Hathcock Secondary Sources Exercise

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April M. Hathcock
Reference Librarian
University of South Carolina School of Law
701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208

I created the Secondary Source Speed-Dating exercise as a fun way to get first-year law students engaged in using print secondary sources. In particular, I chose two national legal encyclopedias (Am. Jur. 2d and C.J.S.), three state legal encyclopedias from our circuit (4th Circuit: S.C. Jurisprudence, Georgia Jurisprudence, and Strong’s North Carolina Index), and the A.L.R. I chose the state sources from our circuit because our law school is located in South Carolina, and most of our students remain in the area to practice after graduation. The topic, emancipation of minors, was a fairly broad one that made for easy searching in the indexes of each of the different sources. Our “client,” a future version of Honey Boo-Boo from the TLC reality show, provided a comical pop culture reference to engage the students’ interests while getting them to do the work. Finally, all of the sources were presented in print form so as to encourage the students to learn how the sources are organized and used in their physically published form, in the hopes of adding to their skill set and aiding their understanding when using these same sources electronically. Because I could not realistically bring all volumes of all the sources to class with me, I brought the indexes and three or four sample volumes (including the volumes they would need for their answers) for each source. Students were divided into groups and given about 3-5 minutes to look for the topic in each source. They then had to provide the proper Bluebook citation for what they found.