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Law Library News for April 16, 2001

Ann Hemmens, editor

Law Library News Archive


Final Exams & Test-Taking Strategies on the Web

by Jean Dart, Reference Intern

Writing answers to professors� old final exams is an excellent way for students to prepare for exams. Exams from the University of Washington Law School are available on the Gallagher Law Library website. It can also be helpful to look at other law school exams that are available online. The following law school/law libraries maintain freely available collections of their school�s exams:

  • Albany Law School/Union University, This website contains exams from various years, most are from 1994-97.The old exams include: Civil Procedure, Business Entities, Contracts, Property Law, and Tax. Some of the exams have model answers.
  • University of Arkansas Final Law Exams, The exams are arranged by the professor�s name. The exams cover various years and topics.
  •  Harvard Law School, The annual exam book, available through the Registrar�s office, contains hundreds of exams from 1995 to date. The exams are from both traditional law courses, as well as less common ones. Traditional exams include: Bankruptcy, Corporations, Employment Discrimination, Family Law, Property, and Taxation. Exams for courses that are less commonly offered include: Free Speech, Telecommunications and Cyberspace, Law and Politics of International Conflict Management, Thinking About Thinking, Response to Massive Human Rights Violations, and American Legal Thought for LLMs. The exams are listed by both instructor name and course title. The archive is searchable, and exams are available in either HTML, for viewing, or RTF, for downloading.
  •  University of Kentucky College of Law, Exams are arranged by 1L,1st semester, 2d semester, 2L, and 3L, for the years 1985-1999. Some of the exams require a student password to access. Freely available exams include: Sports Law, Securities Regulation, Conflicts, and Employee Benefits.
  • University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, Exams are from 1998-1999. The exams are arranged by professor�s name and course title. The final exams that are available include: Legislation, Real Estate Finance, and Products Liability.
  • University of Montana, There are links to old exams and outlines from the U. of Montana and other law schools. The exams from 1994-99 include: White Collar Crime, Workers� Compensation, Sentencing, and Federal Indian Law. The pathfinders and guides section includes an excellent guide to legal outlines, Internet Hotlist of Law Guides Organized by Subject by Paul Rickert, a law librarian. To link to this guide directly go to
  •  Ohio Northern University College of Law, Exams are arranged by course title and faculty name. An interesting addition to this site is a countdown to the end of spring semester, 2001. �Don�t despair. The Spring 2001 semester end is just: e.g., 39 days, 19 hrs., 9 min., and 34 seconds.�
  • St. Thomas University School of Law, Exams are indexed by course title, including: Administrative Law, Admiralty, Civil Procedure, Evidence, and Tax.
  • University of Texas School of Law, The exams are arranged by course title and faculty name. Exams include: Advanced Legal Research, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Demography and Law, Gender Bias, and Intellectual Property in Cyberspace. There are links to the law exams of several other schools, including Harvard.

In addition to looking at old exams, a review of test-taking strategies can be helpful. There are many articles online about test-taking tips. Take a look at the following articles:

Another good review strategy is to look at a capsule summary or an outline of the legal subject before taking the final exam. Capsule summaries and outlines from Westlaw, Findlaw, and law schools are available at the following sites:

Courthouse Stories

by Paul Holcomb

Courthouse stories abound and I imagine you know a few of your own. The reason for this article is to ask you to submit to the Reference Office courthouse stories you have especially enjoyed. Original stories would be appreciated. Where that is not the case, be sure and give credit. The winning entries will receive recognition in the Crier. Lots of prizes will be available to the winners. This is open to students, staff and faculty in the Law School and Library. All entries must be submitted by Monday April 23rd.

What type of stories am I talking about? Well, I have of couple of stories that Uncle John told the kids in the family. As you will see, the stories are not profound. Yet our family has always enjoyed retelling Uncle John�s tales. There are books concerning lawyer anecdotes. You can find courthouse mysteries in libraries, bar journals, and on the Internet.

Courthouses have a mystique all their own. And why not! After all, just look at what happens in courthouses. They are ready made for tall tales, and some are even true. People have seen a ghost in a courthouse like the one in Wayne County, Ohio. Some people declare there is a face in one of the upper windows of the Pickens County, Alabama Courthouse. The courthouse is now a tourist attraction.

General Douglas McArthur is buried in the rotunda of the old stately nineteenth century City Hall in Norfolk, Virginia. Lots of people think that building was the old courthouse, but it wasn�t. But city hall or courthouse, it draws tourists from around the world.

As I have written before, Uncle John practiced law for many years in a small town in southern Indiana. When we visited Uncle John and Aunt Margaret, Uncle John would frequently entertain us kids with stories that involved the courthouse in the county seat. Some stories concerned trials he had conducted as a long time prosecutor.

A story he never tired of telling was one where a thunderstorm shook the courthouse as he was asking a jury to send the accused in a murder trial to �old sparky� in the state prison. When a lightning bolt hit across the street from the town square, Uncle John said he knew the jury wouldn�t send the accused to the �chair.� He said you could smell the electricity in the air and that was as close as any jury would want a human being to come to an electrocution. None of the kids actually believed that story because Aunt Margaret said Uncle John never prosecuted anyone for murder.

Sometimes we all went down to the huge stone county courthouse and jail that was situated in the center of the town square to look at the tree that grew out of the courthouse tower. Uncle John said the tree took root and started growing and county officials just left it alone because no one wanted to climb that high. After a few years, it was a curiosity. It also was much larger, and a decision was made to leave it alone. Now the town brags about the tree. It also has become a tourist attraction. Trust me, there aren�t that many spectacles in southern Indiana to attract tourists. A tree growing out of the courthouse tower is better than none.

Enter the contest and entertain us with a tale about a courthouse.