GSU Law Pets- Far Too Adorable or The Perfect Amount of Cute?

With Finals right around the corner, the library has shifted into full-on “Pet Picture” mode. That’s right, instead of informing you about library events and services, the library signs will now beguile you with extremely cute pictures of your own pets! That way, as you pause to to catch your breath before running through the Rule Against Perpetuities one more time, you can look up and see the relaxing, inspiring visage of one of our faithful furry friends. In order to really bring home the sheer cuteness on display, we’ll use this blog post to get to know a few of GSU Law’s pets a little bit better.

Some pets go beyond inspiration and comfort to actually study law right alongside you. That’s the case with the impeccably-named Princess Vanilla Pudding, pictured here helping 2L Nicole Walker Smith get ready for her CivPro exam.

Next up, we have another pet with an amazing name, Kahlua Romeo. She’s also an enthusiastic learner of the law, who likes to jump up and participate during Zoom classes, although 3L Sonny Romeo warns that “Professor Stephens scares her a bit.”

If pets can effectively study law, perhaps they can also execute key governmental functions. As you can see from this picture of 3L Alex Beato’s pup Reagan, our pets have already gotten pretty close to the White House! Alex adopted Reagan from a shelter, and reports that “she has never met a person, squirrel, or really any other living creature she doesn’t love and lives for all the pets and attention she can get.”

Clearly, if the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings included “cuteness of student pets” as a criteria, GSU Law would mount a challenge to Yale and Harvard. Be on the look out for a sequel to this post featuring more of these highly-ranked pets. Until then, if you want to see more of these astoundingly cute animals, you’ll have to make it in to the library. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out some of our amazing exam-related resources, like our study aid collections and the exam archive. Good luck!

Research Consultations are Really, Really Great and They Will Almost Definitely Improve Your Paper

Researching a paper can be intimidating. In my experience, this emphatically applies to many situations where the paper in question is for a law school course. Most law students have only just recently become familiar with the fundamental sources and strategies of legal research, and applying them to a lengthier treatment of a multidimensional (and often interdisciplinary) topic adds another layer of complexity.

Fortunately, your friendly neighborhood librarian is here to help, in the form of a research consultation. We are available to meet with you one-on-one to give you highly individualized advice on researching your paper. This includes help with many different aspects of the paper-writing process, including refining your thesis, checking for preemption, developing a research plan, identifying relevant resources, finding authorities that support your arguments, and more.

Efficient, high-quality research can make a big difference with any paper. Research can be very path-dependent, and the strategies you choose earlier in the process will lead you to different sources, and those sources will inevitably shape your arguments and ideas in the final product. Impeccable research isn’t just something you do to build an impressive footnote count! (Although a consultation will undoubtedly help you with that as well.)

Research consultations are not only extremely helpful, they are also very easy to schedule. To do so, you can hit us up at lawreference@gsu.edu, email your personal librarian, or simply stop by the reference desk. With that high degree of convenience in mind, I’m going to close out this blog post by stridently demanding that you stop whatever you’re doing and schedule a research consultation right now. I mean, don’t you want to write a better paper?

Resource Highlight: HeinOnline’s Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture, and Law

In case you haven’t read the news, scholarly research into slavery’s influence on our legal system is highly relevant to many ongoing debates. The law library can help with your research in many ways, but today I’m going to highlight HeinOnline’s Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture, and Law. Whether you are doing legal research that relates to slavery, or interdisciplinary research on other aspects of slavery that touches upon the law, this rich collection gathers a wide range of useful primary and secondary sources that might otherwise be cumbersome to identify and locate.

When it comes to primary legal sources, Slavery in America and the World aims to be comprehensive. It includes:

  • Every statute passed by every colony and state on slavery;
  • Every federal statute dealing with slavery; and
  • All reported state and federal cases.

