Bar Preparation/Study Hacks

July 26th and 27th—the Georgia bar exam– is slowly but surely approaching.  Recently graduated law students will have to climb one more hill.  Below are some popular science tips to help with the day-in-and-day-out studying:


Hopefully you are not using a graphing calculator for bar prep (Image by Steven S. via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)


Working out, specifically cardio of just 30 minutes a day can give your memory a boost.

Change things up.  Moving to different locations can increase retention.

Practice.  The taking of practice tests can enhance performance.

Study right before going to sleep for superior retention.

Chewing gum = extra blood flowing to the brain.

Stay positive and remind YOURSELF to keep up the good work

Faculty Summer Reading Suggestions


Summer is fast approaching.  Before you know it the trials and tribulations of the academic year will be behind us, exchanged for internships, jobs, conferences, and hopefully vacation.  Many of us use this time to catch up on our leisure reading.  If this is you, the GSU law faculty would like to suggest a few of their favorite titles.  All of these titles will appear in the Law Library leisure collection.


Jessica Gabel Cino

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?


Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose

Based on remarkable new research, acclaimed historian Alexander Rose brings to life the true story of the spy ring that helped America win the Revolutionary War. For the first time, Rose takes us beyond the battlefront and deep into the shadowy underworld of double agents and triple crosses, covert operations and code breaking, and unmasks the courageous, flawed men who inhabited this wilderness of mirrors—including the spymaster at the heart of it all.


Neil Kinkopf

A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt

The classic play about Sir Thomas More, the 16th-century Chancellor of England, who refused to endorse King Henry VIII’s wish to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon, who did not bear him a son, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, the sister of his former mistress. The play portrays More as a man of principle, envied by rivals such as Thomas Cromwell and loved by the common people and by his family.


Jonathan Germann

High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove

The essential skill of creating and maintaining new businesses—the art of the entrepreneur—can be summed up in a single word: managing. In High Output Management, Andrew S. Grove, former chairman and CEO (and employee number three) of Intel, shares his perspective on how to build and run a company.


The Moth (Podcast).

Founded in 1997, the organization presents storytelling events across the United States and abroad, often featuring prominent literary and cultural personalities. The Moth offers a weekly podcast and in 2009 launched a national public radio show, The Moth Radio Hour, which won a 2010 Peabody Award. The 2013 story collection The Moth: 50 True Stories reached #22 on The New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Best-Seller List.


Pam Brannon

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by  Jonas Jonasson.

It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century.


Russell Covey

Ghettoside by Jill Leovy

An engaging tale told by an L.A. Times crime reporter about the difficulties of investigating homicide cases in inner-city minority communities. Leovy casts light on problems such as the under-resourcing of policing in the urban ghetto that go far toward explaining the violence crisis that has long afflicted black communities.

Serial, Season One (podcast) –

If you haven’t listened to it yet, do so. It’s awesome entertainment, examining the case against Adnan Syed, a possibly wrongfully convicted man currently serving a life sentence in Maryland for the murder of his ex-high-school girlfriend.

Undisclosed (podcast) –

This is a follow-up podcast on Serial, and digs into the case in gory legal detail. For Serial enthusiasts, it is a must-listen, and it digs up some truly shocking new details that were not discussed on Serial.


Bill Edmundson

Egil’s Saga, author uncertain –

Egil’s Saga, is I think the best of the Icelandic sagas. If you are unfamiliar with the sagas, you may be surprised by the simplicity and directness of the narration. “Game of Thrones” fans are probably aware that the story lines owe a lot to the sagas. The aspect that makes them especially apt for law students is the way that Icelandic law structures the conflicts that drive the story.  An excellent overview is Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, Law, and Society in Saga Iceland by Michigan law professor William Ian Miller.


