Summer Hours & Online Access to Library Resources

By Gilbert Morales, Reference GRA

For Blog

During these uncertain times, it’s important to know your resources. No, not Netflix or endless TikTok videos, I’m talking about library resources. Many Law Library resources are accessible to every law student online. For example, study aids are available online for class prep such as Sum and Substance Audio and Acing series by West Academic and Examples and Explanations (E & E) and Emanuel Crunchtime series by Wolters Kluwer. Learn more about those resources from our previous post titled Featured Resource: The Library’s Online Study Aids. Also, don’t forget about the library exam archive!

Along with class prep, students can access other basic library services remotely throughout the summer. For example, did you know that students can still chat with a librarian? Simply visit lawlibrary.gsu.edu and click on the “Chat Reference” tab in red. There, students and others can chat with the librarian on duty. You can also leave a voicemail at 404-413-9102, or ask a question via email to lawreference@gsu.edu. Reference Services will be provided during the summer at the hours below:

  • Monday – Thursday: 8:30 am – 6 pm
  • Friday: 8:30 am – 5 pm
  • Saturday – Sunday: 1 pm – 6 pm

If you have books checked out from the law library, you may renew your books by signing in to your account from the GIL-Find catalog. You can also access the Gil-Find catalog by searching first for a title from the Law Library home page. Students–and anybody else with a library account–can view their books or other things checked out and simply renew them. I just did with one click! Of course, students can still return books to clear their library accounts. You can return books by dropping them at one of the drop boxes outside of other GSU campus libraries.

Lastly, A.L.E.R.T. sessions remain available! Simply visit the ALERT iCollege page, watch the video, and complete the session’s quiz satisfactorily. Remember students completing six topics will earn a Distinction badge, students completing eight topics will earn a High Distinction badge, and the Highest Distinction badge will go to students completing 10 topics. So what are you waiting for, earn some bragging rights by going after that High Distinction badge!

The library is open online for your convenience, and lots of resources are available for you! To learn more about available resources through remote access, visit here.

Resources for Final Exams & Papers

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Flickr photo by Jesse Michael Nix

By Tiffany Williams, Reference GRA

Preparing for final exams and final papers remotely add an added level of stress to an already daunting task.  Fortunately, the Law Library offers an array of online resources and tools to ensure that your new study environment does not hamper your ability to have a successful and triumphant final exam period.

Students may utilize the library’s research guides to begin strategizing the best way to tackle their final papers.   There are guides in more than 25 subject areas, ranging from Alternative Dispute Resolution to Wills, Trusts, and Estates.  In addition to a comprehensive list of both Federal and Georgia-specific primary sources, the guides also provide links to several secondary resources like treatises, statistical reports and data sites, and blogs.

Students can also take advantage of the library’s online research databases.  HeinOnline, for example, offers thousands of law review articles which not only help students to develop a greater understanding of the law surrounding their topic area but also serve as a great way to find references to primary law authority. Pro Tip: Footnote scouting is a great way to find relevant and useful sources to help guide you in your research.

The reference desk is also a great way to obtain further direction in completing research as you begin mapping out the direction of your final written assignments.  The reference desk staff is offering reference desk services during finals via online chat and email from 8:30AM – 7:00PM Monday through Thursday and 8:30AM – 5:00PM on Friday.  Whether your question involves locating an online version of a print resource or simply obtaining guidance in figuring out where to start in your research, the reference desk chat is a priceless resource to be included in everyone’s final exam/final paper toolkits.

For final exam preparation, one of the most invaluable resources is the library’s online study aids.  Check out an in-depth review of the Law Library’s online study aids in this Featured Resource blog post. The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instructions (CALI) also provides students access to over 1,000 interactive legal tutorials and lessons across 55 topic areas.  CALI lessons serve as a great way to supplement your course study by filling-in the areas in which you may not have obtained a strong understanding of the substantive material.

We wish you the best of luck on your finals!

Featured Resource: The Library’s Online Study Aids

By Gilbert Morales, Spring 2020 Reference GRA

It goes without saying that understanding the law is hard work, but you’re not alone in this endeavor. The library has many resources to chart your path to crushing those pesky law school exams. One of the most invaluable resources is the library’s online study aids. Students anxious to begin exam prep can access online the West Academic Study Aids and the Wolters Kluwer Study Aids by visiting the GSU Law Library website and clicking “Online Study Aids” in the Services tab.

Blog Study Aid

In West Academic Study Aids, students can take advantage of the newly added Exam Pro quizzes. To find this tool, simply search the Exam Pro Series then filter by “Quizzes” under “Type” in the left navigation bar. Exam Pro quizzes allow students to immediately see correct answers and problem explanations. It also breaks down law school subjects into subtopics so students can focus on specific areas.

West Academic also provides access to the entire Acing Series. Like Exam Pro, the Acing Series also dives into subtopics and provides easy to understand explanations. However, it focuses mainly on short answer essays. Students can also benefit from double-checking their outlines by using Acing’s easy to follow topic checklists. Line by line students can understand the logic and sequence of contract formation, civil procedure, and rules of evidence.

