Library Services for Alumni

Alumni Card Back

This past weekend, Chicago-Kent was proud to send yet another class of students into the world of legal practice, armed with the skills and tools that they will need to succeed.  The library would like to congratulate all newly-minted alumni on their achievement. We would also remind them that we are still here if you need us.

Has your new boss asked you to find a regulation, and you can’t quite remember where to look?  Contact the reference desk!  Did you forget where to find a form for a contract you need to draft?  There’s a guide for that!  Just want to chat about the good old days in library?  We’d love to hear from you!

If there is anything that the library can help you with, just know that we are still here for alumni just as we are for current students.  Check out the alumni services page of our website.

Congratulations, Graduates!

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New Tools in Legal Research: Ravel Law Judge Analytics

Ravel Law is a free tool for legal research (like Google Scholar and casetext).  Ravel Law has added a feature not found in most legal research resources –  analytics.  Ravel’s Judge Analytics data provides detailed information about how individual judges think and rule on particular matters.  This tool recently won an award for best new product of the year.

The tool is powerful, yet very easy to use.  Users select a judge to research. Ravel can analyze that judge’s opinions to discover:

  • Which opinions the judge cites most often (and the language cited from those opinions)
  • Which jurisdictions the judge cites most often
  • Which other judges the judge cites most often

Continue reading

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April Authors at Chicago-Kent

One week in April brought us three book talks with authors discussing their latest works. The topics discussed at these events ranged from the looming crisis in personal savings and financial literacy to the role activists play in affecting constitutional law to a historical review of our first female U.S. Supreme Court justices.

Did you miss attending these events? I’ve summarized the discussions and Q&A from two events here and a video of the third event, along with links to help you borrow the books via libraries or purchase them online. Continue reading

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Summer and Post-Graduation Access to Westlaw, Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law

As summer approaches, many students and soon-to-be graduates wonder whether they will still have access to their favorite subscription databases over the summer.  Here is a summary of the access that will be offered during the summer of 2016:


Continuing students will be able to extend their passwords over the summer for academic purposes, including school work, moot court, unpaid internship/externships, law review, and research assistant positions.  As long as the work is related to school or for school credit, a student can use their Westlaw account.  Students can extend their passwords here.

While students can use their academic accounts for the purposes listed above, if a student will be working for a firm or other organization they should use the Westlaw account provided to them by their employer.

Graduates will also be able to extend their passwords through the end of November for academic purposes and bar examination preparation.  Graduating students can extend their passwords at this page.

Lexis Advance

  • Lexis Advance Summer Access – All students have Full Access with their law school ID all summer. This includes BOTH academic use and work use (no restrictions). No need to register – full access is automatically provided.
  • Lexis Advance IDs: Spring 2016 graduates have full access to Lexis Advance via their law school IDs through December 31, 2016. This ID also grants them access to the Graduate Home Page (detailed below).
  • Spring Graduate New Home Page: On July 1st, Spring graduates’ view of the Law School Home Page will switch from its current appearance to the “graduate view”. This new view will provide helpful information for your careers and job search.

Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law offers students unrestricted access to Bloomberg Law over the summer and for 6 months following graduation.  No special registration is required.


If you have any questions regarding access to any of these services, please feel free to contact our account representatives:

Westlaw – Dennis Elverman (
LexisNexis – Jonnell Simpson (
Bloomberg Law – Valerie Carullo (

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Teaching Technology in the Academy

Prof. Daniel Katz: “Let’s scale this stuff!”

In my last blog post about the ABA TECHSHOW, I mentioned that one of the conference’s workshops would be hosted at Chicago-Kent: Dean’s Roundtable: Teaching Technology in the Academy. This half-day program, held the morning of March 16, focused on the ways law schools are teaching technology concepts to law students, as well as which concepts are most important.