The way the collection organizes these sources by jurisdiction and then presents them chronologically is obviously a great match for a research project focused on historical developments; however, even if the historical timeline itself is not a major focus of your research, this organization still provides some valuable context. It’s quite useful.

This database also cuts a wide swath when it comes to gathering primary historical sources (i.e., contemporary accounts of slavery). HeinOnline says it includes every pre-1920 English-language legal commentary on slavery, including many obscure articles and journals that are otherwise difficult to find. It supplements those legal commentaries with hundreds of newspapers and pamphlets discussing slavery from a variety of perspectives.

A photograph of former slaves in the time period following the Emancipation Proclamation.
Via wikimedia.

Slavery in America and the World also helps to contextualize this impressive range of primary sources with useful secondary materials. It includes a fairly thorough and relatively up-to-date collection of modern legal scholarship on slavery, as well as an extensive bibliography of books on the topic.

Slavery looms large over American history and American law, and there is no shortage of sources on the topic, which can make research feel overwhelming, even for the experienced researcher. Slavery in America and the World helps to make it more manageable by gathering so many of the most important resources in a single place and organizing them in an intuitive and approachable manner. If you are just getting started, the collection has a clear and easy-to-navigate LibGuide to help point you in the right direction. Of course, as with any of the GSU Law Library’s many resources, librarians are also here to help you use them effectively in your research.    

Breyer Retires: some helpful and interesting resources

As you surely know, Justice Breyer recently announced that he would be stepping down at the end of this term, setting another Supreme Court confirmation process in motion. However, you may not know how to further research Breyer’s legacy and SCOTUS confirmations.

Justice Breyer was well-liked by his colleagues and had a reputation for asking colorful hypotheticals from the bench. SCOTUSBlog has great coverage of his overall legacy, including many reminiscences from former clerks. Before his nomination to the federal bench, Breyer taught admin law, and some of the best scholarship on his SCOTUS tenure focuses on this subject, such as this Justice Stephen Breyer’s Contribution to Administrative Law symposium. During his nearly three decades on the Supreme Court, he (of course) wrote important opinions on a wide array of topics, often crafting compromises and creating nuanced balanced tests: the Congressional Research Service (CRS for short—you’ll be seeing a whole lot more of them in this post) recently published a nice overview of his jurisprudence.

To this writer, his most memorable opinion was in dissent, issued in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, a case that sharply limited desegregation efforts in public schools. I would encourage anyone who’s ever dismissed Justice Breyer as a bloodless technocrat to listen to him read what Justice Stevens called his “eloquent and unanswerable dissent” from the bench, asking “what happened to stare decisis?”

With Breyer’s imminent retirement, the appointment process for his successor begins. If you’d like to further explore that process, HeinOnline’s History of Supreme Court Nominations collects an impressive array of primary and secondary sources. Those sources include this excellent CRS report on what goes into the President’s selection of a nominee. There are also helpful CRS reports on the rest of the process, including one on the nominee’s consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee and another discussing the limitations and customs surrounding the questions Senators ask judicial nominees during confirmation hearings.

As you might expect, there is a plethora of scholarship on the appointment process. For a data-based deep-dive into nominations and confirmations from the institutional perspective of SCOTUS, you can’t beat The Supreme Court Compendium‘s chapter on the topic. The legal scholarship on this topic is voluminous, with law review articles exploring the original meaning of ‘advice and consent’ and analyzing SCOTUS confirmations from a historical perspective. Another major strain of scholarship analyzes the role of ideology or politics in the process, as well as the desirability of obscuring that role. Tackling the politics from another perspective, there are also quite a few articles discussing nominations within the context of the Court’s antidemocratic or countermajoritarian characteristics. Other legal scholarship approaches the topic from more oblique angles, with intriguing articles looking at confirmation hearings as “a valuable form of cultural expression” and elaborating on martial metaphors for the confirmation process.

