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Showing posts from September, 2014

Press Pass For SCOTUSblog

Earlier this summer, news outlets like the ABA Journal and the NYTimes reported on the denial of a press pass for SCOTUSblog.

"As the Supreme Court began to issue the final rulings of the term, 60,000 people — including journalists at major news outlets around the country — were following the live feed of Scotusblog, a website devoted to covering every warp and woof of the court’s complex litigation. Since its inception in 2002, the site has become required reading for Supreme Court news and analysis, winning multiple awards.

Yet Scotusblog’s ability to cover the court remains precarious because it has repeatedly been denied a press credential."

As the NYTimes noted, "[t]he Supreme Court has traditionally recognized credentials issued by the Senate’s Standing Committee of Correspondents, which is made up of journalists from mainstream news organizations. In April, the committee denied Scotusblog’s latest request for a credential because its founder and publisher, Tom Go…

State Bar of Michigan's 2014 Economics Of Law Practice Survey

The Michigan State Bar's Economics of Law Practice Survey was released in July 2014.

"The survey is conducted every three years and the results are used daily throughout the state in courtrooms, law firms and by lawyers in all occupational areas. As referenced by the Michigan Supreme Court in Smith v. Khouri, it is the primary resource used by trial courts to determine attorney fees. It provides the benchmark for more than 50 specific fields of practice by geographic location.

Survey results also contain data about salaries, benefits, hours worked and job satisfaction for attorneys in non-private practice occupations, such as those working as in-house counsel, in government service, non-profit organizations, academia, legal services and more."

The survey has two practical objectives:
To provide timely, relevant and accurate information to inform and guide the practical management decisions of Michigan attorneysTo track and illustrate changes and trends within the legal pro…

"Deep Reading" In Print & Marginalia

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For most Americans, print still reigns supreme. The Wall Street Journal Blog noted that the American population still tends to prefer print books over e-books. "Of the people in the U.S. who use the Internet, 46% say they still only read books that are printed, according to data from Harris Interactive that was charted by Statista. Another 16% say they read more printed books than e-books."

Reading in print is still considered important for comprehension. One Chronicle of Higher Education author opines that "deep reading" is almost always best done in print. "Digital reading encourages distraction and invites multitasking. Among American and Japanese subjects, 92 percent reported it was easiest to concentrate when reading in hard copy. (The figure for Germany was 98 percent.) In this country, 26 percent indicated they were likely to multitask while reading in print, compared with 85 percent when reading on-screen. Imagine wrestling with Finnegan’s Wake while s…

Law Library Involvement In Law School Firms & Incubators

In recent years, many law schools have started incubator programs to help graduates transition to practice. According to the ABA, CUNY started the first incubator program over 10 years ago, and incubator programs have really started to pop up since late 2012. Currently, there are around 28 programs nationwide.

The Akron Legal News recently reported on Cleveland-Marshall College of Law's incubator program. Like other institutions, Cleveland-Marshall decided to create an incubator program because of the stagnant economy and because many of its graduates go into solo practice. "According to a report by the National Association for Law Placement, 84.5 percent of the class of 2013 secured [employment]. Despite the slight improvement over the last two years, the employment rate still remains quite a bit behind the all-time high of 91.9 percent in 2007, which was reached prior to the financial crisis. The less than rosy job market means more young attorneys are hanging out their own …

Helping Law Students Help Themselves - Creating Flowcharts

Part of a law librarian's job is to have a hand in teaching technology to law students. Generally law students are so focused on what is immediately in front of them that they do not have time to seek out additional information about technology and resources that may be helpful to their learning.

The Chicago-Kent Law Library blog has a great post about creating visual outlines through mind maps and flow charts.

Many law students find visual outlines helpful to really learn the subject matter and see how it all fits together. Historically, mind maps and flow charts had to be created with pen and paper, and it wasn't unusual to see a law student's study area plastered with visual outlines on the wall.

Going the pen and paper route is just fine - whatever gets the job done. But some law students might find mind mapping or flow chart software helpful to get them started and save precious wall space.

