News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Archive for September, 2018

Banned Books Week

 September 23-29, 2018 is Banned Books Week, the annual recognition by librarians, teachers, publishers, readers and book lovers of all types, of the dangers of censorship. Books featured during this week have all faced removal or restriction from libraries and schools. Despite court decisions such as Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969), Board of Education v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982), and more locally Minarcini v. Strongsville City School District, 541 F.2d 577 (6th Cir., 1976), books continue to be challenged and banned.  According to the American Library Association (ALA), “A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.”

The ALA keeps track of the most frequently banned and challenged books, which ranges from children’s books such as Harry Potter, to books with more serious themes such as The Handmaid’s Tale. One of the most challenged books since its publication is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and it appears as #7 on the list of Top Ten Most Challenged Books for 2017. A copy of Lee’s famous novel is sent to each admitted C|M|Law student for its iconic portrayal of a lawyer fighting for truth. Other banned books featuring lawyers are John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.

Mental Health & Wellness Book: The Mindful Twenty-Something

Are you stressed at law school? Are you an adult between 18 and 29? Then The Mindful Twenty-Something may be a book for you. It’s based on the popular Koru Mindfulness program developed at Duke University and used on university campuses and counseling centers around the country. It’s one of the only evidence-based mindfulness programs developed especially for emerging adults. The book offers you an approach to tackling stress, gaining a healthier life perspective, and facing life’s challenges with calmness and balance – all stuff that’s really useful when law school stress gets you down! You can find the book in our Mental Health & Wellness Collection, located in the Ohio Room as you walk in. All of the books from this collection can be checked out at the circulation desk. You can explore the collection online through our Mental Health & Well-Being research guide.

Different Results from Different Databases

The statement ‘different search engines and databases produce different results’ may elicit various responses from people. Some may think that the statement is obviously true, some may believe search engines are all basically the same, and some may believe that you get what you pay for.

For law students who have routinely relied on Google searching, this article may be especially important. Habits learned in undergraduate coursework may not translate well to law school research. Google and the big-box searches on Westlaw and Lexis are run by algorithms, not by the user. While the algorithms use what the researcher inputs, how they come up with the results is not necessarily clear. Furthermore, the algorithms being proprietary to each database will be different depending on which database the researcher is using.

A recent ABA Journal article titled Results May Vary in Legal Research Databases investigates different databases and crunches some numbers regarding relevant results. The article looks at Westlaw, Lexis, Ravel, Google Scholar, Casetext, and Fastcase and compares relevant and unique cases. An important point for the researcher or student to internalize is that not every case was appearing in each database. While the reader should review the article for the particulars, researchers should take away a few key points from the study:

  • Every algorithm is different.
  • Every database has a point of view.
  • The variability in search results requires researchers to go beyond keyword searching.
  • Keyword searching is just one way to enter a research universe.
  • Redundancy in searching is still of paramount importance.
  • Term and connector searching is still a necessary research skill.

Just a Few Weeks Left to Enter the Law Library’s Selfie Contest

This contest is being held in conjunction with the art show “Celebrating Cities” by Jennie Jones and Judy Rawson, currently available throughout the law school and law library. All current law students (including MLS and LLM students) are eligible to enter, now through October 10. The winner will be announced on October 11 at the Side Bar sponsored by the Law Library and The Journal of Law and Health held in the Rawson Learning Commons from 4:00-6:00 pm.

Contest rules:

  • Take a selfie (or have someone take a picture of you) with your favorite piece of art in the College of Law.
  • Post the selfie with the hashtag #CelebratingCMLawLibrary on the library’s Facebook (@CMLawLibrary) or Twitter (@CMLawLibrary) page from your Twitter or Facebook account. Make sure to include your full name if not evident from your Facebook or Twitter handle.
  • The Law Library may post or share selfies in the library or on the library’s social media accounts.
  • One randomly drawn winner  from entries will receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

Contact Brian Cassidy, Student Services Librarian, with questions at or 216-523-7364.

Sagers Publishes in Harvard Online Forum on Antitrust and the Kavanaugh Nomination

Chris Sagers, the James A. Thomas Professor of Law, published a long essay on the online forum of the Harvard Law & Policy Review, surveying the opinions of Judge Brett Kavanaugh in antitrust and related areas. He argues that those opinions display an inconsistent approach to interpreting precedent, and suggests that they do not speak well of his more general approach to judging.