Saturday, September 05, 2009

Jurors Today: Texts and "Tweets?"

For centuries, lawyers and law students have taken for granted that, in the interests of justice, those serving on juries cannot obtain outside information about the case when they are outside the courtroom. But in the world of Web 2.0, it's not that simple anymore. While the new September Library display highlights the common law jury tradition in the U.S. and throughout the world, there are new challenges facing today's lawyers and judges "where the information superhighway intersects with the halls of justice." Mistrials have been declared and new laws to control juror communications and "research"are being passed. Are they the answer? You can read an excellent summary of the problem and some of the solutions being tried in "Texts and 'Tweets' by Jurors, Lawyers, Pose Courtroom Conundrums", from the August issue of Trial, a publication of the American Association of Justice (formerly, ATLA, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America).

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, September 04, 2009

Paper Topic ideas

Many of you are starting to write papers for your classes and may need some help finding a topic. While Lexis and Westlaw are o.k., the Library has some databases that you may not know about that can help a lot more. On the Library's Online Resources page, you will see a link on the left for BNA Online Resources. This will give you a subject listing of databases. The BNA databases are weekly newsletters on many topics which discuss current issues in that area. You can browse by issue or search key terms to hone in on your area of interest.

Other good sources for paper topic ideas are government agency web sites and organizations in your area of interest and law professor blogs. An "old fashioned" Google search will help you find these. Also, take a look at our blog roll on the right.

As always, don't forget to ask your favorite Reference librarian for help.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Nolo’s Plain English Online Law Dictionary

Do you find yourself online while studying, and you need a quick definition of a legal term? Try Nolo’s Plain English Online Law Dictionary. Just type the word whose definition you are seeking into the search box, and click “search”. You’ll then receive your results, sorted by relevance.

Nolo’s online dictionary is no substitute for a judicial or statutory definition of a term, or even for the venerable Black’s Law Dictionary, but it will do in a pinch when you want a general sense of the meaning of a legal word.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

CALI lessons

Need to review a subject or just want help understanding concepts? You may want to use a CALI lesson. CALI stands for Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction. It contains interactive computer based lessons covering 32 legal educations subjects.

1L students please note that tutorials covering aspects of Lexis and Westlaw may be found in the Legal Research subject. These lessons are one way to review what you learned and add more insight into using Lexis and Westlaw.

The CALI link is on the Law Library page: Deane Law Library homepage to Online Resources to Legal and Research Instruction. Please ask for the password at the Reference Desk.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, August 31, 2009

Manage Your Library Transactions Using My Library Account

You just got home and remembered that you forgot to renew your library book. Don't worry. Renew it online from home with MY LIBRARY ACCOUNT. MY LIBRARY ACCOUNT provides access to your library patron record and allows you to see what materials you have checked out and renew them online.

Have you run the same or similar catalog search numerous times? Well, MY LIBRARY ACCOUNT also allows you to save “preferred searches” and re-run them at a later date.


  • Go to Hofstra Law School Library Main Page
  • In the left-hand margin click “Catalog”
  • At the top of the catalog search screen click “MY LIBRARY ACCOUNT”
  • You will be prompted to authenticate using your name and “700” number
  • Click on “Submit"
Remember to logout.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, August 30, 2009

BAR/BRI Class Action Update

We have been told that claim forms for those who paid for a BAR/BRI course between March 2001 and January 2008 to receive a share of the class action settlement against BAR/BRI must be postmarked no later than September 18.  

And something tells me that for those who send their forms in, the check they get in the mail will feel like it's worth a little bit more than $30-40. 

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat