Legal Research Webinars for Librarians

The South Carolina Library Association (SCLA) has invited the law librarians of the University of South Carolina Law Library to teach public librarians and academic librarians throughout the state how to do legal research.

The information below is quoted from an email sent to all SCLA members by the SCLA Continuing Education Committee on February 20, 2020.


Legal Research Webinars

Join the University of South Carolina Law Library for a five-part special series on performing legal research. All webinars will be held from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM.

April 9, 2020: The Law & Legal Research

State & federal constitutions; the three branches of state & federal government and the laws they produce; and the reference interview and how to avoid legal advice.

Presenter: Terrye Conroy, Assistant Director of Legal Research Instruction, University of South Carolina Law Library

Register: https://statelibrary.sc.libcal.com/event/6410267

 

April 23, 2020: Secondary Sources & Topical Research Guides

How to use books, articles, and topical guides to research legal issues and find relevant state and federal statutes, regulations and cases.

Presenter: Aaron Glenn, Reference Librarian, University of South Carolina Law Library

Register: https://statelibrary.sc.libcal.com/event/6410286

 

May 14, 2020: Researching Local, State & Federal Codes

How to research municipal (city & county) ordinances, state statutes (focusing on SC), and federal statutes.

Presenter: Eve Ross, Reference Librarian, University of South Carolina Law Library

Register: https://statelibrary.sc.libcal.com/event/6410308

 

May 28, 2020: State & Federal Regulations

The relationship between state and federal statutes and administrative agency regulations and how to research state (focusing on SC) and federal regulations.

Presenter: Rebekah Maxwell, Associate Director for Library Operations, University of South Carolina Law Library

Register: https://statelibrary.sc.libcal.com/event/6410346

 

June 11, 2020: Researching State & Federal Cases, Court Rules & Forms

The concept of legal precedent, hierarchy of authority, and how to research state (focusing on SC) and federal cases, court rules and forms.

Presenter: Dan Brackmann, Reference Librarian, University of South Carolina Law Library

Register: https://statelibrary.sc.libcal.com/event/6410392

 

Please feel free to contact the SCLA Continuing Education Committee with questions.

Resource Review: Homeland Security Digital Library

by guest author Dan Brackmann

Sent in an email to all current law faculty on February 18, 2020.


This month’s issue highlights the Homeland Security Digital Library, a joint project of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA, and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. The HSDL contains over 180,000 items to assist academics of all disciplines in homeland defense and security related research. UofSC has access to the full collection except for the Restricted Collection which is only available to U.S. government officals and active military members.

screenshot

The HSDL pulls material from different sources, including:

  • Federal, state, and local governments
  • International governments and institutions
  • Nonprofit organizations and private sector entities
  • Think tanks, research centers, colleges, and universities

The site also has featured topic groups such as cyber policy, cybersecurity, active shooters and school violence, infrastructure interoperability, gangs, terrorism, piracy, and pandemics to name several.

The URL for the site is: https://www.hsdl.org

You can find a flyer with more information here:
https://www.chds.us/c/resources/uploads/2018/03/chds_2017_hsdl_fact_sheet_022018.pdf

If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.

Register to Vote

by guest author Melanie Griffin

Make sure you can vote this year by keeping up with registration details and deadlines. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  •  To vote in South Carolina, you need to register at least thirty days before the election in which you want to participate. For example, the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary is on February 29 in SC this year, so to vote in that, you’ll need to be registered by January 30. To vote in the general presidential election, get registered by October 4.
  • South Carolina has open primaries, which means anyone registered to vote can vote in either party’s primary without officially declaring themselves a member of that party.
  • If you’re registering to vote in SC for the first time, you’ll need a South Carolina driver’s license or photo ID from an SC DMV.
  • If you’ve moved since the last time you voted in SC, make sure your address is updated (especially if you’ve switched counties). You can change your address on the DMV’s website in about five minutes at no cost. Your address must be up to date with the DMV before you can update it for your voter registration.
  • Students can register to vote “where they reside while attending college,” according to the South Carolina State Election Commission. They interpret this as either the address you live at while attending your classes, like your dorm or off-campus apartment, or the address you go to when you’re not in classes, such as your parent’s house, so you can register with either. Check the South Carolina Code of Laws section 7-1-25 for state election residency laws.
  • There’s also a national voter registration application for students who want to register for home addresses that are outside South Carolina. The U.S. Vote Foundation website lets you search for other states’ deadlines if you are planning on registering elsewhere; they’re not all on the same schedule.
  • If you won’t physically be in the place where you’re registered to vote on election day, apply for an absentee ballot. You can do that in person until 5 p.m. the day before the election. You can also apply for an absentee ballot over the internet or mail, and this requires you to complete and send in your absentee application by 5 p.m. four days prior to the election. You’re required to cast your absentee ballot by 7 p.m. the day of the election.

Find more details about voting in SC on the South Carolina Election Commission’s website.

Resource Review: HeinOnline’s Presidential Impeachment Library

by guest author Dan Brackmann

In a timely move, HeinOnline has debuted its Presidential Impeachment Library. “The library collects resources related to all four U.S. presidents who have faced impeachment. Organized by the four affected presidents, this collection brings together a variety of documents both contemporaneous and asynchronous to each president’s impeachment, presenting both a snapshot of the political climate as each impeachment played out and the long view history has taken of each proceeding.”

screenshotThe library also includes relevant Congressional Research Service reports as well as a curated list of scholarly articles, external links, and a bibliography, providing avenues for further resarch on this topic. One of these is the ever-growing Whistleblower Complaint on Ukraine, compiled by Kelly Smith at UC San Diego, which brings together offical documents related to the whistleblower complaint and impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. Hein plans to continue expanding its collection with new material, particularly as it becomes available for the current investigation into Donald Trump.

Find HeinOnline from the main library page:screenshot

If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.

New Year, New Laws, 2020 Edition

The State newspaper usually provides a guide to South Carolina laws that take effect January 1, and this year is no exception. Maayan Schechter’s December 31, 2019 article lists two laws that became effective at the start of 2020.

Electric Cooperative Oversight

Act 56 of 2019 empowered the Public Service Commission to ensure that electric cooperatives in South Carolina meet requirements and follow procedures listed in the act.

Three different effective dates for various portions of the act are outlined in Section 19 of the act:

SECTION    19.    The provisions of this act take effect upon approval by the Governor, except that:

(1)    Sections 1, 2, 3, 13, 14, and 15 take effect January 1, 2020.

(2)    Section 7 takes effect May 1, 2020.

(3)    Sections 4, 5, 6, 9, and 11 take effect on the first day of the fifteenth calendar month after the month of signature by the Governor.

That means additional portions of the act will go into effect May 1 and July 1 of 2020.

Boat Tax

Act 223 of 2018 changed the way the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources collects personal property tax on boats.

Effective January 1, 2020, taxes are to be paid annually, instead of every three years.

The department posts a plain-English version of these and other outdoor-related rules on eregulations.com.

Resource Review: FRASER

by guest author Dan Brackmann

Sent in an email to all current law faculty on December 13, 2019.


This holiday issue is about the Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research or “FRASER.” FRASER is a free public database from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. FRASER holds a digital library of U.S. economic, financial, and banking history—particularly the history of the Federal Reserve System.

FRASER - Explore Access Learn

FRASER collects raw economic data from the Federal Reserve plus aggregated material from other outside sources. It includes job and salary data, economic reports, monetary policy documents, manufacturing statistics, historical sources, and personal papers. FRASER can be searched in a number of ways, such as for data, for federal reserve material, or for archival material.

map of 1914 Federal Reserve Districts
1914 map of the Federal Reserve Districts

FRASER also has an active blog and Twitter feed to highlight new and interesting material from the database, such as an economic report on Christmas spending from 1953, the records of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, an institution founded in 1865 to provide deposit banking services to African-Americans freed with the Thirteenth Amendment, and a 1914 map of the Federal Reserve Districts.

FRASER offers a tutorial for new users here: https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/howto/

Law School Building Use: Final Exams Fall 2019

by guest author Andy Kretschmar

Sent in an email to all current law students on November 26, 2019.


The Law School is taking the following steps to regulate undergraduate and public use of the Law School building during final exams (Sunday, December 1st to Friday, December 13th):

Restricting access to non-law visitors

As a part of the USC campus, the building is open to the public until 9pm, but we will be taking the following steps to restrict access:

The Student Commons will be accessible only to USC School of Law students. Remember to have your Carolina Card on you, as you’ll need it to enter the Commons. This will be in effect 24/7 during the exam period.

Classrooms will lock 30 minutes after the final exam of the day. After they lock, only law students will be able to enter using their Carolina Card.

The building doors lock at the following times:

Senate Street: 9:00 PM

Gervais Street: 6:00 PM

Remember! The doors to the building lock to ensure that you have a safe and reliably quiet place to study. Please do not prop open doors or allow anyone that you do not recognize to access a locked part of the building.

Study rooms

Signage will be posted on all group study rooms stating that they are for the sole use of law students during final exams.

If you’d like to book a room, please do so at libcal.law.sc.edu. Law library staff scrutinize each and every booking request submitted to ensure that policies are being followed and that only those requests submitted by law students are approved.

General signage

Signage will be displayed outside of the library outlining our Code of Conduct and expectations for all users.

This will also be displayed on the digital displays visible throughout the building. Please familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct, and do not hesitate to report any infractions or concerns to law school staff.

Reporting

Please report any disruptive behavior as soon as possible. If you are in the library and would like to make a noise complaint, simply visit the library website where you’ll find the option to report a noise issue.

screenshot

Please be aware that outside of M-F 8am-5pm, staffing is limited, and library staff will not be able to physically respond to issues outside of the library.

If you encounter an issue that requires immediate attention, please do not hesitate to call the USC Police non-emergency line at 803-777-4215. For emergencies, call 803-777-9111.

