Law Library Hours: Thanksgiving

Hi all!

Please note that the law library will have the following adjusted hours for Thanksgiving 2023:

Wednesday, Nov. 23: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (Research Help until 12:00 pm)
Thursday / Friday, Nov. 24-25: CLOSED
Saturday / Sunday, Nov. 26-27: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

For a full calendar view of our current and upcoming hours, visit our Law Library Hours of Operations website. We hope you all have a safe and restful holiday!

See you then!

Zief Pets Presents: Winter-Themed Costume Contest!

Calling all pets! Celebrate the Winter season with Zief Law Library’s Zief Pets Winter-Themed Costume Contest! Submit pictures of your pets in their Winter-themed costumes or festive attire for your chance to win a special prize. Law school community members will vote on their favorite pets and prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place. Outfits can include themes such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Boxing Day, Lunar New Year, winter season, and more!

All submissions will be featured on the Zief Pets Wall in the Zief Law Library. To participate, please fill out the Google Form by Sunday, December 3rd, 2023, using the QR code on the image below or visit Winners will be announced on Monday, December 11th, 2023. 

The image shows a promotional graphic for the Zief Pets Winter-Themed Costume Contest. The graphic shows a cartoon penguin and a cartoon polar bear. The penguin's speech bubble says, "Zief Pets Presents: Winter Costume Contest," with the Zief Law Library Logo. The text on the image reads: "Submit photographs of your pets wearing winter or holiday-themed outfits. All submissions will be featured on the Zief Pets Wall in the Zief Law Library. Prizes will be awarded to First, Second, and Third Place. To participate, fill out the Google Form using the QR Code or visit" The cartoon polar bear's speech bubble reads: "Submit by Sunday, December 3rd, 2023. Vote until Sunday, December 10th, 2023. Winners announced Monday, December 11th, 2023."
Promotional graphic for the Zief Pets Winter Costume Contest.

New Materials: October 2023

The newest addition to the Zief Law Library collection, Paul T Jaeger’s “Foundations of Information Law” (2023).

The Zief Law Library added one new title to its collection in October 2023. Click the title below or explore our monthly New Materials at Zief Law Library webpage for the complete list of recent arrivals.

Tips and Advice for a Successful Law School Exam Period

Color illustration of a person rushing into another person, yelling, "MOVE IT! I'VE GOT FINALS!" The other person is falling and saying, "OOOMPH!"
Illustration by Troy Cook, 2023

With finals soon arriving, it is the perfect time to think about the strategies of a successful law school exam experience. By now, you may have figured out an effective study approach, but here are some additional tips in case there’s something new that could be helpful.

Create a schedule. It is helpful to create a finals study schedule, where you can factor in any additional time needed for reviewing concepts, and completing practice questions and exams. Perhaps create a game plan, or a day-by-day schedule for each class. Maybe you need to allot more for study time for your more challenging courses. But be sure to budget time for current assigned readings and assignments, so that you don’t fall behind.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Review your syllabus, class notes and highlighted sections of your casebook to create a ”hit-list” of topics to study. Flag the material that you find most difficult, so you can focus on any knowledge gaps. Then, you can prioritize topics you struggle with the most, over topics you’ve already mastered.

Team up with a great study group, partner, or study aid. Study groups can be a valuable learning tool. For some students, talking through material with classmates could help your understanding and retention of course materials. But if studying with classmates is not your thing, use the authors of the study guides as your friends and study partners. Additionally, try some study guides, available in print and as eBooks  through the library, such as as Glannon Guides, the Emanuel Crunch Time, and Questions & Answers. These can help you review material through flow charts and summaries; they also provide short-answer, multiple choice, and essay questions and answers, so you can test your knowledge.

Complete your outlines and then work on editing down and memorizing them. So much material is covered in law school that it can seem quite jumbled in your mind. The professors construct the exams to see how well you can link all of the concepts together; this shows that you can apply the skill of analyzing numerous concepts at the same time. Reviewing, editing down, and memorizing your outlines will help you recognize how all of the facets of the particular law class work together in building the overall meaning and understanding of the subject. Need help making an outline? Try one of the library’s Emanuel Outlines available online or in-print at the circulation desk.

Pay attention in class. One last piece of advice that seems to always work is to pay attention in class. Yes, this seems obvious, but paying attention in class will truly save you time because your class notes will make sense and save you from time spent having to learn new concepts and laws. Really focus on what the professor says in class; this will also give important hints about what is expected for the exam. Also participate in class; the discourse you have with the professor is great for the learning experience and professors love it. If you are nervous about talking in class, a good tactic is to go to class with a list of questions. These may be from the reading or questions that you had after evaluating the material from past classes.