Continue reading

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I Have Met the Leader, and He is Us

Everyone can help or at least try

A leader helps and accepts help

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the American Association of Law Libraries’ Leadership Academy.  The most profound and interesting takeaway from the conference was the idea that we can all be leaders, even if we are not the boss.

The speakers, Gail Johnson and Pam Parr of Face to Face Communications and Training, Inc., stated boldly that it is a myth that leaders need followers.  Gail pointed out that when people just follow blindly, then they can’t help offer solutions or point out problems.  Then she asked us a powerful question: would you rather have someone following behind you or walking beside you?

So what does leadership look like when you’re not the committee chair or not the boss?  The Academy offered a fairly simple answer: you communicate clearly and motivate those around you to do their best.

Think of the worst group project you’ve ever been in.  First of all, it was probably the worst because someone misunderstood what the group of doing, someone went off-line and couldn’t be reached, and you couldn’t get anyone to understand your idea.  Clear communication could have helped.  Gail and Pam offered an old-fashioned solution: talk in person.  I know we’re all busy and Google docs are a great collaboration tool, but what if you mixed in some in-person meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page?  You could Skype or FaceTime.

Second, the worst group project ever was probably the worst because it seemed like no one else cared.  If you’re in law school, you were probably the person who rolled her eyes and picked up the slack.  Gail and Pam pointed to this as a problem of motivation.  This is arguably a much bigger challenge than clear communication.  From everything I heard at the conference, I think perhaps the easiest thing we can do to motivate others is to say thank you, to show appreciation, and to take the opportunity to tell others that their work matters.

I’m energized by this vision of leadership, especially because it means I can be a leader all my life.

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There’s no fooling Johnny Law

April Fools Day is all fun and games until someone gets arrested.  As we celebrate the wackiest day of the year, we urge everyone to have fun, be safe, and learn from the mistakes of these shortsighted pranksters:

Spokane, WA Spokesman-Review, July 26, 1907

Spokane Spokesman-Review, July 26, 1907


Charlie Graff, what WILL you say next?!”

“That Borden thing was only 15 years ago, you scoundrel. Too soon.”

As a loyal subscriber to the Chicago Onion-Register, I think you’ll find me quite difficult to fool, sir.”

Seriously though, where is your wife?”



File this under: not well-thought-out:

Bus prank


“My friend knows a guy whose cousin is a mechanic, and he said that if we just cut them a little, they’ll grow back by April 2.”

Bro, if I bomb this chem test my parents are gonna  freak.  We need to get out of class tomorrow.”


Not the right audience:

Bagley Farmers Independent, Nov. 24, 1993.

Bagley Farmers Independent, Nov. 24, 1993.




Uh, yeah, I took them…from a POLICE STATION…seriously, how are you not getting this?”



“You want to know the real joke? This VCR in 6 months when everything is on LaserDisc.”






Finally, lest you think that the police have no sense of humor whatsoever:

Wilmington Morning Star, April 7, 1996

Wilmington Morning Star, April 7, 1996



“Sure, ‘Officer,’ I’d be happy to get into your real, actual ‘police car.’ Here, I’ll even make the siren noises–weee-oooo, weee-oooo, weee-ooooo…”



“Seriously, you’re under arrest, but let me get a quick face swap before I cuff you. The fellas at the station will love it.”





For even more examples of what not to do this year, see articles here, here, here and here.

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Tech Tip: Data Hacking Techniques & Security Strategies

How secure is your personal information? What steps do you take to protect your privacy? Do you know what sort of threats could affect you and what tools or strategies are most helpful to defeat them?

It’s easy to find a lot of alarming information about privacy and data security online. Building security into your personal habits and being conscious of your risks is key to maintaining your ethical responsibilities to protect client data as well as your personal financial security and privacy.

For example, the journalist below hired “white hat” hackers to see how much information they could gather about him: they gained access to his computer, his files, and much much more:

Don’t want to watch a video? You can read his story online here.

