Author Archives: Shawn Friend, JD, MLS

Are you Tech Savvy enough? Are you sure?

There has been a decent amount of press about Kia’s tech audit of their attorneys.  Basically, they gave the attorneys they employed or were considering employing a test to see if they could do basic technical tasks.  None of them passed.  Not one.  And Kia did not hire firms or paid them less based on their failure.

If you need to know how to do something technical – learn!  There are literally thousands of tutorials available to you on the web for free.  Search for things like how to Bates stamp documents video or how to use sort and filter using Excel video or how to use style and template in Word.  Basically, look for tutorials on topics you don’t know about – Adobe and the Microsoft Office Suite are a good place to start.  If you want more thoughts – look at a site you have to pay for to see what videos they offer.  Then you can search for those types of videos or pay if you have to.

No matter how you do it, brush up on your tech skills early and often!

Other law libraries

We at the Florida Coastal Library really, really like you all.  We are here to help and answer your questions.  But you may not be close by, you may need a print resource.  If you can’t come to us, then definitely go to another library!  They are (almost) as nice and helpful as we are.

Where can you go?  Well, that depends.  Most states have some kind of public law library system – you can look at some lists of those libraries, both national and regional.  You can also do a search in Google (or your favorite search engine) for something like county law library list (if you have an area, like Florida or California or Duval County, to add to the search that’s even better!).

You can also use public law school libraries for free in most cases.  And even private law schools will often let you in (sometimes for a small fee, but often at least a couple times for free).  There are also some lists of the law school libraries (this one goes directly to their catalogs, but you can then find the name of the law school near you).  Or you can look at the law schools and find their library page.

Once you find a library – do not be shy to talk to the librarians, they want to help you (just be sure to use your best library voice…).

How Do I Start My Research?

As summer jobs and internships start, one of the questions we get at the Library is “how do I start my research?”  The good news is, there are lots of resources on how to do that!

Some of the best resources are Libguides on legal research.  Libguides are created by librarians, and there are lots of law librarians helping you out!  Florida Coastal has a great one for low cost legal research

If you want more, run a search in Google for libguide starting legal research: .edu (that : .edu restricts the search to only school websites).  Or change up the language and run  starting legal research libguide: .edu (it will give you slightly different results).  Switch up the words for more results libguide beginning legal research: .edu for example.

Or, call a Librarian!  We are here all summer for you, whether it is for class, an externship or work!  You can call and leave a message, we will call you back – (904) 680-7612.  Or you can email us your question refdesk@fcsl.edu or use the Ask A Librarian page.

What do you like about Lexis Advance?

As a Librarian, I try to keep up with new research tools.  It has been hard before to see how cases are treated across jurisdictions, which can often be very helpful if arguing for a change in law.  But not anymore! Lexis Advance has a great feature that lets you see how cases have been treated by other courts across jurisdictions and across years.  Once you log into Lexis Advance (if you are having trouble with that, please contact any of the Librarians) just Shepardize a case.  Go to Citing Decisions and choose Grid.  Especially if you like to visualize what has happened to a case, this is a perfect resource.

Lexis has a great explanation of this feature, and other features of their Shepard’s service, in their information.

The risk of being hit in the face by a hot dog is not a well-known incidental risk of attending a baseball game. …

It’s not baseball season yet (almost though!), but it is never too early to think about potential baseball related lawsuits. A spectator filed suit against the Royals because Sluggerrr [sic], the mascot, threw hot dogs into the crowd, hitting him in the face and injuring his eye.  Although a jury found against him, he still has hope, as the case was reversed and remanded.

How can you find interesting cases like this to read?  Well, you can comb state court sites.  Many, like Missouri, have a site dedicated to the courts.  Here is Florida’s, for example.  Once you are in a court site, though, you may have to dig for opinions.  The best way in Missouri is to click on Opinions and Minutes from the Legal Resources drop down menu, then choose a court at the bottom (like the Western Appellate District), but you will have to explore in other court webpages.  Once you do that in Missouri, there is a search function, and you can enter fun things like baseball hot dog.  That gets you the opinion from above and the fun quote: “the risk of being hit in the face by a hot dog is not a well-known incidental risk of attending a baseball game.”  I wonder about peanuts…

‘Tis the Season…

… to research many things – the best holiday cookie recipe, how to get directions someplace, where to go for the most creative gift (hey, I can’t do everything for you!). 

If you are researching cookies, trips, and gifts, chances are you are using Google.  If so, remember that you can do some great things other than just put some phrases in the big white box.  Go to their Advanced Search page or look at how to use operators (you know: and, or, not).  For even more – look at their Tips and Tricks (it has tips on searching for recipes, trips, and gifts, all on one convenient page!).

And have a very happy holiday!  We’ll see you in the new year!

Have you read the fine print on your Westlaw contract?

If you haven’t, you are not using the skills you are using in law school to the fullest extent.  Misuse of your Westlaw (or Lexis) account can result in serious consequences.  Can’t read the full article?  If you don’t want to sign up (or if there is a fee for an article) remember that Westlaw and Lexis often have journal articles regarding legal issues.  For this article, log on to Lexis, use “Find a Source,” type in National Law Journal.  Once you choose the National Law Journal from the list of results, copy and paste the title in and you can access the whole article.  You should always check Lexis and Westlaw for journal articles – at least for now, while you have authorized access.

Famous Legal Case in Various Formats

It all started because I was looking for a funny t-shirt.  Okay, well a t-shirt I think is funny – most lawyers would get the Palsgraf reference anyway.  For those of you who haven’t gotten that far in Torts (or who blocked out all memory of Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co.) maybe this Lego reinactment will ring a bell (or a scale, whatever). 

Or maybe seeing it recreated by Peeps is better?  If you don’t like proximate cause, they have one on multiple tortfeasors – Summers v. Tice.

The Beavis and Butthead version doesn’t really explain the case, but is kind of funny.  To really get the case – go to one of the Library’s databases CVN and sign up (it’s free!) to get the edited case, the holding, and an audio you can listen to of the language of the case itself.

Sometimes We Have Cookies…

Okay, not very often.  But we would not yell like this librarian if you wanted a book and a box of cookies. Shhh, the Library is supposed to be quiet.

Instead we would definitely help you find the best place in town to get cookies, and help you get a the best book for your research.  And if we had cookies, we would share.  The Library is like that.