Moreover, for the podcast generation, West Academic has the Sum and Substance Audio series where every major law subject is broken down into bit size audio clips ranging from 3-20 minutes. Listening to audio clips offers flexibility that can be used most effectively during exam crunch time.

Students can also access the Wolters Kluwer Study Aids that has a range of accessibility features. One notable feature is the ability to download study aid content. Downloadable materials make it easier for students to quickly access study aids on their desktop. Wolters Kluwer also offers audio and video content. For the visual learners among us, the “In Other Words” video series provides understandable material explained by law professors and legal practitioners from nearly all major areas of law.

Additionally, Wolters Kluwer offers invaluable content like Examples and Explanations (E & E) and Emanuel Crunchtime. Much like the Acing Series, E & E provides easy to understand explanations of topics and subtopics but also includes more short answer hypotheticals. So if your exam includes short answer questions, E & E is your go-to.

Emanuel Crunchtime is another terrific study aid because it’s among the most comprehensive. To give you an idea, this study aid typically includes short answer questions, multiple-choice questions, and essay exam questions, all with answers included. Emanuel Crunchtime even has flowcharts!

It’s important to remember when reviewing study aids that explanations will differ from your professors but as one 3L advised me, “use study aids to fill in the gaps.” Meaning where a professor was ambiguous, use a study aid to clarify. With that being said, it’s best to sample study aids to see what suits your study style. Remember you’re not alone on this journey, use study aids to reach your goal and crush your exams!

Time Management Suggestions for 2Ls+

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Image from Google

By Maggie Garrett, Fall 2019 Reference GRA

We’ve hit the Mid-Year Slump!

Things we forget from first-year but are still wildly important.

  • Make a schedule;
  • Complete class readings;
  • Organize class notes by topic (for future outlining);
  • Review each class; and
  • Quiz yourself throughout the semester.

After making it out of your first year of law school alive it may be tempting to ignore, or at least avoid, the academic commitments listed above. Especially if you were lucky enough to perform well. But – don’t sleep on schoolwork. It will pile up, stress you out, and 2L coursework is no joke.

But if your goal was to keep up from day one, and you happened to fall behind, don’t worry. Just move forward. Get a friend’s notes, meet with your professor, make a time-management plan or checklist – but the most important thing is not falling further behind. Don’t let a cycle begin where you try to “catch up” but don’t have time to keep up. Personally, I like to make a weekly check-list. If I don’t get to something, I note what I missed. When finals arrive I just remind myself that I need to review those things more closely.

Remember, balance is key my friend. Remember balance? That thing they preached during first-year orientation (in a galaxy far, far away)? Yeah, it’s still very, very relevant. If you sacrifice time spent cooking, exercising, hanging with friends, or even Netflix-ing you will implode. Make room for these things, or you will regret it.

Also, hate to break it to you, but it’s time to make a finals game-plan. Or at least decide when you’d like to start and finish outlines. But keep in mind – these are just personal deadlines. No need to beat yourself up for not meeting a self-imposed deadline. Instead, just get an idea of when these things should be done to keep you somewhat on-track. This tip is meant to prevent anxiety, not create tension.

Feeling stressed because you’re “not doing enough?” Relax. We (2Ls) have three semesters to figure our futures out (sorry 3Ls). We have time. Don’t overextend yourself now or you’ll be burnt out.

And uh, guys – prioritize. We can do some things, but we can’t do all the things. Unless you happen to have a time-turner – in which case please @ me. Extracurricular activities and part-time jobs are solid resume builders but don’t sacrifice too much academic time. You’ll thank yourself later.

Summer Puzzling

By Sara Landeryou

Whether you’re new to law school, or nearing the finish line, the first few weeks are a little exciting.  The newbies, of course, are excited to be in law school and everything is freshand different.  For the rest of us, it’s just getting to see friends again and meeting

Puzzle Picturenew professors.  But now, after the first few weeks, you suddenly find yourself sliding back in to the drudgery of being in school and the stress that comes with it.  If you need a few minutes (or even longer) to decompress, why not stop by the library and put your mind on something that’s not law school related?

As you can see, the summer farm scene puzzle is completed, but there’s a new one waiting!

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!

student-org-pic-5studect-org-pic-4student-org-pic-1student-org-pic-2student-org-pic-3

 

 

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?

 

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!

Networking Tips

Networking is so uncomfortable for some of us.  So how does one get good at it?  How do some people breeze through it and really enjoy it?  Do they come up with things to talk about because their lives are more interesting?  Did their parents forget to teach them not to talk to strangers?  Are they just naturals?

 

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By geralt (https://pixabay.com/en/network-earth-world-63772/) [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Some people probably are just naturals.  After all, a big part of networking is being genuine and some people are more open and talkative naturally.  The rest of it is just practice and confidence, and you know from experience that confidence increases with practice.   The law school provides us with a lot of great networking opportunities.  If you’re either skipping them or attending but not making connections, you’re missing out.  As much as you may not want to do it, the opportunities are there because it is important.

