Second Edition of Olson’s Principles of Legal Research Published

 

Kent Olson
Kent Olson.

This week, West Academic released the second edition of Kent Olson’s highly acclaimed Principles of Legal Research. The first edition of Principles earned Olson his second Joseph L. Andrews Bibliographic Award from the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), which honors a significant contribution to legal bibliographic literature. Principles is the product of Olson’s many years of practicing the art and craft of legal research, and of teaching Advanced Legal Research to many bright and able students at the University of Virginia School of Law. It is the successor to the venerable How to Find the Law, published in nine editions beginning in 1931, the last of which Olson co-authored with Morris Cohen and Robert Berring.

The second edition of Principles of Legal Research remains true to its roots as an indispensable guide to practical legal research. Much of legal research still relies on traditional print-based sources and methods, and for those situations, the book offers refuge for those who may be more comfortable conducting research with a keyboard, mouse, and touch screen than by sifting through hefty tomes of pulp and ink. At the same time, Principles is a trustworthy compass for intelligent navigation of the latest generation of algorithm-based online legal research systems and the vast and growing array of Internet-delivered legal information services.

Works by Kent Olson
An extensive collection of works authored, co-authored or compiled by Kent Olson.

 

Skillful legal research requires a foundational knowledge of how law is made and interpreted and a solid understanding of the documentary outputs of those processes, and Principles of Legal Research offers novice readers the knowledge of both. The book has features that also make it a valuable reference work for experienced legal researchers, including copious footnotes, indexing, and a useful appendix of treatises and services arranged by subject. New to this edition, images of key websites are displayed in full color.

A prolific writer, Kent Olson is also the author of Legal Information: How to Find It, How to Use It (1999) and is author or co-author of several iterations of West’s Legal Research in a Nutshell, now in its 11th edition. Olson is an expert legal researcher and a dedicated professor of legal research. For nearly three decades he has also been colleague, friend, and mentor to the Law Library staff. We heartily congratulate Kent Olson on his latest literary achievement!

– The Law Library Staff

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Happy Retirement, Joe Wynne!

Systems Librarian Joe Wynne is retiring on July 24th after 37 years of service to The University. Most faculty and staff at the Law School know him, as do many in the library profession. Joe, who joined the Law School in 1978 as a cataloger, survived two library directors, has worked as a reference librarian, budget and technology manager, and has contributed to the successful operation of all library departments.  He tackled research problems, balanced budgets, made sure that the staff had the most appropriate technology and that they were trained to use it. He has been the lead contributor in moving the library into the digital age, evaluating and selecting technology and effectively managing it. For nearly four decades Joe has had a voice in every significant decision that has been made within the library and his contributions will be enduring. We were most fortunate in having someone of Joe’s talent, fairness, strength and wit to rely upon for so many years.

It is an understatement to say that Joe will be missed — not only as a colleague, but a friend. He’s always there to listen, help you solve a problem and make you laugh. Here are a few things we have learned about Joe over the years:

Joe Wynne
Retiring Systems Librarian Joe Wynne.

– Joe and his twin brother were both altar boys.

– His two main fixes for computer problems are the on/off switch and a blessing.

– Joe hates copier/printers—all of them. 

– Joe is crazy about Pittsburgh teams, The Big Lebowski, and opera, but not musicals.

– Joe’s hand is always out to pick up the tab so that others don’t have to.

– Proud of his Italian/Irish heritage, he has learned to make Italian wedding soup and drink Guinness at the same time.

– Joe is a gardener and shares garlic when harassed.

Joe will spend some of his retirement days on the Jersey Shore with family and some of it fly fishing.

Congratulations, Joe. We wish you all the best in your retirement years. We will miss you but no one has missed the smile on your face for the past few weeks. Thank you for being a wonderful friend and colleague. Happy retirement!

 

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The Dengrove Exhibit: Behind the Scenes

 

From arsonists to rock stars, crime bosses to … killer clowns?? Gina Wohlsdorf, curator of "The Courtroom Sketches of Ida Libby Dengrove," shares her perspective on the exhibit and its creation. Print renderings of the sketches will be on display at the Law Library through May 2015 and a digital exhibit is available on our website.

– Amy Wharton 

 

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Summary of Library Quick Poll Results

This year, instead of conducting its usual biennial user survey, the library decided to run a series of smaller “quick polls” between spring break and the end of classes. Each week the SBA Events E-Mail contained a link to an online survey consisting of 2 to 4 questions. Participating students were invited to enter a drawing for a free library t-shirt.

Quick Poll #1. The Law Library’s first Quick Poll asked students how likely they were to use one of the standing desks recently purchased by the library. Almost 35% of the responders said they were "Likely" or "Very Likely" to use the standing desks and 46% were "Unlikely" or "Very Unlikely."

Quick Poll #2. The second Quick Poll asked students to rate several service categories using a 5-point scale (1. "Very Unsatisfied," 2. "Unsatisfied," 3. "Neutral," 4. "Satisfied," 5. "Very Satisfied"). The majority of students were "Very Satisfied" (53%) or "Satisfied" (40%) with the Library overall and no one rated the Library lower than "Neutral" (6%).

Results of Quick Poll #2

Poll1c

 
Poll1

Quick Poll #3 asked students about their use of the library’s Research Consultation Service. More than 95% of the responders had never used this service to schedule consultations with research librarians. Half of the students said they weren’t aware of the service.

   Poll2

 

Quick Poll #4 asked students if they had ever had a summer position that required a significant amount of legal research.

Poll3

An open-ended follow up question asked students in retrospect what areas of research would have better prepared them for the job. Many students said more familiarity with free or low-cost alternatives to Lexis and Westlaw or more cost efficient search techniques in general would have been helpful.

– Joe Wynne  

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Free Graduation Day Photo Booth Sessions

This year the Library is offering a FREE graduation photo booth session from 2:30–4:30 on Sunday, May 18, in the Law Library circulation area! Images will be available immediately with the Law School logo and date. Get your friends, parents, and classmates together and stop by the Library for a special picture on your special date!  

– Micheal Klepper 

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Top Ten List of Research Tips for Your Summer Job

As exams wind down, you may start thinking once again about your summer plans. In case you missed our recent lunchtime session on “Preparing for Your Summer Job,” here is our “Top 10” summary list of tips:

UVA Law Library Top Ten List of Research Tips for Your Summer Job

1. Stay calm and check secondary sources.

  • Not understanding a research assignment at the beginning is perfectly normal. Take some breaths—you’ll be fine!
  • Do some preliminary research just to get your footing in a new area.
  • Try the internet, or even better: try treatises, practice guides and law review or bar journal articles.

 2. Ask questions. And that includes asking us!

  • Ask the attorneys with whom you’re working to fill you in on the context of a research assignment, to recommend sources and to let you know about cost constraints.
  • Ask librarians at your firm about resources available for different types of projects.
  • Still having trouble getting started? Call or email us—we’re happy to help in the summer!

 The Reference Desk: (434) 924-7465 or refdesk@law.virginia.edu.

3. Learn about your jurisdiction.

  • Before getting too deep into your research, make sure you understand the court system or administrative agencies that might be involved.
  • Are there decision-makers that have more authority than others? Are there agencies that might govern your facts?
  • Jurisdiction-specific treatises or practice guides can be a big help.

4. Go free to start your research.

  • There are plenty of free legal resources you can use to start your research.
  • Google Scholar is great for free case research; Cornell LII is good for free, easy access to statutes.
  • Use the free resources for your broad, initial searches; and subscription resources once you have narrowed down your research goals.

5. Give yourself time to THINK about the information you are finding.

  • Start thinking early. Exactly what type of information do you need to answer your research question? Cases? Statutes? Regulations? A combination? Would a good secondary source, like a practice guide, be sufficient?
  • A few extra minutes mulling over your research every so often may be exactly what it takes for something to click.

