Monday, June 22, 2015

Pending Federal Rules Changes

The Supreme Court has transmitted to Congress the latest proposed changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. One change will abrogate Rule 84 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure  and the Appendix of Forms.  In its transmittal letter detailing the background of these proposed changes, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference noted that due to the many alternative sources of forms, including the Administrative Office of the Courts website, the district courts' websites  and "local law libraries that contain many commercially published forms, Rule 84 and the Appendix of Forms are no longer necessary and have been abrogated."

Unless there are amendments from Congress, these rule changes will be effective December 1, 2015. The full text of the rules and the Judicial Conference documents can be found on the U.S. Courts website. Will law libraries field more requests for forms sources?  We'll find out.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The 20th Edition of the Bluebook is here!

Updates are being made in the world of legal citation.  The publishers of The Bluebook have released the 20th edition.  As you prepare for the new academic year, keep in mind that the 20th edition will now be the resource to use when writing law review articles and the like.  If you have online access through, you will be able to access the 20th edition by selecting it from the Version drop down menu located under the sign in area without any additional fees.  If you prefer print access – the BC Bookstore will be stocking the 20th edition as the new academic year gets closer.

As with every update of The Bluebook, there have been some changes made to various rules.  One exciting change is the inclusion Rule 18.2.1(d).  This rule references the archiving of internet sources, with citation examples using Perma (  This should be very helpful to those of you working on law reviews and journals!

If you have citation questions, or library needs during the summer, know we are still here to help.  You can even still check out materials from our Popular Reading or DVD Collections!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

New transactional tools on BloombergLaw

Boston College Law School students and faculty now have access to a new tool for transactional practice. Bloomberg Law launched its BloombergLaw: Corporate Transactions tool in late May 2015.  It is a web-based drafting tool that pulls language from over one million documents in public filings with the SEC to create a draft agreement based on market standard language. In addition, researchers can use the Corporate Transactions tool to compare a draft agreement with language appearing in public filings. The tool offers a draft analyzer, deal analytics, and practical guidance. Seconary sources, such as checklists, sample clauses, and timelines, are part of the product. This product is similar to Lexis Practice Advisor Tool and Thomson Reuter's Drafting Assistant.

Check the Law Library's research guide to transactional tools for more resources.

Screenshot of Bloomberg Law's Corporate Transactions button

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Learn about the new Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct via MCLE OnlinePass

On March 26, 2015, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court adopted amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct.  These amendments are the most extensive changes to the rules since 1998 and will take effect on July 1, 2015.  The text of the amended rules, as well as the text of the rules in effect until June 30, 2015 are available here. There is no substitute for carefully reading and studying the rules.  I encourage all of our current students and new grads to read the new rules through at least once during the seven remaining weeks before they go into effect.
MCLE is offering a two hour program, Understanding the Revised Rules of Professional Conduct.  The program will cover the major changes to the rules as well as the developments in technology and in the practice of law which brought about the new rules and the policies upon which the amendments are based.  The live program is open to law students, new grads and pending admittees to the bar at a specially discounted rate.  The program will take place live at noon on June 19th at the MCLE Conference Center, 10 Winter Street, Boston.  It will also be available via simultaneous webcast and, for those who can't make it on June 19th, there will be a recorded webcast available on demand anytime after June 26th.  An added bonus is that the live and recorded webcast programs are free to Boston College Law School faculty, students and staff via our MCLE OnlinePass subscription. 

Register for the Live Program.  ($60 for students and new grads)

Register for Simultaneous Webcast (free to BCLS students, faculty & staff)

Register for Recorded Webcast (free to BCLS students, faculty & staff)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cast your vote for the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

The ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law have announced the finalists for the 2015 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 is chosen by a panel of four judges with an online public poll serving as the fifth judge.  This year's finalists are:

The Secret of Magic, by Deborah Johnson

My Sister's Grave, by Robert Dugoni

Terminal City, by Linda Fairstein

Deborah Johnson's The Secret of Magic is based, in part, on the actual beating and maiming of decorated war veteran Isaac Woodard on his bus ride home after being discharged from the military in February 1946.  Mr. Woodard's case inspired the Woodie Guthrie folk ballad, The Blinding of Isaac Woodard and led to the President's Committee for Civil Rights under the Truman administration.  The Secret of Magic is a highly fictionalized, artistic re-imagining of that important civil rights case which was handled by Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP. 

Robert Dugoni's inspiration for his legal thriller, My Sister's Grave, was learning about the removal of hydroelectric dams to restore salmon spawning grounds in the Pacific Northwest.  He mused what would happen if the body of a much-loved, long-missing person were found as the waters receded.

The inspiration for Linda Fairstein's Terminal City was the hidden places in New York's Grand Central Station.  Those hidden places, including the network of tunnels underneath the station became a plot device for the dark events that take place in the novel. Ms. Fairstein spent more than twenty years as the prosecutor heading the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.  The courtroom dialogue in her novel is realistic.

To cast your vote, go to this link.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New on HeinOnline: Religion and Law

In May, HeinOnline added a new library to its vast collection of legal materials: Religion and Law. According to its scope information, the collection "contains more than 1,200 titles and 600,000 pages including books, periodicals, and bibliographies" and "provides a research platform for the development, history, organization, and fundamental principles of various world religions."

The collection features works on canon law, history of church and state, religion and freedom, Jewish law, and other related topics. Notable titles include State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts: A Compilation of Enacted and Proposed LegislationCanon Law Studies (523 v., 1916-1966), and publications by Christian Legal Society.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Lawyering Skills Valued by Hiring Partners

A new White Paper: Hiring Partners Reveal New Attorney Readiness for Real World Practice concludes that newly graduated law students and young associates often lack specific practical skills, including advanced legal research.  The White Paper is based on a 2015 survey of 300 hiring partner and senior associates who supervise new attorneys commissioned by LexisNexis and conducted by 5 Square Research, Inc.  While many law students know how to research case law, hiring partners also thought it is also important that new lawyers be able to research complex case law issues, statutes; court rules and transcripts; verdicts, briefs & dockets, and regulatory materials.  While law students study legal writing, new associates are also often found lacking in drafting both litigation and transactional documents.  Those attorneys with a transactional practice found practical transactional skills to be the greatest weakness in new hires.