At the ABA Tech Show last year, I heard more than one session talk about the way law firms were sometimes viewed as easier targets for data breaches for corporate espionage or competitive intelligence for clients’ intellectual property or political and personal information with dissidents. There’s also a very strong financial risk if ransomware that gets into an internal network, sometimes even infecting backup files and encrypting all data so it will be lost without payment to the hackers.

Debbie Ginsberg recapped much of that discussion in this blog post last year.

Social Engineering

Image from page 168 of "The dawn of the XIXth century in England, a social sketch of the times" (1890)However secure your own accounts, privacy settings, and passwords may be, most of us may still be vulnerable through the companies that manage our services or the friends and family that we share our content with who may not use the same care.

From celebrity photo leaks to spammers to identity theft, a lot of information can be quickly grabbed by people who look for a vulnerable point of entry.

Security Strategies:

  • Consider before sharing directly with anyone who shouldn’t be able to control access to your files. Are there services you can use that let you control how others can see or download files?
  • Work with your service providers to set up 2-factor authentication (password plus text notification code) or an additional PIN to reset passwords or access sensitive data.
  • Check if access to one account would let someone easily reset passwords on other accounts (can you reset your amazon or iTunes account from your email alone?) – lock down your master accounts as securely as possible.
  • Keep personal and professional content completely separate. This will help you protect financial data, client information, and personal documents like health care files.


Spear Phishing

Image from page 303 of "The marine mammals of the north-western coast of North America, described and illustrated; together with an account of the American whale-fishery" (1874)Emails that masquerade as legitimate messages but include dangerous links or malicious attachments that can infect a network are very dangerous to businesses as well as individuals.

This type of account can often lead to a malware attack that encrypts personal files until a ransom is paid, a technique that may have no technical solution but to pay (and may require special payment plans too).

How does this specifically apply to lawyers and law firms? That’s explained here in a quick recap from the ABA TechShow 2016 featuring Reid Trautz shows:

Security Strategies:

  • Know which personal accounts have each email address. If you receive a message from a service that shouldn’t have your professional email, for instance, that should raise a red flag.
  • Know what security settings are installed on your email and how to report suspicious messages for review.
  • Scan file attachments you download with security software before opening them if your email does not automatically include this option.
  • Set up your browser to preview links that you hover over and remember to check that they’re going to an address you would expect.


This recent article looks like a valid news source but the url is slightly off – it’s a cleverly designed “parody” news account:


Clone phishing

Image from page 20 of "Carols of Cockayne" (1869)Sometimes completely valid emails or accounts are duplicated, then tweaked slightly to redirect users to the wrong location. This can occur with email blasts or even social networking accounts with lower privacy settings.

Other times people hack into an email or social media account and use a legitimate email to reach out to the person’s contacts with a plea for help.

Security Strategies:

  • Pay attention to the link locations as mentioned above.
  • Be carefuly about typos when you enter urls: sometimes they have been set up not to redirect you back to the accurate site but to steal your login information.
  • Is someone you think you know sending a message that seems out of character? Verify with them through another medium that they sent the message before responding
  • Report suspect accounts whenever possible to protect other users

Whale phishing

Image from page 129 of "The marine mammals of the north-western coast of North America, described and illustrated; together with an account of the American whale-fishery" (1874)This is the “big fish” version of spear phishing. This approach relies on careful individual research and leverages personal data to seek access to more sensitive information.

Hackers may use personal connections or information about where the target lives, was educated, family members, etc. to craft a convincing message that gives them an opportunity to start a correspondence and gain access.

