"Nota Bene" means "note this well" or "take particular notice." We at the O'Quinn Law Library will be posting tips on legal research techniques and resources, developments in the world of legal information, happenings at the Law Library, and legal news reports that deserve your particular attention. We look forward to sharing our thoughts and findings and to hearing from you.
N.B: Make a note to visit "Nota Bene" regularly.

-Spencer L. Simons, Director, O'Quinn Law Library and Associate Professor of Law


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Winning an Appeal, 5th ed.

The library has acquired the fifth edition of Winning an Appeal by Myron Moskovitz, which is published by Carolina Academic Press. This book is ideal for the attorney or law student interested in appellate advocacy at the state or federal level. The author provides tips on constructing an outline, with instructions on reading the court records filed and determining the issues. There is a chapter that focuses on the appellate brief, including the construction of the brief itself, advice on legal research, drafting the argument, and information regarding the respondent brief and appellant's reply brief. The last chapter covers the oral argument, addressing topics such as the opening statement, respondent's argument, appellant's rebuttal, answering questions, and the proper tone to use. Five sample briefs are included at the end. This book is now currently available on the library's new titles shelf under the call number KF9050.M63 2016.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Technology Tips for Lawyers and Other Business Professionals

The ABA's Solo, Small Firm, and Practice division has recently published, Technology Tips for Lawyers and Other Business Professionals by Jeffrey Allen and UHLC alumna, Ashley Hallene. The authors provide concise practical advice on a variety of technology topics useful to attorneys. The book covers matters related to hardware and equipment such as using a tablet in court and portable hard drives. Software topics as well as advice related to travel are also covered. Security and ethics issues such as password protection and encryption are discussed.  The Miscellaneous tips section focuses on topics such as blogging, Google search tips, storing data in the cloud, creating an inexpensive electronic signature, and electronic business cards. The library has just acquired this book and it can be found on the new titles shelf under the call number,
KF320.A9A 429 2016.

Friday, June 10, 2016

2016 Disclosure and Election Directory


The Federal Election Commission has released its combined Federal/State Disclosure and Election Directory for 2016.  This directory provides names and contact information for all parties responsible for disclosing financial information during the 2016 election season.

Anyone interested in financial disclosure requirements may find them in the relevant sections of the United States Code and the Code of Federal Regulations.  Researchers looking for further information may be interested in resources such as the reports created during the consideration of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 or the discussion of Davis v. FEC, 554 U.S. 724 (2008).

Friday, June 3, 2016

The 2016 Presidential Transition Directory

On January 20 of next year, a new president and vice-president of the United States will be sworn into office. This means a huge transition in government, with thousands of positions subject to new appointments by the incoming president. Have you ever wondered how a new administration prepares for such a transition?

Part of the answer is that they get a lot of help from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which has been responsible for supporting presidential transitions since 1961. Today, of course, much of that support is provided online. In November of last year, the GSA launched the 2016 Presidential Transition Directory, a website that provides access to key resources and policies related to presidential transitions. Those resources include the following:
  • The Plum Book – Officially titled “United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions,” the Plum Book contains data on over 8,000 positions in the executive and legislative branches that are subject to noncompetitive appointment. It is published alternately by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
  • Government Manual – This is the official handbook of the federal government, with information on agencies, boards, committees, and international organizations in which the U.S. participates.
  • Presidential Transition Guide to Federal Human Resources Management – This publication of the Office of Personnel Management provides information on ethical standards, positions subject to change in a transition, appointments, compensation, and personal identity verification.
  • Records Management Guidelines – The National Archives provide documents, policies, and training courses related to records management.
For more on the General Services Administration, see the Transition Directory’s About GSA page.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

New RSS and Email Alerts From Congress.gov

One of the best ways to keep up with current federal legislation is to subscribe to email alerts from Congress.gov. These alerts can be set up to notify you of the latest action on a particular bill, new legislation sponsored by a particular member of Congress, or new publications of the Congressional Record. Building on the popularity of these alerts, Congress.gov recently introduced new RSS and email alerts for the following categories:
  • Most-Viewed Bills
  • Search Tips
  • Bills Presented to the President
  • On the House Floor Today
  • On the Senate Floor Today
  • In Custodia Legis (blog of the Law Librarians of Congress)
To read more about these alerts, or to set up a free account, visit the RSS and Email Alerts page at Congress.gov.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Book Review: The Presidents and the Constitution

The Presidents and the Constitution: A Living History, Ken Gormley, ed. (2016), KF 5053 .P75 2016

Article II of the Constitution, at little over 1000 words, is the provision in which most of the power of the American presidency is housed.  Those words grant the office of the President great power, but its limits and relationship to the judicial and legislative branches is not well defined. In the new book  The Presidents and the Constitution: A Living History, Ken Gormely tells the story of America’s forty-four presidents and how each one interfaced with the Constitution.  With a chapter devoted to each presidency, it is a collection of essays focused on the major constitutional issues each president faced.

The collection gives each President a compact biography, followed by a discussion of the major issues that President faced relating to the extent of executive power, influence on the judiciary, and the President’s role in foreign affairs. The tightly edited collection devotes little over twelve pages to each President, preferring to concentrate on the events having the greatest long-term effects rather than the minutiae of every policy decision.  For example, the chapter devoted to Andrew Jackson, by Mark A. Graber,  focuses on his bank veto (limiting federal powers) and the Proclamation on Nullification (expanding federal powers) and the historical context for these seemingly contradictory positions. This approach allows for the reader to learn a great amount about the character of each presidency in a single sitting, and it is inviting to return to again and again.


This fascinating volume examines the tensions between the branches of government and puts them in a personal and historical perspective for each presidency. It is sure to make great election year reading, and invites the author to wonder what issues and decisions will come to define our next President’s term. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Summer and Graduate Use of Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg Law Accounts

A question often asked by law students at the beginning of the summer is whether or not they can use their Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg Law accounts at their summer jobs, internships, and externships. Recent graduates also may wonder about using their accounts as they study for the bar and beyond. Here are the guidelines for each of the three services:

Bloomberg Law

You may use your Bloomberg Law account during the summer, without restriction. As with Westlaw and LexisNexis, if you are assigned a Bloomberg Law account by your summer employer, use the employer account instead. If you have questions about using Bloomberg Law during the summer, contact our Bloomberg Law rep, Michael Calder (mcalder@bna.com). Bloomberg Law also provides a great collection of resources to help you research efficiently and perform successfully during your summer employment, available here.

LexisNexis

Your law school log-in will allow you unlimited access to all legal content and news in Lexis all summer for both academic and professional purposes. Some employers may give you a Lexis ID of their own to use for work purposes.You do not need to take any action to continue using your account and you will continue to earn points during the summer.

2016 graduates will have their Lexis IDs shifted to graduate IDs on July 1. You may continue using your account until December 31, 201 for bar study and professional purposes. If you have any questions about your account, contact our Lexis rep, Billy Saqr (billy.saqr@lexisnexis.com).


Westlaw

You may extend the use of your Westlaw account for use during the summer for the following academic activities:

  • Summer law school classes and study abroad programs
  • Law review and journal - including write-on competitions
  • Research assistant
  • Moot court
  • Unpaid internship/externship

To extend your password for use during the summer, visit the Westlaw Password Extension website.
Note that this list does NOT include paid work, like working for as  summer associate at a law firm, corporation, or government organization. In those cases, you should use the Westlaw account assigned to you by the firm or organization.

2016 graduates may contact the Law Center’s Westlaw rep, Anna Guerra (anna.guerra@thomsonreuters.com) for information about extending account access through the fall.