Author Archives: jeandavis

Book Festival in My Backyard

After a hellish mid-week commute that trapped me underground for nearly an hour, what could possibly lure me back to Brooklyn on a Sunday?  BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL!

My literary life partner, Ken, accompanied me.  He is hard at work on his new novel, tentatively titled Love Like Rain, which foretells of an apocalyptic world where a handful of survivors fight for the last source of water.  (Intrigued?  Draft first chapter available here.)

Ken and I joined a large crowd in Brooklyn’s Borough Hall Plaza to hear Dr. Brittney Cooper, Daisy Hernández and Mychal Denzal Smith discuss “Intersectionality and Activism.”  Mr. Smith asked the audience: “After the Women’s March [on Washington], what will be the political program that we follow?”  Ms. Cooper explained how she is actively involved in the Black Lives Matter movement—she used humor and passion as tools to encourage the audience to act.  (Ms. Cooper’s newest book, Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, will be available in February 2018.)

As I scanned the Brooklyn Book Festival program, I was proud that my employer, Brooklyn Law School, was a host site for free panels on topics ranging from big data to immigration to young adult fiction.  These Sunday afternoon programs were packed!  BLS President and Dean Nicholas Allard moderated the panel discussion: “Culture, Politics and the Supreme Court.”  You can view the recording of this discussion (and many others) through C-SPAN’s 2017 Brooklyn Book Festival Book TV.

The Festival’s Literary Marketplace showcased friendly authors and their recent works.  At Brooklyn Law School’s booth, I greeted authors/professors William Araiza (standing on the far right in the photo below) and Heidi K. Brown (standing next to Professor Araiza in the photo below).

BLS at Brooklyn Book Festival

Professor Araiza’s most recent book is: Animus: A Short Introduction to Bias in the Law (2017)He notes in the introduction: “Animus matters more than ever today. At a very practical level, animus has become one of the Supreme Court’s favorite tools when considering claims that a plaintiff’s equality rights have been violated.”  I encourage you to read this book to discover what the constitutional law concept of “animus” means today.  Professor Brown’s thoughtful new book is: The Introverted Lawyer: A Seven-Step Journey Toward Authentically Empowered Advocacy (2017).  Earlier in her career, Professor Brown had to address her own fear of public speaking while litigating.  Her work to conquer this fear inspired her book.  Come hear her book talk about The Introverted Lawyer on the evening of October 3, 2017.  Other notable featured titles by BLS faculty were: Dana Brakman Reiser & Steven A. Dean, Social Enterprise Law (2017); Christopher Beauchamp, Invented by Law: Alexander Graham Bell and the Patent That Changed America (2015); K. Sabeel Rahman, Democracy Against Domination (2016); and Nelson Tebbe, Religious Freedom in an Egalitarian Age (2017).

At “Refugee Reportage,” journalists Deborah Campbell and Lauren Wolfe explained the great value of a skilled “fixer” (= interpreter + guide + excellent source of contacts) to a foreign correspondent.  They noted that a good fixer, working with foreign journalists, places her or his life at risk.  When Ms. Campbell read from A Disappearance in Damascus, I, like, the audience, was spellbound.  What had happened to brave Ahlam, the Iraqi refugee in Damascus who provided so much help to Ms. Campbell in 2007?  I am eager to read this beautifully written book to find out.

Finally, I met volunteers from NYC Books Through Bars, which sends free, donated paperback books to people who are incarcerated in the U.S.  This group’s website describes how (and when) to donate books, as well as how to donate funds or packing supplies.

Conclusion: Well worth the trip, and I’ll be back next year!


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Scholarly writing for law journal competitions

BLS Library offers these sources that discuss scholarly writing for law journal competitions:

Elizabeth Fajans and Mary R. Falk (BLS professors), Scholarly Writing for Law Students: Seminar Papers, Law Review Notes, and Law Review Competition PapersBLS Library has copies of the latest edition (4th ed., 2011) in the first-floor Reserve collection and copies of older editions (that students can check out) in the Main collection (cellar level).

Also, the Reserve collection contains the current editions of: Eugene Volokh, Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review and Wes Henricksen, Making Law Review: The Expert’s Guide to Mastering the Write-on Competition.

Good luck to all students who choose to participate in the writing competition.


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New Pathway To Access & Other Changes

I want to highlight the new procedure for the BLS community to access At the top of your Lexis Advance screen, there is a pull-down arrow in the red tab: Research.  One of the options in the pull-down menu is:
At this point, a message might pop up–in the message, you might need to click: “Continue” to reach the main screen. In, tab: Legal still contains the menu of legal sources.

Also, according to Lexis, if you are a BLS subscriber using (as opposed to Lexis Advance):

  • Your history is not saved
  • Your tabs might not be there the next time you log on to because you are sharing a “party line password” with others
  • BLS students cannot print documents from through the dedicated Lexis printers in the library.  (BLS students CAN print documents from Lexis Advance through the dedicated Lexis printers.)

Note: Lexis could not tell me when the foreign law sources that are only available in will migrate to Lexis Advance.

