Category Archives: Using the Law Library

Public Library Resources for the UofSC Law Student

by guest author Melanie Griffin

Public Library symbolWhether 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.

Resource Review: ProQuest Coronavirus Research Database

by guest author Dan Brackmann

This month’s issue highlights ProQuest’s new Coronavirus Research Database. ProQuest built this database in response to the rapidly growing need for authoritative content related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The company is working together with institutions all over the world to offer support.

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Including coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak, this database curates openly available content related to coronaviruses. It includes thousands of open-access articles from the world’s leading publishers as well as current research from pre-print repositories such as arXiv and will continue to grow and evolve as more is learned about the pandemic.

You can get to the Coronavirus Research Database through this link: https://search.proquest.com/coronavirus

NOTE: To access this database, you may need to connect to ProQuest through the university’s VPN (Virtual Private Network) protocol (such as Cisco AnyConnect). More about what VPN is can be found at https://bit.ly/3dJSqof. Free VPN software can be downloaded from my.sc.edu under Purchase Computer Software.

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

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

Better Know a Study Aid

We asked Dean Wilcox how law students should use study aids, and he jokingly said, “Stack them up. They give you confidence.”

He is lightheartedly making a serious point. Simply having study aids does not boost results. In order to benefit from a study aid, you have to put significant time and effort into using it effectively.

The full list of study aids available for free checkout through the law library’s Circulation desk is at guides.law.sc.edu/studyaids.

Medical Aspects of Legal Research

Specialized Databases for Law and Medicine

Law students know that Google is usually not the most robust method of finding legal answers.

Google search "how to find answers to legal and medical issues?"

When thorough, accurate research is crucial, law students rely on the specialized online databases provided through the law library.

Likewise, medical students aren’t relying on Google or WebMD. They use their own specialized databases through the medical library.

Medical: AccessMedicine, ClinicalKey, Essential Evidence Plus, Harrison's Online, Ovid MEDLINE, PubMed. Legal: Lexis Advance, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law, HeinOnline

Frequently used resources, as found on the medical library’s website and on the law library’s website

You Can Use Medical Databases

Did you know that many of the medical library’s high-quality online databases are accessible even if you’re not affiliated with the School of Medicine?

Anyone can use these medical databases from any hardwired computer on the University of South Carolina campus, including the computers in the law library.

If you are using your own computer or mobile device, you will need a UofSC Network ID and password.

When Legal Researchers Might Use Medical Databases

Here are a few example scenarios in which legal researchers might benefit from medical library resources.

Health Law and Policy

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When doing legal research that analyzes healthcare-related laws or regulations from a policy perspective, medical resources may provide relevant statistics, as well as important insights from healthcare practitioners.

The medical library has gathered resources on:

Providing Resources for the Whole Client

decorativeSometimes lawyers are trying to help clients in specific situations connect with resources, where the legal aspect is only one component of the situation.

The medical library has gathered resources that may help people who experience:

Standard of Care

decorativeIn medical malpractice cases where the standard of care is at issue, the medical library’s resources may provide context and grounding for expert testimony.

A medical treatise alone is not enough to establish what the standard of care is in specific circumstances; expert testimony is needed. Botehlo v. Bycura, 282 S.C. 578, 584, 320 S.E.2d 59, 63 (Ct. App. 1984).

However, an expert must do more than testify that the doctor deviated from the expert’s “personal standard of care;” the expert must testify that the doctor fell short of “the generally accepted standard of care.” Guinan v. Tenet Healthsystems of Hilton Head, Inc., 383 S.C. 48, 57, 677 S.E.2d 32, 38 (Ct. App. 2009).

Medical library resources on practice guidelines may be helpful.

Understanding a Personal Injury

motorcycle accidentThe facts of some legal cases hinge on a physical injury.

Facts such as where on the body the injury occurred, how that body part is supposed to function, and how an injured person could be affected, may be crucial facts for a lawyer to understand in order to form a case strategy. They may also be critical facts for the judge and/or jury to understand in order to reach a certain result.

Medical library resources on anatomy may be helpful. After learning the correct medical terminology to refer to a body part or type of injury, it may be helpful to keyword-search medical databases such as AccessMedicine or ClinicalKey.

There Is No Substitute

To be clear, medical library resources are not a substitute for medical advice or medical care.

However, medical library resources are a significant step up from unvetted information found online.

screenshot of UofSC School of Medicine Library website

The main portal to the UofSC School of Medicine Library website: https://uscmed.sc.libguides.com

The author of this blog post, Eve Ross, thanks Laura Kane of the medical library for her assistance in navigating medical library resources.

Forms Books and Practice Aids

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.

Only a small portion of the form answer is shown here. Notice there are also references to topics and key numbers as well as to particular entries in the legal encyclopedia American Jurisprudence 2d. These references can help you do further research as needed.

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.

American Jurisprudence Legal Forms 2d

“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.”