6. Use Westlaw and/or Lexis and/or Bloomberg Law to your advantage.

  • Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law offer free access for law students all summer. Your firm may also give you Westlaw access.
  • Know the strengths of each database so that you can use them most effectively. We generally view WestlawNext as best for basic case, statute or law review searching; Bloomberg Law as good for federal docket searching and current awareness; and Lexis Advance as an acceptable substitute for WestlawNext’s general legal research if you do not have WLNext access.
  • Use the databases’ free 1-800 reference attorney help lines.
  • Consult your organization’s librarians for the ins-and-outs of their specific subscriptions and ask them if there are other databases available that might be even better for your project.

7. Look for Advanced Search screens.

  • Advanced searching is available in most databases and gives you more precision in your research.
  • Getting too many results or results that aren’t quite right in your initial searches? Find out how to do advanced searching in any database you use so that you can better target what you need.

8. Update your sources.

  • Shepardize or Keycite cases and statutes to check for appeals to higher courts, citations in subsequent cases or recently passed legislation.
  • Expand your research results beyond keyword searching by using the citing references both Westlaw and Lexis provide to cases, statutes, or regulations as another tool for finding relevant cases, articles or other resources.

9. Keep track of your research trail (sources you’ve checked, searches you’ve run, whether you’ve updated the law) and organize the documents you find.

  • Organizing your research is not only more efficient, so that you don’t duplicate your efforts, but may also help you think about alternative research approaches if you get stuck.
  • Use the WestlawNext or Lexis Advance folders to organize your research findings.

10. No drafts.

  • Treat everything you turn over as the best representation of the work you were able to do with the time and information you had.
  • Ensure that you truly shine this summer by giving yourself time to carefully proofread your work before turning it in.

– Law Library Reference Librarians 

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Exam Time Means Grilled Cheese!

 

Grilled cheese
Grilled cheese!

A wise law student once said, “Nothing beats exam period blues like a hot grilled cheese sandwich!” The Law Library staff heard that call and sprang to action. This Wednesday, April 30, law librarians Ben Doherty and Micheal Klepper will continue the tradition by donning their aprons and serving up those buttery sandwiches in all of their warm, cheesy goodness. Law students are invited to stop by MyLab between 6:00-7:00pm, or until supplies run out. 

Best of luck with exams!

– The Law Library Staff 

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Law Librarian Jon Ashley’s Federal Suit Featured in Today’s NYT

Law librarian Jon Ashley has for the second time filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of Justice. The FOIA filing seeks the release of 30 prosecution agreements between the Justice Department and various organizations. With Professor Brandon Garrett, Ashley has developed the Federal Organizational Prosecution Agreements database, a repository of prosecution agreements that is freely available to researchers. Ashley's lawsuit last year prompted Justice Department officials to release a single prosecution agreement after a FOIA request for it had been denied. Today's New York Times features an article about the work of UVA Law School's First Amendment clinic students in pursuing the litigation. [Reposted with corrections. – Ed.]

 

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“Talk to Us,” Round 1: Standing Desks a Hit with Many!

The first round of our “Talk to Us and Dress Like AJM” Quick Poll series is now history. Congratulations to 1L Hillary Taylor, who will be the first among you to dress like AJM!

We really like our t-shirts and we love to see them out and about. Aside from extending our students’ wardrobes, we thought up this quick poll series as a fun way to learn from our students. In this first round, we asked what you think of our two new standing desks, and we learned quite a lot. We discovered that many of you really like the standing desks and many more of you are game to give them a try, at least. Here’s how you answered:

The Law Library has recently added two STANDING DESKS and we’d like to know what you think about them. How likely are you to use a standing desk in the library?

For the majority of you who prefer to sit while you study (or walk or lie down, as some suggested), there’s no need to worry – the Law Library is not planning to require that all students study in Mountain Pose. We want to offer optimal study environments for as many of our students as we reasonably can. If you missed this poll but you’d still like to share your thoughts about our study spaces, there’s an ongoing, less formal poll available on our website. Stop by any time and let us know your preferences.

On to Round 2!

There are several more quick poll rounds in our series, so if you’re a UVA law student who isn’t yet dressing like Hillary Taylor and AJM, you can find the link to our Round 2 quick poll in yesterday’s SBA Events email and the SBA calendar on the web (UVA law students only, one submission per student). To join in on Round 2, submit your quick survey by midnight on Saturday, April 5

– Amy Wharton 

 

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