This Week in the Law Library …

This week in the Law Library, we look at five more resources to help you prepare for the Bar Exam, summer legal research tips on researching statutes from multiple jurisdictions, and we explore Disability Pride Month.

Bar Exam Preparation

The Bar Exam is not a sprint, it’s a marathon so pace yourself! Check out this week’s Bar Exam Resource highlights below.

ABA Journal Articles on the Bar Exam

The ABA Journal has over 400 online articles tagged with the topic Bar Exam. Browse all of them or take a look at these articles:

Debra Cassens Weiss, These Factors Help Predict whether a Law Grad Will Pass the Bar on the First or Second Try, Study Says, ABA Journal (May 24, 2021)

Stephanie Francis Ward, Recent Bar Admittees Offer Study Strategies to Stay Focused in Stressful Times—Including the Pandemic (Sept. 15, 2020)

Stephanie Francis Ward, Studying for the Bar? Put Down the Phone—or Not, ABA Journal (May 22, 2018)

Stephanie Francis Ward, How to Prepare for another Try at the Bar Exam (Podcast with Transcript), ABA Journal (Jan. 4, 2017)

ABA Law Student Division, 30 Tips in 30 Minutes: Bar Exam Prep (Youtube)

New lawyers who successfully prepared for and passed their bar exams will share tips on: (1) Study Schedule; (2) Mindset and Attitude; (3) Practice Tests; (4) Exam Week; (5) Exam Day. You can also view previous years.

ABA Section of Litigation, The Fight-or-Flight Plight: Staying Calm During Bar Exam Prep (Podcast)

Take 15 minutes to learn how to suppress your fight-or-flight response in times of extreme stress – like the bar exam. This ABA Section of Litigation podcast, part of its Sound Advice series, features Matt McCusker, an expert in witness preparation with a background in industrial-organizational psychology, who offers essential test-taking and stress-management strategies for bar takers.

The Bar Exam Toolbox Podcast: Pass the Bar Exam with Less Stress

The Bar Exam Toolbox podcast helps bar takers pass with less stress and anxiety. Hosted by bar exam experts Lee Burgess and Alison Monahan, the Bar Exam Toolbox podcast covers a wide variety of topics, ranging from how to learn and memorize all the law you need to know for the bar exam, to how to write a passing essay, to how to get bar exam accommodations. If you’re struggling with the bar exam, or work with students who are, tune in for practical strategies for bar exam success!

Professor Seth C. Oranburg, Crushing the Bar Exam: How to Answer Multiple Choice Questions (for Law Students) (Youtube)

Many law students approach multiple choice questions the wrong way on exams and the bar. This video will teach you how to answer multiple choice questions the right way: first, narrow the scope of the problem. Then, read the facts and apply the rules of law. This short video illustrates this approach as Professor Oranburg walks you through the thought process with an MBE (bar-style) question.

Visit our Bar Exam Research Guide for additional bar exam resources.

Summer Legal Research Tips

Last week we looked at updating and validating statutes. This week we’re going to look at 50-State surveys. Lawyers and law professors love to give their law clerks and research assistants projects to research the law in multiple jurisdictions. This can be a labor intensive process, as well as be difficult to compile. Different statutes can use different language to describe the same thing and you won’t know what terms each jurisdiction uses. Look at drunk driving statutes as an example. Some call it driving while intoxicated (DWI), some call it operating while intoxicated (OWI), some call it driving under the influence (DUI), etc. If someone had already done all or part of the work for you, why not take advantage of that? Below are some resources to help you with this type of work.

50-State Statutory Surveys General Resources

LexisNexis 50 State Surveys, Statutes & Regulations

LexisNexis 50 State Surveys, Statutes & Regulations provide instant comparison of states’ treatment of topical issues, linked to governing provisions on Lexis and prefaced by an examination of federal context and state themes.

National Conference of State Legislatures 50-State Searchable Bill Databases

NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on state issues. NCSL’s searchable bill tracking databases. Select a topic listed below to find complete bill information. The status of bills listed in most of these databases is updated every week. Search by subtopics, year, status (e.g., pending, enacted, to governor, etc.) or enter keywords to identify bills.

National Survey of State Laws (on HeinOnline)

Provides an overall view of some of the most-asked about and controversial legal topics in the United States: abortion, the right to die, gun control, prayer in public schools, marijuana, marriage, personal income tax, drunk driving, capital punishment, right to work, lemon law, leases and other agreements, child custody, legal ages, and many other areas. Each section begins with a general overview followed by a table that briefly summarizes each state’s statutes on particular aspects of the law. References to the statute or code section covering that law are also presented, enabling users who are interested in reading the original text to easily find it. The appendix, Statutory Compilations Used in This Book, provides the abbreviations and full names of each state code.

Subject Compilations of State Laws (on HeinOnline)

Subject Compilation of State Laws provides citations to law review articles, books, and other sources in which state statutes are compared. You can search or browse the subject index.

Westlaw 50-State Surveys

50 State Surveys provides access to state and federal statutes, covering topics of law such as garnishment, attachment and judgment execution requirements, durable powers of attorney, cancellation and nonrenewal of insurance policies and premiums,etc.

Find More 50-State Surveys

Also check association websites that advocate or deal with specific statutory issues. Just be aware of potential association bias and the need to verify and update. For more resources, check out our 50-State Surveys & Statutory Compilations Research Guide and our 50-State Surveys Video.

July Is Disability Pride Month!

Disability Pride Flag

Disability Pride Flag. A black flag with a lightning bolt of blue, yellow, white, red, and green. Source: Ann Magill/Public Domain

About Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month is an annual worldwide observance holiday during the month of July. It promotes awareness of disability as an identity, a community, a culture & the positive pride felt by disabled people. It directly challenges systematic ableism and discrimination.

5 Resources on Accessibility & Disability Issues

ABA & Burton Blatt Institute, First Phase Findings From a National Study of Lawyers With Disabilities and Lawyers Who Identify as LGBTQ+ (PDF)

A new national study by the ABA, in collaboration with the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, finds lawyers who identify as disabled and LGBTQ+ report experiencing both subtle and overt forms of discrimination at their workplaces, with common reports of subtle but unintentional bias.

ABA-CDR Spotlight

The ABA-CDR Spotlight is a feature that highlights an attorney or law student with a disability who is an asset to the profession. Participants come from all practice areas and all work environments. There are also various types of disabilities represented. Profiles often describe the individual’s work experience and disability. Many of our Spotlights offer advice and insight into the legal profession from the perspective of an individual with a disability.

ABA Commission on Disability Rights, Inclusive Technology: Enabling Accessibility at Work and in Our Digital Lives (YouTube)

On October 15th, 2019, in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the ABA Commission on Disability Rights hosted a training on inclusive technology. The speakers, Jonathan Avila (Chief Accessibility Officer, Level Access) and Angela Matney (CIPP/US, Associate, Loeb & Loeb LLP) addressed how to use inclusive technology, and what to take into account when designing workplaces, digital spaces, and programs to ensure that nobody is left out.

Annual Disability Statistics Compendium

The Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, Annual Disability Statistics Supplement, and State Reports for County-level Data are web-based tools that pool disability statistics published by various federal agencies together in one place.

Census Bureau Disability Statistics

The Census Bureau collects data on disability primarily through the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).


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