If you’ve ever wanted a commentary on texts as diverse as Marbury v. Madison, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or the iTunes terms of service, then there’s a perfect site for you: Law Genius. Specifically, this is the Law branch of Genius.com. This is a crowd-sourced annotation platform where anybody can add commentary, analysis and images to texts as diverse as music lyrics, cases and contracts. They even offer selected essays such as Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, Verse 2: A Close Reading With Fourth Amendment Guidance for Cops and Perps.
Started as Rap Genius, it now includes thirteen categories, including five musical genres. Last month, they added the Law School Genius page, grouping cases into broad topics billed as ‘casebooks.’ Currently there are far more cases without annotations than with them, but this may change if crowds convene to comment.
If you’re looking for more traditional commentary and explanations of the law, look no further than our Treatise Finder collection. For this, Georgetown Law librarians selected and organized leading study aids and treatises in more than fifty subject areas.
If you prefer narrative case descriptions with historical context, consider books in the Law Stories series. Each title contains a set of essays on leading cases in subject areas ranging from evidence to environmental law.
Whether or not Law Genius takes off, the broader site is a great place to explore the back story to lyrics from Beck, Beyoncé or Garth Brooks.
As you begin to think about writing a journal note or a seminar paper, please make use of our new tutorial on Researching Your Scholarly Writing. It's designed to provide guidance on choosing a topic, conducting a preemption check and focusing your legal and interdisciplinary research using the Georgetown Law Library resources.
Should you have additional questions about scholarly writing, please feel free to ask a reference librarian.
Thanks to CALI and the Legal Information Institute, you can now get free eBook versions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Evidence. These rules books are released as part of CALI's eLangdell project, which is an innovative project seeking to change the way law school casebooks are published. Texts are published in conjunction with Cornell's Legal Information Institute.
These books are available as ePub documents, which can be easily read on an iPad, iPhone, Nook, or any device that reads the ePub format. See below for a view of all three texts on an iBooks shelf, as well as the table of contents view of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on an iPad.
All three Federal Rules books include:
- Complete rules as of December 1, 2010.
- All notes of the Advisory Committee immediately following each rule.
- Table of Contents for easy navigation.
- Internal links cross-referenced rules.
- External links to the LII website's version of the US Code.
While these books are free to download, they were not free to produce. If you like them, consider making a donation to the Legal Information Institute to show your support.
The Law Library has developed a new resource page for a few of the most popular citation managers: RefWorks, Zotero and Mendeley. These tools can help you collect and manage your research sources, and so, if you’re frustrated with remembering sources and organizing your research, you might look into using one of these tools.
On our resource page, you’ll find a comparison of the tools’ features, information on how well each tool works with the Bluebook, and information on accessing and using each tool.
If you would like more information about citation tools or a personalized training session to determine which tool would be best for you, please contact Jennifer Davitt.
We can turn to US News to find out the year’s top law schools, and Am Law or Vault for their lists of the best firms and companies. But were you ever curious about the relative ranking of law reviews and journals? This info can be especially good to know if you have a piece of your own that you’d like to get published, before you submit your work or accept an offer.
The law library at Washington and Lee University maintains Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking, which you can use to view the vital statistics of over 1600 legal periodicals. Set search parameters to include journal subject, country, number of citations in publications and court cases, how quickly articles are cited, journals’ overall "impact factor," and more – you’ll get a ranked listing of the journals that correspond to your query. If you’re interested in a law journal’s clout outside of the legal world, see Mikhail Koulikov’s recent article, Indexing and Full-Text Coverage of Law Review Articles in Nonlegal Databases: An Initial Study, 102 Law Lib. J. 39 (2010) (Appendix A contains ranking charts).
For more information on law journals, scholarly legal writing, and getting your work published, see the GULL Guide to Publishing Articles in Law Reviews & Journals.
Feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of legal articles and treatises to read, take a look at Jotwell.com (The Journal of Things We Like (Lots)). This brand new electronic publication, sponsored by the University of Miami School of Law, provides brief reviews of recent legal scholarship that the academic and practicing attorney-reviewers find worthy of greater dissemination. The site hopes to “celebrate works that make an original contribution” to legal scholarship.
The major areas of law currently featured include:
- Administrative Law
- Constitutional Law
- Corporate Law
- Criminal Law
- Intellectual Property Law
- Legal Profession
- Tax Law
West announced yesterday that 29 of its most popular law book titles are now available for the Kindle eBook reader. Titles include Guerilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams, Contracts in a Nutshell, and Justice Scalia’s Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges. A complete list is available from their press release.
In order to help scholarly journals provide open, free, immediate, and online access to scholarly research, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, know as SPARC, has issued a new guide, “Income models for Open Access: An overview of current practice, by Raym Crow. The guide provides information about both supply-side and demand-side income models and identifies publishers that use each.
The blog VoxPopuLII recently published an article about a new type of legal research product called OregonLaws.org.
The service was created by Robb Shecter, a third year law student at Lewis and Clark Law School in Oregon. OregonLaws.org provides a system to "gather, create, visualize, and mine data." Shecter explains that his database provides new ways to research Oregon statutes because it:
- uses the hierarchy created by the Oregon Legislature when it designed the Oregon Revised Statutes;
- uses the subjects of each statute to create a tag cloud leading the researcher to related statutes;
- provides digital authentication for each document;
- creates a statutory dictionary based upon all o f the defined terms in the Oregon Revised Statutes (see principal office) – https://www.oregonlaws.org/blog/2009/04/began-a-new-sub-project-oregon-legal-glossary/ new annotations.
The University of California Press and JSTOR announced a new joint project called the Current Scholarship Program, to debut in 2011. The system is devoted to providing a cost-effective way for libraries to access scholarly journals published by UC Press. Other publishers are invited to participate.
More information is available on the JSTOR press release.