The Bar Exam

The 2018 Georgia Bar Exam will be administered on the 24th and 25th of July.  Which means test takers still have plenty of time to study. If you want to move beyond your test prep materials, the library has numerous resources to assist.

Good luck and happy studies!

 

Bar

Faculty Suggested Leisure Reading – Summer 2018

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Photo by Ernesto De Quesada https://www.flickr.com/photos/erlin1/

Summer is here!  Today is officially the last day of finals here at Georgia State University College of Law.  Tomorrow, we will graduate our 2018 class of J.D. Students.  Soon, rising 1L’s and 2L’s will begin summer jobs and internships, and a lucky few will start their summer classes.

While there is still a lot going on for the everyday GSU Law Student, this is a time where many of them take some time for themselves away from law school.  So, as is tradition, we surveyed the GSU law faculty for books and other media they suggested for summer leisure reading.  Without further ado, here are the GSU Law Faculty Summer Reading Suggestions.  We buy all the books on the list so see the hyperlinks for book descriptions and the Leisure Collection (to the right of the Ref Desk) to borrow.

 

1.  Pam Brannon

 

2.  Karen Johnson

 

3. Kris Niedringhaus

 

4.  Stacie Kershner

 

5.  Bill Edmundson

 

6. Deepa Varadarajan

 

7. Nirej Sekhon

 

8.  Leslie Wolf

 

9. Yaniv Heled

 

10. Lisa Radtke Bliss

 

11. Terrance Manion

 

12. Lauren Sudeall Lucas

 

and, last but certainly not least

13. Patrick Parsons

 

 

Finding Your Fit In a Student Org

Most everyone entering law school has heard of Moot Court, Law Review, and Student Trial Lawyers Association (Mock Trial), but there are other organizations that get far less attention.  Don’t just focus on Law Review write on events or Moot Court tryouts — get involved other ways.

The plethora of student organizations chartered at GSU COL give students the opportunity to be actively involved in issues they plan to practice in later and/or that they care about on a personal level. Membership dues range from $0 – $65, with most being in the $10 range. The student organizations host a variety of events (usually with a free lunch included), where professionals ranging from doctors, social workers, attorneys, and judges speak to our students, giving them information that may impact their future legal careers. Generally, you never have to be a paid member to attend an event, but membership will usually come with voting rights, and possibly in a priority position to get information.  Organizations also accept names to be placed on the ballot for the following year’s executive board positions.

Use the summary of the organizations below to decide where you will enjoy being active, then seek out opportunities!

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Diversity in the Workplace

 

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© Nevit Dilmen [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Diversity:  the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: variety; especially the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.  (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diversity)

When we hear about diversity in the workplace, we automatically think of that second half of the definition.  But what about making yourself and your own experiences more diverse?

During law school you have a perfect opportunity to make yourself diverse even if you’ve had a pretty normal life until now.  How?  Sign up to do probono work, especially in areas that you may not have thought about previously.  Look for and accept internships or part time jobs in different areas of law.  By different, I mean multiple – intern in a big law firm one semester and at your local solicitor’s office the next, offer assistance to a sole practitioner for a summer, or take a part time paralegal position with a midsized firm.  Take advantage of all those summer abroad trips.

Making yourself more diverse will make law school more interesting, because you are constantly changing, will help you to meet lots of new people and widen your personal network of attorney friends, and will show future employers that you are:

  • Adaptable – this is so important.  Many people are afraid of or resistant to change.  But not you!
  • Interesting – you may get an interview just because they want to ask about all those experiences.
  • Knowledgeable – about many areas of law.
  • Worldly – if these experiences placed with you with colleagues and clients from different socioeconomic, political, religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Creative – you tried a bunch of different things and have more experience to pull from
  • Self Aware- you’ve learned what you like to do and where you are a great fit.

Diversity in the sense that we normally think of it is left to the school or employer where you find yourself, but no matter your race, culture, background, school, or employer, you can make yourself more diverse now.

What new experience awaits you?

 

Goodbye FDsys, Hello Govinfo

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That’s right, at some future undetermined date, probably late 2018 ,[1] everyone’s favorite government information website will be shut down and replaced by a new, modern (ish) version. This will be only the third GPO electronic information website in the last 25 years. In June 1994, the Government Printing Office (GPO) launched GPO Access. This was replaced by FDsys (Federal Digital System) in January 2009.  Now, almost ten years later, it’s time for the GPO, who has subsequently changed its name to the Government Publishing Office, to transition once again to Govinfo.

 

What is staying the same?

Content.  In the end, Govinfo will have the same exact content as FDsys.  The Federal Register, US Code, Congressional Record, and all other government information will be available with the same exact coverage as FDsys.

