Recent Posts

Ode to Joy (West): Our Longest-Serving Team Member Retires

“I like to make everybody’s life a little bit easier. We’ve all dealt with so much stress. . . in our jobs, in our home life. . . that just to do little tiny things to make it better, makes each person a little bit better.” We could not say it any better than Joy West herself says it in this video. After 48 years of being here in the Law Library for anybody who needed anything, Joy is retiring. We will dearly miss her presence each day, but are also glad to know that Joy will bring joy to everyone around her no matter where she is. She has always done the little things and the big things in the law library to make everyone feel welcome and seen. She always knew exactly what we each needed to get through our days.

Watch this video, Ode to Joy (West), to hear how Joy’s gift for providing those “little things” is such a treasure to us all. Congratulations, Joy! You’ve made us all a little bit better.

Written by

Addie Patrick

Addie Patrick

Addie Patrick is the Curatorial Specialist with the UVA Law Library.

Ben Doherty

Ben Doherty

Tim Breeden

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Looking Back on 2023-24

With exams in the rearview mirror and the quiet of summer upon us, it’s the perfect time to look back on highlights of the 2023-24 academic year!

First, a summary “by the numbers”: Between August and May, we answered around 2,000 reference questions, checked out more than 10,000 items to students and faculty, and taught four sections of Advanced Legal Research. We also completed a major shelf-reading project, checking the online catalog against more than 250,000 physical items on our shelves. Our most popular initiative may have been the installation of 16 docking stations throughout the library.

A photograph of a computer screen set up so that students can plug in their laptops.
One of the new Law Library docking stations.

On the outreach front, we launched several new programs to help connect students with our space and services. These included soliciting feedback from our inaugural student advisory committee, serving coffee and donuts in myLab, and staffing a pop-up “Tips & Tricks” table in the main hallway of the law school.

As always, the United Way Day of Caring was a high point of our year. We spent Day of Caring 2023 in beautiful Nelson County supporting the Rockfish Valley Community Center. Library staff members planted trees, spruced up the grounds, and created a “Rock Hall of Fame” to illustrate the history of RVCC.

Earlier this month, Arthur donned his construction hat in anticipation of summer maintenance work (which will include, by popular request, the installation of a second water bottle filling station). It promises to be an exciting summer, and we look forward to seeing our returning students in the fall!

The Arthur bust sports a construction hat and a t-shirt that says "Virginia School of Law" in rainbow-colored letters.

Written by

Kate Boudouris

Kate Boudouris

Kate is the Research, Instruction & Outreach Librarian at Arthur J. Morris Law Library.

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Coming May 2nd: Grilled Cheese Night

Here at the Law Library, we believe that just as every cloud has a silver lining, every exam period has its share of golden-brown grilled cheese sandwiches. Law Librarians will be serving the sandwiches (with and without tomato) on Thursday, May 2, starting at 6 p.m. Please stop by for a snack, a smile, and our best wishes as you finish up exams.

And if you haven’t seen our mini-documentary Grilled Cheese: One Night Only, enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at a UVA Law tradition!

Written by

Kate Boudouris

Kate Boudouris

Kate is the Research, Instruction & Outreach Librarian at Arthur J. Morris Law Library.

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Celebrating National Poetry Month with Five Lawyer-Poets

April is National Poetry Month, a celebration created by the Academy of American Poets and co-sponsored by organizations such as the American Library Association. If the words “Law Library” bring to mind shelves of Federal Reporter volumes (à la Law and Order), Walter Brown Hall might not be your first stop for poetry. But in fact, the Law Library maintains a collection of popular reading materials—including poetry—and serves as an access point for all sorts of books held by other UVA libraries.

And besides, who’s to say that lawyers can’t also be poets? To illustrate the poetry resources available to UVA Law students, this post highlights five lawyer-poets whose work you can read this month.

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Before she became a full-time poet, Monica Youn litigated election law issues and directed the Campaign Finance Reform Project at the Brennan Center for Justice. Property law students will appreciate the title of her 2016 collection, Blackacre, which Youn used “in a poetical sense to talk about questions of legacy, landscape and particularly the term ‘devise.’” Her most recent collection, From From: Poems, made numerous “best of 2023lists, including the National Book Award longlist for poetry.

