Applied Legal Experience, Research, & Technology (ALERT)

The Law Library has a program called the Applied Legal Experience, Research, & Technology Program (or ALERT).  The non-credit program provides students with additional opportunities to learn advanced legal research and technology skills outside of the College of Law’s curriculum. By completing ALERT sessions, students can demonstrate to potential employers that they have obtained skills that will enable them to hit the ground running.

Fall 2016 Topics

Topic 1: Note Taking and Productivity Tools

RSVP: Tuesday, 8/23/16, 4:00 p.m.  RSVP: Thursday, 8/25/16, 5:00 p.m. 

Topic 2: Research Plans

RSVP: Tuesday, 9/20/16, 3:15 p.m.  RSVP: Thursday, 9/22/16, 5:00 p.m. 

Topic 3: Research Resources Beyond Wexisberg, or “Other good Stuff”

RSVP: Tuesday, 10/04/16, 3:15 p.m.  RSVP: Thursday, 10/06/16, 5:00 p.m. 

Topic 4: Study Aids and Finals Resources

RSVP: Tuesday, 10/18/16, 3:15 p.m.  RSVP: Thursday, 10/20/16, 5:00 p.m. 

Additional information is also on the ALERT webpage.

Library: location, location, location

Hopefully you have most of the law school ‘space’ figured out by now and have fully perfected attending the right class at the right time–the low hanging fruit of success.

Eventually you will need to know where to locate things in the library. See infra.

From the 6th floor Reading Room

A view from the 6th floor Reading Room


Study Aids:  The Study Aid Collection can be found in the back of the collaboration space—just behind the Technology Support desk.  We also have online availability.

Reserve Items: Course required books, book stands, lap desks, games, chargers, and more are available on request at the Circulation Desk.

Reference Collection:  Heavily-used resources and other reference materials, including the Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) are located just to the right of the Reference Desk.

Leisure Collection:  The DVDs, fiction, and fun non-fiction are all still available for you to check out and enjoy—they are located next to the reference collection.

Georgia Collection:  The Georgia state materials are located on the library 5th floor behind the elevators, in free-standing shelves.  The collection includes Georgia primary sources including Georgia Laws and West’s Annotated Code of Georgia.  You will find secondary sources including past editions of Georgia treatises (current editions are in the Reference Collection) such as Redfearn Wills and Administration in Georgia and a wide variety of Georgia continuing legal education materials.

Core Practice Collection:  A number of our practitioner tools, such as legal encyclopedias, form books, and practice guides are located the Core Practice Collection on the 5th floor behind the elevators, right next to the Georgia Collection

General Stacks:  Material in General Stacks are located on both the 5th and 6th floors.  Call numbers beginning with AC and running through KE will be found on the 5th floor, starting behind the elevators.  If the call number starts with KF1 or comes later in the alphabet, you’ll want to start looking for the title on the 6th floor, just as you walk off the elevator.

Law Periodicals:  If you want to look at a journal article that you can’t access online because it’s too recently published(cough cough, perhaps not very likely), you may want to try the 6th floor behind the elevators.  The journal titles are in alphabetical order.

If you have any questions about finding our other special collections—state materials or the Young Adult Collection (yes, we have that!)—please stop by the reference desk and we will be happy to help you.

The 2016 Presidential Race: A Chance for History

By John Evans

If you are anything like me, right now two sets of stories dominate your social media feeds; stories of the Olympics and stories about the presidential elections. With the Olympics already receiving a blog post, I figured I will focus on the presidential election.  What is a possible implication of the Electoral College?


1908The 12th amendment to the Constitution of the United States changed the Electoral College and in part established that in the event no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representative shall choose the president from the top three candidates. However, each state only gets one vote.

As of 8/15 the forecasts Clinton receiving 322 votes and Trump receiving 216. 270 electoral votes are needed for a majority. If Trump is able to rally and win back Florida and North Carolina that would change the totals to Clinton 278 and Trump 260.