Networking moves you from being a piece of paper in a stack of resumes to “a great guy that Dave knows” or from being a brand new green associate among many to one who is getting referrals and bringing in new clients.

So what do you have to do?  How can you get better at it?

Change your attitude.  Think about the real definition of networking:  a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest. – It recognizes that both sides are bringing something valuable.  That’s right.  One of the best things you can do is go in thinking about what you can offer, not just what you may get.  Yes, you need a job, but they need great new associates.  Yes, that lawyer is an expert in tax, but she has a question about her friend’s divorce and you just finished family law.  See where I’m going with this?   Go into it thinking about what you’ve got to offer.

Be willing to work at it until it comes naturally.  Prepare like you would for a class or interview.  Look at who is going to be at the event, learn some things about them or their group, and have some open-ended questions in mind as conversation starters.  You don’t want to get stuck talking about traffic and weather.

Find the bar.  Yup, really.  Don’t get drunk, but get a drink so that you have something to do with your hands, and sip it.  And hang out near the bar.  Everyone will go there and you’ll have a chance to strike up conversation with people coming and going.

Balance your talking and listening.  This is tough.  You’ve always learned that you should get people to open up and talk and that people love to talk about themselves, and it’s true, but you owe a little sharing, too, and you do need to let them know some things about you.  Try to keep the convo balanced by asking open-ended questions and responding with more than yes/no even if someone else’s questions aren’t as good as yours.

Smile.  This seems so easy, but it’s worth saying again because when we get nervous, or when we are listening intently, we tend to frown a little.  Consciously think about it and keep smiling!

Quality – not quantity.  You may believe that you are supposed to talk to every person in the room or hand out as many cards or make as many new acquaintances as you can, but no.  Talk to a few people and make real connections.  Networking is about a support system.  You will go to other events and meet everyone eventually.  Build a good foundation by making a few quality connections.

Bring a wingman.  Start the event with a friend.  You’ll both feel more confident right away and you’ll never be stuck without someone to talk to.  As you both get more comfortable, you’ll be able to break away and both speak with other people.

Be yourself.  Yes, you want to put on your best, but hopefully you are developing relationships and people will get you know you eventually.  If you start out being yourself, people will see that you are genuine and like you more for it.

Follow up.  Depending on who you meet and how formal or informal the event, follow up with the people you met with a phone call, note, or (when appropriate) social media contact.  People should know that you enjoyed meeting them, remember them, and would enjoy seeing them again.    Offer something to them without expecting anything in return.  It doesn’t have to be big, you could attach a link.  “Check out the article I found about (that subject we were discussing)” or something similar can jog their memory of you and set you apart from others who may also follow up.

Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your networking events so that they are a little less painful and eventually, even fun!

Are you a natural?  What advice do you have for the rest of us?

When Grades Don’t Matter

In case you missed it, grades for the fall semester were released last Thursday at 5PM (er, ok, maybe not EXACTLY at 5PM). But chances are, you didn’t miss it. In fact, you dreaded waking up Thursday morning because you already anticipated the heavy cloud that would hang over you until 5PM arrived. You anticipated the pit in your stomach as you signed into PAWS, half-hoping the site would crash and all grades would magically be erased. But what if they actually were erased? What if all the work you put in for fourteen weeks didn’t come down to a single letter grade, often determined only by a final exam?

Several prestigious law schools, such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, are doing just that. Although these schools often still administer a curve, the final grade is simply often “Pass” or “Fail,” with some variation for distinguished performers, usually those in the top 10% of a class.

On the surface, this seems like a dream. Imagine only needing to compete for a “Pass” instead of for one of only two A’s to be distributed in a class. This would certainly take the pressure off those students who don’t perform well on tests, as well as those who feel that law school exams do not adequately measure their level of comprehension of a subject. It also eliminates any penalty for those otherwise high-ranking students with the occasional blemish on their transcript for a class where they simply did not do well.

But this system poses a serious problem – without class rank and a competitive GPA, how do you market yourself when it comes time to apply for jobs? How do you differentiate yourself from literally every other person in your graduating class? Elite law schools are able to get away with this because they consider every student as elite and demand for their lower ranked graduates is still strong. Students graduating from second-tier law schools, however, do not have this luxury. For us, being able to show an employer (especially a BigLaw employer) how well we did when measured against our peers is essential to job placement. A graded top-performer is able to go into job interviews with tangible evidence of his academic distinctions and thus is able to take advantage of a greater number of job prospects.

Although the pressure faced during our three (or four) years of law school may be greater due to the constant anxiety surrounding grades and rank, this pressure mimics the reality of what competition in the real world looks like. There is often an absurd amount of work that comes along with expectations of perfect execution, a reality where only the top performers advance. The competition we face now, as stressful as it may be, will only prepare us for the reality of an aggressive and often unforgiving workplace.