Maybe if you follow these great tips, you will not end up like the poor chap below:


Illustration of person with raised fist, with a speech bubble stating, "AAARG FINALS." The person is looking down at books and a fallen chair nearby.
Illustration by Troy Cook, 2023

Zief Pets Presents: Halloween Costume Gallery!

Celebrate the spooky season with Zief Law Library as we introduce Zief Pets Presents: Halloween Costume Gallery! Whether a dog, cat, iguana, or even a pet rock, Zief Pets wants to see your pets’ best Halloween looks!

Submit pictures of your pets in their Halloween costumes or festive attire, and we will display them on the Zief Pets wall in Zief Law Library from Monday, October 30th to Monday, November 6th. To participate, please fill out the Google Form by October 30th, using the QR code on the image below or visit

Advertisement flyer for Zief Pets with a cartoon cat and dog in ghost costumes.



Music and Studying: Epic (Beneficial) or Gnarly (Adverse)

A record turntable with vinyl album covers placed behind it.
Troy’s turntable

A contentious (gnarly) debate is whether listening to music while studying is a bad idea or if it can actually be quite helpful. In the WebMD article “Can music Help You Study” by Cheryl Whitten and Dan Brennan discuss pros and cons of listening to music while studying. Even USF law students have had discussions about music being beneficial or distracting while studying. The argument of what type of music should be used is even a more passionate argument; this debate can sometimes broach the subject of good or bad taste in the listener (jokingly and good-natured teasing, we hope).

Even though there is a 1990s study in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine entitled “The Mozart Effect” stating that listening to classical music, specifically Mozart’s sonata for two pianos, improves spatial reasoning skills, problem solving, and test scores, it may just simply a matter of improving one’s mood during a stressful time. In the 2023 blog post “Music and Studying: It’s Complicated” Crystal Raypole states that music is helpful during finals because it can motivate; this probably has to do with the firing of neurons in the brain whether it’s slow music to relax or faster dynamic music to inspire. Raypole also discusses how listening to music while studying can be detrimental because students who listen to music with lyrics can become distracted. Even music without lyrics can hinder concentration.  Also, what about the idea that students who use music to help them memorize may need to create the same environment during the actual exam for it to work?

The best test to the music or no music debate is to find out for yourself. All students are different and study in a myriad of ways; music may help some and hinder others.  A good idea for finding out what works best for you is to experiment with different study music playlists on YouTube, Spotify, or your streaming service of choice. Do what’s best for you even if it’s only studying in the bathtub, wearing a wetsuit while listening to 1960s surf instrumentals.

The Law and Literature Book Display

During October, the Zief Law Library will have Law & Literature as the book display. The display spotlights the relationship of law and literature. This not only deals with the legal themes in fiction, but the philosophical debate of whether law on its own has inherent meaning and worth or if it must be considered along with a much larger cultural context.

There is also a debate between the supporters of the “law in literature” and the “law as literature” theories. The “law in literature” theory maintains that works of literature with details and descriptions of legal cases and processes give understanding to the essence of law. The “law as literature” position supports the idea that legal writing such as the actual written laws are subject to interpretation as any type of literature should be.

Want to learn more? Check out Zief’s Collection Spotlight on the first floor, across from the Circulation Desk!

Titles in the display include:

New Materials: September 2023

The collage above shows eight book covers from the list of new library materials.

The Zief Law Library added new materials to its collection in September 2023. Topics from September include: capital punishment; constitutional law; contracts; criminal procedure; estate planning; evidence; technology and the law; and trial practice. Click the titles below or explore our monthly New Materials at Zief Law Library webpage for the complete list of recent arrivals. 

Accessibility Tech Tips for Law Students (Part Two of Two)

Accessible Practices for PowerPoint, Word, and Google Docs

In part two of this post, we provide a look at some accessible practices for hyperlinks and colors for text and backgrounds.

Photo Credit: Tamanna Rumee for


Hyperlinks are helpful for creating accessible documents so that screen readers do not read each individual character of a web address, or URL, aloud, thus cluttering the information with unnecessary characters. They also aid in organizing multiple links on a single document.

General Tips for Hyperlinks

  1. The screen reader will preface the web address with “Link” so you may name the hyperlink after the webpage itself.
    1. Example: use the name “Zief Law Library Website
    2. DO NOT use: “Click Here” “Read More” or “More Info.”
      1. This language is not clearly identifying the information to the listening audience.
  2. Use hyperlinks in your documents, presentations, and email!
    1. Don’t forget to practice accessibility in your emails as well!

