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Showing posts from April, 2014

Associate Attorneys No Longer Unhappiest

Last year, associate attorneys topped the Forbes list for the unhappiest workers in America. Things must be looking up because this year associate attorneys didn't even make the list.

The Findlaw blog reported on the list and said that "[l]ast year, associates topped the list; this year, they're not on it at all. Security guards now have that honor, which makes a lot more sense. Bank managers, accountants, customer service reps, store managers, sales execs, tech support reps, marketing managers, sales managers (again?), and machine operators completed the field."

Findlaw also offered a few ways to perk yourself up if you are feeling unhappy:

1. Smile!

When we're happy, we smile. It's unconscious, which shows how tightly the brain and the facial muscles are connected. Well, that connection works both ways. Just smile and see how it brightens your mood. It can work. Seriously, it's science.

2. Exercise.

Science to the rescue once again. Exercise raises the leve…

Internet Is First When Searching For An Attorney

A recent FindLaw & Thomson Reuters survey shows that people's attorney-search habits have changed dramatically in the last 10 years. The ABA Journal reported on the survey, which shows that the first place that the general public goes to find a lawyer is the Internet.

"Once upon a time, the first thing that an overwhelming majority of people in need of legal representation would do is turn to relatives or friends for personal referrals. Some would consult the Yellow Pages or the local bar association, while only a small handful would use the Internet before any of the other aforementioned options."

However, "those numbers have completely flipped around over the last decade. While the Internet was once the least popular option, according to results published last week, using the Web first is now the most popular choice among respondents."

These results confirm how imperative it is for attorneys to have a decent web presence. Attorneys should not skimp on web…

New Law School Eschews Traditional Approach To Legal Ed.

Huffington Post recently ran an article discussing a new law school: UNT Dallas College of Law.

Judge Royal Furgeson, the founding dean of UNT Dallas College of law, says that the school will have an  "unconventional ethos — to cultivate lawyers as public servants. The method? Eschew national rankings, deflate tuition, welcome the 'rejects' and teach real skills. 'We want to train lawyers that want to be lawyers for the right reasons,' Furgeson says."

While some believe that there are too many lawyers, "'[t]he legal industry has never been able to offer sufficient resources to the poor, [Judge Furgeson] says, and neither has it properly served the middle class or small businesses. The profession needs to come to grips with the fact that we’re not providing legal services to a vast majority of our people,' he says. 'You think of how many people are struggling out there, how many people are working at the margins. Something bad happens to the wa…

N.F.L. Concussion Case Influences Law School Course

The NYTimes reported on a new law school seminar created in response to the N.F.L. concussion case. After the N.F.L. settled with ex-players to the tune of $765 million, "agreeing to compensate victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research," George Washington University's law school took note and created a seminar course devoted to the issue.

"The revelations that hits to the head may lead to long-term brain damage have rocked the football world at all levels, alarming coaches, players and their parents and forcing the N.F.L. and the N.C.A.A. to tighten safety standards. [It] "also prompted George Washington University’s law school to start what it said was the first course devoted to the legal implications of traumatic brain injuries."

"Unlike some law school classes that focus either on theory or on practice, the seminar blends the intellectual with the practical, such as the admissibility of testimony and the presence of third-party observ…

The Generalist Librarian

I have decided that the public may not understand what librarians do because we do everything! We are generalists - even within a specific field of librarianship like law librarianship
Rebecca Tischler at INALJ ("I need a library job.") notes that "[m]any people still have the stereotypical image of a librarian stuck in their head: an older kind of frumpy woman wearing glasses on a chain, her hair up in a bun, shushing people with one hand while stamping books with the other." 
But librarians are much more than that. Tischler points out that librarians are: 
1. Librarians are teachers. Many libraries have computer classes: which can include teaching a room full of people how to use Microsoft Office, how to use the internet safely, how to set up accounts and stay safe on social media, or how to use photo manipulation programs. Some libraries even teach computer programming classes.
2. Librarians are tech savvy. Whatever librarians are teaching, or when we have to hel…

Creative Hobbies Increase Job Performance

NPR reported on a recent study that shows that people who are engaged in creative hobbies generally perform higher on the job. The findings were published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.

"Psychologists from San Francisco State University found that the more people engaged in their hobbies, the more likely they were to come up with creative solutions to problems on the job. And no matter what the hobby was, these people were also more likely to go out of their way to help co-workers."