In addition to the legal scholarship discussed above, there is a veritable ton of academic work on SCOTUS appointments taking place in other disciplines, especially political science. Scholars in that field have written interesting articles on topics such as the timing of nominations, the President’s constraints in choosing a nominee, the role of interest groups in nominations, the role of shared identity in public support for a nominee, and how contested nominations contribute to public polarization.

For a deeper dive, there are some great research guides out there that provide a more in-depth treatment of the many, many resources available on these topics. And, of course, if there are any resources on Justice Breyer’s retirement, or on SCOTUS appointments more generally, that you have found to be especially useful or interesting, be sure to let us know in the comments.

Is it February 3rd Yet?

This post from the Research, Instructional & Patron Services Law Librarian blog really struck a chord with this blog’s editor. Perhaps it will resonate with you as well. If you’d like to see more content from other sources, let us know in the comments!

RIPS Law Librarian Blog

It’s a new year. A new semester. A new COVID.

But everything feels the same. Actually, not the same, worse? Omicron has made the past few weeks feel like a traumatic retelling of Groundhog Day, minus the quirky smalltown and love story. This timeline is all Ned Ryerson.

2022 has been a real downer so far. COVID cases are surging, highly anticipated events are being cancelled, and we are again being pushed into forced isolation. We’ve been through this before, so why does it feel so much worse this time?

There are a confluence of factors contributing to our collective ennui. The pandemic has dragged on for years. We are at peak time for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). And generally, spring semester is just harder on our psyches than fall semester. It’s even harder on our students: graduation chaos; stress over summer positions; and the honeymoon period of the…

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Welcome Back!

That winter break of celebration and relaxation? Hope you were able to take full advantage, because it’s now but a memory, and we find ourselves back for another semester.

But that’s not a bad thing. From personal experience, I can tell you that law school tends to get less stressful as you go along. That initial 1L shock wears off as you get more familiar with its overall format.

That’s good news if you’re hoping to make a triumphant return and improve your grades! This very blog has some materials that will help you achieve that goal, such as this excellent post on effectively managing that most precious commodity, your time. Similarly, it’ll improve your temporal efficiency if you’ve got your course outlines in order from the very start, so you may want to take a look at this post on powering up those outlining skills.

Or maybe you’d rather just sit back and take advantage of the ‘calm before the storm’ by catching up with your friends? That’s cool, but don’t forget to also catch up on some enlightening and entertaining GSU Law Library content that’s not so focused on super-charging your studies? If you’re a history buff or an Atlanta aficionado, you’ll love this highly informative post on the rich history of Georgia’s African-American legal community. Another Blackacre Times ‘greatest hit’ comes in the form of this intriguing rundown of Abe Lincoln’s legal career. And don’t miss this highly amusing post on courts citing talk show hosts, folk singers, Jedi knights, and other unconventional authorities in their opinions.  This recent post on the law of the SEC will even get you ready for the big game!

Of course, as your classes gear up again, you know the library’s got your back. We’re offering the same great services to make your life easier and improve your legal research skills, such as course reserves, online study aids, and the ALERT program (starting up on Tuesday, Jan. 18th and Wednesday, Jan. 19th w/ a can’t-miss session on rocking PowerPoint). If you see one of your favorite librarians, don’t forget to say hello! We’re here to help. Welcome back!

The Pets of GSU Law, Pt. 2

Because GSU Law has too many adorable pets for just one post

1L Kylie Berube’s kitty Cleopatra is a huge diva. She loves to play fetch and is always energetic and happy to see everyone she meets!
The adorably named “Mr. Goose” belongs to 3L Sally Nicholas.
The majestic Lenore keeps Sally Nicholas and Mr. Goose company.
1L Caitlin Lowther wants us to know that Beau and Elle are 15 weeks old and they love to play outside and chew on everything.

Of course, there are more where those came from! Hang out with us at the library to study for exams and you can soak them all in. Thanks for sharing and good luck on finals!

The Pets of GSU Law, Pt. 1

As you may have noticed, during finals, the library displays feature the pets of GSU Law. That way, although students cannot study in the library with Fido or Whiskers by their sides, they can at least derive some comfort and amusement from these visual representations of their pets. But these pictures are too adorable to keep within the library’s confines! There was no way for us to resist sharing a few of them with the world.

This is 2L Beth Goldstein’s Australian Cattle Dog, Hooch. He loves walks, walking, and going on walks.
This is 1L Jada Clayton Woods’ chocolate lab mix, Monroe. She’s a rescue, she’s very spoiled, and she enjoys dressing up in sweaters, jackets, and Halloween costumes.
From 1L Pricila Barravecchia: Catalina is a 1 L pup who loves walks before Foundations and long naps during Contracts. She hopes to find an internship with colleagues who will give her many pets and treats. Her area of interest is arbitration because she wants to help other pups negotiate for more play time and food.
This is 3L William Lyle’s American Staffordshire Terrier/Boxer mix, Archie. He was adopted from Lifeline Animal Services in Decatur 3 years ago. He is a huge cuddler, loves to run and can chomp down a chicken wing in two bites.

So, please extend your heartfelt gratitude to your furry friends (and your friends’ furry friends) for their absolutely clutch exam assistance. Be on the look out for a sequel to this post featuring more of their adorable brethren. Until then, if you want to see more pets, you’ll have to make it in to the library. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out some of our amazing exam-related resources, like our study aid collections and the exam archive. Good luck!

Study Aid Spotlight- Select Upper-level Selections

This super-deluxe mega Spotlight is a sequel to our earlier post with guidance on the premier study aids for this semester’s 1L courses. This time, we’re movin’ on up, hitting up some of those current upper-level courses and telling you which study aids are undoubtedly the very best.

As a 2L or 3L, you’ve already endured law school finals, so you basically know what to expect. This increased familiarity may have also given you a better sense of how to prepare. Perhaps you’ve decided to sharpen your outlines into a more exam-ready ‘attack’ format? Maybe you’ve pledged to work more practice exams into your study routine? If you reflect upon your previous exam experiences, you can probably find some ways to ‘level up’ your approach to finals this time around.

But do you know which study aids work well for your upper-level courses? Perhaps you’ve noticed that truly helpful study aids are a bit harder to find for these courses, especially the electives. Fewer students take them, so it’s natural that fewer study aids are published to supplement them. Moreover, quite a few of the upper-level courses are rooted in constitutional jurisprudence, which is less suited to the example-based format of many study aids than the common law courses of your 1L year.

So, if you’ve thoroughly perused the study aid shelves in the back of the library, failed to find Glannon’s trusted name on any of the pertinent spines, and skulked back to your study station empty-handed, this is the post for you. I’m going to help you choose the best study aids for your courses. That is, I’m giving you the inside scoop on which titles are the tip-top, best-in-class study aids to illuminate your courses and position you to triumph over another round of exams. Of course, in the interest of keeping this post of a manageable length, there aren’t selections for every upper-level offering, but most of the required courses (and two important electives) are here.  

Constitutional Law I- Constitutional Law: Principles & Policies (Chemerinsky)

This study aid has a well-deserved reputation for being a game-changer for this challenging course. It’s an absolute classic, and we’ve sung its praises before. It offers tight, lucid descriptions of the key cases that nonetheless manage to capture many of their nuances, while also placing them in the context of SCOTUS’s evolving doctrines. I remember finding it to be a huge help when reworking my outline, but it can also work very well as a general refresher when you have trouble recalling the specifics of those early-semester cases. However, its format is designed to serve as a quick reference, not to help you learn to apply these doctrines. ConLaw exams tend to vary quite a bit from professor to professor, so that may be for the best, but that does mean it’s more important than ever be attentive to your professor’s hypotheticals. You should also see if they have any past exams available, in our archive or elsewhere. Note that this one isn’t available in the library’s online collections, so you’ll need to use it in print.

