Friday, May 20, 2016

Legal Research Fall 2016: Sections Open for Enrollment

Hello students!  Those of you who are still adjusting your Fall 2016 schedule of classes, consider enrolling in a legal research course.  There is still space in both Environmental Legal Research and Tax Law Research.  You'll learn the same skillset as in Advanced Legal Research, but focused on a specialized area.  Don't miss out on the opportunity for one of these great classes, as they are not offered every semester.

Past ALR students can attest to the skills they learned through the courses.  Students especially enjoy a chance to show their competitive side in Legal Research Jeopardy at the end of the semester.  Just look at the smiles on this semester's champion team from Mary Ann Neary and Anupama Pal's ALR class:

Monday, May 16, 2016

HathiTrust May Aid Your Federal Legislative History Research

While doing federal legislative research, users often run into documents published on the United States Congressional Serial Set. The Serial Set, often considered a “must” for people collecting legislative history documents, began its publication from the 15th Congress in 1817 and contains the numbered House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. Although the print volumes of the Serial Set have adorned the shelves of many of the nations’ law libraries, little do people know that digital copies of most of those volumes also exist in HathiTrust----one of the world’s largest and first-of-its-kind shared digital library.

HathiTrust, a partnership of academic and research institutions, was launched in 2008 with a mission to preserve the cultural record and make it accessible long into the future. Hathi (pronounced hah-tee) is the Hindi word for elephant, an animal highly praised for its memory, wisdom, and strength. Initially conceived as a collaboration of 13 universities, HathiTrust has now grown to include over 110 members from around the world, including Boston College.

To locate the volumes of the Serial Set in HathiTrust, users may first locate HathiTrust through the Law Library’s Database List, and search for the title in the database. To locate other relevant documents, users may narrow down or expand the searches by paying attention to the filters on the left, for example, relevant “subjects” or “authors.” For works in the public domain, as many of the Serial Set volumes are, the digital content in HathiTrust is open to all users—whoever and wherever they may be.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Cast your vote in the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

The ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law have announced the finalists for the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.  The prize is awarded annually for the book in the legal fiction genre published during the preceding year which best exemplifies the role that lawyers play in society to effect change.  The winner will be chosen by a panel of five judges with an online public poll serving as the sixth judge.  This year's finalists are:

Allegiance, by Kermit Roosevelt, a legal thriller involving a conspiracy to influence the U.S. Supreme Court as it considers the constitutionality of the internment of Japanese-Americans.  A pair of U.S. Supreme Court law clerks stumble upon and begin to delve into the conspiracy.  When one judicial clerk is murdered, the other becomes all the more determined to figure out just what is going on and to help put a stop to it.  Word on the street is that Korematsu v. United States figures prominently in this book, and that the author draws parallels between the xenophobia of 1940s America and today's political climate.  The author teaches conflicts of law and constitutional law at University of Pennsylvania Law School, served as law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter and is the great-great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.  In addition to Allegiance, he has written several other books, including another work of legal fiction, Shadow of the Law, and legal treatises such as, Judicial Activism:  Making Sense of Supreme Court Decisions.

Pleasantville, by Attica Locke, a legal thriller involving a burnt-out environmental lawyer who is ready to leave the practice of law to focus on his family.  However, a female political campaign volunteer disappears just before the Houston mayorial election and is later found murdered.  The suspect is the campaign manager for one of the leading candidates and also happens to be exceedingly wealthy with close family ties to political power.  The lawyer agrees to take one last case defending the campaign manager, and puts himself and the political process on trial as well as his client.

Tom & Lucky and George & Cokey Flo, by C. Joseph Greaves, is a combination of an historical novel and a courtroom drama.  The Tom of the title is Thomas E. Dewey, a young prosecutor (and later presidential candidate) who is responsible for bringing to justice the most powerful crime boss in America, Charles "Lucky" Luciano.  The George of the title is Luciano's defense attorney, George Morton Levy, and the Cokey Flo is Cokey Flo Brown, a prostitute who is a key witness in the case against Luciano.  The author is a former L.A. trial attorney (and Boston College Law School alumnus) whose discovery of two skulls in a Utah canyon inspired his first legal thriller, Hard Twisted

Cast your vote for the next winner of the Harper Lee Prize here.  Voting closes at midnight on July 11, 2016.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Law Library Summer Resources

Finals are almost over and summer is almost here.  The taste of freedom is sweet.  However, since many of you will be working hard this summer it's important to know that law library resources are still available to you during the summer months.

Students will have access to databases and other resources all summer long - just remember that if you are off campus, you'll need to access databases through the school's VPN network.  Navigating to databases through the Law Library's Database List will be your best option for easy access.

Students will also have varying levels of access to Westlaw, Bloomberg Law, and Lexis Advance during the summer.