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New tool to develop paper/note topics: Law Ratchet

Law Ratchet is a free, searchable aggregator of legal news and blog posts.  At present, there is both a Law Ratchet website and an iPad app (displays well and is easy to edit).  The FAQs indicate that the developers are working on  adding offline access and expanding to other platforms (like Android phones).

You can customize Law Ratchet’s 40+ legal news categories through its EDIT feature.  Categories include: trending topics, top 25 blogs, law school, and the legal industry.   There are also subject categories such as international, policy and politics,  corporate law, commercial law, immigration law, and law and technology.  In some cases, Law Ratchet is reproducing blog posts in full.  In other cases, it provides summaries of posts and directs readers to, for example, specific legal blog sites.

I think that this will be a useful source for note and paper topic development.



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Graduating Students: Access to Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance & Westlaw

Congratulations to our graduating students.  Below are vendors’ access policies for use of their databases after graduation:

Bloomberg Law: Access for 6 months after graduation.  Register here for a Bloomberg Law account, if you do not already have one.  Enter your BLS email in the registration form.

Lexis: Access Lexis Advance through a law school account until July 31, 2013.  Register here for a Lexis Advance law school account, if you do not already have one.  Also, Lexis will email BLS graduates to describe its new Graduate ID program, which requires graduating students to register for a new ID that Lexis will provide via email in early July.  Lexis states that the “new ID will be active until December 31, 2013 for educational, bar review and job search purposes only…Students cannot use this ID for commercial purposes.”  Alternatively, graduating students who will be engaging in verifiable 501(c)(3) public interest work can register for the Lexis ASPIRE program.  Lexis states that graduates may apply for either the Graduate ID or the ASPIRE ID (if eligible).  Questions?  Email

Westlaw Classic & WestlawNext: Access through November 2013, if graduating students register to extend their passwords.  The extension form is posted on the main homepage.  Sign on to the site and select the “need Westlaw this summer” icon on the main page to complete the extension form.  Additionally, graduates will have access to Westlaw’s job search databases for one year after graduation.  Questions?  Email

Also, BLS alumni who visit Brooklyn Law School Library are welcome to use Lexis Academic to search news, U.S. federal and state cases, law review articles and company data.  Finally, reference librarians can show you how to access   free gateways to law such as the Federal Digital System, Justia and the Legal Information Institute.

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Focus on the World Trade Organization

This April, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are participating in consultations to choose a new Director-General of WTO.  The final candidates for WTO Director-General are:

Mari Elka Pangestu (Indonesia)
Tim Groser (New Zealand)
Roberto Carvalho de Azevedo (Brazil)
Taeho Bark (Republic of Korea)
Herminio Blanco (Mexico)

One of these candidates will be the new leader of the WTO before the December 2013 WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali. The candidates’ statements to the WTO General Council and videos of their press conferences are available at: WTO members meet the DG candidates.

Three of the finalists (Pangestu, Groser & Bark) also answered questions posed by a policy center, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.

Heads-up international trade researchers: a key enhancement is coming to TradeLawGuide.  This database is a highly useful tool for identifying pertinent WTO agreements and jurisprudence.  By summer 2013, there will be an annotated version of GATT 1994 available in TradeLawGuide.  Through TradeLawGuide, one can search annotated WTO agreements (by article of the agreement or by keywords) to identify relevant WTO jurisprudence.  One can then use TLG’s Jurisprudence Citator, review Dispute Settlement Body minutes, and scan pending WTO jurisprudence to complete the research process.

Feel free to ask me how to use TradeLawGuide and other WTO research tools.


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Free EUR-Lex, N-Lex & EUROPA for EU legal research

EUR-Lex is the European Union’s free and official site to access EU law.  The EU publishes its treaties and secondary legislation (regulations, directives and decisions) in an official gazette which is currently titled the Official Journal of the European Union.  EUR-Lex includes:

  • All issues of the Official Journal (in PDF) from 1998- and many issues of the Official Journal from 1952- (the EU’s goal is to provide all issues here)
  • EU treaties currently in force, including consolidated versions of treaties that the EU amended frequently over time, such as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Treaty on European Union
  • EU treaties in a chronological list dating back to the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community
  • Accession treaties of new EU member states
  • Search features, including the ability to search: by type of document (file category) + keywords; by document number; and by Official Journal cite or European Court Reports (E.C.R.) cite
An enhanced beta version of EUR-Lex currently offers:

In future, the new EUR-Lex also will provide an “authentic electronic version” of the European Court Reports and the ability to view an EU document in up to 3 languages simultaneously.

EU directives apply to all EU member states.  Each EU member state can devise its own means of transposing the goals in a directive into national law. Thus, member state national implementing measures might be in the form of laws, regulations or constitutional amendments.  N-Lex is a gateway (still under development) to find EU member states’ national implementing legislation.  One can search N-Lex by keywords/document type/document number to find an EU member’s national implementing legislation.  N-Lex also allows a researcher to link out to an EU member’s official site containing all available legislation.

The EU also provides free tools to identify its legislation by topic:
Also, I can show BLS researchers how to search our catalog for treatises about EU legal topics, and how to use tools that index legal articles (such as free SSRN and databases LRI and LJI in subscription Westlaw Classic).

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