Wednesday, April 20, 2005

CALR TIP - Printing from Online Treatises

A number of you have asked how you can print from treatises without the footnotes, or from statutes without the annotations, on LexisNexis or Westlaw. You can print statutes without the annotations, as discussed in this previous CALR Tip.

Sometimes when you retrieve a treatise section on Westlaw or LexisNexis, you retrieve a huge document. The first several pages will be the treatise's text, followed by hundreds of pages of footnotes or endnotes citing to cases in various jurisdictions. Unfortunately, there is no Westlaw field or LexisNexis segment for printing just the substance of a treatise section without all the footnotes. However, you can use your browser's print function to print just the part of a treatise section that you want, or you can copy and paste the part you want into a word processing document.

To print just the treatise commentary, or any other part of a large document, point your cursor at the top of the part that you want to print. Click and hold the mouse button down while you drag the cursor to the bottom of that part, then release the button. This should highlight or "select" what you want to print. Then click on File on the browser's menu bar, choose Print from the menu, click the radio button for Selection, and click the Print or OK button. In the alternative, you can call up the Print menu by holding down the Ctrl key while pressing P. Do not click on the print icon in the browser's button toolbar — Internet Explorer will print the entire document without giving you the option to choose Print Selection.

To copy and paste the treatise commentary, into a word processing document, open a new document in your word processing program, then switch back to your web browser. Point your cursor at the top of the part of the Westlaw or LexisNexis document that you want to copy. Click and hold the mouse button down while you drag the cursor to the bottom of that part, then release the button. This should highlight or "select" what you want. Click on Edit on the browser's menu bar and choose Copy from the menu. In the alternative, you can copy the highlighted text by holding down the Ctrl key while pressing C. Switch back to your word processing document. Click on Edit then Paste or hold down the Ctrl key while pressing V.

Ask a reference librarian if you have any questions about this or any other research tip.

Archive of Research Tips

Friday, April 15, 2005

Research Tip: was created by a graduate student of linguistics in his spare time. Its mission is to make information about Congress free and open, and more accessible and useful for everyone. GovTrack follows the status of legislation and the activities of senators and representatives, gathering information from official and unofficial sites into a single large collection. Because much of the information on GovTrack is from government sources, it can only be as current as those sources.

GovTrack does a nice job of combining information in ways you won't find at the official sites. For example, if you search debates in the Congressional Record, which you can find under "Representatives" in the blue navigation bar across the top, GovTrack displays more than just the text from the Congressional Record. Whenever a bill is mentioned in a debate, GovTrack inserts "Quick Info" boxes with Last Action and Status summaries and links to other bill information.

If you search legislation, you retrieve not only status and summary information about the bill, a list of related bills, and links to the bill and legislative history documents. Under Other Information, you can also retrieve information from, the web site of the Center for Responsive Politics, about "The Money Trail" — organizations whose employees made campaign contributions to the legislators who sponsored or cosponsored the bill. Similarly, when you look up a senator or representative, you are linked to information from official sites as well as campaign contribution information from OpenSecrets.

The tracking feature on GovTrack makes it more than just a portal to Congressional information. You must register to use these features, but registration is free and only requires your email address. GovTrack makes it possible to track representatives, bills, subjects, committees, and votes.

The first step is to set up Monitors, which you can find under "Your Settings" in the blue navigation bar. Choose the General, People, Subjects or Bills tab and browse to a page you want to monitor. Find the Monitor box on the page (see example below) and click on the Monitor button to subscribe to events that match that page. Return to "Your Monitors" and choose the General tab to turn on daily or weekly email updates on the items to which you subscribed.

Sample Monitor Box

The events to which you subscribe will be listed on your "Tracked Events" page, which you can find under "Your Settings." The "Tracked Events" page also has an RSS or Atom feed to which you can subscribe to receive updates in your news aggregator. Click on the "RSS or Atom feed" link and follow the instructions in the pop-up window. Right-clicking on the link does not work.

For more information on GovTrack, read Peggy Garvin, Under Development (March 13, 2005).

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Take a Video Break

With exams only a couple of weeks away, you may be tempted to spend all your time studying, but that is not a good idea. You occasionally need to do something to relax, and the law library has a great collection of videos for students to borrow. View the full list of law-related motion pictures or search the library catalog for a specific title.