Evidence- Examples & Explanations for Evidence

In contrast to ConLaw, the rule-based structure of this course is particularly well-suited to the E&E format. The short examples allow you to gain some insight into how the FRE actually work, both in the real world and on your exam. This one also has the virtue of a writing style that makes intimidating topics quite approachable. In particular, I could appreciate how it discusses “hearsay’s appearance of difficulty to ‘outsiders’ and its relative simplicity to initiates” before proceeding to swiftly induct you into the ranks of the latter via two succinct chapters demystifying this topic.

Criminal Procedure: Investigations- Examples & Explanations for Criminal Procedure: The Constitution and the Police

It’s tricky to choose the best approach for this course, which combines ConLaw’s policy orientation with the labyrinthine analytical constructs more often associated with courses like Evidence or CivPro. Fortunately, this E&E does a solid job of addressing both of these aspects. This study aid tries to ‘simulate the Socratic classroom at its best’ and it shows. The examples are shorter than what I’ve seen in other E&Es, but they build upon one another in a way that does a good job of illuminating not just the boundaries of the applicable doctrines, but the justifications behind those boundaries.

Criminal Procedure: AdjudicationPrinciples of Criminal Procedure: Post-Investigation

The Concise Hornbook series is my go-to study aid for if you’re chiefly after a summary of the law. In particular, this one does a great job of tying together the many disparate topics covered in this course. A great example is the early discussion of the CrimPro’s “cornerstone objectives,” which supplies just the type of valuable context that can help make the whole course ‘click.’

Do you like these choices? Do you disagree with them? Which study aids are your top choices? Let us know in the comments!

Study Aid Spotlight- selections for the current 1L courses

Call it Study Aid Spotlight, tripartite edition. We’re going to take a look at not just one, but three study aids, specially chosen for the Fall 2021 1L courses.

As a 1L staring down your first finals, it pays to study up on studying. And while it’s great to have an entire publishing subcategory dedicated to aiding you in this process of studying for law school exams, it can result in a rather paralyzing proliferation of study aid options.

Fortunately, the library’s got your back. We’ve been toiling away to formulate this list of what are unquestionably the very best study aids for your fall courses, as determined by facts & logic.

Civil Procedure- Examples & Explanations

Choices don’t come easier than this. Not only does Professor Glannon (don’t worry: he’ll come up again) communicate the niceties of CivPro with clarity and wit, the example-based format keeps the focus squarely on the all-important skill of applying the law. We have an entire post extolling the virtues of this legendary study aid, so I’m not going to belabor this E&E’s exemplary qualities. Suffice it to say, this one’s a must-have.

Sum and Substance- Contracts (Audio)

More than the other 1L subjects, Contracts is starved for truly great study aids. There are plenty of solid hornbooks, but my usual application-focused standbys—E&Es and Glannon Guides—are a bit underwhelming when it comes to Contracts.

That helps Sum & Substance- Contracts stand out. Audio study aids like this one can improve your studying efficiency, since the format encourages multitasking. Here, Professor Brain does a good job of unpacking the major doctrines in a conversational style.

However, what really sets this apart from other audio study aids is the focus on applying the law. After discussing and summarizing each topic, Professor Brain includes a brief section on answering related questions on a law school exam, going over typical fact pattern and explaining how to analyze them.  

Torts- Examples & Explanations

Another Glannon classic! This one features the same mix of right-to-the-point explication and irreverent humor that made its CivPro counterpart so useful. Standout chapters include “That Odious Character: The Reasonable Person,” whose examples employ Falstaff, Dogberry, and other Shakespearean characters to memorably illustrate concepts like reasonable care and the Hand formula. I can’t recommend this one strongly enough.

Do you like these choices? Do you disagree with them? Which study aids are your top choices? Let us know in the comments!