Meg Butler

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Meg’s top pick for summer reading would be anything by local author Karin Slaughter.  She writes compelling thrillers, often set in Atlanta or in Georgia. Her most recent is Pretty Girls, a stand-alone novel just released in paperback this week.  Slaughter is a library champion, founding the Save the Libraries project, which has raised over $250,000 for the Dekalb County Library Foundation. “On Second Thought” posted audio of Celeste Headlee’s interesting recent interview with Slaughter—the author explains why she sets her novels in Atlanta and Georgia.

Jack Williams

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.

Kris Niedringhaus

Citizen: an American lyric by Claudia Rankine

Move over, ethereal poetry. Make room for a collection from Claudia Rankine titled “Citizen: An American Lyric.” Rankine is Jamaican-born, raised both there and in New York. Her book was a finalist for the National Book Award. And while Rankine did not win last night, our reviewer Tess Taylor says, this powerful collection is the perfect book to appreciate the racial dynamics at play today.

How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran

Part memoir, part modern feminist discussion, Times columnist Caitlin Moran’s book How to be a Woman tackles what it means to be female in the 21st century.

Trigger warning: short fictions and disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction—stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013—as well “Black Dog,” a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.

Patrick Parsons

Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men, The Road)

An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America’s westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the “wild west.” Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.

Yelping With Cormac McCarthy (Tumblr)

If you liked Blood Meridian, you’ll love these McCarthy stylized Yelp reviews.

The Last Waltz (movie, concert documentary)

A wise man once said it’s better to burn out than fade away, and on Thanksgiving Day of 1976, the Band, one of the best live acts of the rock era went out in a blaze of glory that was called The Last Waltz.After spending more than 15 years on the road – first as a backing band and then as a recording act in their own right – they called it quits as a touring entity by leading an all-star ensemble through an epic night of food, dancing and rock ‘n’ roll. Commemorated by director Martin Scorsese, the event would later serve as the grist for one of the most beloved concert films of all time.



Visualize What?

Networked digital information creates many new opportunities. One is visualizations.

Humans have the ability to understand and interpret visual representations quickly. Pouring over millions of documents or data points to gain a similar understanding could take years if not a lifetime.

Computers, on the other hand, have the ability to crunch millions of megabytes with speed and ease–while possessing no end understanding or interpretation(I hope).  Computers are also very good at rendering visual representations.

Take, for example, Fastcase and CourtListener citation visualizations:

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Or West Monitor Suite and Docket Navigator judicial visualizations:

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Information is quickly communicated and manipulated.

What data sets or corpora should we be examining?  What questions should be asked?  And how should answers be presented visually for maximum understanding? Data manipulation and end visualization is completely dependent on the question(s) being asked.

What do you want to know?




Study Rooms

In case you were not aware (you were), exams are just around the corner. No doubt correlated, study rooms are becoming quickly sparse. What can you and your study partner(s) do to ensure access to a crisp private study room?

Book in advance.

Quicker circulation lines. Guaranteed reservation.   Quasi-VIP.


Francis Jammes in his study room.


Also available at circulation: ear plugs.

Pet Pictures and Student Surveys

Library SurveyBig things are happening here at the GSU Law Library.  Well, maybe not big things, but important things.

First, we’re in the midst of our annual student survey.  Every year we send out a survey to the students to get their take on things.  We use this information to make all kinds of decisions from library policies to programming to  activities.  Think of it this way- for just 5 minutes of your time you get a better, more comfortable, and more responsive library.  That’s worth it, right?  If you think it is, the survey is available right here.

Next, we need your pet pictures.  To lighten the mood during finals, the library will be displaying student, faculty, and staff pet pictures on the public access computers and active learning area screen.  We already have quite a few faculty and staff submissions, so don’t miss out on showing off your favorite pet. Send your pictures to Patrick Parsons at

Big Lola

Big Lola Parsons



Lights, Camera, Atlanta!

