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Law Library News for April 24, 2000

Mary Whisner, editor

Law Library News Archive


Moot Courts Aplenty

by Cheryl Nyberg

Spring is in the air and it's moot court season. ILs are working on their draft moot court briefs and 2 and 3Ls are preparing for the Judson Falknor Appellate Advocacy Competition. Dozens of other national and international moot court competitions are also held each year; here is a review of some of them.

The Young Lawyers Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York has sponsored the Inter-Law School Moot Court Competition (a.k.a. the National Moot Court Competition) since 1948. The Law Library has a collection of briefs from this competition (KF8918.A8 at Classified Stacks).

Another long-running event is the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the American Society of International Law and the International Law Students Association. The competition began in 1959 and is named after a former International Court of Justice judge. Students from the University of Melbourne won the international rounds of the 2000 competition, held in Washington on April 3-8. A group called the Friends of the Jessup maintains a website with information about the history and development of the competition, with current and past year materials. The Law Library has a collection of print materials relating to Jessup (JX1293.U6P48 at Classified Stacks) and videotapes of selected rounds.

The American Bar Association's Law Student Division sponsors three national competitions:

  • Client Counseling Competition
  • Negotiation Competition
  • National Appellate Advocacy Competition.

More information about these events is in the May 1999 issue of Student Lawyer, or at

Here is a list of selected moot court competitions with websites:

For a comprehensive list, see the Directory of Interscholastic Moot Court Competitions published by the George Washington University Moot Court Board (KF281.A2D5, latest edition in the Reference Office).

Getting More from the Firm Library

by Mort Brinchmann

[Mort is one of our evening reference librarians. In his day job, he is the librarian for Keller Rohrback. Here he offers some advice for students going to work for law firms. � Ed.]

The firm library may not offer the same resources you are used to at Gallagher. Yet firm librarians have a few advantages of their own � in addition to office supplies. We don�t worry that we are doing your homework for you. We�ll even give you legal advice, for what that�s worth.

Associates come and go in this world of tech-driven salaries, but librarians hang around; we get to know how the firm works. We�ve heard it all before and can often suggest a good starting point not apparent to the researcher.

The one valid stereotype about librarians is a disdain for stereotypes. Yet we admit to one about you: You have no use for books and think that's OK. The partner who tells you to "just get it off the computer" reinforces this attitude. Partners are big believers that "it�s all on the Net (or LEXIS)" and only their lack of digital prowess requires them to rely on you. Although many useful materials are online, you should not limit yourself to what�s at your fingertips. Looseleaf services, for example, often bring statutes, regulations, and cases together in ways that online services do not; they can even be more current than online services. Don�t waste your time looking in inappropriate resources just because they are close at hand. You may find (or the librarian may suggest) an entire text on your issue at the county law library. (The librarian has probably borrowed it already for that senior associate who now just asks for it as "that big red book on the Rule Against Perpetuities.")

"Books cost too much!" (Do you remember the commercials for Crown Books?) Law books are expensive and annual supplements often cost as much per year as the book itself. When you make requests of the firm library, be sensitive to the librarian�s cost, time, and space limitations (at the firm and at other libraries as well). Firms buy specialized publications geared to their practice and rely on law school and county law libraries to be more comprehensive. If you really need to see the Oklahoma Digest, you may have to go to Oklahoma � but it�s probably better to do a WESTLAW search limiting your search to the digest field in the Oklahoma cases database. Expect the Washington Digest and RCW to be current in your library. Be vigilant as to other titles; ascertain how current each resource is and know (or ask) how to update your research appropriately.

Online services cost even more. WESTLAW and LEXIS-NEXIS offer varied searching/printing options ostensibly designed to reward the sophisticated searcher (but which as often penalize the confused). Librarians make it their business to know about these option and are happy to explain them to less frequent searchers. Ask the librarian how the firm pays for its online services.

Our methods will at times puzzle you. We may handle your request "the hard way." This may be required to comply with copyright or licensing restrictions. Librarians also need to be especially good lenders and borrowers to cultivate relationships with other librarians and other information resources. When you find that the book you want has been inadvertently loaned to opposing counsel, try to remember that time your librarian got a Florida librarian to fax a copy of that "Law of Lawn Ornaments" article you needed so desperately.