Thursday, May 28, 2009

Research Review for Clerks (BRAG)

Are you a summer clerk or new associate that needs a research review? Plan to attend the BRAG (Bridging the Research & Analysis Gap) workshop from 8am - noon on Wednesday, June 3rd. The workshop is co-sponsored by the Colorado Association of Law Libraries and CLE in Colorado. Topics include:

  • Tips From A Young Associate
  • The Research assignment: Effective Communication & Smart Research
  • Colorado Practice Materials
  • Casemaker 101
  • Colorado Legislative History
  • Cost Effective Legal Resources
  • Internet Footprint / Social Networking
The cost is $55 and the workshop is available "live" or as a webinar. You firm or agency may be willing to pay for you to attend. Also available for 3 CLE credits for attorneys.

Registration details & more information are available online. Printed brochures are also at the Reference Desk on Level 3 of the Westminster Law Library.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

U.S. Bankruptcy Court - District of Colorado

There are three Federal Courts located in Denver, Colorado. They include the United States District Court for Colorado, which is a trial court; the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, the appellate court; and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals includes Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas, and Oklahoma. There are a total of eleven United States Circuit Courts of Appeals that cover the various states.

The library homepage has links to materials on bankruptcy. Go to Under "Research" on the left hand side, click on Web Research Links> Topical Resources> Bankruptcy Resources. There is also a Bankruptcy Subject Guide which can be printed or used online. Under "Research" click on More> Subject Guides> Topical Legal Research> Bankruptcy Materials> and you will find the subject guide with live links. We also have printed subject guides in the library on wooden spindles on Level 1 and Level 2. The subject guides are always in the process of being updated.

Don't forget to check the library catalog for the many print materials found in the library's collection. The Bankruptcy Code was extensively changed in 2006, so be careful about the primary and secondary sources you rely upon in your research. The general call numbers for bankruptcy materials is KF 1501-1548. We do have the Bankruptcy Reporters and Digests. For materials in the Colorado section, add the word Colorado to your search.

Perhaps the best place to start is the web site for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado.
There is a wide range of materials including the code, regulations, forms, proposed local rules, information for debtors, court procedures, and links to the new requirement for credit counseling prior to filing a case. The states are allowed to elect between their state's statutory exemptions and the federal exemptions. In Colorado at this time the exemptions in the Colorado statutes are used instead of the Bankruptcy Code. See C.R.S. 13-54-102

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Solo Practice

As you near the end of law school, study for and pass the bar, many law students do not already have a position waiting for them. Perhaps an internship has changed your mind about what you thought you wanted to do. Informational interviews may steer you toward or away from particular areas of practice. The amount of debt or student loans you must repay may influence your career decisions. You may not want to do trial work, or practice law at all! There are a myriad of choices outside of practicing law. The library has some excellent resources, as does the Career Development Center, outlining possible options.

If you do choose to strike out on your own, here are a number of practical tips. Have a mentor(s) with experience, whom you can bounce ideas off of. Remember that this person is not someone to do your legal research. Learn how to do your own legal research in a law library, before you turn to expensive databases like Westlaw or Lexis. Check into prices for these and other databases such as LOISLAW. Check out the websites offering free access to case law and statutes. At the beginning, use the free public Westlaw terminals at SCOL or the Colorado Supreme Court Library, along with the expensive treatises at those libraries. After graduation, you can still use many of the expensive databases on the SCOL Level 3 computers, as well as benefit from the assistance of the law librarians. For your own office, portions of the Colorado Practice Series or other treatises may be a sound investment. Always have a set of current statutes and court rules in your office. At first, your main referrals may be cases that attorneys do not want or are not the types of cases they handle. Eventually, your main referrals will come from satisfied clients. It may take time and experimentation to find out what you enjoy doing.

If possible, obtain a position working for a trial court judge. This will not only sharpen your research skills, but expose you to a wide range of cases, as well as potential referrals from attorneys that you meet. Do a paid or unpaid internship while in law school or after you graduate. Work with the student law clinic, or volunteer at a smaller law firm or government agency. Advertise in print or by contacting attorneys that you are available to do contract research. You will be putting in many non-billable hours when you begin a solo practice, simply to educate yourself. Law school gives you many analytical skills, but the substantive law will be something you continue to learn in an ongoing process. Experience comes with time.

There are two aspects of solo practice. The first is practicing law, and the second is running a business. Both are time consuming. In the beginning the key is to keep costs as low as possible. Do your own books, accounting, recordkeeping, and word processing. Use a service that provides a business and mailing address, receptionist, and access to a conference room for which you are charged on an hourly basis. Office sharing and expenses is another option. Home offices work well depending on your home. There are countless other arrangements and ways to save costs. Trade services with an accountant or word-processor. The keys to success in solo practice are imagination, creativity, networking, setting goals, self education, and self discipline. You may work long hours before you have the ability to turn business away, but solo practice does eventually afford you the flexibility and opportunity to create what works for you.

The spindle next to the Reference Desk on Level 3 has a Subject Guide for Opening a Solo Law Office. It contains a wealth of helpful information. You can also view it on the Library’s homepage where
the links are live.

Monday, May 18, 2009


MedlinePlus has come a long way since its launch a decade ago. With over 12 million visitors each month from 200 countries, the site is nearing 1 billion page views per year. The National Library of Medicine unveiled the site in 1998 with 22 health topics, and today boasts over 770 health topics—in English and Spanish. The most popular health topics are also available in 40 other languages. In addition to the health topics, MedlinePlus provides free information on drugs and supplements, the latest news, a medical dictionary, an extensive encyclopedia, surgery videos, interactive educational material, and links to other helpful sites to locate clinical trials, understand genetic conditions, and find information specifically for older Americans. The health information on MedlinePlus is professionally selected from reliable sources including the National Institutes of Health, government organizations, medical associations, and more than one thousand other health organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and the Harvard School of Public Health. Health topics are updated at least every six months to provide consumers with the most current health information available. Here are two new additions to the MedlinePlus site:

MedlinePlus has a new tutorial ( on understanding medical words or terminology. Sometimes the terms we use to describe an illness or condition do not match those of a doctor. For example, a “heart attack” to a doctor means there is damage to the heart muscle, while a consumer might interpret it to mean the heart isn’t beating. You'll also learn how to make sense of medical terms by breaking the term into parts and examining the word roots. For instance, the term colostomy (creating an opening in the colon) looks like this when broken up: colo=colon, +ostomy=opening of. The tutorial takes around 15-20 minutes to complete, including a few short quizzes.

MedlinePlus has partnered with DSHI Systems to bring FreeMD (, a symptom checker, to health consumers. A virtual doctor conducts and interview, evaluates symptoms and offers expert advice from the convenience of your computer. The site can analyze over 3,000 symptoms and injuries, providing information on possible symptom causes and determining when and where to seek care. FreeMD was designed to not only help consumers triage personal symptoms, but also to provide a tool for communicating with their doctor. The system generates a personal web page that can be shared with health care staff. DSHI is a physician-led medical technology company, and the evidence-based content on is written and maintained by physicians. It is independently funded by virtual and real life emergency room physician, Dr. Stephen Schueler, and is advertising-free. MedlinePlus links to 150 FreeMD entries, and/or you can link directly to the FreeMD site. Use of the site is for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician.

(from Dana Abbey, MLS - Consumer Health Coordinator at the University of Colorado Denver-Health Sciences Library)

For other medical related information, check out the Health & Medicine links on our website under Research > Web Research Links > Nonlegal > Health & Medicine.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Black's on your iPhone

Black's Law Dictionary, 8th ed. is now available as a iPhone application for $49.99. See a product review or purchase at the iPhone App Store.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Finding Federal Legislative History (1970-2005) on Microfiche

Use the following hardbound Congressional Information Service (CIS) volumes at Level 2 Index KF 49.C62 to find selected federal legislative history (1970-2005) on microfiche:

· CIS 1999 Annual Index to Congressional Publications and Legislative Histories
· CIS 1999 Annual Abstracts of Congressional Publications
· CIS 1999 Annual Legislative Histories of US Pubic Laws

Retrieve legislative history for American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 including congressional publications, House/Senate bills and committee reports, and floor debates.

1. Perform a “Words” search for American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 in Westminster Law Library catalog > Library Catalog > Words and retrieve legislative history materials.

2. Review CIS 1999 Annual Index to Congressional Publications and Legislative Histories “User Guide” on page vii.

3. Check 1999 Annual Index to Congressional Publications and Legislative Histories under Inventors’ Rights Act and make note of the following CIS microfiche codes:
· H183-39
· H273-26
· H523-27
· PL106-113

4. Check CIS microfiche codes in 1999 CIS Annual Abstracts of Congressional Publications for more information.

5. Check public law entries (PL106-113) in 1999 CIS Annual Legislative Histories of US Public Laws.

6. Decide which CIS microfiche you wish to view and retrieve from microfiche drawers on Level 2 KF 49.C6 (1999). (When you find fiche, put a white card in the drawer so filer can file the fiche correctly.)

7. View microfiche in fiche reader/printer in SE corner of Level 2 library.

8. Review instruction cards on procedure for making copies and/or transmitting e-mails.

For researchers who prefer to work online, see FINDING FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE HISTORY (1789-present) ONLINE.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Law Day: May 1, 2009

Celebrate Law Day! May 1 has been designated as Law Day since 1958 by 36 U.S.C. 113. The statute says in part that:

"Law Day is a special day of celebration by the people of the United States—
(1) in appreciation of their liberties and the reaffirmation of their loyalty to the United States and of their re dedication to the ideals of equality and justice under law in their relations with each other and with other countries; and
(2) for the cultivation of the respect for law that is so vital to the democratic way of life."

Each year, the President issues a presidential proclamation in honor of Law Day. The theme of this year's Law Day is a Legacy of Liberty: Celebrating Lincoln's Bicentennial. More information on President Lincoln's contributions can be found in the document Dialogue on Lincoln that was created by the American Bar Association to use a teaching tool in public education projects across the country.