Security Strategies:

  • For this type, fortunately most of us are protected through obscurity: we aren’t valuable enough targets to put this level of effort into hacking our content. But that doesn’t mean your clients might not be a bigger target, so learning more about file encryption can be key.
  • Review your privacy settings on social sites carefully and make sure you remove or hide details like your birth year from any other accounts seeing them. Check to see what friends can discover and what is visible to anyone on the web.
  • Think carefully about how you answer “security questions” on accounts. Have you ever answered a silly survey online that asks those same questions? Has a family member published your family tree online? Using faked answers that you can easily remember is one way to avoid the danger of accurate details of your life being used against you.
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A Productive Spring Break- the ABA Techshow (March 17-19)

techshowlogo2016We hope you all are having an excellent spring break.  Many of you won’t be back until next week, but if you are in town consider attending the ABA Techshow, right here in Chicago.  

This annual event features dozens of presentations on all kinds of legal technologies.  Attendees will learn how to use Microsoft Office efficiently, the role of encryption in law firms, social media best practices, and much more. The show is attended by lawyers from just about every type of firm, law firm IT staff, law faculty, and even law students.   Continue reading

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Three Secret Weapons

This is exactly how glamorous a librarian's life is.  No exaggeration.  Lots of diamonds.

This is exactly how glamorous a librarian’s life is. No exaggeration. Lots of diamonds.

You can ask a research librarian a seemingly impossible question and get an answer in minutes.  How?  Well, practice and the ability to remember questions I’ve answered before.  But there’s something else.  Librarians have secret weapons, and today I’m lifting the curtain and sharing three of my favorites with you.

#1: Foreign Law Guide

You can ask me where to find an Italian statute from 1942.  I tell you it’s in the official gazette, available online from 1860-1946 from Au.GU.Sto., a service of the Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale.  How did I know that Italian statutes are published in the official gazette and how did I find it online from 1939?  The Foreign Law Guide.

The Foreign Law Guide is a database of articles about the legal system of many different countries.  The information provided includes information about the legal history of the country, the court system, and where to find everything.  It’s especially helpful to tell you what is and isn’t out there.  Some civil law countries don’t bother to publish many cases.  They aren’t precedent, after all.  The Foreign Law Guide also gives you links to online resources and, if need be, the name of the print resource for things that are too old or too obscure to be found online.

Honorable mention: GlobaLex.  A free collection of expert articles about foreign law.  Not as detailed, not as up-to-date.

#2: Guide to State Legislation, Legislative History, and Administrative Materials by, William H. Manz (ask for it at the Reference Desk)

You can ask me for help finding the legislative history of the inclusion of “sexual orientation” discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act.  I’ll tell you that Illinois puts floor debate on the General Assembly’s website, but that very little information from committee hearings or reports is available, and what is available is cursory at best.  I can also tell you that legislative history for New York laws is easy to find because a bill’s sponsor is required to write a memorandum about the purpose of the law.

William Manz’s book is still the go-to source for quick information about what’s available for legislative history at the state level.  It will tell you if the information is recorded and, if so, where to find it.  It cuts across Lexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline, and free online sources.  It allows the reader to be an instant expert in the esoteric details of legislation in 50 states.

Honorable mention: Library guides from other law libraries.  Other law libraries maintain research guides to researching the law of their state and they are frequently very helpful, like this guide to Wisconsin Legislative History Research that I found from the Wisconsin State Library.

#3: The Supreme Court Compendium: Data, Decisions, and Developments by, Lee Epstein et al.

Finally, you can ask me where to find the papers of the Supreme Court justices or where Abe Fortas is buried (trick question–he was cremated).  I’ll give you a list of where everyone’s papers wound up.

The Supreme Court Compendium is a collection of data, facts and statistics about the Supreme Court.  It’s nothing that you can’t find elsewhere, but it’s all in one place.  It gives you tables of statistics on the court’s caseload, success rates of different kinds of litigants before the court, and more esoteric things like a complete listing of where every justice who has passed away is buried.  It’s a great source for all things SCOTUS.

Honorable mention: SCOTUSblog.  More than just a source of court news and analysis, the SCOTUS blog provides lots of statistics and writes about issues of interest to those who research the court like this 2013 blog post about sources of the justices’ papers online.

Happy researching!

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