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(W)rites of Passage: New Library Research Guide for First Year Oral Arguments and Briefs


Oral arguments force first year law students to look, sound, and act like lawyers, many for the first time. And they’re graded.

Our new law library research guide dedicated to First Year Legal Writing will ensure you’re ready to stand before your academic-judicial panel.

Probably the best way to start planning for your own presentation is to observe the pros in action. We have gathered audio and video recordings of appellate arguments in front of courts including the Arizona Court of Appeals, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States—including all of Professor Paul Bender’s SCOTUS appearances. It will help give a sense of the arguments’ pace. In SCOTUS, the advocates barely have time to introduce themselves before being peppered with judicial questions.

We have gathered many of the books about talking to the judges, some of them smaller than others. Scholarly and professional articles will help you prepare for your specific courtroom tasks. Blog posts break it down even more, with tips, tricks, and just a little welcome reassurance.

Of course, the heart of good oral advocacy (and your Legal Advocacy class) is good writing, so our guide provides more resources to help with all of your briefs and memos in addition to your oral arguments.

We have gathered resources from the American Bar Association and experts such as Bryan Garner and ASU Law Professors Judith StinsonCharles Calleros, and Kimberly Holst to help you improve your legal analysis, clarity, and structure, whether you are writing for a professor who swears by CREAC, CRuPAC, or even IRAAAPC.

Of course, the best ways to maximize your chances at a beautiful Legal Advocacy grade, graduate writing assignment, and legal career are to practice and seek expert guidance. The reference librarians have experience with these rites of passage at the Ross-Blakley Law Library. Librarian Sean Harrington and Research Fellow Andrea Gass, who work most closely with 1Ls, both have JDs, public speaking experience, and legal research expertise. Click here to make an appointment. It might be the most productive half-hour you can invest for your Legal Advocacy class. Persuasive legal writing for courts and journals requires very different research strategies than objective memos, and we have the expertise to help you shine. May you please the court!

Andrea Gass, Law Library Fellow

Topical Swarm:  Law Library Introduces New Guides for Student Scholarship

 


 Our law has roots that stretch back ages to 
Medieval England, and at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, students break new ground each year with seminar papers, law journal comments, and graduate writing requirements.

 

The Ross-Blakley Law Library has an enormous collection of texts and treatises in its catalog, access to countless law reviews and journals, and more than a dozen legal research databases beyond Westlaw and Lexis Advance.

It might seem difficult to get a good start, particularly with casebooks to read. But our research guides can help you dive in to the hot-button legal issues ripe for new perspectives. In particular, we have recently added entries for the Spring 2020 semester to our Topical Seminar Research Guides to help students who will be writing about legal developments in a variety of areas of law.

Our Artificial Intelligence guide, for example, includes publications dedicated to advancing knowledge of “thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines.” Education and the Law links students to several blogs and news services capturing the latest trends in school policy. Global Approaches to Immigration and Citizenship opens reveals foreign legal materials that may not be readily available on some legal research services. And Law and Social Change incorporates dozens of resources involving a variety of social concerns, from racial and gender discrimination to mass incarceration.

We have topical library guides available to you if you’re enrolled in the following classes:

Arbitration: Alternative Dispute Resolution

Advanced First Amendment
Artificial Intelligence
Criminal Sentencing Seminar
Cults and Alternative Religions
“Dangers” of the Modern Administrative State
Education and the Law
Genetics and the Law
Global Approaches to Immigration and Citizenship
Indian Energy
International Law of Armed Conflict
International Environmental Law
International Human Rights
Law and Psychology
Law and Social Change
Medical Error
National Security Law
Neuroscience, Law & Ethics
Privacy, Big Data & Emerging Technologies
Professional Sports Law
Race and the Law
Reproduction, Reproductive Technologies, and the Law
Special Topics in Water Law
Sustainability and Law Research Seminar

For further help with choosing a topic or starting your research, feel free to Meet with a Librarian. We have extensive experience retrieving information on all manner of legal topics, and can help set you on a productive research trail.

