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.
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.
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:
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:
Additional Registration Materials from Westlaw:
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:
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:
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.
The 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.
Yes, students are allowed to check out books for 120 days.
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.
You may request any circulating book 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 email@example.com with any questions!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
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
There are several types of places where you can study in the library:
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.
You can access library maps by clicking on each level.
1 outside Room 100
1 outside Room 205
1 near the Information Desk
1 outside Room 300
1 inside Room 300
1 COLOR printer: Room 375 alcove near the KIC scanner
1 outside Room 400
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.
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.
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.
Visitors need to register their device on the Boston College network to access the Internet. For instructions on how they can do that, see this document.
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's, res 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.
The 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.
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: