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Law Library News

Law Library News Archive

Oct. 17, 2005.
Kristy Moon, editor.

Trial Ad Blog

by Mary Whisner

Interested in trial practice? Thinking about becoming a litigator? Take a look at Trial Ad Notes, I put this together primarily for the students and faculty in the Trial Ad program, but anyone interested in trial practice (with a Washington State focus) could find the news items, case summaries, and tips helpful.

You can visit the site from time to time to browse what's new, or you can subscribe by email and get new postings sent to you.

Looking for a Book?

by Kristy Moon

Are you gathering sources for the Washington Law Review, Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, or Shidler Journal for Law, Commerce & Technology? Or are you doing research for your advanced writing requirement? If you need a particular book (or books on a particular subject) and don’t know where to begin, give the Law Library catalog a try:

If you don’t find what you’re looking for in the Law Library, there are several other catalogs worth searching. The Law Library catalog is separate and independent of the UW Libraries catalog, so it makes sense to also search the UW Libraries catalog,, especially if you’re researching in other disciplines.

If you still don’t find what you need, the next recommended step is to search the Summit catalog: (click on “Summit” under the category of “Other Library Catalogs”). Summit is a catalog that searches the holdings of over thirty academic libraries in the Pacific Northwest. The nice thing about Summit is that when you find a particular book, you can have the item delivered to the Law Library Circulation Desk by clicking on “REQUEST THIS ITEM.” Summit requests typically arrive in several days.

Still at a loss because you can’t find that book? As a last resort, you can try to borrow the book through interlibrary loan (ILL). It is helpful to first search OCLC WorldCat (a catalog that searches the holdings of thousands of libraries in the world) to see how many libraries own the item and to get a complete bibliographic information. You can get to WorldCat from (click on “OCLC WorldCat” under the category of “Other Library Catalogs”). The ILL request form is at (click on “Borrower Request Form”). Be sure to fill out the appropriate section of the form (book or journal article) and plan ahead – ILL requests can take up to three weeks to arrive.

For additional help on cite-checking or source-gathering, see our research guide on Cite-Checking and Library Reserach.

Study Aids for Law Students

by Ann Hemmens

There are many study aids available to help you with class preparation and in studying for exams. This article describes several types of print resources and how to find them in the Law Library using MARIAN, the online catalog, Current editions of these study materials are in the Reference Area.

Outlines provide a summary of the basic principles and issues of law covered in a law school course and may be oriented toward a particular casebook. Law professors and attorneys write them. These items are usually referred to by their series name such as, Black Letter Series, Casenote Law Outlines, Emanuel Law Outlines, Gilbert Law Summaries, Legalines, Professors (Smith's) Series, or Sum & Substance Quick Review. To locate outlines in MARIAN, conduct a keyword search such as the following: outline* and contracts. Replace contracts with other subject matters (e.g., torts or civil procedure).

Flash Cards. For those of you who learn well using flash cards, you can even check out boxes of flash cards to study for exams on topics such as civil procedure, real property, and torts. To locate flash cards in MARIAN, conduct a keyword search such as: flash cards and torts.

Nutshell is the name of a paperback series, published by West Group, providing brief overviews of legal topics. Generally there are fewer footnotes or references in a nutshell than in a hornbook, and they are shorter in length. To locate nutshells in MARIAN, conduct a keyword search such as the following: nutshell and civil procedure.

Treatises provide a comprehensive review of a specific legal topic. They are often multi-volume sets with many footnotes and supplements (e.g., pocket parts). The word treatise does not usually appear in the title of the work, so to locate a treatise on a particular area of law, consult reference sources such as Legal Information: How to Find It, How to Use It (KF240 .O365 1999 at Reference Area and Reference Office) which includes a list of major legal treatises by subject area (pages 62-65) or Encyclopedia of Legal Information Sources (KF1 .E53 1993 at Reference Office).

A hornbook provides an overview of a specific area of law in a narrative summary format, with less detail than a treatise (and often in only one volume). West Group publishes a hornbook series covering many legal topics. To locate hornbooks in MARIAN, conduct a keyword search such as the following: hornbook and constitutional law.

Restatements, produced by legal scholars of the American Law Institute, attempt to state what the law is or should be in a particular area (e.g., contracts, torts, or property). They consist of summaries of legal principles and longer comments. To locate Restatements in MARIAN, conduct a keyword search such as: restatement and property.