American Jurisprudence Pleading and Practice Forms

“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.”

American Jurisprudence Proof of Facts

“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.”

American Jurisprudence Trials

“An encyclopedic guide to the modern practices, techniques, and tactics used in preparing and trying cases, with model programs for the handling of all types of litigation.”

Shepard’s Causes of Action

“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.”

West’s Legal Forms 

“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.”

Guide to Study Aids

Just in time for the pre-exam crunch, library staff member Amy Persons has created a browse-able guide to the study aids in the law library: http://guides.law.sc.edu/studyaids.

Our current guide only has the required 1L courses listed so far, as well as bar exam study aids. We’ll be going back to fill in 2L and 3L course topics soon!

Browse by Series

Are you a fan of a particular series of study aids? For example, if Glannon’s Torts study aid was helpful last semester, would you want to check and see if Glannon also offers a study aid for Property? If you learned a lot from the Examples & Explanations for Contracts, how about checking out the Examples & Explanations for Civil Procedure? Click the tab for a series to see all the 1L-course study aids offered in that series.

Browse by Topic

If you want all the study aids you can find for a particular class, click the tab for that course topic to see all the study aids we offer, from whatever series they may be, including standalone guides not part of any series.

What If It’s Checked Out?

The current versions of the study aid books are on the 1st floor, in the low shelves under the windows facing the student commons. If the current study aid you want is checked out, you may be able to find an older version on the shelf on the 2nd or 3rd floor of the library. Use the call number you find in our guide.

2nd floor: call numbers beginning with KF1 to KF2940
3rd floor: call numbers beginning with KF2972 to KF9817

Other Formats

Study aids aren’t limited to books. Our guide also helps you find flashcards, audio CDs, CALI lessons, and Kanopy streaming video.

Good luck on exams!

Book Your Study Room

Our study room reservation calendars are starting to look festive.

small group study room reservations as of 1:30 pm, 11/30/17

If you’re going to need a study room, book now to avoid disappointment.

How do I reserve a study room?

Go to libcal.law.sc.edu. Alternatively, go to the law library’s website, click on Quick Links, then click Reserve a Room.

Click on Large Group Study Rooms or Small Group Study Rooms. To book small group study rooms, there must be a minimum of 2 law students. To book large group study rooms, there must be a minimum of 3 law students.

Click the calendar date for your reservation.

Select the room you want. Click the (i) next to a room number to see a photo of the room and details of its capacity.

Study rooms inside the library are marked “– Library,” require that drinks are in spillproof containers and that no food is brought in, and are not available after the library closes (typically 11 pm or midnight during exams). For any study room, click on consecutive green half-hour slots, up to 3 hours per group per day maximum.

From there, follow the prompts to read our policies, submit names and emails of those reserving the room, and receive confirmation of the booking via email.

Can I just take the first room available, without reserving?

You are welcome to use an unoccupied study room without a reservation. However, if someone else has reserved it, you will have to leave. The odds of someone else having reserved any particular study room are higher this time of year, due to exams.

Can I leave my stuff in a study room for just a minute?

We ask that you not leave items unattended in a study room, due to the risk that items may become lost or stolen. Remember the law library is open to the public daily until 9 pm during exams. At a minimum, unattended or forgotten items may create a distraction for the next group using the room.

Could you please post your official, complete study-room policies as a block of fine print I could read? (I’m studying to become a lawyer.)
  1. Our group study rooms may be reserved only by USC School of Law students, staff, and faculty. Exceptions may be made for educational purposes on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by library administration.
  2. Bookings must be approved by Law Library circulation staff to ensure that all listed users are eligible to reserve the room. If your booking is made during the library’s operating hours, please allow for up to one hour for a response. Any bookings made when the library is closed will receive a response when the library opens.
  3. If you are unable to use the study room at your scheduled time, please be sure to cancel it at least 30 minutes before your booking starts, if possible. If a room that has an approved booking goes unoccupied after 30 minutes, that booking will be canceled.
  4. You may reserve the room for three hours per day per group. Reservations must be for consecutive time slots or your reservation may be canceled i.e. you may not request every other 30 minute time slot over a six-hour span.
  5. If no one has reserved the room after your time allotment, you may stay past the end of your booked time slot. If you decide to extend your booked time while you’re in the room, please use this website to do so.
  6. If there is any damage to the room, report it to the Law Library circulation desk immediately.  Failure to do so may result in you being charged for the damage.
  7. If you have any questions about your booking, please speak to a staff member at the Law Library circulation desk, but please know that Law Library staff will not be responsible for mediating any conflicts between parties regarding bookings.
  8. All rooms should be equipped with dry erase materials. If you need replacements, please see the Law Library circulation desk.
  9. Please direct any questions or concerns about study room technology to IT at lawhelp@law.sc.edu.
  10. These rooms do not lock, so please do not leave possessions unattended. The USC School of Law is not responsible for lost or stolen items.