Text and Background Color

Creative fonts and colorful text on colorful backgrounds can be aesthetically pleasing, but can also create a learning barrier for learners with low vision. Choosing fonts and backgrounds that are easily read creates an inclusive learning environment, both in print and online.

General Tips for Text and Background Color

  1. Use a color contrast tool  to test if your PowerPoint slides are legible for people with low vision. Colors have a varying degree of contrast against others.
    1. Confirm the presentation meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines with the Web AIM Color Checker.
  2. Do not use color to indicate meaning on documents or presentations.
    1. Example: Do not use red to convey something is wrong.
  3. Use clear, large fonts on documents and presentations.
    1. This is important for both learners whose first language is not English and for those with low vision.
    2. Acceptable fonts:
      1. Times New Roman
      2. Verdana
      3. Arial
      4. Tahoma
      5. Helvetica
      6. Calibri

Checking Your Work

Microsoft Word has an Accessibility Checker function that will automatically review your document for accessibility. Select ‘Review’ and click on the ‘Accessibility’ icon to explore. In addition to using the Accessibility Checker function, use Read Aloud to listen to the Word Document and follow with adjustments for an easier listening experience.

For more information on how to create accessible Word Documents, PowerPoints, and Google Docs, please visit the USF ETS Create Accessible Documents Page.

Additional Resources

  1. Microsoft Read Aloud Instructions
  2. Microsoft Accessibility Fundamentals
  3. WebAIM Microsoft Word Creating Accessible Documents

Accessibility Tech Tips for Law Students (Part One of Two)

Accessible Practices for PowerPoint, Word, and Google Docs

“If one out of every seven human beings could be considered disabled, as research demonstrates, disability is a common part of human existence

-Jessica Schomberg, Librarian

Photo Credit: Jess Bailey for

What is accessibility? Why is it important?

Accessibility is the inclusive practice of making activities, content, products, and services usable by anyone, regardless of mental or physical abilities. Using accessible practices when creating learning materials, such as documents or presentations, allows for every member of your audience to consume the material without asking for accommodations. People with disabilities often request accommodations to create an equitable learning environment. By using accessible practices in your assignments and presentations, you are inviting your professors and classmates to participate with equity and comfort. Please use the tips in this post to help you start incorporating accessibility into your assignments and presentations!

Heading Levels

Using the heading levels in documents and slideshows allows for screen readers to read text in a logical order. Simply bold-facing, underlining, or changing the font of the text will not present the information in an organized, understandable manner to the listening audience.

General Tips for Heading Levels

  1. Use title, heading, and list functions within Word:
    1. Open the Styles Pane, located on the top right of the Home tab.
    2. Use the drop-down menu and choose Modify Style to fit chosen aesthetics.
    3. Bold-facing, underlining, or italicizing titles and headers with “Normal” text is not accessible.
    4. Identify how to organize documents and use heading styles accordingly; order matters for screen readers.
      1. When using PowerPoint, include a title for each slide. When using a screen reader, slides with titles help the listener understand the information being presented on the slide and know when the presenter is switching slides.
    5. Use the list function on the Home tab.
      1. Use this function when you want to include lists with bullet points, numbers, dashes, etc. Be sure to use the list function in order for the screen reader to properly read these lists to listeners.

Alternative Text

Alternative text is the content a screen reader will read to describe an image in a Word Document. This must be manually added by the creator of the document.

General Tips for Alternative Text

  1. How to insert alternative text on Word, PowerPoint, and Google Docs:
    1. Right click the picture you would like to add alternative text to.
    2. Click ‘Format Picture’.
      1. On Google Docs, you do not need to click ‘Format Picture.’ There is an “Alternative Text” option available after you right click the image.
    3. Click ‘Add Alternative Text’.
    4. Alternative text should be a brief description of the image.
      1. If an image is for decorative use, do not use alternative text. Otherwise, it will add unnecessary clutter for the screen reader and confuse listeners.
      2. Word and PowerPoint have a “Decorative Only” option.
    5. Avoid images of text. If you include an image with text, you must include the entire text as part of your alternative text.
    6. Do not use sensory characteristics or gender and racial characteristics.

Checking Your Work

Microsoft Word has an Accessibility Checker function that will automatically review your document for accessibility. Select ‘Review’ and click on the ‘Accessibility’ icon to explore. In addition to using the Accessibility Checker function, use Read Aloud to listen to the Word Document and follow with adjustments for an easier listening experience.

