Category Archives: Technology

Free 5-Part Legal Research Webinar Series for Librarians

Law librarians at the University of South Carolina School of Law have presented a five-part webinar series designed to provide public librarians and academic librarians the knowledge and skills to help their patrons with basic legal research.

screenshot of https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCES4xRifDCfuNX9W6GbV01w

In partnership with the South Carolina Library Association (SCLA), law librarians recorded each webinar. The series is now available for free on SCLA’s YouTube channel.

screenshot of https://guides.law.sc.edu/CircuitRiders/UofSC Law Library’s Circuit Riders: Basic Legal Research Training guide includes additional context for the webinars.

Legal Research Series Part 1:
The Law and Legal Reference Interview
Terrye Conroy
Legal Research Series Part 2:
Secondary Sources & Topical Research Guides
Aaron Glenn
Legal Research Series Part 3:
Local, State, and Federal Codes
Eve Ross
Legal Research Series Part 4:
State and Federal Regulations
Rebekah Maxwell
Legal Research Series Part 5:
State & Federal Cases, Court Rules & Forms
Dan Brackmann

Professor Terrye Conroy pioneered the concept of law librarians training public librarians and academic librarians on legal research in order to compensate for gaps in legal information services to the public. Her work on the Circuit Riders Outreach Program began in 2007 with in-person workshops throughout the state of South Carolina, was sustained through many iterations including these five webinars in 2020, and continues in the Circuit Riders: Basic Legal Research Training guide on the UofSC Law Library website. Much gratitude goes to Professor Conroy, who retired June 30, 2020, for this tremendous legacy of education and service.

Resource Review: The (New) Library Catalog

by guest author Dan Brackmann

Recently we, along with a very large chunk of the other colleges and universities in South Carolina, made a major switch in the software that we use to manage and search our library holdings. You may think of it as our “catalog program.” This software includes a lot of new features and quirks, so this issue will be dedicated to highlighting some of them.

screenshot of Advanced Search view of the catalog (image is linked to the page shown)

Things to note include:

  • Always sign-in using your university login credentials and the light blue link in the upper-right corner. Signing-in allows you to request items (including from partner libraries), save searches, and more easily access electronic resources.

 

  • Search filters appear in a column to the left of results. The filter under Availability called “Held by Library” filters to show you only items in our print collection.

 

  • Unless you know the Library of Congress subject heading for your topic, browsing by subject is best done through the “New Search” tab in the top ribbon using keywords. Author and title browsing can be done through the “Browse” tab.

 

  • “UofSC Databases” in the top row of tabs means the databases supplied by the main campus library. Law Library-supplied databases are under “Law Databases.”

 

  • Boolean search operators must be placed in all-caps.

If you have any trouble with the new catalog, please reach out to our reference librarians for assistance. You can reach us at lawref@law.sc.edu, M-F 9AM-5PM.

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

Remotely Prepare for the Bar with UofSC Law Library

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.

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.

Malware, Big Fish, and Law School Gatherings

Q: What do malware, big fish, and law school gatherings have in common?
A: Cybersecurity.
Malware: Wolters Kluwer / CCH Outage
Wolters Kluwer Maintenance - We are currently undergoing unscheduled maintenance. Our technical teams are working as quickly as possible to restore systems. We appreciate your patience during this time.

Error message received from Wolters Kluwer

Customers of Wolters Kluwer (WK) have been notified that malware was discovered on the WK network. The law library subscribes to more than 800 searchable databases through WK, primarily in the area of tax law, and has experienced an outage in this service.

According to an email sent by WK and received by the law library this morning, WK is “in the process of scanning, testing, and restoring each service and application. . . . In short, the service interruptions you have experienced are primarily the result of [WK’s] aggressive, precautionary efforts to ensure the safety of your data. This is why at this time [WK is] confident that [they] see no indication of data loss or other effects, nor any potential risk to [their] customers’ data.”

The cybersecurity blog Krebs on Security has published and updated a post entitled What’s Behind the Wolters Kluwer Tax Outage? The law firm librarian blog Dewey B. Strategic has published several posts on the outage and the process of bringing the service back online, including Wolters Kluwer Responds …  and Wolters Kluwer … Posts Online Guide to Track Restored Features.

