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New Student Survival Kit

Frequently Asked Questions

We have organized the information we think will be most useful to you as you begin your first semester at Boston College Law School into a list of frequently asked questions organized by topic. Find the answers you need by clicking on the relevant subject below. 

How do I get access to research tools like Westlaw?

Where can I access legal research databases available at Boston College Law School?

The Law Library's website provides links to the major legal research platforms, like Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law. In addition to the three major legal research databases, the Library has subscriptions to hundreds of other specialized legal research databases, such as HeinOnline or study aids available through West Academic and Wolters Kluwer. You can access all available Law Library databases through the All Law Library Databases link on the law library website. Once you access the list you can search or browse for relevant databases. 

How do I get a Lexis password?

In order to obtain a Lexis password you will need to register for an account which requires a personal activation code which you should have received via email. To register for Lexis and create and username and password follow these steps:

  1. From the BC Law Library homepage, click on the LexisNexis link.
  2. Click on “Register for Lexis+.” 
  3. Enter your name, BC email, and the Lexis+ activation code you received in an email from lawref@bc.edu.
  4. Complete your personal and sign-in profiles.
  5. Be sure to write down the username and password you’ve created. You can use “Remember Me” the next time you sign in on your own computer.

How do I get a Westlaw  password?

In order to obtain a Westlaw password, you will need to register for an account using a personal registration key which you should have received via email. To register for Westlaw and create a username and password, follow these steps:

  1. From the BC Law Library homepage, click on the Westlaw link.
  2. Click on “Register Law School Key.” 
  3. Enter your First Name, Last Name, and Email in the spaces provided.
  4. Enter the Westlaw registration key you received in an email from lawref@bc.edu and click “Start Registration.”
  5. Confirm your email and click “Continue.”
  6. You will be prompted to create a permanent username and password following the requirements for each. Be sure to write down your permanent username and password, as we will not be able to get them for you.
  7. Click on “Continue to Law School Portal,” complete your Law School Profile, click “Agree”, and click “Submit.”

Additional Registration Materials from Westlaw:

How do I get a Bloomberg Law password?

In order to obtain a Bloomberg Law password, you will need to register for an account using a personal activation code which you should have received via email. To register for Bloomberg Law and to receive a username and password, follow these steps:

  1. From the BC Law Library homepage, click on the Bloomberg Law link.
  2. On the Bloomberg Law page click “Sign in”.
  3. Click on “Register for a Student Account." 
  4. Enter the Bloomberg Law Activation Code you received in an email from lawref@bc.edu.
  5. Complete the form, making sure to use your bc.edu email address.
  6. Click both “I agree with the terms and conditions” and “I am not a robot.”
  7. Click “submit”
  8. Bloomberg will issue a username and password to you via email. This sometimes takes a day or two.

How do I get a CALI login?

CALI is the acronym for Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction. BC Law is a member of this organization whose mission is to improve legal education through the use of technology tools. Your faculty may be assigning CALI lessons during the semester, so register for access now.  Registration is free for BC Law students. To register:

  1. Go to http://www.cali.org
  2. Click on the link: "Register” on the top right portion of the screen.
  3. Complete the registration form. Register using your BC e-mail address.
  4. At the end of the registration form, you will be prompted to enter an authorization code. For the BC authorization code contact a lawresearchhelp@bc.edu
  5. Choose your own unique password. You only need to register once; for subsequent log-ins, use your BC e-mail and chosen password. Cookies must be enabled on your browser for the site to function properly.
  6.  Problems logging in? Try clearing your browser cookies.

How do I get help conducting legal research?

For assistance conducting legal research on any of the Law Library databases, please contact a reference librarian in whatever way works best for you (chat, email, Zoom consult, etc.)!  They are available to provide basic training on using the various databases and running and efficient search.

How do I find & check out library materials?

How do I find materials available through the library?