If you would like some recommendations of legal movies, check out Georgia Super Lawyers' Attack of the 20-Foot Lawyers, which lists "100 legal movies worth the rental." Thanks to Michael B. Shapiro, Esq. for posting the list with permission, and to Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog for making it his site of the week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

How to Ask for Help

Carolyn Elefant, author of the My Shingle blog for attorneys who are solo practitioners or in small law firms, has an excellent Small Firm Business article on the importance of asking for help when you need it. Ask a Simple Question covers whom to ask — hint, lawyers are not the only ones who can help you, how to ask and when to ask — short answer, don't wait until the last minute. It is okay to ask for help, even if you are a law student or a lawyer. The advice in "Ask a Simple Question" will increase your chances of a helpful response.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

How to Be a Better Trial Attorney

Dave Swanner at South Carolina Trial Law Blog has another great posting on How to Be a Better Trial Attorney. We previously linked to Dave's posting on Twelve Ways Technology Can Make You a Better Trial Lawyer, in which he discussed software, gadgets, web resources and the like. In "How to Be a Better Trial Attorney," he talks more about how you can learn to be a better trial lawyer — formal continuing legal education, from other attorneys, from your client and from yourself.

One of Dave's recommendations is that you visit your clients at home, so you can better understand how the injury has affected their lives. I would add a similar recommendation. If possible, visit the scene of the accident. If it was an auto accident, drive the routes your client's vehicle and any other vehicles traveled before the accident. Visiting the scene can help you understand the accident better, ask better follow-up questions of your clients and other witnesses, and present a better case to the jury. Of course, the scene may have changed since the accident, but once you visit you will have a better idea of whether changes have occurred and what further investigation you should do.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Bloggers in Congress

Barack Obama, U.S. Senator for Illinois, and Congressman Mark Steven Kirk, 10th District of Illinois, are among the first members of Congress using blogs to communicate with their constituents. You can find their blogs at and, respectively.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Congratulations Awards Recipients

Last night the SIU School of Law held its 2005 Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to all students who received awards and scholarships or were otherwise recognized for their work. We have some truly amazing students, and I am proud to have worked with many of you. Also, congratulations to Kristy White, Administrative Secretary, who received a well-deserved staff award from the SBA, and to Mike Ruiz, Director of Admissions, Media, and Community Affairs, who received a special award of recognition for his many contributions to the public interest.

One example of Mike's public service work is the Self Help Legal Center. Mike created the Self Help Legal Center at the Southern Illinois University School of Law to help make the legal or administrative process easier on individuals who do not have legal representation. The Center's website includes Self Help Information and Forms on a number of topics. The Center also coordinates self-help classes on divorce at which individuals can receive help in completing forms and ask questions about filing, court procedure, and hearings.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

TechnoLawyer - New and Improved

TechnoLawyer is a network of eight free e-mail newsletters providing product reviews, technology tips, and other helpful information on legal technology and practice management. As of today, each of the eight newsletters has its own web page:

For more information, or to subscribe to one or more of the free newsletters, go to While you are there, check out the recently unveiled TechnoLawyer Blog: "All the legal technology and practice management news that's fit to blog."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Bloglet Subscriptions

For a couple of weeks, Bloglet was having trouble retrieving new posts to email to subscribers, probably due to slowness problems at Blogger, Law Dawg Blawg's host. As a result, Bloglet email subscribers, both full-text and excerpt versions, received only about half of our posts. Blogger has resolved many of its problems, and the email subscriptions seem to be working now, so I hope you all get this posting. If you are an email subscriber, you might want to take a look at the blog to see if you've missed a week or two. Thanks for reading.

Friday, April 01, 2005


Abbie Bradfield Mulvihill chooses a theme each week and posts theme-related links to AbsTracked all week. Themes are generally "related to the topics of law, libraries, reference and fun." For example, this week's theme was bio-ethics. Previous themes have included legislative history and information, criminal information, and Irish links (for the week of St. Patrick's day). Like most blogs, AbsTracked maintains archives, so you can search the site to see if the topic you are researching has been the theme of the week.

Besides themes, AbsTracked has a feed link of the day recommendation, as well as a variety of law-related news items and research tips. I like AbsTracked because Abbie is interested in a large variety of subjects including many that interest me. I frequently learn about a new blog, website, or research tip.

Yesterday there was a research tip about Finding Thomas, the Library of Congress website for free legislative information. The Thomas site has a URL that many people have a hard time remembering — Abbie discovered and shared the fact that Thomas also has a virtual domain. If you key into your browser's address box, you will be linked to I can probably remember that.