Big Fish: Aaron Glenn Publishes Phishing Update for SC Lawyers
BAR BYTES - Phishing Update - "A Whale of a Tale" By Aaron Glenn, JD, MLIS

Aaron Glenn’s anti-phishing article

Reference librarian Aaron Glenn has written a guest “Bar Bytes” column on page 14 in the May 2019 issue of South Carolina Lawyer magazine, entitled Phishing Update – “A Whale of a Tale.” The article’s goal is to enable lawyers and all employees of law offices to spot email messages that are designed to “trick recipients into revealing secrets and clicking on links or attached files that contain malware.”

The article is available free online. Also, the law library has several hard copies of the magazine near the circulation desk and at tables on the 3rd floor.

CYBERSECURITY - tabs Recent Books on Cybersecurity, Academic Journals, Practitioner Newsletters, Government reports, Task Forces and Institutes, How to Get These Books - book covers "The ABA Cybersecurity Handbook" and "Cybersecurity for the Home and Office"

UofSC Law Library’s cybersecurity guide – https://guides.law.sc.edu/cybersecurity

In the article, Professor Glenn encourages readers to explore the information and resources on the UofSC Law Library’s cybersecurity guide. This research guide provides curated links to recent books, articles, and more, to suit the needs of practicing lawyers or of academic legal researchers who recognize the need to learn more about cybersecurity.

Law School Gatherings: UofSCLaw Cybersecurity Institute
bookshelf containing books on cybersecurity

Cybersecurity book display at UofSC Law Library that was timed to coincide with the April 2019 Cybersecurity Institute

Highlights of South Carolina Law’s first Cybersecurity Institute appear in the newsletter Cyberinsecurity News. The first Institute was held April 4, 2019 at the School of Law in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The write-up concludes with an assurance that South Carolina Law has already begun planning for the 2020 Cybersecurity Institute, which will again provide helpful, updated insights from government and private security experts.

Pop-Up Tech Talks

Law librarian Aaron Glenn describes new features of Westlaw Edge to 1Ls Angelica Padgett and Destinee Wilson

What Are Pop-Up Tech Talks?

Tech Talks are 5-minutes-or-less quick demonstrations of tips and tricks that law students can use both now, and in practice.

The purpose of the Pop-Up Tech Talks is to provide the most relevant tech skills law students need, in as little time as possible.

Don’t Have Time?

Law librarian Eve Ross provides a handout to 1L Andrew Wood about Boolean searching with the NOT operator

There is no need to set aside a full hour or miss other great lunch-hour presentations in order to get the information from a Tech Talk. You can glean quick tips and tricks if you stop by a Tech Talk for just a minute or two.

If you don’t have even one minute, it takes no time at all to grab a handout and keep walking to your destination. You can wait to read the handout until a more convenient time. That’s why every Tech Talk takes place in a high-foot-traffic area, and includes a hard copy handout.

Missed a Tech Talk? Lost the Handout?

You can always go to law.sc.edu/techtalks to find the schedule and handouts for the Tech Talks.

Here is the list of Tech Talk topics from Spring 2019, with links to the handouts:

January 2019:
February 2019:
March 2019:
How Did Pop-Up Tech Talks Start?

Law librarian Dan Brackmann demonstrates how to save time by automating repetitive documents at a Pop-Up Tech Talk

In 2018-19, the University of South Carolina Law Library took the lead in organizing a Pop-Up Tech Talks series at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

The format was adapted from AJ Blechner’s and Heather Joy’s “Lightning Lessons,” but the topics were expanded beyond legal research to include contributors from academic technology, career services, legal writing, and pro bono.

Gary Moore of Academic Technology gave the first Tech Talk in Fall 2018, entitled “Backing Up Your Computer.” In Spring 2019, 15 more tech talks were given by eight different contributors, some in the Student Commons and some in the Perrin Family Lobby.

Legal Research Takes Off!

We’re excited for our 1Ls who are doing the research for their first open memo this week. This is how it feels when your legal research takes off!

Highlights: 2017 ABA Journal Web 100

Click the image to access the 2017 Web 100 at ABAJournal.com

As recently as last year, ABA Journal used to list the top 100 law-related blogs (also known as blawgs). Now they list 50 blogs, 25 podcasts, and 25 Twitter accounts in the ABA Journal Web 100.

We’ve selected a few of this year’s Web 100 that may be of particular interest to USC School of Law students. We include a brief note as to why students might be interested, and links to recent posts. Check out our picks from 2016, too.

Blogs

Education Law Prof Blog

Professor Derek Black is an editor.

Evidence Prof Blog

Dean Colin Miller is an editor.