Remember, we can’t enforce these expectations and policies without your help!

Thank you, and best of luck on your final exams.

United States Foreign Service: Background and Careers

Current events have spotlighted several individuals in the United States Foreign Service.

Law students may want more background on the Foreign Service, and they may be curious about whether a law degree could be one step on a path toward a foreign service career. As always, the law library has resources.

Background on the Foreign Service

American Diplomacy is a collection of essays by scholars and diplomats examining what diplomacy is and is not able to do, particularly focused on the Obama era.

Foreign Service: Five Decades on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy is a career memoir dated 2017. As former ambassador James F. Dobbins reflects on his career, he gives an insider’s view of U.S. relations with Vietnam, Russia, Germany, Afghanistan, Somalia, and more countries, spanning from the 1960s to the 2010s.

Careers in the Foreign Service

Foreign service officers may serve with the State Department, Agricultural Service, Commercial Service, or USAID. Certainly the websites of these organizations and usajobs.gov are great places to start when researching these career options. A few library resources may provide additional insight.

 

The third edition of Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in the US Foreign Service, dated 2017, is co-authored by Harry W. Kopp and John K. Naland. These former foreign service officers “describe the five career tracks—consular, political, economic, management, and public diplomacy—through their own experience and through interviews with more than one hundred current and former foreign service officials.” -Georgetown University Press

Careers in International Affairs has a broader focus than Career Diplomacy. Editors Cressey, Helmer, and Steffenson cover government employment with the foreign service as well as careers with multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations, and more.

To access the full text of any of the above e-books, click the link that says “Connect to: USC All Libraries from EBSCOhost,” then enter your USC Network ID and password.

Additional Resources

The law library also has biographies of ambassadors, and deeper historical background on the U.S. Diplomatic and Consular Service, among other resources.

What Your Law Librarians Are Doing

When your law librarians aren’t in the LRAW classroom, we aren’t idle. Here are just a few of the projects we have been working on.

Honoring Ida Salley Reamer

In 1922, Ida Salley Reamer graduated first in her class at UofSC School of Law.  Around the time of her law school graduation, she was a founding member of a local chapter of the League of Women Voters and the legislative chair of the state League.

Professor Rebekah Maxwell organized a temporary public display in the Coleman Karesh Reading Room on October 17, 2019, unveiling Mrs. Reamer’s law school diploma and her license to practice law . These documents were donated by Mrs. Reamer’s granddaughter, Mrs. Cornelia Edgar, and Professor Maxwell has now secured their permanent place in the library’s Legal History Room.

Preparing for a Catalog Changeover

The law library is already part of a consortium called PASCAL, which allows our law students and law faculty to borrow physical books and digital resources from numerous other college and university libraries in South Carolina. Law library users can already find the titles available through PASCAL in the law library’s online catalog and can select physical books from other libraries to be delivered to them at the law library for free.

Our catalog is scheduled to shift to the Alma platform in June 2020, which will allow us to deepen our collaboration with PASCAL. Our librarians are busily learning as much as possible about the technical capabilities of the new platform in order to create a seamless transition for law library users and continue to make the most of the tremendous resource-sharing power of PASCAL.

Publishing Scholarship

Associate Dean Duncan Alford’s article Central Bank Independence: Recent Innovation in Human History (Lexis login required) is published in the November/December 2019 issue of The Banking Law Journal. Congratulations to Dean Alford on this publication.

Clean Up Your Inbox by Reducing Bulk Email

One way to clean up your inbox is to reduce your bulk email, such as newsletters and other recurring emails. Commercial email senders are required by law to give you a way to unsubscribe. 15 U.S.C. §7704(3)(a)(i). Sometimes email recipients benefit from more granular tools as well.

Gmail

In Gmail, you don’t have to look through a whole message to find the unsubscribe link buried in it. Gmail includes the “unsubscribe” link up top, next to the sender’s address. How to block or unsubscribe in Gmail.

Outlook

In Outlook, you can create a rule that automatically deletes email from particular senders. Alternatively, you may want to read certain newsletters at your leisure, but you don’t want them cluttering your inbox in the meantime. In that case, you can create a rule that sends those newsletters directly to a particular folder, not to the inbox. How to manage email with rules in Outlook.

Other Services and Confidentiality

Alternatively, various services are available that will let you unsubscribe from each commercial sender that you don’t want to receive email from, or view all your newsletters that you want to review at your leisure, in one place.

Be aware that, according to the New York Times, these services may locate data in your email about your purchasing habits, package that data, and sell it back to the companies you’re unsubscribing from, or their competitors.

Last month the Federal Register published analysis of a proposed consent agreement between the Federal Trade Commission and one such service. Unrollme Inc.; Analysis To Aid Public Comment, 84 Fed. Reg. 43132 (Aug. 20, 2019).

For email accounts that are used for client communications, analyze whether it’s possible to meet a lawyer’s obligation of confidentiality while allowing an outside service to access the contents of the email account.