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.
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.
In a timely move, HeinOnline has debuted its Presidential Impeachment Library. “The library collects resources related to all four U.S. presidents who have faced impeachment. Organized by the four affected presidents, this collection brings together a variety of documents both contemporaneous and asynchronous to each president’s impeachment, presenting both a snapshot of the political climate as each impeachment played out and the long view history has taken of each proceeding.”
The library also includes relevant Congressional Research Service reports as well as a curated list of scholarly articles, external links, and a bibliography, providing avenues for further resarch on this topic. One of these is the ever-growing Whistleblower Complaint on Ukraine, compiled by Kelly Smith at UC San Diego, which brings together offical documents related to the whistleblower complaint and impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. Hein plans to continue expanding its collection with new material, particularly as it becomes available for the current investigation into Donald Trump.
Find HeinOnline from the main library page:
If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Now that summer’s here, there’s time to catch up on some true crime podcasts. There are plenty to choose from, and who knows? You might learn something relevant to your Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, or Evidence classes… painlessly.
Undisclosed may not be first alphabetically, but it’s first on our list because USC School of Law’s own Colin Miller is part of the team. Undisclosed investigates and analyzes the Adnan Syed case as well as other cases in which convictions are troubling due to additional evidence that did not make it to court. As law librarians, we love that the case files are available on the Undisclosed website, so listeners can take a deeper dive into the legal research.
Criminal’s appeal is that it looks at different types of crime—not always the grisliest or most shocking—and examines the broader impact of those crimes on society. The creators interview perpetrators, victims, and families. One episode touches on the First Amendment implications of writing a book on how to commit murder for hire. The federal court case it references is Rice v. Paladin Enters., Inc., 128 F.3d 233 (4th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 118 S. Ct. 1515 (1998).
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
Study aids aren’t limited to books. Our guide also helps you find flashcards, audio CDs, CALI lessons, and Kanopy streaming video.
A $500 prize is available in an essay competition open to current law students.
Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives.
The winner and the runner-upwill have the opportunity to publish their essays in the scholarly journal Unbound: A Review of Legal History and Rare Books. Past issues of this journal are available on HeinOnline.
Essay Competition Details:
Please see the flyer below for more information, and see the website of the Legal History and Rare Books Section of the American Association of Law Libraries for full details and an application.
How to access Unbound: A Review of Legal History and Rare Books on HeinOnline:
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.
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.