Skip to content

2018 National Book Festival – Sept. 1

August 29, 2018
Girl Flying an Open book

Spread the Joy of Reading!

Join the 2018 National Book Festival on September 1 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  Sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Festival includes visits with many authors.  A presentation by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at 11:25am is followed by a book signing.  Family events and activities for all ages is planned.

Welcome to the Jacob Burns Law Library

August 27, 2018
Burns LibGuides for Research

Welcome! New to law school? The Law Library — your library — has a number of materials to help you succeed, including our online guides about services to law students:  the Burns Law Library Welcome Guide and Services @ the Jacob Burns Law Library  Our research guides include guides that cover subjects for the following required 1L classes: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal LawProfessional Responsibility & EthicsProperty, and Torts.

To learn more about the Law Library, consult our Library guide (PDF), find a great place to study from our Library Zone, and take a virtual tour.

Never heard of collateral estoppel? Try Black’s Law Dictionary, which provides definitions of legal terms, including res ipsa loquitur, ex parte, and prima facie. Click here for an online version in Westlaw.

And be sure to ask us — we’re here to help you succeed!

Law Day: Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom

May 1, 2018
Law Day 2018

Today, May 1, is Law Day, “an annual commemoration first held in 1957 when American Bar Association President Charles Rhynes envisioned a special national day to mark our nation’s commitment to the rule of law. The following year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Law Day Proclamation. Law Day was made official in 1961 when Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day.”

The theme for this year, as announced by the ABA, is Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom: “The U.S. Constitution established a system of government with distinct and independent branches—legislative, executive, and judicial—and it gave Congress, the Presidency, and a Supreme Court separate and distinct powers, so that these three separate branches share power and serve as checks on the powers of the others. “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition,” James Madison explained in The Federalist No. 51, because he believed that the Constitution’s principles of separation of powers and checks & balances preserve political liberty. By preventing any one branch from becoming too powerful, they provide a framework for freedom. Yet, this framework is not self-executing. We the people must continually act to ensure that our constitutional democracy endures, preserving our liberties and advancing our rights. The Law Day 2018 theme enables us to reflect on the separation of powers as fundamental to our constitutional purpose and to consider how the American system of government works for ourselves and our posterity.”

Visit the ABA’s Law Day 2018 site and celebrate Law Day!



World IP Day: Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity

April 23, 2018

April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day, marking the date when the World Intellectual Property Organization Convention came into force in 1970. World IP Day was established in 2000 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a self-funding agency of the United Nations whose “mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.” World IP Day offers an opportunity each year to join with others around the globe to celebrate innovation and creativity and how IP fosters and encourages them.

The theme for this year, as announced by WIPO, is “Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity,” chosen to celebrate “the brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of the women who are driving change in our world and shaping our common future. . . . The time is ripe to reflect on ways to ensure that increasing numbers of women and girls across the globe engage in innovation and creativity, and why this is so important.”

WIPO’s World IP Day site includes a global map of World IP Day activities, video interviews with women powering change, and articles about IP and women, such as “Innovation, creativity and the gender gap.”

Join the conversation using #worldipday and tell WIPO about the female inventors and creators who are powering change near you!



April 20, 2018
Beach Umbrella

Wherever the summer months take you–in the D.C. area or across the globe–we’re here to help all summer long!  Reach us by phone, text, email or chat:

  • Phone:  202.994.6647
  • Email:
  • Text:  202.999.3685
  • Chat

Find help with our Library Guides on an array of research topics.   Find quick answers to questions with our Ask Us – Library Q & A.

Be sure to use our Research4Summer guide to find answers to questions like:

  • How do I maintain summer access to Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance & Westlaw?
  • This summer, I will be working on an academic project outside of the D.C. area — can I use another academic law library?
  • I am a new journal student wanting to get a jump start on a note topic — how do I begin?
  • I am working/interning this summer and may need research assistance — are GW Law librarians available?
  • I am graduating (“Congratulations!!”) – what library services are available to GW Law Alumni?

National Library Week, April 8 – 14, 2018

April 8, 2018
Burns Law Library Buttons

Sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries of all types, National Library Week was first celebrated in 1958.  This year’s theme – Libraries Lead – focuses on the role that libraries play in their communities.  Libraries are at the forefront of offering technology, databases and other services to increase their users’ access to digital information.

Stop by the Jacob Burns Law Library during National Library Week and pick up a button to wear to celebrate libraries!

Dance of Faith: The Copyright Contest Over Gypsy

February 15, 2018
Gypsy Display

The Law Library’s current display, “Dance of Faith: The Copyright Contest Over Gypsy,” highlights the career of Faith Dane, who first came to widespread fame acting as Mazeppa in the stage and screen versions of the musical Gypsy.  Faith’s Mazeppa had an act that included blowing “Reveille” on a military-style bugle while doing her “bumps and grinds.”  On the Broadway stage, she leaned far forward and blew the horn between her legs.  According to contemporary accounts, the 45 second number was a show stopper.  For the film version, the director feared the signature move was too lurid, so Faith was told to execute a deep backbend instead.

Faith had developed the original routine during her own years on the burlesque stage, so it chafed when the director and choreographer received all the credit and royalties.  Faith sued, but Justice Aurelio of the New York Supreme Court found that the “story” of Mazeppa’s failed to warrant copyright protection because it did not “tend to promote the progress of science or the useful arts,” and that “You Gotta Have a Gimmick!” succeeded “only through talent and ingenuity of the song writer” (Dane v. M & H Co., 136 U.S.P.Q. 426 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1963). In Choreographing Copyright: Race, Gender, and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance, a book in the Law Library’s collection, author Anthea Kraut finds that this attitude represents the diminishment of the so-called lower arts as well as of women’s contributions to choreography.

The display also mentions two legal news sources to which the Law Library provides access — Law 360, which provides news about more than twenty legal practice areas, and the Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal, which includes comprehensive news about important intellectual property cases, statutes, and trends.  Our Copyright Law research guide is part of the Library’s expanding collection of guides to help you research the law.

As a bonus, the display includes a trumpet as a tribute to Faith, who lives in DC, and two LPs: one the Gypsy Broadway cast recording and the other the Gypsy film soundtrack.