Author Archives: Alyson Drake

Happy Bill of Rights Day!

Today, we are celebrating the anniversary of the Bill of Rights!   Ratified on December 15, 1791, it lays out some of the key freedoms we enjoy.   As President Obama’s 2015 Bill of Rights Day Proclamation states, “Written to guarantee our fledgling Nation would never succumb to the tyranny it fought against, these first 10 Amendments to our Constitution help safeguard the bedrock principles of equality, liberty, and justice.”

Check out the rest of today’s Presidential Proclamation, all about the Bill of Rights.

Check out the Bill of Rights Institute to learn more about the Bill of Rights and play some Bill of Rights games.

Five Study Aids To Help You Get Through Exams

studyaidsIt’s that time of year!  Fall break is over, final memos are due soon, and exams are imminent! The library has a large collection of study aids just waiting to help you prepare for exams.

So how can you get ready for the end of the semester push?  Here are five study tools that will help!

  1.  Examples and Explanations (E&Es):  Available for all of the first year courses, 2L priority courses, and many other upper-level electives, E&Es are a great study tool.  They give you fact pattern examples with a question to answer on various sub-topics within that subject area, followed by explanations on how one would best answer that question.
  2. Questions & Answers (Q&A):  Another perennial student favorite, Q&As have multiple choice questions, followed by answers to the questions, including explanations of why the wrong answers are incorrect.  The library has these for all the first year courses and many of the upper-level courses.
  3. Another study guide series that has good practice questions is the Glannon Guide series.  Multiple choice questions are interspersed throughout, with explanations for why the correct answer is right and why the incorrect answers are not.  The library has these for many subjects.
  4. My personal favorite study series are the CrunchTimes!  These guides have amazing flowcharts at the front of each volume that help those visual learners out there figure out how to tackle a question.  The CrunchTimes also have study tips throughout each volume, bringing important things to remember to the reader’s attention.  Unfortunately, the library doesn’t carry many CrunchTimes, but gently used copies are usually available on Barnes & Noble or Amazon for really low prices–and they are worth it!
  5. If you’re ready to review what you’ve learned, CALI lessons are a great way to test what you know and what you still need to learn.  There are tons of lessons for both first-year and upper-level courses, and they’re broken down by topics so you can find a lesson on the exact unit you want to practice. To register, go to  You’ll create your own username and password and be asked for the authorization code, which 1Ls receive a orientation.  If you’ve misplaced the Code, stop by the Reference Desk or ask your favorite librarian!

Good luck with exams!

Ten Totally Awesome Things Happening in Columbia in September

It’s that time again, the beginning of the month, in which we dispense information about ten fun Columbia happenings for the next month.  Here’s what September has to offer!

  1.  Check out Columbia’s outdoor music series, Rhythm on the River Playing tonight, Sept. 4th, is Deleveled. Free, starting at 6pm at Riverwalk Amphitheatre.  There are also shows on Sept. 18th and Sept. 25th.
  2. Celebrate Shag!  Check out the 2015 Year of the Shag Celebration on Sept. 5th and 6th.  Admission is free, so dance til you drop.
  3. Head out to Cayce on Sunday, Sept. 6th for the SC Food Truck Wars Festival and enjoy delicious eats from food trucks in the area.  $10, from 11am-6pm.
  4. Check out the Town Theatre’s production of Singin’ in the Rain!  Playing from Sept. 11 through Oct. 4th, it’s only $20 a ticket for students.
  5. Heard of Diner en Blanc, the dining events that have popped up around the globe? Head out to the Dinner in White at the Columbia Museum of Art on Sunday, September 13th for a unique event, with Chef Ryan Whittaker and 116 Espresso and Wine Bar catering.  All proceeds of the event go towards supporting the museum’s educational mission. ($120, $100 for museum members, group discounts offered.)
  6. If that’s too pricey a ticket, try the Columbia Classical Ballet Company’s Cabaret Night Fundraiser.  $45/ticket, for a fun night with hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction.
  7. Feeling jazzy?  Check out Joe Gransden at CMA Jazz on Main on Sept. 18th at 7pm, kicking off the third season of the popular concert series. Only $5 for students!
  8. Take your family out to the Fall Festival and Pickin’ Party at the SC State Museum on September 19th from 10am-5pm.  Enjoy S.C. barbecue and other food, craft beer, live bluegrass music, artist demos, and much more.  Get in for the general price of museum admission, and then buy your own food and drinks.
  9. Check out our Gamecocks in action at Williams-Bryce Stadium on Sept. 26th v. UCF.  Get tickets here.
  10. Head over to McCutcheon House’s Wine and Beverage Institute for “Our Favorite for the Fall on Sept. 29th.  They’ll introduce you to great fall wines, and provide a tasty dinner to go with them.  $50/person.