Shelf of law booksThe Boston College Library Catalog can be used to locate BC's physical library collections (books, DVDs, CDs, etc.) and to link to electronic materials (e-books, online articles, databases, BC Digital Collections, streaming video, etc.) to which BC subscribes.

Since the catalog contains the holdings of the entire BC library system, look for the word “Law” as part of the library designation or use the advanced search feature to limit to law library holdings. Materials from other BC libraries may be requested using the "request" link. You will only see the link to request an item if you are signed in to "My Account." The sign-in link is in the upper-right hand corner of the page.

To find locations of print items, use the "Find It In Library" link. This screen will give you the library and call number of the item. For items in the law library use the "locate" link to see the location of the item on the online library map. To find online items, click the "Available Online" link to see available databases.

There are mini iPads located on every level of the Law Library for quick catalog access. There is a catalog link on Law Library’s web page as well. Maps of the law library, posted on every floor next to the stair wells, will assist you in locating resources within the library. Paper maps are available at the library entrance and library floor plans are available on the library’s web page and you can find them on the Information Desk page in this Research Guide.

Once I find a book, am I allowed to check it out from the Law Library this semester?

Yes, students are allowed to check out books for 120 days. 

Where do I check out books in the library?

You may check out items at the Information Desk on the second floor. It is on the right-hand side when you enter the library.

Can I request books for pick-up at the Law Library?

As always, we ask that you bring any Law Library materials to the Information Desk for check-out. However, if the book is available at another BC Library, you may request it for pick-up at the Law Library using the “Request Book” button from the library catalog record and filling out the resulting form. The book should arrive within a few days; you will be notified via email when it is ready for pick-up at the front desk. Please email lawill@bc.edu with any questions!

What if the books or articles I need are unavailable at Boston College? Can I get them from other institutions?

If your item is not available at BC physically or online, you can log onto your Interlibrary Loan (ILL) account here and fill out either a Loan Request (for a physical book) or a Copy Request (for scans up to ~50 pages). Make sure to confirm that we do not have access to the material at BC through the library catalog before requesting anything through ILL. Please email lawill@bc.edu with any questions!

What do I need to know about studying in the Law Library?

Six students studying on laptops in the law libraryWhen can I study in the Library?

Please check here for the most up-to-date hours. After reduced hours for the first week of classes, the Law Library plans to be open:

Mon.-Thurs: 7:30 am -11:45 pm
Friday: 7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am - 11:45 pm

Where can I study in the library?

There are several types of places where you can study in the library: 

  • Carrels (individual desks) are located on Level 1, Level 3, and Level 4. 
  • When choosing a carrel, be sure to avoid sitting closer than six feet to another patron. 
  • Tables are located on every floor, which are now limited to two people at a time. 
    Stagger your seating to maintain social distance between yourself and other students.
  • Study rooms are open with a limited capacity of one person this semester on Level 1, Level 3, and Level 4. The doors must remain open at all times. You may book these study rooms for two hours up to seven days in advance here (Links to an external site.) or on the Law Library homepage under “Study Room Reservation.” 
  • The Rare Book Room can seat six students (one per small table and one at either end of the big table).
  • The Lutch Learning Center has a large table and individual seats with moveable desktops. Again, be sure to stagger your seating to maintain social distance between yourself and other students.

How do I print & scan materials?

Network Printing with PaperCut

All computer labs across the University manage printing using the PaperCut print management system. The Law Library PaperCut Print stations are located on each floor of the library. Please exercise social distancing procedures when retrieving print jobs. For printing questions regarding Print Bucks, quota, costs, etc., please see the BC Printing Policy. For information regarding installing printing software and retrieving your print jobs, please see the Printing Help website.


PaperCut Printer Locations in the Law Library

You can access library maps by clicking on each level.

