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.
Law students know that Google is usually not the most robust method of finding legal answers.
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.
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
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.
In 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).
The 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.
The author of this blog post, Eve Ross, thanks Laura Kane of the medical library for her assistance in navigating medical library resources.
Q: What do malware, big fish, and law school gatherings have in common?
Malware: Wolters Kluwer / CCH Outage
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.”
Big Fish: Aaron Glenn Publishes Phishing Update for SC Lawyers
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
The IRS allows tax returns to be e-filed for free. Depending on the taxpayer’s income, free help in filling out the forms (whether through software, in person, or both) may also be available.
Free Fillable Forms
Everyone can file their individual federal income tax return free electronically, no matter what their income, with free fillable forms. However, these are only the forms, without guidance on how to fill them out.
Those with incomes below $66,000 can opt for free brand-name software that guides the user in how to fill out tax forms. Some free software options also provide free state tax return filing. The information is here: irs.gov/freefile
Free In-Person Help
Those with incomes below $55,000 can also get free in-person help doing their taxes. Hours and addresses of VITA sites local to University of South Carolina School of Law—including the law school itself through the Pro Bono program—are here.
As the new year dawns, published works from 1923 enter the public domain. These works were originally slated to lose copyright protection in 1999.
The Public Domain
When a work is in the public domain, that means it is not protected by copyright. People are free to perform or copy the work, or to create new works based on it, without limiting their use to what is allowable as fair use, and without going through the often confusing and potentially expensive process of figuring out whose permission is needed and obtaining that permission.
If Congress had not passed that law, works published in 1923 would have entered the public domain on New Year’s Day 1999, because that’s when their 75-year term of copyright protection would have expired.
The extended 95-year term expires 20 years after January 1, 1999; in other words, today—January 1, 2019.
Examples of 1923 Works
Here are a few popular works that enter the public domain today because they were first published in 1923:
Cecil B. DeMille’s original silent movie “The Ten Commandments,” which he remade more famously in 1956.