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The AALL Spectrum® blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. Previously, the AALL Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.

The AALL Spectrum blog is no longer published. Previous posts are archived on this page.
11/5/2012 8:35:27 AM

The November Issue is online

Read it all here

Posted By Mark Estes at 11/5/2012 8:35:27 AM  1 Comments
TOPICS: spectrum
10/26/2012 3:18:01 PM

Book Review -- Texas Legal Research: Revised Printing

Spencer L. Simons, Texas Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press, Revised Printing 2012). 262 pp, paper, ISBN: 978-1-61163-195-1, $26.00. Link to Publisher Website

I’m a fan of Carolina Academic Press’s Legal Research Series, and Spencer Simons’s “Texas Legal Research” is no exception. Aimed at the novice researcher (or expert who needs a refresher), it methodically discusses the process of legal research focused on Texas legal materials. It would make a fine textbook for a Texas-based research class or a welcome addition to a reference collection.

As a Textbook

The book is clearly organized around the research process and could be adapted into a course syllabus easily. Whatever one’s preference for structuring the class, the chapters are clearly delineated and could be presented in a different order without trouble. In fact, the Table of Contents reads like a checklist of any diligent, thorough researcher. The text is presented in an easy and plain style; easily accessible to the uninitiated researcher. The matter-of-fact guidance gets straight to the heart of the most common and important research issues.

As a Reference Work

As a reference work, there are plenty of gems for the advanced or foreign-to-Texas researcher including references to the Greenbook: Texas Rules of Form and a discussion of the Texas codification project. Although it does provide many helpful checklists and tables, the main strength of the book is in its discussion of the research sources and processes. Thus, it doesn’t scan as easily as other reference works. The robust Table of Contents and Index make scannability less of a concern.

The New Printing

The 2012 Revised Printing includes updates from the ongoing Texas codification project, Supreme Court Rules about unpublished opinions, Bluebook Rules and the ever-changing online research platforms. (Too, the image of the State of Texas on the cover is a bit larger; something seldom large enough for us native Texans.) Though the updates are small, they could be important for some researchers.


A search of WorldCat suggests many academic law libraries hold some edition of “Texas Legal Research.” The 2012 Revised Printing updates are small, but an upgrade is probably warranted. Any library with potential Texas law researchers would make a happy home.

G. Patrick Flanagan, Reference Librarian, Columbia Law School

Posted By G. Patrick Flanagan at 10/26/2012 3:18:01 PM  0 Comments
10/23/2012 4:47:59 PM

Halloween Law: A Spirited Look at the Law School Curriculum

Sutton, Victoria, Halloween Law: A Spirited Look at the Law School Curriculum. Lubbock, TX: Vargas Publishing, 2012. 129 pp. Available on Amazon.com (Kindle edition) $9.99 and BarnesandNoble.com (paperback) $18.99.

Are you looking for a little humor in your substantive law collection? Perhaps, you are looking for a book that introduces potential law students to legal concepts? Then, Halloween Law by Victoria Sutton is for you. Halloween Law gives a broad overview of the legal issues arising from Halloween related incidents following the general curriculum of law school from first-year courses to advanced legal concepts. The book addresses substantive law areas, including Constitutional Law, Torts, and Property Law, with short entertaining quizzes at the end of each chapter. One chapter touches on the many aspects of First Amendment law using cases addressing un-neighborly final sentiments placed on Halloween tombstone decorations in the front yard. The entire book is filled with bite-size snippets of legal and non-legal history. In the criminal law chapter, the reader learns the sad origins of the (mostly) urban legends involving razors and poisons in Halloween candy. I think the most entertaining chapter focuses on Torts and assumption of the risk. To illustrate assumption of the risk the book discusses cases related to haunted houses where visitors become so frightened they hurt themselves and then claim the haunted houses were too frightening. This lighthearted book will provide laughs, or at least some chuckles, and a concise overview of the standard law school first-year curriculum. While it might not make or break a decision to go to law school, it will give a glimpse of what is in store including some of the laugh out loud moments that await new law students.

Reviewed by Kelly Leong, Reference Librarian at Duke Law Library

Posted By Kelly Leong at 10/23/2012 4:47:59 PM  0 Comments