Labor Day Weekend Library Hours

The Law Library will be open the following hours over the Labor Day weekend:

Friday, September 4:  7:00am-7:00pm
Saturday, September 5:  10:00am-6;00pmSunday, September 6:  1:00pm-9:00pm
Monday, September 7:  1:00pm-9:00pm

The Reference Desk will not be staffed on Monday, but the Circulation Desk will be staffed and happy to answer questions.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Cocky’s Guide to the Law Library & IT

Trying to remember something that you learned during orientation about the library or IT?  We’ve compiled a guide with all the relevant information you heard: Cocky’s Guide to the Law Library & IT!

cockysguideLearn how to:

  • Reserve a study room
  • Order a book we don’t own through interlibrary loan
  • Register for the electronic research databases (Westlaw, Lexis, Bloomberg)
  • Get more printing credits if you run out of your $100 allotment, and
  • much more!

Of course, you can also email the Reference Desk at, call the desk at 803-7777-5902, or stop by with questions on weekdays between 8:30am and 5:00pm!

US Embassy Opens in Havana

The United States reopened its Cuban embassy today; it had been closed for over 54 years.  This occasion marks a huge step in the international relations between the two countries.  John Kerry, the first Secretary of State to visit Cuba in 70 years, presided over the ceremony, calling the flag raising at the embassy a “historic moment,” but warning that the U.S. wouldn’t stop pressing for democratic change in Cuba.

In a poetic moment, the three men who took the flag down 54 years ago as young marines handed the flag over to be hoisted once more.

A New Look for HeinOnline

Most students are familiar with HeinOnline after their first year Legal Research, Analysis & Writing course as a place to find PDFs of law review articles, as well as many other resources.  After releasing its new interface this week, it’s looking a little different than you’re used to, but it still has all the same great content.

HeinThe new homepage highlights all the various libraries within Hein and allows researchers to limit the libraries by the type of materials they’re looking for.

To read up on other HeinOnline digital collections, see our coverage of these other helpful resources: Congress and the CourtsHistory of Supreme Court NominationsSession Laws Library/State Statutes: A Historical ArchiveU.S. International Trade LibraryChildren’s Law Journal,  Intellectual Property Law Collection,  State Attorney General Reports and OpinionsAmerican Indian Law CollectionWorld Constitutions IllustratedTaxation and Economic Reform in America, Parts I and IIU.S. Presidential LibraryEnglish ReportsWorld Trials LibraryU.S. Supreme Court LibraryFederal Register LibraryForeign & International Law Resources DatabaseNational Moot Court CompetitionAmerican Law Institute LibraryHistory of Bankruptcy:  Taxation & Economic Reform in America Part IIIStatutes of the RealmLegal Classics LibraryHistory of International LawU.S. Federal Legislative History LibraryPentagon PapersTreaties and Agreements LibraryCanada Supreme Court Reports/Revised Statutes of CanadaU.S. Congressional DocumentsEuropean Centre for Minority IssuesForeign Relations of the United States (FRUS)U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, & AppealsLaw Journal LibrarySelden Society Publications and The History of Early English LawSubject Compilations of State LawsEarly American Case LawSpinelli’s Law Library Reference ShelfHarvard Journal of Law & TechnologyPhilip C. Jessup LibraryNational Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State LawsHarvard Research in International Law International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the FamilyAssociation of American Law Libraries (AALL)Association of American Law Schools (AALS)United States CodeManual of Patent Examining ProcedureBar JournalsCode of Federal Regulations,United Nations Law CollectionCataloging Online, and Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law Publications.