The Walking Dead is filmed in Georgia

By Daniel Means [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Atlanta is a hot destination for filming, I’ve heard.  I see evidence of that in my neighborhood and just outside the College of Law!  Just this weekend, Bambino Films blocked off Auditorium Place for filming the upcoming Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx film “Baby Driver” by the M Deck and around campus.

Recent productions around Atlanta have included the last “Fast and Furious” movie, the “Hunger Games” series, “The Walking Dead,” “Selma,” and “Anchorman 2.”  Of course, Tyler Perry Studios in Southwest Atlanta has produced a number of movies, not just the popular Madea series.

How is all this made possible?  In part because the State of Georgia provides a great deal of support for film and tv production.  In fact, we have a state office (the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Guide Office) dedicated to helping producers bring their vision to reality.  The office maintains a database of property that people have submitted to serve as a film location, hosts an online directory of Georgia crew and production services, and links productions to local business and industry leaders.

Perhaps more important are the tax benefits of filming in Georgia.  There is a flat tax credit of 20% of the cost of production (minimum investment of $500,000) for qualified productions in Georgia.

How to find out the benefits (and costs) of filming in Georgia?  Easy!

First, check the statutes—state tax credits will be covered in state law. A quick search of the Official Code of Georgia turns up Section 48-7-40.26, the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act.  Check the annotations in an annotated code, and you might find “Lights, Camera, Action…Incentives,” by Kevin Potter, an article published in the Journal of Multistate Taxation and Incentives, describing the impact of the entertainment industry on local economy, as well as explains the Georgia tax incentive—as well as those of select other states.

To fully understand the processes involved, it’s critical to check the regulations.  Again, the annotated code provides some indication of where to begin that search.  The Georgia Department of Economic Development, Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Division, wrote the regulations for the application and qualification process for the Film Tax Credit under the Act.  The Department of Economic Development regulations are found at section 159-1-1.01 and following in the Georgia Compilation of Rules and Regulations.  The Georgia Department of Revenue is responsible for administering the tax credits.  Those regulations are found at section 560-7-8-.45 of the Georgia Compilation of Rules and Regulations.

What other costs could there be?  Don’t forget that a permit is necessary in many cases!  To find the rules for permits, check the city or county website.  In Atlanta, the Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment provides support and guidance for production companies working through the permitting process.  Of course, if you want the rules underlying a posted permit fee schedule, you should check for city or county ordinances.  In the case of Atlanta, Chapter 46, Article IV of the municipal code governs entertainment filming.

To recap, state statutes governing tax credits provide an incentive, while state regulations provide further explanation of how to apply the tax credit.  Secondary sources explain the function of the tax credits in the economy and compare Georgia with other jurisdictions.  Local ordinances govern the permitting process, setting forth the requirements that production companies must follow to actually film a movie in my neighborhood or on campus.

Revisiting the Charging Lockers (or visiting them for the first time)

Got something to say about the charging lockers? We want to hear it.

The College of Law deployed six charging lockers throughout the building to better support students’ use of mobile devices. See an earlier Blackacre Times post announcing the charging lockers arrival . These student resources have been in place now for a little over six months and it seems as good a time as ever to reflect on their usefulness and your experiences/satisfaction (or lack thereof) with them. To do so a very, very quick survey has been created. We humbly ask you to take two minutes to complete it. The survey link is below.

The endgame here is to learn if you are using them and if not how can we make them more useful, reliable, secure, convenient etc.; consequently, we want to hear from you even if you are not using the charging stations. It would be helpful to know why.

The College of Law charging lockers currently offer Apple Lightning, Apple 30-Pin, Micro USB, USB Type-C connections. They are located:

  • 1st floor, near skills suite
  • 2nd floor, classroom hallway
  • 3rd floor, classroom hallway
  • 5th floor, near printers/cafe
  • 6th floor, near elevators
  • 6th floor, near Law Review (this one was “recalled” for testing but will be redeployed soon)

And they look something like this just in case you never noticed them before: