Student Newsletter - Spring 2009

Inside this Issue
 •National Library Week Contest Winner
 •Rare Book Room News
 •Free Case Law on the Web
 •FYI for Graduating 3L's
 •Computer Help Center Update
 •LexisNexis' ASPIRE Program
 •Special Feature: All about Blawgs!

Dear Students,

This spring Boston College Legal Information librarians joined the ranks of legal bloggers with the debut of the Boston College Legal Eagle blog. The blog focuses on legal research and access to legal information. A separate Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room blog celebrates the library’s rare book collection. With blogs so much in the news these days, this seemed a perfect time to look more closely at bloggers and legal blawgs, and to highlight a few resources for the would-be bloggers among us, and the blog readers in our audience.

Peace, Filippa

Filippa Marullo Anzalone
Professor and Associate Dean for Information and Technology Services,
Law School

National Library Week - Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Jennifer Y., a 2L who is the winner of the National Library Week contest! Jennifer was the first contestant to identify all the movie clues in our contest. She is the winner of the grand prize, The Name of the Rose DVD. Thanks to all students who entered the contest!

Rare Book Room News - Check out Prof. Coquillette's Latest Gift!

Click on image to see larger view Professor Daniel R. Coquillette’s most recent donation to the Law Library's Rare Book Room is described on the library’s rare book blog. His gift includes a thirteen-volume ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA: A POPULAR DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE, HISTORY, POLITICS, AND BIOGRAPHY, dated 1846. Besides providing a window into all areas of life in the mid-nineteenth century, this set is particularly valuable to legal historians because it includes many law-related articles written by Joseph Story, an early Supreme Court Justice and Professor at Harvard Law School.

Free Case Law on the Web

Did you know that you can get U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals cases for free on the web by citation from Public.Resources.Org? For more free resources check out our LibGuide Legal Resources on the Free Web at

FYI: Class of 2009 Only - Important Computing Information

Members of the Class of 2009 will have network access at the University until August 1st 2009. BC E-mail accounts will remain active until April 1, 2010. Information about the use of other resources, including Lexis and Westlaw, is available here.

Student Computing Help Center Information

Summer Hours for the Student Computing Help Center will commence on Monday, May 18 and run through August 21, 2009. Click here for more about the Center's Summer hours, "On Call" service, and help for serious computer problems.

LexisNexis Associates Serving Public Interests Research (ASPIRE) program

LexisNexis is providing qualified graduating 3Ls free access to a menu of services. To be eligible for the program, graduates must have accepted an associate position at a law firm, but are 1) experiencing a deferred fall 2009 start date, and are 2) taking on public interest work during the deferral period. Additional information and the registration form are available at

All About Blawgs and Bloggers - Special Feature

What is a Blawg?

Webopedia, an online dictionary of computer and Internet technology terms, explains that blog is short for Web log, and a blog is a publicly-accessible web page that is often updated. Like Wikipedia, Webopedia defines blogs, but not blawgs. Here’s the Urban Dictionary definition of a blawg: "Musings relating to law in the form of a weblog."

America's Newest Profession: Bloggers for Hire

"In America today, there are almost as many people making their living as bloggers as there are lawyers" asserted journalist Mark Penn with E. Kinney Zalesne in a recent column in the Wall Street Journal. They offer these statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Penn calls us "the most noisily opinionated nation on earth."

Comparing Job Numbers in America:

Lawyers: 555,770
Bloggers: 452,000

Why Do Lawyers Blog, and What Are They Blogging About?

There's no single answer! Lawyers blog to share their thoughts about a favorite subject: the law, the state of the world, or a favorite restaurant; to share and exchange information; to make a name for themselves; to make business contacts; and because it's fun - and for the fortunate few, to earn a few extra dollars.

Some Blawgers in Cyberspace:
  • Kevin O'Keefe was a trial lawyer in rural Wisconsin for 17 years. Today he's the CEO of LexBlog, Inc., and his Real Lawyers Have Blogs blog focuses on the use of blogs and social media in the law, as well as Web 2.0 and baseball.
  • Wayne Schiess, the director of legal writing at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, blawgs at His 7 Tips for Writing a Successful Legal Blog appeared in the March 24, 2009 issue of Legal Technology.
  • Advocate's Studio is a blawg of "Musings on the Law, Research, Writing and Technology" by Boston-area attorney Martha Sperry. This is a great source to learn about new technology and may lead you to muse on the changing practice of law.
  • Reporter Michelle Lore writes in Minnesota Lawyer about lawyers who write specialty blogs -- blogs devoted to their particular areas of practice.
How Do I Find Blawgs?

The American Bar Association's Blawg Directory lists (self-identified) blogs by topic from A to Z beginning with Administrative Law and ending with Workers Compensation; by author type from anonymous to solo/small firms (solo/small firms lists the largest number of blogs with links to 767 blawgs as of April 2009); by region of the country; and by law school - go here to find blogs with contributors from Boston College.

If you're more interested in what law students are blogging about, the ABA also maintains a list with links to student blawgs here: Blawg Directory: Law Students.

Justia is a fairly new web resource that describes itself as a "legal media and technology company focused on making legal information, resources and services easy to find on the Internet." A search for tax blawgs using the Justia blawg search function retrieves over 50 blawgs.

You can search for Justia Legal Birds, too, if you Tweet.

What Are Some of the Best Blogs?

For the past 2 years the ABA has recognized what it calls the "Best of the Blogosphere". The editors' choices for 2008 are listed here.

If you're interested in learning about new blawgs as they appear, consider the Blawg Review, the peer-reviewed "Carnival of Law Bloggers." Each Blawg Reviewer decides which submissions and recommended posts to include "to fit with any special theme of that issue." Over 200 reviews have been published, as of April 2009.

Do Blawgs Ever Die?

Yes, but there's a blawg archive, "a selective collection of authoritative sites (associated with American Bar Association approved law schools, research institutes, think tanks, and other expertise-based organizations) that contain unique, born digital content." Since it began harvesting blawgs in March 2007, the Law Library of Congress has collected over 100 blawgs that are searchable by keywords, or browsable by subject, name, or title.

Any Ethical Issues with Blawgs?

Blawgers have been attracting the attention of the ABA and state bar ethics committees, and a few bars have addressed themselves to blog regulation. Try a keyword search of "blog" in the ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct to read about a federal lawsuit challenging Louisiana's new rules on advertising by lawyers, which specifically address blogging. This title is available online to the Boston College Law School community in the BNA Reference Library via a link in the library's A-Z list. Off-campus access is restricted. The ABA Site-tation has a brief article "Staying Current with Legal Ethics blogs" with links to blogs focusing on ethical issues for lawyers, some of which involve technology.