10 Things to Do in Columbia This August

welcomebackAs students start heading back to USC from wherever their summers took them, we want to remind you of all the fun things that are going on in Columbia for you to do!  Check out our list of fun things happening in Columbia this month.

1.  Check out the Summer Sidewalk Sale this weekend (August 7-9) in the Devine Street & Five Points neighborhoods.  There’ll be sales at all of your favorite stores for tax free weekend–as well as deals at some of your favorite local restaurants!  Complimentary trolley rides will even take you around.

columbiafoodtours2.  Take the Main Street Food Tour (2pm on August 8th, $42/person).  You’ll learn about our city while trying local cuisine at 5-7 of our best local restaurants.

3.  Love art?  Check out the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art, From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol’s Famous Faces.” The exhibit runs through September 13th.  Go any day except Mondays. (Admission is free for members, $5 for students!)

4.  Take a guided tour of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home for $1 any Sunday in August (for Richland and Lexington Country residents with valid ID).  Tours start at the top of every hour between 1:00 and 4:00pm from the Gift Shop at Robert Milles, located at 1616 Blanding St.

robertmills5.  Looking for creative ways to cool down?  Have some fun at the Happy Hour History Water Balloon Battle!  It takes places on Friday, August 21st from 5:30-7:00pm.  Attendants will break into teams to learn about military tactics throughout history, and then will relax with drinks and hors d’oeuvres ($15 members, $20 general admission.)

6.  Celebrate clean water and have tons of fun at the Summer Celebration of Water (free).  It takes places on Saturday, August  22nd from 10:00am-2:00pmriverfront at Riverfront Park.  This is a kid-friendly event with hands on educational activities, paddle sports, water slides, and much more!

7.  Participate in the 7th Annual Bar Stool Classic, a 10-hole putt-putt tournament through the bars of Five Points (Friday, August 28, starting at 5:30pm).  Proceeds benefit the Babcock Center Foundation.  For more information, go here.

8.  Head down to Main Street and see at movie at our local gem, The Nickelodeon.nick

9.  Are you a classical music fan?  Check out the Argento Chamber Ensemble, playing for free on Friday, August 28th at 7:30pm, at the USC School of Music Recital Hall in Room 206.

10.  Celebrate Cromer’s P-Nuts 80th Birthday with bouncey houses, music, treats, and much more on Saturday, August 29th from 10:00am-2:00pm at Cromer’s P-Nuts on Huger Street.

Football & the Law

footballIn response to a rejection of Tom Brady’s appeal to his four game suspension following “Deflate-gate”, the National Football League Player’s Association filed a petition in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota yesterday to vacate the suspension.  They argue that there was no evidence to uphold the suspension, that the decision by the  Commissioner violated principles of general fairness, and that collective bargaining policy already established penalize tampering with equipment with fines only.

Read the 54-page petition here.

New Tools: LearnLeo

LearnLeo is an online platform that allows students to categorize case information and organize briefs and outlines easily.  It estimates that it saves law students on average of ten hours of work per week.

LearnLeo allows students to highlight passages and choose colors that correspond with sections of their case (issue, holding, etc.).  Students can also annotate each case.  After students finish reading, highlighting and annotating the case, they can see their notes in a brief format that is both printable and easy to read.

learnleoCurrently, students from the top 20 U.S. law schools have full access to LearnLeo, but students from unaffiliated law schools still have access to 13,000 cases in the LearnLeo library.  And it’s free, so it’s worth at least checking out!