by guest author Melanie Griffin
Finding a focus topic is when law school really gets interesting. No matter where you are in your program or where you’re accessing your classes, UofSC Law Library has a number of ways for you to take a deep dive into specific types of law that catch your attention, require further research, or seem like the path you want to take after graduation.
- We’ve got a library research guide for that: If the sheer amount of available information about different types of law makes you wonder where to start, check out our list of legal research guides. This lists links to all of the law library’s guides by topic in alphabetical order, and each topic has its own wiki dedicated to introducing a type of law and showcasing relevant materials that will take your understanding to the next level – including official websites you can use now (such as the SC Workers’ Compensation Commission if you’re interested in worker’s comp), UofSC Law Library books you can check out in person, and UofSC Law Library e-books you can use remotely.
- Find a topical electronic resource: The Law Databases Guide is especially useful for furthering your knowledge whether or not you’re physically in the Law Library. The Topical Legal Research section has all you need to know about specific databases you can access with your UofSC login. If you’re looking to learn more about international law, historical legal research, or legislation, each of these sections will lead you straight to a plethora of information about your chosen topic.
- Search UofSC law research by topic on Scholar Commons: The Law Library participates in UofSC’s Scholar Commons research repository, which gathers together UofSC research into one free, open-access electronic database. That means you can search research on a number of law subtopics from our own school regardless of whether you have access to their original journal publications. It’s not a complete list since it’s voluntary for professors to submit their work to be added to Scholar Commons, but it’s an easy way to see who may be working on what without having to go a million different places or running into paywalls.
- Ask a reference librarian: Our reference librarians can help you with your research and find further materials on any legal topic that catches your interest. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our Law Library Chat system to get in touch Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Get in touch with Career Services: You can still get plenty of great advice from our Career Services professionals through their remote access. They’ll talk with you about the number of different ways you can focus your work and the realistic ways your choices may guide your life after law school.
by guest author Melanie Griffin
Bar exam season is in full swing, but there’s no need to panic. We miss not hosting studiers in the library because it’s closed, but since South Carolina has not rescheduled its summer dates so far, we’re here online to help you find the perfect remote learning solutions for preparing.
Check out our Bar Prep library guide to start, and if you have any questions about bar prep, Alex Ruskell and the Academic Success office are set up to help you achieve!
- Practice exams and questions: One way to study for a structured test such as the bar exam is to practice answering in its exact format. Fortunately, troves of old questions (and detailed answers) are available for free on the web. Academic publishers Quimbee, Barbri, Bar Prep Hero, and Kaplan all give you free access to practice questions (check out the Free Practice Questions for the Bar Exam tab in our Study Aids LibGuide). Both the Minnesota State Bar and the National Conference of Bar Examiners have free access to past questions and scored answers as well. Kaplan has a “start small” free access plan with a bar question of the day to ease into your studies.
- Electronic study aids: Along with practice questions, UofSC law students can take advantage of several bigger-picture electronic bar exam study systems. Alex Ruskell of the Academic Success office is instrumental in helping with this. He’s given law students access to The Bar Prep TWEN bar prep web series to walk you through what to expect when taking the exam. And the 2020 Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements is now online as a PDF in the same layout as its physical study guide. In addition to its daily bar question, Kaplan gives you free access to 1L and 2L topic study guides for subjects you’d like to review from those years. Our Remote Services guide has all the details on which study guides are available in electronic form.
- Financial help with prep courses: If you’re going into or are already working in public service law, Barbri offers a scholarship for its full bar exam prep package. It’s worth $1,995, and the deadline is June 15 for the summer exam. Read the application’s fine print to see if you qualify.
- Specifics about South Carolina: The Course of Study on SC Law is not a suggestion but a requirement as part of your SC bar exam process. Fortunately, these eleven videos are excellent study aids as well. They discuss the details of how South Carolina law differs from regional or federal law in certain areas. They’re free, available on any computer with internet access, and you can go through them in any order you wish, as long as you correctly answer the three questions at the end of each video. Plus, the South Carolina Courts website has a section dedicated to the state bar and bar exam, which you should keep an eye on in the event that any details change for the July 2020 session.
by guest author Melanie Griffin
The UofSC Law Library extends its usefulness way beyond its physical walls, now more than ever. Here’s how to bring our resources to your home base, whether you’re still in the middle of distance learning or preparing to come back to campus in August.
