Category Archives: Legal Education

Library Training for Faculty Research Assistants

The Library will be holding three RA orientation training sessions.

In the orientation, RAs will learn about library services and policies and will gain an introduction to our databases and to best research practices.

The sessions will be:

  • Friday September 24, 2010 from 11 am to noon
  • Friday September 24, 2010 from 4-5 pm
  • Friday October 1, 2010 from 11 am to noon

All sessions will be held in EB Williams Room 320

Please RSVP to Thanh Nguyen with which session you plan to attend.

Take the Law Library Survey – Spring 2010

The Law Library is currently conducting a survey of all Georgetown law students. Please take about 10 minutes to give us your feedback about our reference services and research collections. We’re also looking for your thoughts about our facilities and a few other library-related items. We promise to read every comment submitted, and we’ll do what we can to act on and respond to your feedback. Take the 2010 Law Library Survey [Georgetown login required] One lucky student completing the survey will win a free Apple iPod touch (8 GB). We’ll keep the survey open through April 12 and select the winner of the Apple iPod touch the following week. Please don’t put off taking the survey until the last minute. We promise that it will only take a few minutes to complete the survey. Based on feedback from last year’s survey, we created an online group study reservation system, relocated the reference desk in the Wolff Library, purchased new self-serve scanners, and purchased new chairs for the Williams Reading Room. In addition, we added several shortcut links to the homepage, and now maintain a single calendar of library hours featured in several places on our site. You can read a summary of last year’s survey, together with our narrative responses. Here’s a profile of the students who replied last year. We hope to you’ll take the time to help us get at least this many responses this time around.

GAO Report: Issues Related to Law School Cost and Access

A new report from the Government Accountability Office finds that as law school tuitions have increased, Hispanic and Asians/Pacific Islander  enrollment in law school has increased or stayed at about the same level, while African American enrollment has declined. Contributing to increased tuitions have been  increased emphasis on hands-on clinical experiences and smaller skills-based courses; increased diversity of course offerings, such as international law and environmental law; and increased student support, e.g., academic support, career services, and admissions support.

Amazon Kindle DX to be Piloted at Universities this Fall

Kindle first look from engadgetAmazon just announced a large-format version of their electronic book reader, called the Kindle DX, which you can see in action at engadget. The product doesn’t launch until this summer, but it could be in the hands of many university students for a pilot coming to five schools this fall. Library Journal reports that these schools are: Arizona State, Case Western Reserve, Princeton, Reed College and Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.  As of yet, there are no law schools who will try this out.  Because Kindle books are typically locked into a single device, this could mean the disappearance of a used book market.  That said, it means fewer dead trees and possibly more publishing options for content producers.  In law schools, where much of the raw source material is in the public domain, casebooks and case compilations could be done very economically, if not for free.

An interesting feature of the new device is that it supports native PDF documents, instead of forcing people to pay to convert them to a proprietary Kindle format. This means you could get class notes or reading materials in PDF format and read them directly.  It’s not clear if this would support image-based formats like scanned law reviews from Hein Online or published reporter cases from Westlaw.  If so, this could be a boon for students willing to pay almost $500 for the device.

In the past, there has been some debate over whether libraries can lend Kindle readers to their users. One problem with having a Kindle in a library is that book purchasing is tied directly to the account on the device.  A library owning one to lend would have to disable purchasing options. Books purchased for the Kindle cannot be transferred to another device.

In advance of the latest Kindle announcement, the New York Times ran a story about large format e-book readers, exploring questions of whether these could save daily newspapers.  Media conglomerate Hearst Corporation is rumored to be launching a wireless e-book reader. They publish everything from Harper’s Bazaar to Good Housekeeping to Popular Mechanics.  It will be exciting to see how electronic books develop over time.  They look like a possible life preserver for print media. Perhaps this Fall we’ll see how they fare in the education sector.

Update: Additional coverage, including law school topics, is found here:


CALI Launches Legal Education Commons

Yesterday, in conjunction with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) launched a Legal Education Commons at  It is designed to be a single searchable & taggable space for teachers of law to share materials and notes they use in teaching.  The initial launch includes access to over 700,000 federal court decisions (from and 300 original illustrations from its CALI Lessons online tutorials.  All materials uploaded to the Legal Education Commons by faculty and staff at CALI member schools will be done under a Creative Commons Share Alike license, which allows the author to retain the original copyright in the material, but others will be allowed to use it, share it, and make derivative works from it as long as the users make proper attribution and license the derivative under the same (or a compatible) license.  Click here to read the full press release.

New Georgetown Research Guide Designed to Help You Enter the Legal Academy

The Georgetown Law Center places its share of graduates in law teaching positions, ranking in the top ten of law schools nationwide during the past several years. To help facilitate future careers in academia among current students and alumni, the Library has created a research guide on the subject of law teaching and scholarship.

This guide is designed to help students and alumni who are considering careers in academia, as well as those who are already making the transition to teaching positions. We have included background resources about the legal academy, as well as resources that deal with the hiring process and diversity issues. New and aspiring law professors can also find sources which discuss different approaches to legal scholarship and teaching, along with advice to new professors on teaching methods and scholarly publications. Finally, we have listed major journals that can be consulted for further research on the subject.

Read more about entering a career in legal education in our Law Teaching & Scholarship Guide, written by our new Reference Librarian, Todd Venie.

It’s Never Too Early to Start Preparing for Law School!

The New York Times recently featured an article on the new web-based Civics lesson being prepared by the Law Center, in conjunction with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Arizona State University.

The "Our Courts" Project was created to help those seeking to address the evident crisis in civics education. It will be an interactive,  problem-based Civics curriculum designed for the middle school environment. While not completely interactive as yet, it currently contains numerous links offering key definitions, discussion on the branches of government and structure of the courts.

In the article, Justice O’Connor said that most citizens know very little about their government. "Two-thirds of Americans know at least one of the judges on the Fox TV show American Idol, but less than 1 in 10 can name the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, she said."

Georgetown Law Library Legal Research Tutorials Win AALL Award

The Georgetown University Law Library has received a Law Library Publication Award from the American Association of Law Libraries for developing several Web-based legal research tutorials designed to teach first-year law students the basics of legal research. View all tutorials online on our website

Starting in 2007, the Georgetown librarians created the tutorials by using multimedia elements such as interactive demonstrations of online research, scored review questions, and sound to create a self-paced active learning environment to teach legal research skills. Many of the tutorials also require the user’s participation in navigating a variety of legal research database simulations.

The tutorials cover topics such as case law research, statutory research, regulatory research, legislative history, secondary resources, and international law research.

The project coordinators were Kumar Percy Jayasuriya, Sara Sampson, and Sara Kelley. The tutorial authors were Amy Burchfield, Sara Kelley, Margaret Krause, Barbara Monroe, Sara Sampson, and Amy Taylor.

An article about the project is featured in the September 2007 issue of the Edward Bennett Williams Friends Newsletter.

Sara Kelley wrote a short article about the project on page 17 of of the Fall 2007 issue of Law Library Lights.