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Law Library News for Dec. 4, 2006

Law Library News Archive

Cheryl Nyberg, editor.


Last Library Lifesaver

The last session of the Library Lifesavers series for Autumn Quarter will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 12:45-1:15pm in Room 119.

Mary Whisner will shoot out bullet points for using the outline feature in Microsoft Word. Students who create outlines to prepare for exams will find this program a timely and useful one.

Then Cheryl Nyberg will conclude the series with tips for fun searching on the Internet. If you would like to suggest some sites, please email Cheryl by noon on Tuesday.

Best Way to Prepare for Exams

What is the best way to prepare for law school exams?

I searched for answers with Kartoo, an interesting meta search engine that presents results in a visual map, instead of a list of hits. And for fans of natural language searching, you can write your search in the form of a question!

Kartoo’s results map indicates the relevancy of responses with large, small, and multiple page images. The most prominent link led me to the Top Law Student blog, specifically a May 6, 2006 posting: “The best advice for law students in exams right now is this: Stop reading blogs, including this one. Try to clear your life of anything but exams and activities that relax and refresh you.” That page links to five other postings on exams.

Kartoo icon

The next largest page image belonged to Law Exams.com. This commercial site sells course “cheat sheets,” essay exams and sample answers, and flashcards for $100. Not exactly the advice I was looking for!

In a Jan. 19, 2005 posting on Evan Schaeffer’s Legal Underground blog, Professor Bill Childs describes six things “not to do on law school exams”:

6.         Do not ignore the fact pattern.
5.         Do not just write down your outline and turn it in.
4.         Do not rely strictly on commercial outlines.
3.         Do not just spew stuff onto the paper like you’re Faulkner on meth.
2.         Do not get hung up on one issue at the expense of others.
1.         Do not write your law school exam as if you are instant messaging your junior-high lockermate.

Give Kartoo a spin on your next casual Internet search—after exams!

Book of the Week

-- Mary Whisner

A Collection of In Chambers Opinions by the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (2004). KF101.1.C652 at Reference Area

Perhaps you've heard of those dramatic flurries of activity when lawyers petition a Supreme Court Justice to stay an execution or grant an injunction. The resulting decisions, by just one Justice, are known as "in chambers opinions."

Cynthia Rapp, the Deputy Clerk of the Supreme Court, compiled and indexed all the available in chambers opinions—some handwritten or typed, some typeset—for the use of the justices and staff of the Court in 2001. (These opinions were not routinely published in United States Reports until the 1969 Term—and even then they were not all in one place.) In 2004, the set was republished. A supplement adds some opinions that were not previously available (including newer opinions and some very old opinions, like Chief Justice Taney's opinion rejecting President Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus).

Do you want to know how justices have handled requests for extension to time to file certiorari petitions? What Justice Douglas did when asked to stay the executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg? How Justices Marshall and Douglas responded to a lower court's injunction to stop the United States from bombing Cambodia? They're all here.

Even the introductions are interesting. Stephen M. Shapiro (co-author of the indispensable guide, Supreme Court Practice, KF9057.S8 2002 at Reference Area) and Miriam R. Nemetz (formerly Associate Counsel to President Clinton) wrote the introduction to Volume 2. Professor Craig Joyce recounts the history of Supreme Court reporting in Volume 3.

This set is a wonderful resource for scholars investigating how the different justices handle these matters as well as for lawyers whose practice includes stays and other emergency motions before the Court.

Note: For recent in chambers opinions, see the Supreme Court's Opinions page.