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.

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.

Memory Hold the Door 2019

“During fall law school orientation, a few biographies from Memory Hold The Door are cited to highlight the professional virtues that law students and lawyers should cultivate. In addition, the Law Library curates a display that celebrates the lives and accomplishments of the highlighted honorees.” http://guides.law.sc.edu/MemoryHoldTheDoor/OrientationDisplays

This year, the display honors:

  • a lawyer who helped found both the American Bar Association and the South Carolina Bar Association in the 19th century;
  • a lawyer with a pivotal role in the 20th-century civil rights movement, who later became South Carolina’s first African-American federal judge; and
  • the City of Columbia’s first woman municipal judge, who later served in both Afghanistan and Azerbaijan helping develop emerging legal systems.

To learn more about these honorees, watch for future blog posts, or simply visit the display in the Coleman Karesh Reading Room on the second floor of the Law Library.

“To live for a time close to great minds is the best kind of education.” John Buchan, Memory Hold-the-Door 35 (1940).

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.