Monday, November 21, 2016

Spring 2017 Legal Research Courses

The BC Law librarians will be offering 6 legal research courses during Spring 2017.  The course offerings are Advanced Legal Research (2 sections), Bankruptcy Law Research, Insurance and Civil Litigation Research, Intellectual Property Research, International Legal Research and Research for Criminal Law Practitioners. Course descriptions, class times, and detailed syllabi are posted on Agora. Questions? Please stop by and chat with the librarians if you would like guidance on choosing a research course.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pop Culture Trivia Contest in the Library!

Hello all!  The Law Library is having a trivia contest this week!  Come test your pop culture knowledge and answer a new question every day.  A winner will be drawn from the correct entries daily--so you'll have 5 chances to win a pretty swanky movie prize package: popcorn, candy, and an Amazon gift card to order your favorite rental.  A pretty sweet deal and all the fixings you need for a relaxing movie night at home.  Curl up with your winnings over Thanksgiving or treat yourself to a rest day before finals!

Come stop at the Information or Reference desk to participate!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Legal Trends Report 2016: Where Have All the Billable Hours Gone?

A few weeks ago, Clio, the legal industry's largest practice management software company, released its Legal Trends Report 2016.  Clio analyzed data collected from 40,000 users to provide insights into the current state of the legal industry.  Because Clio obtained the data primarily from solo practices and small to mid-sized firms, the study is particularly relevant to this large sector which is often under-represented in data analytics. Some of the highlights of the report are:
  • average lawyer billing rates by state (DC and NY have the highest average billing rates, but when the state's cost of living is taken into consideration, NV actually has the highest adjusted average lawyer billing rate)
  • average lawyer billing rates by practice area (bankruptcy, corporate law, conveyancing and tax lawyers have the highest average billing rates)
  • some practice areas have high seasons for billable hours (tax, family law) and some practice areas have consistent billings (personal injury)
  • on the average, lawyers log 2.2 billable hours per each 8 hour day
  • on the average, lawyers actually billed 1.8 hours per each 8 hour day
  • on the average, lawyers collected payment for 1.5 hours per each 8 hour day

Included in the report is a section entitled "Death by a Thousand Cuts" which focuses on the astounding information that the average small firm lawyer receives payment for less than two hours out of each full day of work.  Clio suggests reasons behind the inefficiency so that law firms and lawyers can make informed decisions to improve their efficiency.

Complimentary copies of Clio's Legal Trends Report 2016 are available for download here.  

Complimentary PLI webinar: Representing Children in Immigration Matters

On November 22, 2016, starting at 1 pm Eastern Time, Practising Law Institute (PLI) is offering a complimentary webinar, Representing Children in Immigration Matters:  Effective Advocacy and Best Ethical Practices.  The webinar will cover ethical issues in representing noncitizen children, including problems and issues in representing children who are asylum applicants or who are applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.  Click here to view the program description and pre-register online (nota bene:  select 'webinar' as the location in order to pre-register-- the live program has sold out).

Boston College Law School students, faculty and staff have complimentary access PLI's entire catalog of treatises, handbooks, answer books and legal forms and also have access to many seminar transcripts and course materials via the Practising Law Institute Discover PLUS database.  These treatises and materials cover a broad range of topics and practice from the ABCs of Broker-Dealer Regulation to Wrongful Convictions to Keys to Outsourcing and Offshoring. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Election Fraud! Voter Intimidation! Early Voting!

If you are interested in learning more about the laws behind major issues being discussed in the current Presidential election, here is one tip for conducting election law research.

Photo by Justgrimes used under Creative Commons License
Start with a Great Research Guide/Resource Center

Whenever you are researching an unfamiliar area of law it is always a good idea to start with a secondary source that explains the law, such as a research guide.  To identify the best guides, look at authority and currency.  Is the guide from an authoritative source, for example a law school library?  How current is the guide?  Laws change frequently so it is best to use the most recent, authoritative sources that are available.

Here are a couple great resources to get you started.

This very thorough guide provides a handy introduction and an annotated list of key resources.  For those doing more in-depth research, there are pages on Election Statistics, Primary Resources, and more.

This research guide is a great example of a collection of resources for state specific materials, in this case Massachusetts.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is a non-profit devoted to furthering the interests of state legislatures.  NCSL has many helpful collections of resources on state law topics including state election law.  This collection contains, resources in four major areas: campaign finance; election laws and procedures; election results and analysis; and initiative and referendum.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Learning to Learn Smarter through Cognitive Psychology

It’s not about working harder; it’s about working smarter.  Louis Schulze’s recent posts in the faculty lounge blog provide scientifically based practical advice to make your studying more effective.   Posts so far cover retrieval practice, metacognitions and self-regulated learning, spaced repetition, and cognitive schema theory.  Read them and improve your law school performance.

Illustration by Enokson made available under a Creative Commons Attribution license

Friday, October 14, 2016

From Justis to JustisOne

Justis Publishing, the London-based legal information provider behind Justis and JustCite----two leading databases for UK legal research, has unveiled its newest research platform----JustisOne. This new “intelligent” research platform has greatly expanded the content of its predecessor, Justis, and will become an online legal library with “one of the largest collections of case law and legislation ever assembled” from countries including the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada. As the go-to place for UK legal research, JustisOne provides UK case law from 1855 onward and statutes from 1235 onward.

In addition to “more content”, JustisOne has also packed the new research platform with enhanced features and made it easier for users to find, analyze, and understand the law. JustisOne incorporates features from JustCite, a citator service that helps researchers identify the relationships between case law and legislation. Other features such as categorization, precedent map, sourcelink, and multiview are designed to give researchers more efficiency in the legal research process, better control of the navigation and deeper insights into the materials.

A long-term subscriber of Justis and JustCite, BC Law Library is currently in negotiation with Justis Publishing to upgrade its subscription to JustisOne. BC Law community is expected to have full access to JustisOne by the end of October.