For more information on how to create accessible Word Documents, PowerPoints, and Google Docs, please visit the USF ETS Create Accessible Documents Page.

Additional Resources

  1. Microsoft Read Aloud Instructions
  2. Microsoft Accessibility Fundamentals
  3. WebAIM Microsoft Word Creating Accessible Documents

Zief Law Library Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month: Legal History, Events, and Resources



In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Zief Library Assistant Randall Seder takes a look at the social and legal history of the commemorative month, highlights Zief research resources, and presents some Bay-Area events of interest.

George Floyd Protest in Los Angeles, May 31st, 2020,

Zief Law Library joins the University of San Francisco community in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th. This commemorative month acknowledges the immeasurable contributions and influence of Hispanic/Latino/a/x/e Americans to United States history. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates a rich collection of cultural and ethnic identities, including those identifying as Latino/a/x/e, from Latin America (Mexico, South and Central America) and the Caribbean, as well as those identifying as Hispanic, from one of the 20 countries worldwide who’s primary language is Spanish (Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Panama, Peru, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Venezuela).  Continue reading “Zief Law Library Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month: Legal History, Events, and Resources”

Zief’s New Career Services Collection

Zief’s New Career Services Collection

What is the Career Services Collection?

Grey notebook with "Let's Get Started" printed in small font. This summer, in collaboration with the Office of Career Services, Zief Research Librarians curated a collection of materials and resources to best help you prepare for your legal careers. From landing a job interview to navigating your first workplace conflict, the Career Services Collection can be a source of advice for your future legal professional journey.

Where is it located?

The print materials are currently available on the first floor of Zief Law Library, near the research librarians’ offices.

Newest additions

Here are some of the newest titles added to the Career Services Collection:

  1. Roadmap: the law student’s guide to meaningful employment by Neil W. Hamilton
  2. The introverted lawyer: a seven-step journey toward authentically empowered advocacy by Heidi K. Brown
  3. The all-inclusive guide to judicial clerking by Abigail L. Perdue
  4. Big law confidential: the comprehensive guide to the large law firm work experience in the U.S. by D.W. Randolph

Office of Career Services

For individual career counseling, speak to the Office of Career Services, located in Kendrick 335 and 336.

For help finding resources on a specific area of legal practice, talk to your Zief Research Librarians.



Time Management for Law Students

Time Management for Law Students

Aerial view of person sitting in a black hooded sweatshirt. In center of a watch face.


Mastering time management in law school is essential for accomplishing your goals and lowering stress levels. There are people and tools that can help you organize your academic schedule in effective and rewarding ways. Try this strategy here to maximize your time and success in law school! 

Taking Stock

  1. Write down your required commitments for this semester. 
    • This includes: your class schedule, club meetings, and work. This will work as a skeleton for your calendar. 
  2. Write down goals you want to achieve this semester.
    • Be uncomfortably specific. Do you want to get to the library earlier? Do you want to learn a new skill? Balance working out and school? Read more for pleasure?
    • Don’t make any changes just yet. Write down your goal on a slip of paper and keep it at your desk. 
  3. For one week, perform a time management audit and write down what you did.
    • At the end of each day, ignore the to-do list you made and look at how you actually spent your time. Instead of “getting ready took 2 hours” look at what you did in those two hours. Did you brush your teeth, brush your hair, and eat? Did you scroll through Instagram for 30 minutes and then get out of bed? Without judgment, write down how you spend your time for one week.

