Finding Journals and Law Reports

A row of leather bound books fills the frame from left to right. The title 'Session Cases' and the year are embossed on the spines. The leather is blonde and each spine has a red and black square.

Session Cases, image courtesy of the Supreme Court Library team, SCTS

Law reports and journal articles become increasingly important as students progress through their studies and research, and finding them can be tricky at times.

The library has access to a plethora of reports and journals but not everything is available online. Although we continually look for online access wherever it is available there is material that we can only receive in print.

The main places to get online access to law reports and journals is through our legal databases – mainly Westlaw, LexisLibrary and HeinOnline.

The Law Subject guide includes a section on Law Reports and access to eBooks. There is also information on the hierarchy of law reports to help students decide which reference to use when citing cases.

What to do if we do not have full online access?

Students often contact us asking why they can only get an abstract to the item they want in the online databases. This is because we do not get full text (full online) access to everything within all the databases. Sometimes we only have access to the bibliographic details such as the reference and abstract. So how can you get a copy of the full item?

Staff and students can use the interlibrary loan service to request items. This service involves us requesting material from partner libraries. There is a limit on how much can be requested and full details are on the interlibrary loan pages:

In Edinburgh staff and students also can get access to the National Library of Scotland who have a great range of resources available from their own collection and also through their relationship with the Faculty of Advocates’ Library.

If you’ve tried all the above avenues and are still struggling to get access to what you need, drop us an email on law.librarian@ed.ac.uk for some help.

 

Access to Lexis PSL modules

Over the last few weeks the library have been working with the tutors on the Diploma course to set up access to four modules from Lexis PSL.

Aimed at diploma level students it offers practice notes, precedents, forms and current awareness alerts.

Access is provided to four specific modules within this database –

  • Banking & Finance,
  • Commercial,
  • Private Client
  • Property.

Specific Scots Law content is available within these modules which is why they were chosen to compliment the current resources that are available to students undertaking this course.

You can access it from the Law databases page at:

https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/library-museum-gallery/finding-resources/library-databases/databases-subject-a-z/database-law

When you get logged in, you will automatically arrive in the Property module. To switch to other modules, use the dropdown arrow next to the word ‘Property’ in the top navigational bar. The modules we have access to will have a tick next to the titles.

Screenshot taken from the LexisPSL website demonstrating the dropdown arrow on the top navigational bar, and showing the resultant module options displayed in a grey box below the bar.

If you wish to move over to LexisLibrary without returning to the Law Databases page, you can do that using the dropdown arrow next to the Lexis PSL page title.

If you have any problems with this or any of our other databases, please get in touch by emailing law.librarian@ed.ac.uk.

Supplier Help and Training

The university subscribes to hundreds of databases. It can be confusing how to navigate individual databases and resources, and although many can be searched in a similar way they all have unique differences and functionality.

Most resources have help and training pages available to guide you and the Law Library Subject Guide (https://edinburgh-uk.libguides.com/Law) links out to some of the most frequently used including Westlaw, LexisLibrary and HeinOnline. We recently added investorstatelawguide help links – as this platform has recently undergone a refresh.

Screengrab of the home page of InvestorStateLawGuide. At the top of the page 'Welcome back, University of Glasgow' is written, with links to video tutorials below. On the left side of the page there is a navigation pane with a menu which links to different functions of the site.

The help pages on supplier sites are useful as a first port of call – just in case they can answer your query quickly. They also give you access to other materials such as PDF guides, recorded videos, live webinars and online help.

Suppliers encourage users to attend training sessions so if you feel you would benefit then sign up!

Training and dissertation support

We know it’s that time of year where dissertation research is many students’ top priority so we have scheduled some events that we hope will help you prepare for the project ahead. These are all happening over the next few months and are released for booking about three weeks ahead of the event date. The first two are now live and the others will be coming onto the system over the next few weeks.

Wednesday 5th May 12.00 to 13.00– Dissertation support: Referencing for Law (bespoke for School, 50 minute session.)

This session is designed to help students learn to reference into larger research projects such as dissertations. We discuss specific referencing systems such as OSCOLA and Edinburgh Law Review, and highlight key issues which students at the School of Law will need to be familiar with. Booking open at

https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleID=46811 Now Live!

Wednesday 19th May 12.30 to 13.00 – Using Law Databases (Library Bitesize, 30 minute session open to all)

This session covers selecting the appropriate database for your needs, locating sources of full text information for legislation, case law and commentary and tips and tricks for how to record and revisit searches.

This session will focus on the use of Westlaw, Lexis UK and HeinOnline.

https://edin.ac/2FXpv1q Now Live!


Thursday 3rd June 09.00-09.30– How to Reference and Avoid Plagiarism (Library Bitesize, 30 minute session open to all)

This session covers the basics of referencing and why it is important, tools to help you : Cite it Right, EndNote Online

[Please note : this is a short introductory session. For detailed help on this topic, see Managing Bibliographies with EndNote, Using EndNote Online to Manage your References Sessions]

Link will be at https://edin.ac/2FXpv1q (Not yet live on events booking)

Wednesday 16th June 12.30-13.00 – Choosing a reference manager (Library Bitesize, 30 minute session open to all)

This session covers the differences between reference management products, using with MS Word and how to create references using the software.

Link will be at https://edin.ac/2FXpv1q (Not yet live on events booking)


We also continue to offer individual research support clinic appointments which are available to book via events bookings (http://edin.ac/3bvd78B). Our next available appointment is on the 20th May, and once a fortnight thereafter.