Both Blackacre and From From: Poems are held by libraries on UVA’s main grounds, but law students can have them delivered to the Law Library. Just find the relevant record in Virgo, click on “Request item,” and select “Law Library” as your preferred pick-up location. We’ll send you an email when your item arrives.

Requesting an item in Virgo.

Reginald Dwayne Betts is a poet and legal scholar who recently published Redaction, a stunning book collaboration with visual artist Titus Kaphar. Redaction uses the eponymous legal technique to create poems out of legal documents. It also includes etched portraits of incarcerated individuals.

After graduating from Yale Law School in 2016, Betts worked in the New Haven public defender’s office. He has written “numerous articles and essays on topics of mass incarceration and the perils of youth behind bars,” including his experiences representing young clients and serving time in prison. (For example, the poem For a Bail Denied is told from the perspective of a public defender.) Betts is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Law at Yale, where his interests include administrative law, criminal law, empirical legal studies, and law and literature.

You can find Redaction, as well as Betts’s collection Felon: Poems in the Klaus Reading Room (just to the left of the circulation desk) with our other popular reading materials. Or use Virgo to request the collection Shaheed Reads His Own Palm from Shannon Library.

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Annie Kim

We can’t let National Poetry Month pass without mentioning that the Law School’s own Annie Kim is an extensively published and prize-winning poet. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and is collected in two volumes, Into the Cyclorama and Eros, Unbroken; Eros, Unbroken won the 2021 Library of Virginia Literary Award in Poetry. Kim directs the Law School’s program in Law and Public Service and practiced for 12 years representing Virginia school districts and local governments.

As of this writing, Into the Cyclorama is available in the the Klaus Reading Room, and Eros, Unbroken is on the way. Looking at the catalog records, you may notice that we also hold copies in Law Special Collections—that’s because we maintain a special archive of UVA Law faculty publications. Learn more about accessing Special Collections materials here.

* * *

Former tenant lawyer Martín Espada won the 2021 National Book Award for poetry for his book Floaters, which, according to its Virgo catalog summary, “bears witness to [Espada’s] confrontation with anti-immigrant bigotry as a tenant lawyer years ago, and now sings the praises of Central American adolescents playing soccer in an internment camp founded on that same bigotry.” (The name of the title poem refers to offensive language used to describe migrants who drowned crossing the Rio Grande.)

Espada is the author of more than twenty books, many of which you can find using the Virgo catalog record for Floaters. Just navigate to the record and scroll down to the “Shelf Browse” section to find out what books would be near it on the shelf. Since literature is shelved by the author’s last name, you’ll see several other collections by Espada.

The Shelf Browse section of a Virgo record.

Lawrence Joseph is an acclaimed poet and retired St. John’s School of Law professor. The breadth of his work is exceptional—Joseph has written a number of poetry collections, as well as publishing extensively on topics such as labor, employment, tort and compensation law, jurisprudence, law and literature, and legal theory; his prose work Lawyerland distills conversations with lawyer acquaintances into a collection of stories. His poem And That Language was published last month in the journal Poetry.

Joseph’s work is available from UVA Library in print and e-book versions. The e-books allow for especially quick access. For example, to read Joseph’s Curriculum Vitae, simply find its Virgo catalog entry and click on the blue button labeled “Library Catalog (Access Online).”  

Accessing an e-book through Virgo.

We hope you’ll enjoy these resources during National Poetry Month!

Written by

Kate Boudouris

Kate Boudouris

Kate is the Research, Instruction & Outreach Librarian at Arthur J. Morris Law Library.

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The Law Library’s New(-ish) Leisure Reading Collection

The Law Library has offered leisure reading to students and faculty since 1986, but we recently subscribed to a new book leasing program to give the collection a facelift. The program allows us to provide new titles to our patrons each month. In January, for example, we featured recently published biographies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Ella Fitzgerald, the memoir We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I by Palestinian lawyer Raja Shehadeh, the cookbook Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs & Juice by Toni Tipton-Martin, and the fiction bestsellers Weyward (Emilia Hart) and Roman Stories (Jhumpa Lahiri).

Our librarians have had some fun showcasing new additions to the leisure reading collection through monthly book displays located on the table across from the Circulation Desk. Past themes have included books on artificial intelligence, beach reads, mysteries, and cookbooks. In March, you can explore a selection of books that will be adapted to film and TV in the coming year. We encourage you to peruse the books on display, and also to browse the shelves of the entire collection, located in the Klaus Reading Room adjacent to the Circulation Desk. 