What is going to be different?

Interface.  The GPO has developed a completely new way to navigate the information formerly available on FDsys.  Govinfo was released in a beta version in early 2016, and taken out of beta in late January 2018.  This should mean that the site is fully developed and ready to go.  If everything stays the same, the initial landing page features a big search bar with some large buttons below.  The new site is mobile responsive and will work with smartphones, tablets, or however else you want to read your favorite title of the CFR.  The site also features modern looking search results pages with easy to navigate filtering options.

Is this a good thing?

Probably.  FDsys was rather dated, and it was easy to get stuck in a long series of sub-menus and pages.  That being said, when I used FDsys I usually navigated things from the upper right publication menu, which was conveniently located and easy to find.  FDsys was probably still workable in its final form, but it was ugly and aesthetics seem to mean more and more when we select information sources.

The thing I like best about Govinfo is the “A to Z” menu on the landing page.  As I said before, when I’m in FDsys I browse by publication, The “A to Z” menu makes it easy to find whatever you need.  If you’re feeling particularly wild, or have a few free minutes on a Friday afternoon, try browsing to the C.F.R.  List of Sections Affected.  It’s there, and it’s finally easy to find.

The search is better than I thought it would be.  The algorithm handles legal citations well.  I tried to put in some lazy citations like I would in Westlaw or Lexis, omitting punctuation, section symbols, and sub sections, and it reliably found the right section.[2]  It also has an effective advanced searching feature, which allows you to search by citation, collection, government branch, sudoc number, and more.  As I said above, I particularly like the new filtering options.  Searching is definitely where Govinfo feels the most improved relative to FDsys.

This isn’t to say that Govinfo doesn’t have its own difficulties.  It’s not really intuitive to use for first time users – what is an “A to Z” anyway? You also cannot search for certain publications.  I tried type in federal register to see if it would auto populate like some other databases, and it would not.  The search by citation feature is also somewhat clunky, and doesn’t handle sub sections well.  Using my example from above, 24 C.F.R. § 9.103, I couldn’t get the system to search for “103” and had to just search for 9.  It wasn’t a huge deal, but it took me a minute to make it work.

Overall, I’m happy with the upgrade.  The aesthetics were just so bad on FDsys, and I think people were hesitant to try navigating the system.  With the new modern upgrade, the GPO website looks and functions similarly to a modern information website.  Even with some of it’s difficulties, Govinfo is a big upgrade from FDsys.  A for effort GPO.

[1] https://www.infodocket.com/2018/01/24/gpos-govinfo-ends-beta-as-transition-from-fdsys-continues/

[2] I performed the searches “24 cfr 9,” “24”c.f.r” 9,” and “24 cfr 9.1.”  All three searches produced the same results listing the C.F.R sections in order 9.101, 9.102, 9.103 etc.

Volunteer

Summer is close at hand and you spent the entire year with your nose in the books – now is your opportunity to relax and start thinking about networking and getting legal experience to match your academic success.

Volunteering solves the problem.  Choose an area that interest you, meet like-minded attorneys, and get practical hands-on experience.

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Here’s a list to get your started:

Business law experience – ProBono Partnerships of Atlanta

“We match nonprofit clients with experienced corporate attorneys who help get them to the next level. From contracts to corporate governance, to intellectual property and employment, our attorneys assist our clients with their business law needs.”

https://www.pbpatl.org/for-attorneys/volunteer-opportunities/

Criminal law experience – Georgia Innocence Project

“GEORGIA INNOCENCE PROJECT (GIP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals who have been convicted of crimes they did not commit. The Project works to secure post-conviction DNA testing for Georgia and Alabama inmates where DNA analysis could prove guilt or innocence and adequate DNA testing was not available at trial.”

https://www.georgiainnocenceproject.org/about/

Not sure what type of law you like – Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation

“To create safe and stable homes and families by inspiring attorneys to fight for equal justice.”

https://avlf.org/volunteer-opportunities/

Additional links – The Atlanta Bar Association has an even more in-depth list at

http://www.atlantabar.org/?page=94

 

If you are not staying in Atlanta this summer – look at the local bar association in your area for volunteer opportunities and good luck!

Summer Lexis Access for Graduates and Continuing Students

Summer Lexis Access for Continuing Students

Students will automatically have unlimited access to Lexis Advance for the Summer. Lexis IDs may be used for any research purpose over the summer, for paid or unpaid positions as well as academic research.

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Lexis Access for Students Graduating May 2018

May 2018 graduates will automatically have access to Lexis as you study for the bar and for six months after graduation. The Lexis Graduate homepage will include learning resources and employment tools for graduates.