Alternatively if you have questions or would like for us to schedule an appointment for a different day, please get in touch by emailing law.librarian@ed.ac.uk.

Meet your LexisNexis Student Associate!

We’d like to introduce you to Sam Ingleton, one of your fellow students who is a specialist in working with LexisNexis and all their resources – such as the invaluable LexisLibrary database. We asked Sam some questions and hope you’ll enjoy getting to know him just as we did!

Tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you and what do you study at Edinburgh?

My name is Sam, and I’m taking a Graduate-Entry LLB, following a Philosophy and English Literature (MA) from the University of Edinburgh. I’ve been fortunate to receive a training contract offer from DLA Piper in Edinburgh, which starts in 2022 – a wonderful certainty in a time of global upheaval! Studying for my LLB and working for LexisNexis leaves relatively little time for extra-curricular activities, but I enjoy winemaking, writing, music production, and exploring the city with my dog in my spare hours. I’ll be living in Edinburgh for the foreseeable future, resisting the lure of London for as long as possible; this is a city with a lot to offer young professionals and students (as long as you don’t mind the short days and pervasive drizzle!).

Why did you apply to be the student associate for LexisNexis?

LexisNexis is an extremely useful platform. It has helped me in my own studies, and prepared me for a future of legal research in a professional context. I always had ambitions to teach, but I could never manage full-time academia or classroom teaching. My sister teaches primary school children – a difficult, but extremely admirable profession! Working as a LexisNexis student associate is a fantastic compromise: I find great fulfilment in the practise of academic tuition. As well as the obvious benefits which come with competence in legal research, LexisNexis gave me the opportunity to be of benefit to others, in a community that thrives on a collective, supportive, inclusive ambition.

What do you think is the best feature that LexisLibrary offers for students?

With LexisLibrary, it’s the simple, intuitive functions which bring the most value. My favourite tools are those which barely merit an explanation! The ability to ‘drill-down’ through search results, narrowing by key words, topics, and specific search strings makes finding both familiar and unknown cases incredibly straightforward. This functionality accelerates the process of constructing new legal arguments, as well as enabling those searching for case law to support a specific point in an essay or tutorial question.

If you could name one top tip that everyone should know about your platform, what would it be?

One thing I wish I had known before I began the infamously arduous application process: the ‘alerts’ function. Using this tool, I receive weekly updates on developments at my target firms, which I never would have found using Google, or combing through legal news publications. This way, as soon as cases and judgements reach the press, I can see how my firm has been involved, and read their submissions and the judge’s opinion in full. This would be a much more interesting talking point during an interview than anything I presented during my own assessment period. For aspiring solicitors, I think LexisNexis is an often-neglected opportunity to monitor your specific firms very closely. You’ll never need to have a generic ‘legal implications of the pandemic’ discussion ever again!

When students book a training session with you, what can they expect to get from the meeting?

I’m proud of my ability to move students through the certification quickly, and highlight the tools which I think will be most useful to them, selectively and efficiently. It’s no secret that law students are time-poor, and ‘talking heads’ on video conferences are a very modern nuisance. I try to keep engagement high, explanations concise, and then give the session to the attendees to complete the certification and ask questions. Ideally, the whole process is complete in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. I also like to highlight the extreme usefulness of the certification. I spoke to a partner at an international law firm, who expressed to me that the thing they wanted to see from this generation of applicants was a complete literacy in legal database use. I think this could be the key to transforming a good application into an application which secures a training contract.

Sam has provided an introductory poster in case you want to read a bit more about how he can help you with all your LexisNexis needs. You can contact him via LinkedIn, by email (sam.ingleton@googlemail.com), or you can find out more on the LexisNexis Students UK Facebook page.

Meet your Westlaw Student Representative!

We often receive requests from students for help with databases, but did you know that there’s a student specialist who can help you with all things Westlaw? Sofia Renshaw is available to answer questions, provide training and has a load of tips and tricks for getting the best from this popular legal database.

I am Sofia and I am currently in my final year studying Law at the University of Edinburgh. I applied for the role of Westlaw Student Representative as I recognise the importance of Westlaw as a resource for law students, particularly as we move to increased online teaching. Westlaw is an invaluable source for students at all stages of their law career and I recommend knowing how to use effectively as early as possible so you can get the most out of it in the coming years! I think that one of the most useful features of Westlaw is the precedent map. This allows you to see where a case has been cited and trace back through authorities to ensure the case you are using represents good law and strengthens any points you are making!

Westlaw training sessions are interactive and aim to prepare you for Westlaw Basic and Advanced certifications which you can put on your CV – remember that 94 of the top 100 UK law firms use Westlaw so this is a really valuable addition to any CV! I can also offer 1:1 sessions if there are specific concerns you wish to have assistance with and I run weekly Drop In Clinics where you can ask any questions!

You can contact Sofia for more information on training sessions or one-to-one appointments by heading to the Future Legal Legends Facebook page, or by emailing her directly: s1725665@sms.ed.ac.uk.

Training Sessions- Diary Dates

Learn something new or simply refresh your memory!

There are a couple of online training sessions coming up soon that you may find useful:

Using Law Databases (Library Bitesize)-  Wednesday 21st Oct 2020, 12:30- 13:00.  Bookable through MyEd Events and Training: https://edin.ac/2FXpv1q 

Referencing for Law-                        Wednesday 11th Nov 2020, 09:00- 10:30. Bookable through MyEd Event and Training: https://edin.ac/312Roiq