But what happens when a third party candidate breaks up the two party political monopoly?  The only candidate currently running who seems to have any chance would be Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.  To stage this upset, Johnson would only need to take away 9 electoral votes from Clinton. Johnson’s home state, New Mexico, holds 6 votes and the “Free State Project”–New Hampshire–holds 4 more.  If Johnson wins these two states the final tally would be Clinton 268, Trump 260 and Johnson 10.  The election would then move to the House.

Many people, at this point, would say that the idea of a third party candidate winning even one state is impossible and not worthy of any analysis. However Gary Johnson may be the first third party Candidate even allowed to debate in modern history. Presidential debates are planned and sponsored by The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).  The FEC requires the CPD to choose the participants in the debates based on “pre-existing, objective” criteria.

The CPD’s criteria: “[c]onstitutionally eligible … appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations.”

Historically, many third party choices have met the first two criteria and are held out by the third.  Johnson has recently received his own bump in the polls.

Johnson media attention has also been significant, including large articles in Politico and Time Magazine. This additional media attention could lead to a last big push to the 15% mark and get Johnson on the big stage. Johnson could then use the momentum from getting into the debate to win some electoral votes.

With the likelihood the republicans retaining the house, and the unpopularity of Trump among house republicans, who knows the outcome.


Study Aids


How you study, prepare for class, and prepare for exams is a decision you must eventually make.  Here are are a few resources to help you along the way.




Traditional Study Aids

  • The Law Library’s collection of study aid resources and supplements (i.e. hornbooks) have varied approaches to helping you understand core concepts. The collection includes many notable series, including Examples & Explanations, Crunchtime, and Acing.  They are available in the interactive learning area with many titles also fully available online.

Audio and Flash Cards

CALI Lessons

  • The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction maintains a collection of almost 1,000 interactive, computer-based lessons covering 33 legal education subject areas.

To access CALI lessons:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter the email and password you created at registration. (If you have not registered, you will need to create a new user account. Contact Patrick Parsons to obtain an authorization code.)
  3. Select Lessons (from Quick Links) and then choose a specific lesson

Exam Archive



Doping allegations – who decides whether athletes compete in the Olympics?



Sugar Loaf by BBC World Service, CC

The summer Olympic Games begin soon in Rio with the opening ceremony set for August 5th. (Actually, women’s soccer begins August 3rd and men’s soccer begins August 4th. You can check the schedule here.) In addition to news reports about Zika, infrastructure and societal problems, and stunning poverty in Rio, you may have also heard reports of doping issues and other rules violations. But what regulatory bodies govern participation in the Olympics and how should you begin your research in this area?

Let’s take a look at the recent decision of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the Russian doping scandal. Reports of government supported doping by Russian athletes abounded after the Sochi games. The World Anti-Doping Agency appointed Canadian lawyer Richard H. McLaren to lead an Independent Investigation of the Sochi allegations. The report was issued on July 16, 2016 and detailed 3 key findings: (1) a Moscow testing laboratory operated, under the direction of the government, a system to protect Russian athletes described in the report as the “Disappearing Positive Methodology”; (2) a Sochi laboratory used a sample swapping technique to protect Russian athletes; and (3) the deliberate mishandling and swapping of samples at both laboratories was done under the supervision of the Russian Ministry of Sport.

On July 18th WADA’s Executive Committee recommended that the International Olympic Committee consider banning all athletes submitted by the Russian Olympic Committee and the Russian Paralympic Committee from participating in the Rio 2016 games.



Estadio do Maracana by Luciano Silva, CC

So now what? Why does the IOC get to decide and what does it base its decision on? First, some history. The Olympic Games were re-established in the late nineteenth century and the IOC was created on June 23, 1894 as the governing authority for the Olympics. All organizations affiliated with the Olympics, such as International Federations (IFs), must agree to abide by the Olympic CharterIn order to participate in the Olympic Games, athletes must comply with the Olympic Charter and follow the rules of the International Federation (IF) for their sport.

After the McLaren Report, the IOC Executive Board had to quickly make a decision about the participation of Russian athletes in the Rio Olympic Games. On Sunday, July 24, 2016, they issued their decision. The Executive Board did not issue an outright ban, however, the onus was placed on the athlete to “rebut the applicability of collective responsibility in his or her individual case.” No Russian athlete will be able to participate in the Games without meeting certain criteria. The determination of eligibility will be made by the IFs after the athletes have met certain criteria including an individual assessment of the history of their anti-doping testing, mere absence of a positive test will not be sufficient. The athletes who are being banned from the games are failing to meet the criteria set out in Sunday’s IOC decision.