Financial Panther

A millennial lawyer shares his techniques, including side hustles, for paying off significant law school loans in less than 3 years.

The Last Gen-X American

A lawyer and data scientist (Matt Leichter) analyzes data on law student debt, in a blog formerly known as the Law School Tuition Bubble.

Podcasts

Digital Edge

Sharon Nelson (a recent speaker in the Legal IT Seminar series) and Jim Calloway talk about how lawyers can best use new technology.

Law School Toolbox

This podcast and its accompanying blog provide advice on law school, bar exams, and starting out in the legal profession. The team is Lee Burgess and Alison Monaghan.

Undisclosed

Dean Colin Miller is one of three team members. First, Undisclosed looked into State v. Adnan Syed, going beyond what was covered in the Serial podcast. Later episodes delve into details of other cases.

Thanks to ABA Journal for spotlighting so much great material. Browse the complete Web 100 here.

Chat and Text with the Law Library

The law library is proud to announce that the same reference services that have long been available by phone, by email, and in person at the reference desk are now also available via online chat on our website, as well as by text to 803-219-2529.

We hope law students will find chat and text to be convenient ways to interact with the law library.

How to Use our Chat

When you see the “Chat now with a reference librarian” indicator on our website, you may click on it to begin a chat.

This message appears on our website when a reference librarian is available for chat.

Then a widget will pop up. Type in the lower portion of the widget to chat, and press Enter to send your message to the librarian. The librarian’s response will appear as part of a conversation with you in the upper portion of the widget. The chat software also allows you to send a file to the librarian, or to email a transcript of the chat to yourself.

This chat widget pops up when you click “Chat now with a reference librarian” to begin a chat.

Hours of Chat Availability

Reference chat is only available during our standard reference hours, Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, on days when the library is open. Because at times the reference librarian may be responding to multiple needs, chat may be temporarily unavailable during reference hours. During busy times and off-hours, online patrons will be advised that email may be the best way to contact us, so that we can reply as soon as we are able. Our email address is lawref@law.sc.edu.

This message appears on our website when no reference librarian is available for chat.

Reporting Noise Issues via Chat

The circulation desk also has an online chat component available through our website for reporting noise issues in the library. The same caveat applies as to the chat function occasionally being unavailable when circulation librarians attend to other duties, and at that point phone reporting is recommended.

When this message appears on our website, circulation staff is available for chat.

When no circulation staff is available for chat, this message appears on our website.

Federal Rules of Evidence online

Taking a deep dive into the Federal Rules of Evidence? Here’s how to find searchable, annotated versions of the FRE on Westlaw and Lexis Advance, as well as how to find the official pdf version from the US Government Publishing Office.

Westlaw version (searchable, annotated)
  1. Log in to Westlaw.
  2. Click “Federal Materials,” then “United States Code Annotated (USCA).”
  3. Scroll down, just below Title 28, then click on “Federal Rules of Evidence.”
  4. At this point, any terms you enter in the search box will be searched throughout the FRE, or you can click the checkboxes next to particular rules first, in order to narrow the search to just those rules.
  5. Clicking the link to a particular rule will provide the text of the rule, Notes of Decisions (case law interpreting the rule), and Citing References (all primary and secondary materials available on Westlaw that cite to that rule; use filters to narrow this down).
Lexis Advance version (searchable, annotated)
  1. Log in to Lexis Advance.
  2. Click “Browse,” then “Sources,” then type USCS and click on “USCS – Federal Rules Annotated” in the list of suggestions, then click the magnifying glass to search.
  3. Click the link to “Table of Contents – USCS – Federal Rules Annotated.”
  4. To the right of “Federal Rules of Evidence,” there is a magnifying glass with a plus sign. Clicking this will narrow your search to just the Federal Rules of Evidence.
  5. To the left of “Federal Rules of Evidence” is a triangle. Clicking this triangle will expand the rules you can choose from. Clicking the link to a particular rule will provide the text of the rule, Interpretive Notes and Decisions (case law interpreting the rule), and a link to Shepardize the rule (this reveals all primary and secondary materials available on Lexis Advance that cite to the rule; options to narrow these results are on the left side of the screen).
US Government Publishing Office version (official)

The gpo.gov website is free; no login is needed. The pdfs available on the site have wide margins that are great for marking up with your own notes. Most importantly, these pdfs are official sources of law provided by the federal government.

PDF version of Federal Rules of Evidence on gpo.gov (93 pages; may load slowly)