Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AAP / Bar Success Program

AAP/Bar Success Resource Center in Rm. 314 is now open with study aids and materials available for checkout to all law school students! The Center is staffed by AAP student leaders and faculty who are available to answer questions on a drop-in basis.

The Resource Center is typically open over the lunch hour and late afternoon/early evening hours, as well as an hour on Saturdays. Check out the posted schedule on our door for more specifics.

We are having a FALL 2010 GRAND OPENING on Tuesday, August 31st from 11-6PM. Come visit us for homemade cookies and a chance to enter your name in a drawing for a gift certificate from the DU Bookstore!

For more information about AAP and what we can do for you, please visit our website.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lexis Student Rep Office Hours

The Lexis Student Reps hold regular office hours at the Lexis table outside the Westminster Law Library on level 2 of the SCOL. Stop by for search assistance, password problems, freebies, etc. If your question arises outside of their office hours, you can call the 24 Hour Lexis Customer Service line at 1-800-45-LEXIS (53947) or chat online with a customer service representative.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Legal Research Boot Camp

On May 24, 2010, the Westminster Law Library in conjunction with the Legal Externship Program and the Career Development Center held a boot camp titled, Make Your Summer Experience a Success. This was the first time for the boot camp.

The event was for all law students and provided research skills for students working in any capacity during the summer. Legal research presentations included: Colorado Practice Materials, Legal Forms & Documents, Secondary Sources, and Alternatives to Westlaw and Lexis. Ann Vessels kicked off the event with her Getting it Right: Communicating with your Supervisor talk and the Career Development Center team discussed career advice with their, Backpack to Briefcase panel.

The Law Library plans to make this an annual event. So, be on the lookout for the next Make Your Summer Experience a Success in May or June 2011.

If you have any thoughts or ideas regarding the event, please contact Stacey Bowers . We value your input and hope to have a big turn out next spring.

You can access the materials in PowerPoint or PDF from the 2010 event here. Print copies will also be available at the Reference Desk while supplies last.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Need BNA Search Assistance?

The BNA Legal Solutions Consultant, Heidi Reese, will be staffing a table on Level 1 (by the couches) from 1-3pm on Friday, August 27, 2010. She will have handouts & tips on searching the various BNA databases that the library has under subscription. Heidi can also give you some tips on using BNA resources to find research or paper topics in your specialized classes.

If you missed the BNA information table, stop by the Reference Desk for search handouts and free keychains with flashlights, while supplies last.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Plug-ins & Extensions

Make your legal research and writing easier with extensions and plug-ins for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Word.

Extensions and plug-ins from third-party developers allow users to extend browser functionality far beyond that offered in the basic application. Below are some extensions/plug-ins that may be helpful with legal research and writing.

Chrome and Apple's Safari browsers both support third-party extensions, however, as this ability is fairly new in both browsers, there are fewer extensions available for them than are available for Mozilla's Firefox.

LexisNexis Toolbar:

Works with Firefox and Internet Explorer; Created by LexisNexis
Free – For Windows XP, Vista, or 2000 – Adds toolbar to browser allowing you to preform searches, find citations, and Shepardize.

LexisNexis Citation Search:

Works with Firefox; Created by AttorneyTech
Free – performs the 'Get by Citation' function.

Lexis for Microsoft Office:

Works with Word; Created by LexisNexis
Written to work with Word 2010, it is backwards compatible with Word 2007. Requires Windows operating system. Links Word and Outlook to Lexis. Allows searches, document management, and makes citations into hyperlinks direct to the case in Lexis.

Westlaw Citation Search:

Works with Firefox; Created by AttorneyTech
Free – performs 'Find Citation' function.

Jureeka! :

Works with Firefox and Chrome; Created by Michael Poulshock
Free – Transforms legal citations in web pages into hyperlinks that point to online source material.


Works with Firefox; Created by CiteGenie
Beta is currently free –Copies and pastes text from Westlaw and Lexis with pinpoint citations, with proper Bluebook formatting.


Works with Word; Created by Westlaw
Windows operating system and Word or WordPerfect - Automates formatting citations, tagging cites, and building tables of authority in your word-processing documents.

Google Scholar Legal Content Star Paginator:

Works with Chrome; Created by Randy Becker
Makes Lexis and Westlaw users feel more at-home while using Google Scholar's legal content. It places page numbers inline with the text, rather than in the margin.


Works with Chrome; Created by CiteStack
Organizes your Google Scholar legal research into a hierarchical stack of quotations, notes, and brief-ready citations.

And, if you are citing webpages that may update frequently, the following extensions let you capture either the entire page, or the portion you are quoting so you don't have to waste time repeatedly visiting the same pages, try Mendeley.

Evernote Web Clipper:
Works with Firefox, Safari, & mobile devices; Created by Evernote
Free software provides a toolbar button and context menus to easily add a selection or an entire page to Evernote.

Works with Firefox; Created by Iterasi
Allows you to capture the exact state of a page in your browser and save it forever. Whereas bookmarks allow you to save the location of a Web page, Iterasi saves the exact contents of a Webpage to your own secure account on the Iterasi Website.

Bibliographic Management & Citation Software

Additionally, the volume of articles, cases, and other documents used in writing a paper or brief can quickly overwhelm. The following are some software systems that can help manage those documents and citations, and assist with creating bibliographies.

DU students have access to RefWorks (
instructions). RefWorks is a powerful bibliography manager that helps you manage book and journal article citations, and create bibliographies in APA, MLA, or Chicago styles.

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, cite, and share your research sources. It lives right where you do your work—in the web browser itself.


Mendeley is a research management tool for desktop & web. You can explore research trends and connect to other academics in your discipline. With either web-based or desktop software, and a Word plug-in, Mendeley makes bibliographic creation and citation easy.

Written By Andrew J. Tig Wartluft, Law Librarian Fellow

Monday, August 16, 2010

Interlibrary Loan Options

Can’t find what you’re looking for in the Westminster catalog? Broaden your search into other catalogs by using Prospector! Prospector is a unified catalog of twenty three academic, public and special libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. Through Prospector you have access to over 25 million books, journals, DVDs, CDs, videos and other materials held in these libraries. With a single search you can identify and borrow materials from the collections and have them delivered to your local library by using the Prospector tab at the top of the results page displaying a gentleman holding a pickaxe. It is also possible to connect directly to Prospector at http://prospector.coalliance.org although users are encouraged to begin in their local system. If the item is not located in one of the twenty three libraries nearby, you can expand your search even wider and search globally for your items by using WorldCat.

WorldCat is the world's largest network of library content and services. WorldCat libraries are dedicated to providing access to their resources on the Web. You can search for popular books, music CDs and videos—all of the physical items you're used to getting from libraries. You can also discover many new kinds of digital content, such as downloadable audiobooks. You may also find article citations with links to their full text; authoritative research materials, such as documents and photos of local or historic significance; and digital versions of rare items that aren't available to the public. Because WorldCat libraries serve diverse communities in dozens of countries, resources are available in many languages. Access to WorldCat is also available through the Penrose Library.

Keep searching! Ask a librarian for assistance, if needed.

Written by Jennifer Hayden, Law Librarian Fellow

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Titles in July

The Westminster Law Library added some new titles to our collection in July. You can see a list of all items or search by subject. Fill out our online form to have the list of new titles emailed to you on a regular basis.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Proposition 8 Decision

Some pretty big news was made by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently. On August 4, 2010, the decision was reached in Perry et al v. Schwarzenegger et al.. In it, Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs and held that Proposition 8 – which added Sec. 7.5 to the California Constitution (“Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”)
– violated both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The full decision and supporting documentation has been made available by the Court on its website.

From a legal perspective, with respect to the conclusions of law drawn in the opinion, there are at least three particularly interesting aspects worthy of discussion.

ONE – In the Due Process analysis, the Court was faced with the preliminary question of whether the Plaintiffs were seeking to protect a fundamental right (the right to marry) or create a new right (the right to gay marriage). It felt it was the former, and defined the issue as whether “marriage” was a fundamental right, not whether “gay marriage” was one. In this instance, that made all the difference in the outcome, because the argument that “gay marriage” is fundamental is almost certainly a losing one. On the other hand, “[t]he freedom to marry is recognized as a fundamental right protected by the Due Process Clause” (Decision at p. 110). Because the Plaintiffs sought to exercise the fundamental right to marriage, the legislation impinging on that right was subject to strict scrutiny. Interestingly, the Court largely glossed over the strict scrutiny analysis, referring to the rational basis analysis it conducted later on and saying that “As explained in detail in the equal protection analysis, Proposition 8 cannot withstand rational basis review. Still less can Proposition 8 survive the strict scrutiny required by plaintiffs’ due process claim” (Decision at p. 117). While it is certainly true that no law that fails rational basis review could ever survive strict scrutiny, it was surprising to me that the Court did not give a detailed analysis using strict scrutiny as well, if only to make the opinion that much more “bullet-proof” on appeal.

TWO – Though the Court did ultimately conduct a standard rational basis review of the legislation for purposes of Equal Protection, there is considerable dicta in the opinion suggesting that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation might be subject to a more stringent standard of review. Ultimately, it even goes so far as to say that “the court determines that plaintiffs’ equal protection claim is based on sexual orientation, but this claim is equivalent to a claim of discrimination based on sex” (Decision at p. 121) and “strict scrutiny is the appropriate standard of review to apply to legislative classifications based on sexual orientation” (Decision at p. 122). Despite this dicta, the Court conducted the Equal Protection analysis using the rational basis review. Nevertheless, the language provided in favor of a higher standard of review for sexual orientation discrimination is likely to be quoted and cited in future court cases.

THREE – Realizing that the rational basis analysis is where the battle is likely to be fought on appeal, the Court took particular care to address each of the possible rationales behind Prop. 8 individually and in turn. It specifically listed each the six rationales offered - (1) reserving marriage as a union between a man and a woman and excluding any other relationship from marriage; (2) proceeding with caution when implementing social changes; (3) promoting opposite sex parenting over same-sex parenting; (4) protecting the freedom of those who oppose marriage for same-sex couples; (5) treating same-sex couples differently from opposite-sex couples; and (6) any other conceivable interest (Decision at pp. 123-24). It then addressed the purported interests, each under a separate sub-heading and each with extensive reference to the findings of fact. This is seemingly done in order to make it more difficult for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, or ultimately the Supreme Court, to overturn the decision. This is because appellate courts are generally loathe to contradict findings of fact from the trial court, and it is those findings of fact that served as the foundation for these conclusions of law.

For more information on the litigation associated with California Proposition 8, check out some the following resources:

Prop 8 Trial Tracker
Proposition 8 News, Updates and More

News Releases
ACLU Hails Historic Decision And Urges Efforts In Other States To Ensure Success On Appeal

FoxNews.com – Lawyer Battling Prop 8 Says Ruling Not 'Activism,' Forecasts Supreme Court Fight

New York Magazine – Judge Hands Victory to Proposition 8 Opponents, Gay-Marriage Ban Overturned

SFGate: Home of the San Francisco Chronicle – Prop. 8 trial frames debate on marital rights

The Washington Post – Topic A: Impact of same-sex marriage ruling weighed

AC360° Blog

Prop 8 on Trial (A project of Berkeley Law at the University of California, Berkeley)

Protect Marriage.com Blog

The California Report and KQED

Wall Street Journal Law Blog

Assorted Blogs on WordPress.com about Proposition 8

Written by Marty Witt, Law Librarian Fellow

Sunday, August 8, 2010

CQ Press Electronic Library

The Westminster Law Library now has access to a new database called CQ Press Electronic Library. Published by Congressioanl Quarterly, the database provides contemporary and historical reference information about the Congressional, Executive, and U.S. Supreme Court and their roles in American domestic and foreign policy.

Titles covered include:

CQ Weekly
CQ Almanac
Congress and the Nation
The Contemporary Middle East
Encyclopedia of the First Amendment
Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion
Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History
Encyclopedia of United States Indian Policy and Law
Guide to Congress
Guide to Political Campaigns in America
Guide to the Presidency
Guide to U.S. Elections
Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court
Historic Documents Series
International Military Alliances, 1648-2008
Political Handbook of the World
Political History of America's Wars
CQ's Politics in America
The Supreme Court Compendium
Supreme Court Yearbook
Washington Information Directory

Monday, August 2, 2010

PACER is your friend!

Public Access to Court Records (PACER) is an online service used by U.S. district and appellate courts for electronic filing, retrieval, and access to court filings. PACER is maintained by the administrative office of the U.S. Courts and its fees are decided by Congressional mandate. At .08 cents a page, it can remain affordable so long as you only view/print what you really need. Their redesigned website offers many helpful guides and FAQs. To access records, you’ll first need to visit the PACER site and apply for a password. After receiving your password from you will find a link called “Court Links” and after clicking you can find the link to the court in which your case is held and log on with your system password as each court maintains its case information locally.

The Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system falls under the umbrella of PACER, but CM/ECF is for filing of documents only and requires a separate password for the same site. PACER is for viewing and retrieving those documents filed by the court and interested parties to a case in CM/ECF. In short, PACER is for finding, CM/ECF is for filing.

It’ true PACER can be tricky and unyielding especially when one is try to file a document that doesn’t not fit within a prescribed category. But in my experience, I’ve found the clerk within the court you’re attempting to file with is always willing to answer questions and help you get on the right track. After working with PACER for over 6 months, it’s turned from enemy to friend. It will soon be your friend too!

Note: If you need to use PACER for a law school assignment, please stop by the Reference Desk for assistance since the Westminster Law Library does maintain a PACER subscription for law school faculty, students & staff.

Written By Kimberley Dickey, Law Librarian Fellow