The books in this collection will be retained for a year before they are up for consideration to be returned to the leasing company. Leisure reads can be checked out for thirty days by UVA students, staff, and public patrons, alike. 

Happy reading! 

Written by

Addie Patrick

Addie Patrick

Addie Patrick is the Curatorial Specialist with the UVA Law Library.

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Researching Black History

Black History Month is an opportunity to honor past generations of Black Americans and learn more about their pursuit of equity and justice. There are many online resources for researching Black history—from digital collections maintained by the Library of Congress and National Archives to the numerous African American Studies databases available through UVA. This post focuses on three types of resources that may be especially interesting to UVA Law students: (1) Collections relating to UVA and the Law School, (2) oral histories that preserve personal accounts of the past; and (3) databases with a legal-historical focus. 

UVA and Charlottesville 

The resources below provide information about Black history at the Law School, at UVA, and in the broader Charlottesville community. They also document ways in which local institutions, including the Law School, participated in historical injustices. 

An article featured on the Fifty Years of BLSA website. Courtesy University Journal, early 1980s.
  • Black Fire at UVA: This is a multimedia initiative sponsored by the provost’s office and spearheaded by Professors Claudrena Harold and Kevin Jerome Everson. The website collects sources such as alumni interviews, historical audio files, and files of the Black Student Alliance. Its goal is to document “the struggle for social justice and racial equality at the University of Virginia.”  
  • Fifty Years of BLSA: To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of UVA BLSA, Law Special Collections partnered with BLSA to create this online exhibit. Learn more about BLSA’s history, read reflections from members and alumni, and view a gallery of images. 
  • Slavery and the UVA School of Law. On this website created by Law Special Collections, you can read about people and places involved in the Law School’s connections to slavery, view antebellum student notebooks documenting the teaching of slavery, and learn about the historical landscape of North Grounds.
  • Monticello – Getting Word: The Getting Word Oral History Project at Monticello preserves the histories of the African American families at Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia plantation.
  • No Playbook: Using athletics as an entry point, this project collects the oral histories of former students who experienced desegregation and Massive Resistance in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
  • The Holsinger Studio Portrait Project: The Small Special Collections Library assembled this remarkable collection of portraits commissioned by Black residents of Central Virginia. As the project website explains, these portraits “expressed the individuality of the women and men who commissioned them and silently yet powerfully asserted the Black community’s claims to rights and equality.” The website also provides information about the lives of the portrait sitters. 

Oral Histories 

Oral histories capture compelling personal accounts that may not be reflected in official sources like government archives. They also provide an opportunity to consider historical events from a more individualized perspective.

Screen capture from an oral history provided by Elaine Jones ’70. Courtesy HistoryMakers, 2006.
  • The History Makers: A large collection of oral history interviews with Black luminaries in various fields. The speakers include politicians, religious leaders, athletes, musicians, civil rights activists, soldiers, and more. A few UVA Law alumni have contributed interviews, including Elaine Jones ’70, UVA Law’s first Black alumna. 
  • Behind the Veil: A project of Duke University that includes interviews, photographs, and oral history project files. The oral histories were collected in 1993-95 to preserve the memories of Black Southerners who lived through the period of legal segregation (from the 1890s to the 1950s). 
  • African American Communities: A collection documenting Black communities through pamphlets, newspapers and periodicals, correspondence, official records, reports, and in-depth oral histories. It focuses primarily on Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and towns and cities in North Carolina. 
  • Elwood Civil Rights Lawyers Project: A repository highlighting the stories of prominent civil rights lawyers and others. To create this collection, UVA Library restored and digitized 273 tapes that had been recorded by Professor William Elwood and his students while creating the documentary film, “The Road to Brown: The Untold Story of the Man Who Killed Jim Crow.” 

Legal-Historical Databases 

If you plan to write a paper touching on Black history, consider these databases. They contain historical records relating to civil rights litigation, legal actions by free Black individuals during the antebellum period, and more.

