When we as your law librarians wrap up our time in the fall Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing (LRAW) classroom, other than our hours helping patrons at the reference desk, our work might not be so visible. But we are definitely still at work.
Here are just a few of the projects we’ve been working on:
Preparing for Westlaw Edge
Law students will experience a new Westlaw interface with additional features starting in January 2019.
Law librarians are working now to adapt our LRAW materials for the new interface and features.
Meanwhile, a quick preview is here:
Training Public and Academic Librarians
Part of the role of the University of South Carolina Law Library is to serve the public.
Four of our law librarians—Terrye Conroy, Dan Brackmann, Aaron Glenn, and Eve Ross—presented 2 hours of content on November 2, 2018, at the South Carolina Library Association conference in Greenville. Our “Shine a Light on Legal Research” presentation was designed to help public and academic librarians help their patrons with legal research.
In partnership with the South Carolina State Library, the same four law librarians are now preparing an all-day workshop in December 2018 for public and academic librarians who want to improve their legal research skills.
Our law library may not be brand new anymore; we’ve been here since May 2017. Nonetheless, many folks are just getting their first opportunity to take a library tour.
Rebekah Maxwell of the law library, and Judge Goolsby, a retired judge from the South Carolina Court of Appeals, gave the students of Judge Lockemy’s class a tour of the library’s South Carolina Legal History Room on November 15, 2018.
This was a special opportunity because the Legal History Room is usually kept locked, and because the collection of judicial figurines in the Legal History Room was donated by Judge Goolsby.
Curtis Rogers of the South Carolina State Library recently interviewed our own Professor Terrye Conroy on the LibraryVoicesSC podcast.
They speak about Professor Conroy’s path to law librarianship, as well as what it’s like to work at USC Law Library specifically.
There’s also some interesting background on our Circuit Riders outreach program that allows our law librarians to train public and academic librarians from throughout the state on how to do legal research to help their library patrons locally.
What do librarians do when library patrons, parents, board members, or others challenge the presence of a book in the library?
If a book at a public library is claimed to be age-inappropriate, is it moved out of the children’s or teens’ section?
What factors typically figure into the library’s response?
Case Study: A “Filthy” Oatmeal.com Comic Strip Book
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has posted a case study on their blog.
A book of Oatmeal.com comic strips was shipped to a public library in Maine, apparently after a teenage library patron forgot the book at summer camp. It is unknown who found, packaged, and mailed the book—maybe another camper and/or a counselor. The book was taped shut, and an anonymous message was written on the tape, labeling the book “filthy” and “not suited for children.”
The librarian who received the book in the mail shares her library’s policy on complaints about books, as well as the steps she took to respond to this particular complaint. Read the full story.
Supporting Freedom during Banned Books Week
At your law library’s Circulation Desk this week (September 23-29), we offer stress-relieving coloring pages with a Banned Books theme. You can also borrow colored pencils.
Our neighbor, the South Carolina State Library, has a display this week (September 23-29) of books that were argued to deserve restricted access or removal from libraries. Just across Senate Street, you can tour the Banned Books Week display, and learn about everything else the State Library offers, including a free notary and help with researching grants.
The law library’s annual LibraryFest, an open house orientation, took place on Wednesday, September 19 from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm. This year, LibraryFest had a Harry Potter theme.
Tour of Great Hall, Chamber of Secrets, Etc.
Which Hogwarts House is Your Librarian in?
Obviously each member of law library administration, faculty, and staff contains all the qualities of bravery, loyalty, wisdom, and ambition. And as Dumbledore said, “It is our choices … that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 333 (1998). Nonetheless, all must be sorted by the Sorting Hat, and all took a very official and scientifically valid personality quiz to determine the following results.
Team Gryffindor (brave)
Team Hufflepuff (loyal)
Team Ravenclaw (wise)
The photos below depict the faculty of the University of South Carolina School of Law during a few of the years in which Sarah Leverette was the first and only woman faculty member. She was the law librarian and taught a course that was the precursor to today’s Legal Research, Analysis & Writing.
