Latest from Ross-Blakley Law Library Blog

Medical studies indicate that staying aware of the present moment can improve your focus and performance in stressful situations. It doesn’t take a deserted forest lake (although that sounds really nice), perfect lotus posture, or hours of a silenced mind to achieve mindfulness. It’s a skill useful for everyone, and particularly worthwhile for law students who maintain a busy schedule with overlapping work and academic deadlines as well as networking and social commitments.

Awareness of the present moment can not only dull stinging worries about the future. It can improve an attorney’s concentration, active listening, and understanding when meeting with
Continue Reading Exam Time – Stay in Control During Times of Stress

When conducting legal research in Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law, you will encounter a number of graphics and symbols that are simultaneously helpful and confusing. In this last entry of our three-part Graphics of Legal Research series, we take a look at Ravel View for case search results, exclusively on Lexis.

Ravel View on Lexis provides a unique visual tool for understanding case search results and incorporates Shepard’s treatment so you can see whether a given case has been treated positively or negatively. To access Ravel View after running a keyword search of cases in Lexis, click on the search view on
Continue Reading Graphics of Legal Research – Part 3: Ravel Law

When conducting legal research in Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law, you will encounter a number of graphics and symbols that are simultaneously helpful and confusing. In this three-part Graphics of Legal Research series, we are going to demystify some of the most common graphics that you may encounter when conducting legal research:Part 1 – citator symbolsPart 2 – depth analysisPart 3 – Ravel Law

Lexis shows how deep into the case one must read to find references to the authority in question. A depth bar with four blue boxes will be more likely to be relevant to your research than
Continue Reading Graphics of Legal Research – Part 2: Depth Analysis or: Don’t Get in Too Deep!

When conducting legal research in Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law, you will encounter a number of graphics and symbols that are simultaneously helpful and confusing. In this three-part Graphics of Legal Research series, we are going to demystify some of the most common graphics that you may encounter when conducting legal research:Part 1 – citator symbolsPart 2 – depth analysisPart 3 – Ravel Law

On to citator symbols!

A citator is a tool that provides you with a list of documents and resources that cite to a specific document or resource, and alert you to whether any of those citing
Continue Reading Graphics of Legal Research – Part 1: Citators

Legal researchers should never allow a late semester time crunch lead to disordered research. Taking shortcuts in legal research can slow you down and add confusion, pressure, and tedium to the process. In addition, going without a plan can lead you to struggle through an enormous list of irrelevant results, misunderstand the law, or even select the wrong database altogether, missing important resources.

Meetings with the reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library are short, sweet, and efficient. We have the expertise to quickly identify the best legal research databases for your project and suggest research strategies that can help you craft quality writing
Continue Reading It’s Never too Late to Research Efficiently

Magna Carta, which means “The Great Charter”, is one of the most important documents in Anglo-American legal history. It established the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the king, and it guaranteed due process protections to citizens.

The Law Library was gifted a beautiful illuminated copy of Magna Carta by Emeritus Professor Myles Lynk. It is hanging along the west wall of the third floor library space. This copy of Magna Carta is printed in an early form of English instead of the Latin of the original and is spread over six or seven heavy
Continue Reading Magna Carta display in ASU Law Library

Your writing and your research will be put to the test if you try to publish an article you write during law school. Most law students are strong writers, and professors or librarians can help you find a worthy topic. But research is another matter. It’s sometimes easier to find things online than in books or legal databases, which require Shepardizing and Keyciting and other labors. But it could be unreliable—much of the Internet has no place in a good law review article. Below is a guide to domain extensions to help you evaluate online resources and determine if you
Continue Reading Online research: The domain of skepticism

Have care while celebrating Halloween this weekend, because as these cases show, Halloween is fertile ground for legal issues:

Mary and her (flaming) little lamb
Susan and Frank Ferlito attended a Halloween party dressed as Mary and Her Little Lamb.  Frank’s lamb costume consisted of hundreds of Johnson & Johnson cotton balls glued to a set of long underwear.  While at the party, Frank tried to light a cigarette using a butane lighter and set his costume aflame, causing burn injuries.

