile reveals how the event was observed 87 years ago, an interesting time in the history of our nation and in that of our neighbor up the street, Monticello:

“April 12, 1924

“Tomorrow being Sunday, Jefferson’s birthday was celebrated today with great éclat, with Governor Trinkle present. Dr. [John Holladay] Latané of Johns Hopkins delivered the address on the great Democrat. It was a very thoughtful study, including an interesting comparison between Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson; and pointing out in a striking way what Jefferson meant by ‘entangling alliances’, by extracts from his letter indicating that at one time he was heartily in favor of an alliance with Great Britain. 

“In addition to our own University celebration, the Jefferson Memorial Association which has recently purchased Monticello @ $500.000.00, $100.000.00 only paid thus far, is here in full force, including 50 boys and girls from the schools of New York City, prize winners in a contest for the best 50 essays on Jefferson. Tomorrow there will be a pilgrimage to Monticello with all sorts of stunts to be performed on the Monticello lawn, including an oration by the Governor, orations by sundry other notables from different sections of the country, all in the line of propaganda for raising money for the purchase and endowment. A hard surfaced road has just been completed to the top of the mountain, but the road from the gate to the mansion, and particularly the return road on the eastern side, is in bad shape and scarcely manageable for cars. Seaplanes would come in well for the return trip back to the gate. I hope that by the time my grandchildren are ready to make a trip to the shrine of Democracy, the place will be paid for, a sufficient endowment provided, and the place will be put in a condition worthy of the great man who from that center evolved and disseminated a political philosophy that has influenced the whole world for the world’s good, probably more than any man that ever lived on the planet we call earth, excluding of course Jesus of Nazareth.” 

We take the absence of recent seaplane sightings over Charlottesville as solid evidence that Dean Lile’s hopes for Monticello have been realized.

– Amy Wharton, with Kristin Jensen

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Amy Wharton

Amy Wharton became Director of the Arthur J. Morris Law Library at the University of Virginia School of Law in February 2018. She was previously Research & Web Services / Emerging Technologies Librarian. She has taught Advanced Legal Research and is a past-president of the Virginia Association of Law Libraries (VALL). Amy joined the Arthur J. Morris Law Library in 2008.

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Shine Bright This Summer!

You’re at your desk at your summer job, staring at a page of furiously scribbled notes about the first research assignment from your supervising attorney.  Only half the words she said made sense, and your notes are swimming before your eyes. How do you tackle this research project?  The Law Library can give you a quick guide to research success in your summer job.  The one-hour session will explain where to start a research project, how to research thoroughly so that you can be confident in your end product, and how to minimize costs along the way with free online research resources.  It’ll help you keep your cool all summer long.

Start your successful summer with one of three convenient one-hour sessions offered by the research librarians:

   4 p.m., Monday, April 18, WB103

   4 p.m., Tuesday, April 19, SL298

   12 noon, Wednesday, April 20, WB104

– Kristin Glover

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Kristin Glover

Kristin Glover is a Research Librarian at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library.

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More than Bogeys and Putters: Golf Linked to the Courts

The Masters, the first major golf championship of the year, gets underway this week at Augusta National Golf Club.  Golf and the law are not strangers.  Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, who served on the court from 1877-1911, was an avid golfer.  Justice Harlan’s love of the links was often remarked upon in the newspapers, and it was noted that he played the course at the Chevy Chase Club in Bethesda, Maryland almost daily when the Court was in session.  To read about Justice Harlan’s love of golf and other Supreme Court connections to the sport, see Ross E. Davies, The Judicial and Ancient Game: James Wilson, John Marshall Harlan, and the Beginnings of Golf at the Supreme Court, 35 J. Sup. Ct. Hist. 122 (2010).   One way to determine whether the library has this journal is to use VIRGO and enter the title into the search window.  The library’s holdings, both print and electronic access, will be listed.

Golf does not just interact with the law on the course, but makes its way into the courtroom as well.  In 2001, the Supreme Court held in PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661, that golf courses were places of public accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and thus must make reasonable accommodations for disabled players.  This case granted Casey Martin, a player with a disability, the right to use a golf cart on tour events.   

Golf has also been the center of controversy regarding the discriminatory membership practices of some of its clubs—including Augusta National, home of The Masters.  If you are interested in reading articles on these issues, one way to find them is to use Legal Periodicals Full Text.  This database is available to UVA students and faculty.  A search in this resource for “golf AND discrimination” results in 52 hits.  While there is access to some full-text articles, for the rest of the articles the “Find at UVA” button will take you to VIRGO and show you where you can access the article in UVA’s collection.  Below is a screenshot from the result list in Legal Periodicals Full Text.

  Screen - Golf - April 2011(click for full-size image)

Finally, legal writers are also drawn to the laws of golf.  Noted lexicographer and golf aficionado Bryan Garner is perhaps best known as the editor of Black’s Law Dictionary, but he also co-wrote with Jeffrey S. Kuhn The Rules of Golf in Plain English.   

– Leslie Ashbrook

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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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Opening Day: Baseball and the Law

Today is the start of Major League Baseball’s season, which, as we all know, is really just the opening act for the 28th Annual Virginia Law Softball Invitational that begins tomorrow.  Baseball and the law have a long history.  The Supreme Court ruled in 1922 that Major League Baseball was not subject to the Sherman Act in Fed. Baseball Club of Baltimore v. Nat’l League of Prof’l Baseball Clubs, 259 U.S. 200.  You can use Westlaw or Lexis to determine whether this case is still good law.  Remember, confirming the status of a case can be an important research step.

The Ninth Circuit has found itself involved with baseball as it handles the Barry Bond’s perjury case (see, for example, United States v. Bonds, 608 F.3d 495 (9th Cir. 2010) for the opinion ruling on the admissibility of certain evidence).  You can track the current status of the case through a Wikipedia site dedicated to the ‘Legal Problems of Barry Bonds.’  The fans also make sure that baseball and the law stay friends; for example, in Thurmond v. Prince William Prof’l Baseball Club, Inc., 265 Va. 59, 574 S.E.2d 246 (Va. 2003), the court held “that when a particular adult spectator of ordinary intelligence is familiar with the game of baseball that spectator assumes the normal risks of watching a baseball game, including the danger of being hit by a ball batted into an unscreened seating area of a stadium.”

Not even fictional baseball characters escape the law’s long arm. Willie Mays Hayes, a character in Major League (Paramount 1989) who claimed he could “hit like Mays and run like Hayes,” makes an appearance in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If you’re interested in baseball and the law, VIRGO is a great tool for tracking down books in the law library’s collection.  For example, a keyword search on baseball and limiting your search to the law library returns these books, including the law school’s own G.E. White’s Creating the National Pastime: Baseball Transforms Itself, 1903-1953 (1996).  The reference librarians are also happy to help you design your research plan—baseball related or not.   

– Leslie Ashbrook

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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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