Sarah was unstoppable. For all of her life, she was a champion of our better angels. There will never be a world without Sarah. She touched so many lives for so many years, and inspired so many. For those whose lives she touched, the world is transformed in a way that can’t be reversed or destroyed. Her kindness, her example, her influence, and the comfort of her memory are ours to keep in perpetuity. – Rebekah Maxwell
Lawyers today keep case files securely on their computers, or sometimes on paper in file folders. Sometimes they list cases they have argued on their website, as part of a portfolio demonstrating their expertise.
In the early 1900s, the law firm of Butler and Osborne took briefs and supporting documents from cases they had argued before the South Carolina Supreme Court and combined them into leather-bound volumes that served two purposes: recordkeeping and display.
These volumes eventually made their way to the South Carolina Legal History Room at the University of South Carolina Law Library.
Unfortunately, after more than 100 years, librarians noticed the leather crumbling. The books were quickly losing their structural integrity. Repair work had to be done.
The spine and covers had to be removed as part of the preservation process.
One volume’s spine had been torn, and delicate surgery was required.
Only the “before” and “during” photos are shown above. To see the repaired volumes, visit the Coleman Karesh Reading Room in the law library, and look in the glass display case furthest to the left.
Over the summer, we moved some useful sets of books to the first floor of the law library so they’ll be easy to grab for quick reference.
How to Use Forms Books and Practice Aids
Here is an example of how you might use one of these sets, American Jurisprudence Pleading and Practice Forms.
Suppose you are a law clerk in a wills, trusts, and estates practice. Your firm is working with a family to probate a will. A complaint has just been filed, opposing the admission of that will to probate. The lawyer you work for says, “Draft an answer to this complaint. There’s no good reason not to probate this will.” You’ve never drafted an answer before. How do you start?
You could look for a form to base your work on. First, you’d go to the Wills volume of American Jurisprudence Pleading and Practice Forms.
Then you’d browse the table of contents looking for a form that fits your situation. The table of contents is in outline form:
There is opposition to the probate of this will (VIII. Opposition and Contest).
The will has not yet been probated (B. Prior to Probate).
You need to draft an answer that states there is no good reason not to probate the will (§284 Answer—To Opposition to Probate—Failure to State Valid Objection).
Now you can turn to Section 284 and see a form answer. The form provides a framework or starting point. The brackets and italics indicate that you need to fill in the blank. For example, [Caption, see § 5] means you need to create a caption or heading at the top of your answer, and the instructions for doing that are in Section 5 of the Wills volume. There is still a lot of legal analysis necessary to fill in all the blanks properly. Unfortunately, the book doesn’t provide all the answers.
Forms Books and Practice Aids on the First Floor
All the titles we moved are listed below, along with quotes from the publishers’ descriptions of each one. If you don’t find the type of form you need in one of these sets, you might try a different set. Ask a librarian to help you select which sets to try first.
“Practice-oriented forms for legal and business transactions, exhaustively annotated, keyed to the substantive law, integrating legal and form-drafting principles with statutes, tax notes, tables, checklists, and checkpoints.”
“A comprehensive, carefully compiled and edited collection of pleading and practice forms, including jury instructions, keyed to the substantive law in American Jurisprudence 2d and designed to provide dependable forms for all types of pleading and procedural steps in judicial and administrative proceedings.”
“Explains how to determine quickly and confidently the facts essential to winning a case, and how to prove them for a wide range of civil litigation and selected criminal defense topics, including: personal injury/torts, employment litigation (discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination), real estate litigation, business torts, and commercial litigation. Also highlights which cases to avoid due to difficulties or failures in proof. Includes strategies and aids that cover every stage of trial preparation.”
“Provides articles and case studies focusing on different types of actions, including personal injury, products liability, employment, insurance, business, and many others. Each article or case study identifies the various elements of each case, educating you on the litigation issues by offering a substantive law overview. To aid in research, the publication lists each article’s coverage and includes an index of key terms and phrases. Readers will also benefit from detailed research and procedure guidelines, as well as a damages awards survey, helping you value cases from various jurisdictions. It also covers legal interpretations of courts through extensive sample cases, and offers practice checklists to ensure all litigation procedures are properly addressed, sample litigation forms to save time in document preparation, a detailed table of cases, and more.”
“For drafting forms related to business organizations, divorce, retirement plans, bankruptcy, employment, estate planning, commercial transactions, real estate financing, numerous other general practice areas & specialties. Where appropriate, coverage includes the tax consequences to be considered when drafting specific forms.”