Frank sued. A jury found in favor of Frank, but the District Court held that Johnson & Johnson’s failure
Continue Reading Costumes gone awry, haunted houses, and nasty decorations – oh my!

Have you ever searched on Westlaw, Lexis, or Bloomberg and found that your “Google”-like keyword searching is bringing up an overwhelming list of 10,000+ resources, and worse, none of those resources seem useful? When this happens to you, we recommend terms and connectors searching. Terms and connectors searching, also called Boolean searching and advanced searching, will enable you to take charge of your search. It is a way to ensure your search results are comprehensive and precise. We’ve mapped out steps below to help you become comfortable with making terms and connectors searching your default search strategy.

1. Assess the
Continue Reading Adding terms and connectors searching to your legal research toolkit

We’ve all been there. An ember of a memory of the perfect case or statute we read a few days ago faintly glows. It’s the tantalizing last vestige of a source whose value we failed to initially recognize.Cases and other resources we too hastily reject may not be lost forever. We can find traces of them through an analysis of our research history on our commercial research databases, or by wading through our recent internet browsing history. We might even have names at the tip of our tongue: Hammer v. Safeway? Annoyer v. Peff? But mining the lost, mislaid, or abandoned gems can
Continue Reading Blazing Your Research Trail

Last year the family of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor generously gifted the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the Ross-Blakley Law Library with a significant collection of books from Justice O’Connor’s personal library and mementos from her long legal career. Many items from this gift will be added to the print collection of the Law Library and displayed in the College of Law’s fifth floor reading room in the year(s) to come; during that time we will be spotlighting some particularly interesting titles and items here on the blog.

Today we are showcasing two Arizona-specific titles, both gifted to
Continue Reading Highlights from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Personal Library

The Supreme Court’s 2021-2022 term begins today, the “first Monday in October” as laid out in 28 U.S.C. § 2. There are some changes coming to the way arguments will be held this year – while the Supreme Court building remains closed to the public in response to the coronavirus pandemic, oral arguments will resume inside the courtroom. The Court will continue a practice that started during the pandemic, however, in which the justices have an opportunity to ask questions of an attorney in order of seniority; the traditional question free-for-all will still be in place as well.
Continue Reading First Monday in October

Sir Anthony Fitzherbert, an English judge, published a compilation of English cases in 1516, seeking to reconcile medieval common law with a rapidly changing society. The Ross-Blakley Law Library owns a 1577 copy of this book, titled La Graunde Abridgement; a digitized version of the book is also available on HeinOnline.

One of the many interesting features of the Law Library’s copy of La Graunde Abridgement are the holes in the front and back cover.  These holes allowed the book to be secured within an English medieval “chained library”; through the holes, a metal clip was riveted to
Continue Reading Chained Books

When you’re fighting against the clock and calendar, the Ross-Blakley Law Library can back you up. The JD reference librarians have been through the whole law school experience and know the best methods for conducting research efficiently and effectively, and they want to share those skills with you! Make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian and get help with any of the following tasks:

  • Midterm prep. We can tailor advice on study aids for your particular classes, whether you are a 1L looking for help with Criminal Law and Property or a 3L trying to master the Federal Rules


Continue Reading Feeling the Rush? How the Law Library Can Help Save You Time

In the midst of a busy semester it may seem like you have no time for anything other than schoolwork, but it can be good for both body and soul to take a moment to clear your mind. The Ross-Blakley Law Library’s guide on Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School is focused on resources that can help Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law students find mindfulness resources to relieve stress, focus their attention, and stay in control in difficult situations. It offers information about fully secular meditation practices, with resources to explain how and why it works, and how
Continue Reading Mindfulness and Mental Wellness in Law School

As a law student you experience the Socratic Method instructional model, which is based on the asking and answering of questions in class with the goal of stimulating critical thinking. 

The Law School Academic Support Blog has advice on turning the Socratic Method into a positive experience:

  • Predict: Think about the answers to questions you hear frequently in class while you are doing your class preparation.
  • Contextualize: Consider the case not only on its own, but in the context of other cases you’ve read and the development of legal doctrines.
  • Pause: A deep breath can be the difference between a well thought out answer


Continue Reading Warming Up to Cold Calls: The Socratic Method