Andrea Gass, Law Library Fellow

 

We are Here Over Winter Break if You Need Assitance

During the winter break the Law Library staff will be available Monday-Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Winter break hours begin on December 16th and end on January 10th. If you need assistance, make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian or stop by the Law Library. Have a great break and Happy Holidays!

 

 Exam Prep: The Law Library Can Help


The Law Library has an abundance of resources to help you prepare for your exams.

  • Our online study aids subscriptions will help build your confidence.
    WK Online Study Aid
    West Academic Study Aids
  • CALI tutorials are written by law faculty and librarians from American law schools. They are reviewed and revised on a regular basis. The lessons are designed to help you become accustomed to taking multiple-choice examinations and provide feedback to your answers.
  • Our print Study Skills Collection is located on the third floor of the Law Library across from the Circulation Desk. The collection brings together an array of study aids to help you prepare for your exams. All the materials in the Study Skills Collection may be checked out for two weeks and are renewable twice. We also have a print collection of Exam Preparation Guides you may find useful.
  • You may access Law School Past Exams from the Law Library’s web site. Many faculty members make their past exams available to students as a teaching aid.

If there is anything specific you might need help with as you prepare to study for your exams, please don’t’ hesitate to schedule an appointment to Meet with a Librarian.

We wish you the best of luck!

New Law Library LibGuide: Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School

In the frenetic rush toward Thanksgiving and finals season, it may seem like you have no time for anything, but don’t forget to take a moment clear your mind, and take a deep breath. Lawyers increasingly are turning to mindfulness and meditation to relieve stress, to help them focus their attention on the present and their clients’ needs, and to stay in control in difficult situations. The Ross-Blakley Law Library’s new research guide on Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School helps Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law students join this beneficial professional trend, sharpen your focus for finals, and feel better about yourself and others. It offers information about fully secular meditation practices, with resources to explain how and why it works, and how to incorporate mindfulness practices into your routine. Guides for mindful study and writing can help students succeed academically through improved focus. Organizations such as the Zen Law Students Association (ZLSA), as well as resources such as guided meditations, can make meditation part of students’ routine.

Exams, seminar papers, grad writing requirements, and final memo drafts are igniting signal flares to demand focused attention. But, try as we might to devote ourselves to study, we all find ourselves mentally juggling family and professional obligations, social commitments, personal interests, and mental noise—from innocent pop song earworms to destructive self-doubt.

It is natural to feel some pressure during law school, just as it’s natural for the mind to wander. Without grades to indicate how well we have mastered the law, what would motivate us to push as hard as we do to succeed? It’s challenging training to prepare for a challenging, rewarding profession.

Regular meditation practice can reshape your mind in many ways, improving concentration, awareness, and compassion while reducing stress and anxiety. Even if you’re not regularly practicing, taking a break to breathe can help you manage in times of increased pressure. Here are instructions to get you started, adapted from The Anxious Lawyer co-author Jeena Cho on the legal blog Above the Bar:

  1. Sit on the floor or a cushion with your legs crossed in front of you, upright with your spine straight. Your arms should be relaxed with your hands resting on your knees. (Palms may face downward or upward depending on your preference.) Alternatively, you may sit in a chair with your legs uncrossed and your feet firmly on the floor. You can also meditate lying down if that is most comfortable.
  2. Close your eyes or allow their focus to soften, and take a deep breath or two. Feel your body make contact with your surroundings, and feel the tension in your shoulders relax as you exhale deeply.
  3. Pay attention to your breath. Notice the sensation of the air.
  4. Your mind will likely wander. Don’t fret or mentally reprimand yourself; visualize the thought dissipating and return your focus to your breath. Our brains are made to produce thoughts, and law students will have a lot on their minds, particularly around finals.
  5. Alternative methods of focusing the brain include mentally expressing gratitude, repeating a word or phrase, or focusing attention on sensations throughout the body.
  6. You can set a goal to meditation for 5 to 10 minutes or more, but even short, calming breaks can provide rest and peace.

For more, stress-relieving help with your studies, memos, papers, and employer research, make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian. Some of our librarians on staff regularly engage in mindfulness and meditation practices, and Andrea Gass (algass@asu.edu) would be happy to provide more information on how ZLSA and our mindfulness resources can help you.

Andrea Gass, Law Library Fellow