First Steps

  1. Find your system.
    • Planners
      • Test out if you prefer digital or print planners. Don’t be afraid to try something new! If you’re looking for a new system, you might discover something you didn’t know existed or find your needs now are different from before. 
      • Physical planners that offer student discounts:
        1. Happy Planner
        2. Papier
        3. More options on Student Beans
      • Digital Calendars (Beyond Apple and Google)
        1. Microsoft 
        2. Fantastical 
    • Apps
      • Apple and Android phones come with apps for notes, reminders, and calendars. Carve out 15 minutes in your day to play around with the tools you might already have at your fingertips! You might learn a function you didn’t know about. 
      • If you’re looking for something more tailored to classes and assignments, there are apps designed for saving resources, creating mind maps, and more!
      • Screen time limits on your cell phone:
        1. Look at your most-used apps on your phone. Are these helping you achieve your academic or career goals? If not, use your Settings app to limit the amount of time you spend on distracting apps. 
  2. Prioritize.
    • Priority Lists vs. To-Do Lists
      • Each day, write down tasks you need to do.
      • Review your to-do list and select a maximum of three tasks you absolutely have to accomplish day. This is your priority list. 
      • The rest of the list consists of things you need to do but that do not necessarily have to get done that day. These can carry over to the next day. This is your to-do list. 
      • If there is a big project or task, plan ahead and break it down into smaller parts that can be completed each day. 
    • Personal Due Dates
      • By planning ahead, you can schedule personal due dates to achieve your goals and allow a grace period before the actual deadline. Life happens. External or internal pressures throw plans off. Give yourself time to adapt. 
  3. Organize your workspace.
    • Make your workspace at home or in the library something you look forward to occupying. Whether it’s fun stationary, a favorite coffee mug, or simply organizing the space, studying in a space you actually enjoy will help you stay on track with your goals.
  4. For one week, write down what you did again. Compare to how you spent your time before (refer to Taking Stock). 
    • Did anything change? Where are you spending the most time? Are there other ways to accomplish these goals?
    • For example, maybe writing your briefs takes longer than you expected. Try meeting with a research librarian to find different approaches or tools. Research librarians have a J.D.; they are well-equipped to help you!

Keep it Sustainable

  1. Find the patterns that stick.
    • Don’t force yourself to commit to any system that does not work for you! It’s okay if it doesn’t work out the way you expect it to the first time. Don’t give up and try again! Ask around, especially someone either farther along in law school or a research librarian, what works for them. It could inspire something for you! 
  2. One thing at a time.
    • If you are feeling overwhelmed, try making one small change and slowly build up from there. You don’t have to make the perfect system overnight. Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
  3. Don’t forget about your health!
    • Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and sleep hygiene affect how well you are able to focus and perform in class! If you find yourself lost on how to manage self-care, explore USF CAPS resources for students. They offer therapy, recommend mental health apps, and direct you to free/affordable resources to maintain your mental and physical health.

Write a Letter to Your Future 3L Self!

Write a Letter to Your Future 3L Self!

Congratulations on starting your law school journey! These next few years will be full of incredible professors, supportive classmates, challenging internships and jobs, and self-growth. When you graduate, you’ll likely find you’ve grown more professionally and personally than you could have imagined. Zief Law Library welcomes you to reflect on your current goals and write a letter to yourself to read when you graduate law school. The library staff will keep your letter sealed and return the letter to you when you graduate.

Blue USPS box


  1. Pick up the letterhead and envelope by the Daily Chuckle in Zief Law Library.
    1. Located on the first floor of the library across from the Circulation desk.
    2. Or, email your letter to Steffi Ando, the Access Services Lead, will print it on letterhead. All letters will be kept confidential.
  2. Write a letter to your 3L self. Suggested prompts are located at the bottom of this page.
  3. Write your name on the envelope.
    1. If you are not a 1L but want to participate, write your graduating year on the envelope. We organize the letters by graduating years and do not want to misplace yours!
  4. Zief Law Library staff will stamp the envelope with the date you submit the letter on. We will stamp the envelope with the date you pick it up on too!

You may follow these prompts or come up with your own:

Why did you choose to apply to law school? Why did you choose the University of San Francisco School of Law? What are you most excited about? What are you most nervous about? Where do you hope to be in 3 years? Who do you want to be in 3 years? What do you want to ask your future self?

New Materials: May, June, and July 2023

The image above is a collage of eight book covers: How To Write Law Essays and Exams by S.I. Strong; Advanced Introduction To Mental Health Law by Michael L. Perlin; The Guide To Belonging In Law School by Russell A. Mcclain; In The Shadow of Death: Restorative Justice and Death Row Families by Elizabeth Beck, Sarah Britto, and Arlene Andrews; Roadmap: The Law Student’s Guide To Meaningful Employment by Neil W. Hamilton; The Introverted Lawyer: A Seven-Step Journey Towards Authentically Empowered Advocacy by Heidi Brown; The All-Inclusive Guide To Judicial Clerking by Abigail L. Perdue; Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and The Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence by Kate Crawford.
The image above shows eight selected titles from the summer 2023 new materials list.

Welcome back, law students! The Zief Law Library added new materials to its collection over the summer. Topics from May, June, and July include: legal research; business and economics; technology; cybersecurity; civil procedure; legal ethics; freedom of speech; human rights; mental health law; women and the law; environmental law; housing and gentrification; privacy law, sports law, elections and United States politics; capital punishment; career planning and vocational guidance; law clerking; and bar exam preparation. Click the titles below or explore our monthly New Materials at Zief Law Library webpage for the complete list of recent arrivals.