- Electronic study aids: We know how difficult it is to suddenly have no access to your usual method of studying. But finding an electronic copy of your favorite study aid is easier than you think. Several major law school materials publishers give you access to their study aids online with your law school login. West Academic, for example, also lets you download study aids for offline use and access online case studies for free until June 1. Wolters Kluwer, publisher of popular series such as Examples & Explanations, are giving law students free electronic access to their library of study aids through July 1. And CALI (the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) continues to offer free online tutorials in a number of legal subjects with no expiration date. Look through the Course Materials section of our Remote Resources guide to find your old favorites, plus new ways to keep your brain ready.
Use an image of the UofSC reading room for your Zoom study group background to feel like you never left!
- Bring the library to your virtual study groups: If you’re feeling restless and lonely without your in-person study partners, set up virtual study times to bring everybody together again. The best part is that video chat services like Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Skype are free and easy to access, plus distance learning has made everyone familiar with them over the last few months. We can’t give you your favorite carrel in the basement or lamp in the reading room, but these library Zoom backgrounds come close to the ambiance you’re used to.
- Law Library Chat service: Our law librarians are as ready as ever to answer your reference questions and guide you to the right resources, bringing their extensive knowledge to wherever you’re current set up. Our Law Library Chat is an instant messenger service that’s monitored Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. If you have a question outside those hours, don’t fret – you can send an email to email@example.com at any point, and it will get answered during the next set of business hours.
- Circuit Riders basic legal research guide: If you know anyone who is looking for help with their own legal issues, point them to our Circuit Riders research guide on basic legal research in South Carolina. We can’t give out legal advice, but we can give you and the public information on processes in this state so that you stay informed on your journey through the South Carolina legal system.
- COVID-19 remote services: Above all else, we’re here to help you through these unusual circumstances with minimal interruption to your law education and information needs. Our research librarians have compiled a complete resource guide to the remote services we’re using through our COVID-19 schedule, updated as warranted. Even as our campus is scheduled to re-open for the Fall 2020 semester, UofSC is working with students who won’t be able to make the physical trip back for any reason. If you have needs for remote library services this summer or beyond, check this resources guide first to get the most updated information on how we’re handling materials and research assistance.
by guest author Melanie Griffin
Whether or not you’re still in Columbia while campus is on lockdown, you’re part of the community as a UofSC law student. And so is our local public library.
Richland Library offers a large variety of resources that complement your UofSC Law work, all of them free, and many especially relevant to these uncertain times.
Access to these online library materials and classes on third-party sites like Lynda requires a Richland Library card. Distribution of physical cards is on hold during the COVID-19 stay at home order, but register online for a card with a Richland County address, and you’ll get immediate access to Richland Library resources that can help make your law school (and pandemic) experience easier.
- Learn skills that will enhance your law training. Your J.D. will take you far, and extra skills can help you stand out. Your Richland Library card unlocks online classes from websites like Lynda.com for free, so you can choose any course in their vast collection to add to your resume. Check out their finance offerings to familiarize yourself with procedures, browse their extensive list of intellectual property videos for examples of how those laws apply to different types of creations, look through their spreadsheet and forms classes to find one that can help you (and your future employer) organize and make the most of your data, and more.
- Digitally explore new study area options. Although the physical branches of Richland Library are currently closed for health and safety, you can still use this time to explore the spaces they’ll have on offer when they reopen. Richland Library’s online booking system lets you view photographs of its study, meeting, and conference rooms to get a sense of their sizes and layouts; this is great information to have in case of future need and to have an alternative to campus spaces if those get too crowded.
- Take a mental break. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed while adjusting to the law school’s new norms, browse the digital materials offered by Richland Library. Rereading your favorite Harry Potter chapters via ebook, taking a self-help audio tome with you on a walk, paging through a digital comic between study chapters, listening to your favorite album to get through chores, watching a new movie or TV show before bed – all of these are free ways for you to distract or relax your brain until it’s ready to go again.
The following resources are great for your own information and any pro-bono clients you may be working with as well. These links are open to anyone who wants to view them and don’t require a Richland Library card.
- Navigate unemployment. If this virus has left you suddenly without a way of supporting yourself through school, don’t panic. The law school’s Career Services department is here for you. There are also a number of different options for unemployment benefits, and Richland Library’s I Am An Employee information page sorts them by type of work so you can find what you need based on what you do. If you are advising businesses that are trying to help their laid-off employees, or if you’re doing pro bono work with unemployed people, the I Am An Employee public library resource may be helpful to them.
- Keep track of COVID-19 information. As a UofSC law student, you can rely on sc.edu/safety/coronavirus for the latest information that applies to you. If you’re doing pro bono or volunteer work in Columbia, you can recommend Richland Library’s updated list of local data and sites to people who aren’t affiliated with the university.