"The researchers surveyed about 350 people with a variety of jobs (and a variety of hobbies) about what they did in their free time and also asked about their behavior at work. Those who said they engaged fairly often in a creative activity scored 15 to 30 percent higher on performance rankings than those who engaged in creative activities only occasionally."

The researchers suspect that "behaviors at work and home reinforce each other. 'It's …

These College Majors Do Well On LSAT

The ABA Journal reported on the recent "findings of Pepperdine University School of Law professor Derek Muller, who studied data from the Law School Admission Council on 2013 law school applicants. TaxProf Blog notes his findings, released on Muller’s blog Excess of Democracy."

According to Muller's data, the top 10 college majors, by LSAT score, were:

1) Classics

2) Policy studies

3) International relations

4) Art history

5) Mathematics

6) Philosophy

7) International studies

8) Government, service

9) Economics

10) Biology, specialized

In an interesting twist, "[t]he worst major for LSAT scores was criminal justice. It was followed by social work, business management and business administration, pre-law and law. Muller's full list is here."

As Muller points out, correlation does not equal causation, but students interested in law school may want to take a long look at the majors listed here. There may be something to these major that require strong critical…

Bye, Bye Westlaw Classic!

Most academic law librarians know that Westlaw Classic will no longer be with us as of July 1, 2014
As Law Librarians noted, WestlawNext now accounts for at least 80% of the Westlaw revenues, so the time has come to say goodbye to the old platform. I've been told that all of the content has migrated from Westlaw Classic to WestlawNext, so it's not a huge loss. WestlawNext is easy to maneuver, and it's become a good product.
One thing that I will miss are the research tabs on Westlaw Classic. I used the Law Review tab extensively when teaching Scholarly Writing. The Law Review tab has the content for preemption checking and topic selection all in one place, which is a very nice feature.
I wonder if WestlawNext will eventually have these custom research pages? Until then, I found a way to make your own. WestlawNext allows you to create a custom research page. The instructions are fairly straight forward. 
I am currently in the process of creating a Law Review custom researc…

Is The Legal Ed. Crisis Real?

Erwin Chemerinsky and Carrie Menkel-Meadow's article in the NYTimes this morning is interesting for its take on the legal education crisis.

The authors believe that legal education can use reform, like all higher education in general, but the 'crisis' talk is overblown and may lead to unnecessary reform that will make legal training worse in the long run.

"The claims of imminent catastrophe always focus on three things: the problematic job market for law graduates, the increased cost of legal education and the decrease in applications for law schools."

As to the job market, "[a]ccording to the Association for Legal Career Professionals, as recently as 2007, close to 92 percent of law-school graduates reported being employed in a paid, full-time position nine months after graduation. True, the employment figures had dropped by 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, but only to 84.7 percent. The number of graduates who are employed is higher i…

Happy National Library Week 2014!

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This weeks marks National Library Week 2014 (April 13-19, 2014). The theme is "lives change @ your library" with Honorary Chair Judy Blume.

During this week and the entire month of April, libraries host special events to highlight the unique role libraries play in changing people’s lives.

Image: http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/all/files/content/alsc/SMTD_type_RGB_lr.jpg
And for any librarians out there, you could celebrate by playing with the Librarian Title Generator. Librarians wear so many hats, and some criticize the title of 'librarian' as not reflective of what we do. When many people hear 'librarian' they instantly think of someone who checks books in and out (which is something I rarely do as a librarian). This title generator can be a fun way to come up with a title that is more reflective of the duties and responsibilities of librarians today.

ABA Releases Detailed Law School Employment Stats

The ABA Section of Legal Education & Admission to the Bar has released the summaries of the employment data questionnaires for each law school.

After the law suits alleging fraud in the reporting of employment statistics, the ABA decided it was time to require law schools to submit more detailed employment stats. The summaries offer a detailed view of the placement data from graduates of law schools since 2010.

This is a positive step for transparency when a prospective student is deciding which school to attend. The employment summaries also include positions that do not require bar passage, which is a good thing. A report out of the ABA Journal shows that many prospective law students plan to pursue alternative careers after they obtain their JDs.

"Half of more than 200 prelaw students responding to a survey by Kaplan Test Prep said they plan to use their law degree in a non-traditional legal field, according to a press release. Forty-three percent said they plan to use thei…

Boolean Searching Made Easy

Boolean searching is still the most precise way to search the databases.

Sometimes boolean searching feels like learning another language, but once you get the hang of it, it's actually pretty easy.