Westlaw student passwords will provide 40 hours of access each month during the months of June and July unless the password is extended for summer use. If you require extensive access to Westlaw for educational purposes (i.e., law review or journal work, moot court-related research, projects for a professor, non-profit public interest internships/ externships, or pro bono work) you may register to extend your password for summer access. You can find more information about extending your password by visiting

New law school graduates may extend their Westlaw access through bar exam results by completing a short survey found at This extension will begin on June 1st and last through November 30th, 2016.  It will allow students a total of 60 hours of Westlaw access during that time period.

Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law usernames and passwords stay active throughout the summer.  Bloomberg places no restrictions on the use of Bloomberg Law.  Boston College Law students may use Bloomberg Law for any purpose, including research for employers.  Bloomberg encourages students to use Bloomberg Law all summer, every day.  If you haven’t already registered with Bloomberg Law and would like to do so, register at  You do not need an activation code; however you do need to use your email address when registering.  If you have any questions, please contact Bloomberg Law’s 24/7 Help Desk at 1-888-560-BLAW or

New law school graduates may continue to use Boston College Law School’s subscription to Bloomberg Law for six months after graduation.  

Lexis Advance

Lexis Advance BC IDs will remain active all summer. Students will have unlimited access to Lexis Advance for both educational use and for use in summer associate, internship, and/or clerkship positions. So long as you are a registered Lexis Advance user, you don’t need to do anything to get summer access - your BC ID is all you need. If you don’t have a Lexis Advance ID or have forgotten your password, contact Patricia Dickerson at

All May 2016 graduates, 3Ls and LLMs alike, will automatically retain Lexis Advance access for 6 months after graduation.  Continue to use the same username and password you use for law school purposes.  If you don’t have a Lexis Advance ID or have forgotten your password, contact Patricia Dickerson at  All May 2016 graduates engaged in verifiable 501(c)(3) public interest work can apply for the Lexis ASPIRE program.  To apply for the Lexis ASPIRE program, visit

If you are struggling with a research project this summer, keep in mind the law library's many research guides that can be access 24/7.  You can also reach out to your friendly BC law library during the summer - we are open and here to help year round!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Happy World Intellectual Property Day

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) established April 26 as World Intellectual Property Day in 2000 to promote discussion of the role of intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) in encouraging innovation and creativity.   This year’s theme is Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined.
Here at BC Law we recognize World Intellectual Property Day in our Intellectual Property Research course, next offered in the spring of 2017 along with Bankruptcy law Research, Insurance Law and Civil Litigation Research, International Legal Research, and Research for Criminal Law Practitioners.  If you can't wait that long for a topical legal research class, in Fall 2016 we are offering Environmental Legal Research and Tax Law Research.  If you are planning on practicing in any of these areas, or if you just have an interest in one of them, consider adding it to your schedule.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Adding to the Law Library's List of Databases: Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England & Wales

ICLR recently decided to offer digital access to their content on their own proprietary platform.  This content could formerly be found in both Lexis and Westlaw but has been removed from Lexis and will no longer be available on Westlaw by the end of 2016.

ICLR Online includes the full suite of UK case law in the Law Reports (1865 – present) and Weekly Law Reports (1953 – present), plus Industrial Case Reports (ICR, from 1972), Business Law Reports (Bus LR, from 2007), Public & Third Sector Law Reports (PTSR); and two case summary services, Case Notes (CN) and WLR Daily.  

A retrieved case can be viewed in HTML (with live links to other cases) and browsed by clicking ahead to segments of the document, such as “Catchwords,” Facts, Judgments and Orders. Users can also click through to appearances of search terms (“next match”). Cases can be viewed, printed or downloaded in PDF format. 

If you are looking up UK law, you've got this great resource at your fingertips through the Law Library List of Databases.  The List of Databases is highlighted on the BC Law Library website and lists all the databases you have access to as a member of the BC Law community.  

Click on the list link and navigate from the alphabetically listing of databases to ICRL.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Get Bloomberg Law Certified!

Are you heading to a firm with Bloomberg Law this summer?  Are you interested in learning more about Bloomberg Law’s transactional and litigation tools and resources?  If so, complete Bloomberg Law’s online certification program and get prepared for practice.

Bloomberg Law now offers certification in the following areas:
  • Introduction and Navigation
  • Fundamental Legal Research
  • Transactional Law
  • Litigation

To become certified in each area, you’ll watch a few videos and take short quizzes.  Upon successful completion of the quizzes, you’ll receive notification of completion and will be able say that you are Bloomberg Law certified!  Bloomberg Law Certification is a good way to show employers you have taken the time to practice and refine your research skills as well as a nice way to show on your resume that you’re prepared to practice.

To learn more about Bloomberg Law Certification and to start becoming certified, log into your Bloomberg Law account and click on the Bloomberg Law Certification Program link.

If you haven't yet created a Bloomberg Law account, visit to create your account today.  Be sure to register with your email address.

And remember – you can use your Bloomberg Law account all summer long no matter what your summer work plans are!