Handwritten notes from an arguments file for Brown v. Moore, from the archives of the law firm of Blacksher, Menefee, and Stein. Courtesy Gale Primary sources.
  • NAACP Papers: A digital collection from the years 1909-1972 that includes internal memos, legal briefings, and direct-action summaries from offices throughout the United States. Use this database to find primary sources relating to school desegregation, the criminal justice system, employment, housing, and other topics. Legal Department files cover Brown v. Board of Education and other important cases.  
  • ACLU Papers: A large collection of papers dating from 1912-1990, which document the organization’s work on civil rights and civil liberties. The database includes records relating to efforts by the ACLU’s Southern Regional Office to enforce the Civil Rights Act. 
  • Legal Battle for Civil Rights in Alabama: Vernon Z. Crawford Records, 1958-1978 Civil Rights Cases and Selections from the Blacksher, Menefee & Stein Records: Selected records of attorney Vernon Z. Crawford, a prominent civil rights lawyer, as well as the Mobile, Alabama-based law firm of Blacksher, Menefee & Stein. 
  • Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century: Federal Government Records: A database focusing on efforts by civil rights groups to obtain legislation, as well as interactions between Black Americans and the federal government. It includes FBI files on Martin Luther King Jr.; FBI files from Montgomery, Albany, St. Augustine, Selma, and Memphis; and records from the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. 
  • Slavery and the Law: Petitions relating to race, slavery, and free Blacks that were submitted to state legislatures and county courthouses between 1775 and 1867. (The documents were collected by UNC-Greensboro Professor Loren Schweninger.) Also included is the State Slavery Statutes collection, a collection of laws from the years 1789-1865.
  • Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative: A Library of Virginia site providing access to digitized county court records related to the lives of Black individuals in Virginia.

We hope you’ll enjoy exploring these records. If we can be of any assistance in your research, please contact us at Refdesk@law.virginia.edu. 

Written by

Kate Boudouris

Kate Boudouris

Kate is the Research, Instruction & Outreach Librarian at Arthur J. Morris Law Library.

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Grilled Cheese: One Night Only

The Law Library’s Grilled Cheese Team is proud to present the documentary Grilled Cheese: One Night Only, with all the excitement, drama and hijinks that go into our final exam time Grilled Cheese Nights. The documentary is also a tribute to founding Grilled Cheese Team member Micheal Klepper, who recently retired. Can the Grilled Cheese Team carry on Micheal’s legacy of cheesy success? Find out in the video! Produced and directed by: Addie Patrick. Starring: Micheal Klepper, Rebecca Hawes Owen, Tim Breeden, Addie Patrick and Ben Doherty.

After watching the video, we invite all law students to come have a hot, cheesy sandwich to help you through this year’s exams at 6:00pm on Monday, December 11. With tomato or without tomato.

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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

Arthur J. Morris Law Library

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New Virginia Law Guide

The Virginia Association of Law Libraries Access to Justice Committee, including our own Tia Ward, has published a new guide to Virginia legal information resources. The guide will help self-represented litigants find information relevent to their cases, as well as helping public libraries choose legal resources for their collections. For more information, check out Tia’s post on LISP/SR Blog. Thanks to Tia and the rest of the committee for their work on this important publication!

Image: Supreme Court of Virginia Building by Morgan Riley, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

Arthur J. Morris Law Library

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Law Library Podcast: Legal Knowledge

This spring, Law Special Collections launched Legal Knowledge, a limited series podcast that examines UVA Law’s impact on legal education from the University’s founding to the present. The podcast is based on the Law Library’s forthcoming book with UVA Press—a volume which brings together thirteen contributors to trace UVA Law’s pedagogical history. Season One of the podcast covers the first hundred years of the Law School, from Thomas Jefferson’s founding vision in 1819 to coeducation in 1920 and, in turn, the first half of the book.

In each episode of Season One, Meggan Cashwell, former Postdoctoral Fellow in Legal History and a co-editor of the forthcoming publication, interviews one of our contributors about the topic of their respective chapter. In this season, our listeners will learn how Thomas Jefferson meticulously chose every text for the law curriculum, the ways law professors used their classroom as a platform to advance a pro-slavery agenda, how the daughters of Professor John B. Minor navigated and circumvented coverture laws (the same laws Minor taught to his male students), and many others.

Three women seated in a room with high fidelity microphones.
Meggan Cashwell (far left) and Addie Patrick interview Anne Coughlin at WTJU for episode six of Legal Knowledge.