Here is a YouTube video called "What the Heck is Boolean Searching" for those of you who might need additional help:


This Blog Turns 1 Today!

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Happy 1st birthday to the Ginger (Law) Librarian!

It's been a wonderful year. There have been 242 posts over the course of the year dealing with all things libraries, law libraries, law schools, legal writing, etc.... It's been a great way to stay active with hot topics and to continue to develop as a professional.


Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/10464445726/ Attribution: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
And in other library news: a collection I would like to be involved with. The University of Texas Library bought 64,000 CDs and LPs From Campus Radio Station. "The radio station’s entire physical music collection—more than 50 years’ worth of accumulation—is now part of the Fine Arts Library’s Historical Music Recordings Collection. The library’s collection, which already had some 200,000 items in all formats, is one of the largest in the nation."

Law Schools Evolve In The Face Of Crisis

The NYTimes reported on the recent major moves by law schools to combat the legal-education crisis. According to the article, "[f]ive law schools have closed in the last two years, more than at any other time in American history."

Brooklyn Law School is the latest to make tuition changes to help reverse the "combination of slumping demand for lawyers and ever-rising tuition [that] has cast a pall on law school applications, which fell to 54,000 last year, from 100,000 in 2004." In addition "[a] generation of new lawyers is struggling under a crushing debt burden."

Next year, Brooklyn Law School "will introduce an across-the-board 15 percent cut in tuition. It is also reducing some kinds of merit aid, increasing need-based aid and offering a curriculum that allows some students to graduate in two years rather than the standard three."

Other schools have also started to cut tuition. "[T]he University of Iowa is cutting tuition at its law scho…

The Perils Of Using Ready-Made Legal Forms

There are many different places to find ready-made legal forms on the web. And it may seem tempting to avoid paying an attorney to draft a proper form when you can pay a nominal fee and fill out a form yourself.

The problem is that ready-made legal forms can cause more trouble and cost more money in the long run. Take for example a recent ABAJournal post about an estate dispute caused by a ready-made form.

"Ann Aldrich used an 'E-Z Legal Form' when she made out her will in 2004, a decision that proved to be a good choice for two nieces who cited the document’s lack of a residuary clause. In a decision issued last week, the Florida Supreme Court ruled for the nieces, though they weren’t mentioned in the will. The court said money acquired by Aldrich after the will was made out should be distributed under the laws of intestacy, which govern distribution of property for those who die without a will. The reason: The E-Z form did not have a residuary clause providing for the d…

Libraries, E-books, and Publisher Constraints

E-books are gaining popularity in all types of libraries, which comports with the digital transition in libraries. But publisher constraints make it hard for e-books to work with library-lending policies.

InsideHigherEd posted survey results on the various changes in libraries. "Ithaka, a nonprofit research organization that promotes innovative forms of teaching and scholarly communication, previously surveyed library directors in 2010. That survey captured libraries in the middle of a difficult transition from print to electronic resources. Based on the responses of 499 institutions in the fall 2013 survey, that shift has been, 'from a budget allocation perspective, nearly completed.'"

Based on the 2013 survey update, it looks like the shift from print to digital is nearly complete. "Yet library directors and faculty members remain split on the usefulness of electronic collections of books and journals. Instructors are more likely to prefer e-books -- more than …

Librarians In The Digital Age

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The role of the librarian is changing in the digital age. The Huffington Post's Books blog has a great infographic created by USC's Online Library Science Degree program that shows many of the major changes taking place.


As you can see, the role of the library and librarian is dramatically changing with a focus on digital technology. This infographic is a way to evaluate the changes and to determine if the new role in librarianship is the right fit for prospective librarians.

Restructuring Law School Tuition

InsideHigherEd reported on the University of La Verne College of Law's tuition restructuring. La Verne might be the "first law school to stop offering discounts to the top students it wants to attract."

"Instead, the Southern California law school will charge all students a flat price of $25,000 a year. Before, its sticker price was $39,000, but many students didn't pay anywhere near that much. Its 127 students actually paid an average of about $25,000 a year, but the students with the highest test scores paid less. Overall, its discount rate -- the share of tuition charges the college forgoes in the form of scholarships -- was 46 percent."

"La Verne's dean, Gilbert Holmes, said discount pricing, which colleges use to reward both low-income students and high-achieving students, can widen gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students because the students who are most likely to succeed and make more money after law school graduate with the least…