You can find official documents relating to the IOC through the Olympic Studies Centre. Some of the Centre’s documents collection is available online here. For links to more information about the International Federations for Olympic sports go here; and for more information about National Olympic Committee’s go here.

Asking Other Questions

Legal databases and search tools available online continue to grow–new tools and metadata continually created.  It is ripe opportunity for creativity.  What creative questions and queries should you ask?

Perhaps you want to find out what clichés to avoid in legal journal writing?  A few targeted searches in HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library can yield interesting results.



Perhaps you want to quickly find the holding of a case.  Let later citing judges do the heavy lifting for you. Perhaps you want to find out when they don’t particularly agree?



Or perhaps you merely want to see what songs show up in opinions.


What answers can we ask our legal databases to uncover?

Law School for Dummies, and Smarties

I have good news and bad news for all you law students out there. The good news is you still have about 1/3 of your summer break left. The bad news is that means Georgia State College of Law classes start in about a month, with our new students starting orientation August 8 and our returning students beginning classes on August 15. I know, it went by quickly for me too.
So, for this post I wanted to talk about some resources from the library that can help you do better in your law school classes. I know what you’re thinking. “Won’t all of the library resources help me do better in law school?” Short answer: maybe. While I’m sure everyone will need to find a section in the O.C.G.A. or U.S. Code, locating regulations from before the days of the C.F.R probably won’t mean a whole lot. What I’m talking about are resources that will actually help you “do” law school.
Law students often struggle because they do not understand the expectations of their work, their answers, or themselves. What should you be getting out of the cases you read? How do legal rules work together? What does a good law school exam answer look like? What’s the deal with these weird exam hypotheticals and is there a better way to approach them? Luckily, there are a number of books that answer these types of questions. Many students spend so much time making outlines and memorizing that they don’t ever think strategically about how they study and learn the law. Do yourself a favor and take an hour to skim some of these books. At the very least, they will give you some useful suggestions and at most change the way you approach your legal education.gtm

Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams by Jeremy R. Paul and Richard Michael Fischl

Professors Fischl and Paul explain law school exams in ways no one has before, all with an eye toward improving the reader’s performance. The book begins by describing the difference between educational cultures that praise students for ‘right answers,’ and the law school culture that rewards nuanced analysis of ambiguous situations in which more than one approach may be correct. Enormous care is devoted to explaining precisely how and why legal analysis frequently produces such perplexing situations

reading like a lawyer

Reading Like a Lawyer : time-saving strategies for reading law like an expert by Ruth McKinney

The ability to read law well is a critical, indispensable skill that can make or break the academic career of any aspiring lawyer. Fortunately, the ability to read law well (quickly and accurately) is a skill that can be acquired through knowledge and practice. The sooner the student masters these skills, the greater the rewards. Using seven specific reading strategies, reinforced with hands-on exercises at the end of each chapter, this book shows students how they can read law efficiently, effectively, powerfully, and confidently.


cracking caseCracking the Case Method: Legal Analysis for Law School Success by Paul Bergman

Cracking the Case Method is a concise and down-to-earth guide to the intellectual content of law school instruction, particularly in the first year. Readers will discover why and how law school instructors use appellate court cases as vehicles for teaching legal analysis. This book explains that legal analysis is a process by which judges and lawyers use argument (or rhetoric) to connect stories to legal conclusions, and reveals how to read judges’ appellate court opinions as arguments rather than merely as sources of rules. To succeed in law school, students have to apply analytical skills to novel stories by crafting arguments of their own, both in class meetings and when answering final examination essay questions. This book promotes readers’ ability to apply analytical skills by: Demonstrating how to “brief” cases in a way that captures both arguments and rules; Explaining and illustrating common types of arguments; Using actual law school classroom dialogues annotated by the authors to explain how instructors use classes to further law schools’ goal of teaching argument skills.