The Season One episodes are:

  1. David Konig, Washington University in St. Louis, School of Law, “The Jeffersonian Vision for Legal Education”
  2. Justene Hill Edwards, UVA History, “Teaching the Laws of Slavery”
  3. Randi Flaherty, UVA Law, “John B. Minor and the New Era of Legal Education” 
  4. Liz Varon, UVA History, “The Civil War and Reconstruction”
  5. Laura Edwards, Princeton University, “The Legal Status of Women and the Female Relatives of Virginia Law Professors”
  6. Anne Coughlin, UVA Law, “Professionalization and Coeducation” 
Rebecca Barry with James Zehmer, Historic Preservation Project Manager at UVA, on the balcony of Pavilion X. James and Rebecca are discussing a historic photograph in preparation for James’ field recording (bonus content for episode five).

The podcast helps to fulfill Law Special Collections’ mission: to preserve, interpret, and share the history of UVA Law and make accessible our collection of legal history materials. The book and podcast both utilize our archive and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library extensively. The podcast website, www.legalknowledgepodcast.com, features digitized scans of archival materials mentioned in the episodes. Legal Knowledge has allowed us to go beyond the scope of the book, as our contributors expand on topics that fell to the cutting room floor, discuss sources in greater detail, and consider the importance of reparative historical initiatives at UVA.

Legal Knowledge has been an immensely collaborative effort, involving every member of Law Special Collections as well as faculty, staff, students, and colleagues on Grounds and elsewhere. In summer 2022, we hired an intern through the Institute of Public History to partner with us on the podcast. Rebecca Barry, who just completed her M.A. in English at UVA, was our sound engineer and an invaluable member of the team. WTJU 91.1 FM at UVA hosts many University and local history podcasts, including ours. We recorded all our episodes at WTJU’s studio off Ivy Road.

Listen to Legal Knowledge today on the podcast’s website, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Three women stand on the Lawn with the Rotunda in the background. One of the women is wearing headphones and holding a camera.
Left to right: Randi Flaherty, Addie Patrick, and Meggan Cashwell discuss the early history of UVA Law in the Academical Village on Main Grounds.

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Addie Patrick

Addie Patrick

Addie Patrick is the Curatorial Specialist with the UVA Law Library.

Meggan Cashwell

Meggan Cashwell

Meggan Cashwell is a postdoctoral research associate in legal history for UVA Law Special Collections. She is spearheading the library’s forthcoming edited history of legal education at the Law School (UVA Press).

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Welcome, New Students!

To new students arriving for orientation: Welcome! The Law Library staff looks forward to working with you throughout your law school career. From personalized research consultations to exam-time grilled cheese breaks, the library offers services to make your time at UVA more enriching, efficient, and enjoyable. This post describes some key resources that will help you hit the ground running this academic year.

Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law Accounts

The Law Library provides you with access to Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law, three leading legal research databases. First-year J.D. students will receive sign-up instructions in Legal Research & Writing class; L.L.M. and international students will receive them via email. Please email us at Refdesk@law.virginia.edu with any questions.

News Subscriptions

As a UVA law student, you’ll receive free access to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Financial Times. Sign up for newspaper subscriptions on LawWeb under Other Services >> Library Services >> News Access.

LR&W Help

Not sure how to tackle your Legal Research & Writing assignment? The Law Library is here to help! Each section of LR&W has a dedicated librarian—or “Library Liaison”—to help students get comfortable with legal research methods. Once classes start, your LR&W instructor will provide more information about meeting with a Library Liaison. For additional research tips, check out this guide to legal research for law students.

Reserve Materials

Some materials in our collection have been placed “on reserve,” which means that they can be checked out for three hours at a time. Study guides, some textbooks, and popular legal treatises are likely to be held on reserve so that more students will have an opportunity to use them. (We only place course materials on reserve if your professor specifically asks us to do so.) You can find these materials in the Klaus Reading Room near the first-floor circulation desk.

Guide to Student Services

As your studies progress, we hope that you’ll find the Law Library to be a valuable partner in your academic efforts. You can learn more about the library’s offerings in this guide to student services. And remember, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact a staff member!

Once again, a warm welcome to all incoming students!

Written by

Kate Boudouris

Kate Boudouris

Kate is the Research, Instruction & Outreach Librarian at Arthur J. Morris Law Library.

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