Level 1:
1 outside Room 100

Level 2:

1 outside Room 205
1 near the Information Desk

Level 3:
1 outside Room 300
1 inside Room 300

1 COLOR printer: Room 375 alcove near the KIC scanner

Level 4:
1 outside Room 400


Scanning

There are also scanners available for use in the Law Library. Two KIC Scanners are located on Level 2 next to the Information Desk, and one more is available on Level 3. Students can use the scanners at no cost. You can either send your scanned material to your email address or save it to a USB flash drive. The scanners can scan book pages or individual sheets of text.  Automatic document feed devices are attached to the scanners located near the Information Desk.

How do I access Wifi?

You need to be at BC to register your laptop on eduroam. Make sure you are in an area of the Law School that supports the wireless network. Stuart House, the East Wing, the Law Library, and the Mone Courtyard area all have wireless network access installed, and all Law Library study carrels have active Ethernet jacks for wired internet connectivity.

To register your laptop on eduroam, follow the instructions below for your operating system.

macOS

  • Select the “eduroam” wireless network after clicking the AirPort status icon in the Menu  bar, located in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
  • Enter the following information when prompted:
    • username@bc.edu (include @bc.edu)
    • BC Password (used for Agora Portal)
  • Check “Remember this network” to avoid entering in these credentials every time you want internet access. Then click “Join.”
  • Select “I Agree,” “Continue,” or “Connect” if you receive a “Verify Certificate” window.
  • If prompted, enter your Mac administrative username and password (the password you use to log in to your computer).

Windows 10

  • Connect to the “eduroam” wireless network from the bottom right of the taskbar.
  • Enter the following information in the Windows Security window:
    • username@bc.edu (include @bc.edu)
    • BC Password (used for Agora Portal)
  • Click “Connect” on any further windows if they appear

How do I connect my mobile device @ BC?

Please visit the University’s Mobile Devices @ BC site for information about setting up your mobile device on the BC network and configuring your phone and/or tablet to receive BC email.

How do visitors access the BC Wifi? 

Visitors need to register to register their device on the Boston College network to access the Internet. For instructions on how they can to that, see this document.

What is Res Ipsa Loquitur, and other obscure terms I hear in class?!?

When you encounter a new legal term and want to find a good definition, take a look at Black’s Law Dictionary on Westlaw and search for your term of interest. Black’s, first published in 1890 and now in its 11th edition, is the preeminent American legal dictionary, with Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner, the world's leading legal lexicographer, at the helm. 

The major legal dictionary on Lexis is Ballentine's Law Dictionary.

If you want to learn more about the history of law dictionaries (in fact, the first English-language ever was a law dictionary!), check out our recent Rare Book Room exhibit, Dictionaries and the Law.

BTW, as summarized from Black'sres ipsa loquitur is Latin phrase meaning “the thing speaks for itself.” In tort law, it is a doctrine providing that "in some circumstances, the mere fact of an accident's occurrence raises an inference of negligence." For example, if a barrel of flour falls out of a warehouse window and lands on someone's head, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur would mean that, simply by virtue of the facts, the plaintiff would be able to establish (if not ultimately win) the basic elements of a negligence claim. 

How do I cite to this case?

Cover of the 21st edition of the BluebookThe Bluebook is the most widely-used style guide for legal citation (cases, statutes, etc.). You may have used style manuals like Chicago, APA, or MLA for papers in your undergraduate studies; The Bluebook is typically what is used for law school papers and briefs. For more information on The BlueBook legal citations, see our Research Guide on Reading Legal Citations.

How do I get it? We have 6 copies of the current edition (21st ed.) available for up to four-day checkouts at the Information Desk. Additional copies of the 20th edition, which likely will suffice for 1L coursework (check with your professor!), are available in the stacks (click the Locate button for a map). If you’d like to purchase your own print or digital copy, check out The Bluebook online.

Can I follow the Law Library on social media?

The Boston College Law Library has a presence on several popular social media channels and maintains the Legal Eagle blog to help you stay up-to-date on the services we provide and to inform the Law School community about key legal, research, and law library news. To stay in the know, follow us below:

Instagram icon Facebook icon with white lowercase "f" in a blue circle Cartoon image of the BC eagle Twitter icon of white bird on light blue background