The Chicago-Kent Law Library blog goes on to mention these helpful tools:
Freemi…

Google Maps & Map It In Law Libraries

For large, expansive law libraries with hundreds of thousands of print volumes, it is easy for any library goer to get lost looking for a book.

As the Georgetown blog noted, "[t]his is an all-too familiar scenario for Georgetown Law students who have gone hunting for books in remote corners of [the] two library locations. The library has over half a million print volumes spread out over 100,000 feet of shelves across seven floors and two buildings. Locating a book by its call number can be a challenge for even the most dedicated library dweller."

Georgetown is utilizing a new service called Map It that links the catalog to a map of the law library. The map will pinpoint the exact location of a book.

Google is also starting an indoor mapping project. "In November 2011, Google Maps released an indoor navigation tool as part of its Google Maps for Android smartphone and tablet applications. Google has partnered with many airports, casinos, convention centers, hotels, hospit…

Technology In Libraries

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The focus of my career thus far has been on reference, instruction, collection development, and faculty liaison work. But I am starting to take an active interest in library technology.

These are a few resources that I have found particularly helpful for technology in libraries: Computers in LibrariesEmerging Technologies In LibrariesLibrary Tech TalkTechSoup For Libraries Each of the resources offer insight into new technology for all types of libraries. 
A law library that is doing a wonderful job incorporating new technologies is Georgetown. They are using citation software and Map It. They also offer instruction on mobile apps for law faculty and students, as well as how to download documents from the legal databases to an e-reader. 
It's great to see some of these technologies in practice and commentary about the implementation. 
image: http://th03.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/f/2011/316/1/8/bright_technology_stock_06_by_rockstock-d4fy76w.jpg

New Title In United States Code - Voting & Election

For any die-hard researcher, the news of a new title in the U.S. Code offers a rare kind of excitement. 
As of September 1, the United States Code has extended to Title 52 “Voting and Election."
Title 52 will cover federal election statutes under three subtitles: Voting RightsVoting Assistance and Election AdministrationFederal Campaign Finance As George Mason's blog noted, there was no congressional bill needed for the new title. "The U.S. Code is administered by the Office of Law Revision Counsel pursuant to 2 U.S.C. § 285. The OLRC has authority over the preparation of the United States Code, including the ability to make revisions. In the case of voting and election laws, the OLRC staff determined that the volume of laws enacted on these topics warranted a separate title."
And now for West & Lexis to pick up the title and start adding the annotations that are so helpful to researchers. 
See the Office of Revision Counsel's website for more information abo…

Should Law Students Get Credit & Cash?

The reform idea that law student should receive credit and pay for their externships has been around for awhile
This time, it's the NYTimes Room for Discussion series taking up the issue. As the intro to the series mentions, "[t]he American Bar Association prohibits law students from receiving pay for internships and externships that grant them academic credit. Critics have pressured the organization to reverse this standard, as law students face mounting debt and a slow job market."
A law student, a law professor, and a legal professional all chimed in. The law student argues that law students should get paid and receive credit. "While in school, [law] students have to decide whether to accept an unpaid externship and receive law school credit — which could allow them to graduate and find a paying job more quickly — or take a paid legal position, without school credit, which might extend their time in law school."
The law professor argues that the current AB…

Judge Calls Out BP Lawyers For Using Trickery

NPR reported that the judge in a case related to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was not amused when the BP lawyers manipulated the spacing in a brief to comply with the page limit.

"Back in school, did you ever fudge the spacing on a report to meet the teacher's page-length requirement? Lawyers representing oil company BP tried something similar in a recent court filing connected to the company's 2010 drilling rig accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico."

Judge Barbier reprimanded the lawyers for the tactic. "BP's counsel filed a brief that, at first blush, appeared just within the 35-page limit. A closer study reveals that BP's counsel abused the page limit by reducing the line spacing to slightly less than double-spaced. As a result, BP exceeded the (already enlarged) page limit by roughly six pages. The Court should not have to waste its time policing such simple rules — particularly in a case as massive and complex as this. ... Coun…

Visit The Library For An Experience

When most people think library, they think of a quiet warehouse full of books. Of course, that's all changing as libraries continue to transition to a digital collection.

Some libraries are continuing to step outside of the traditional role of the library by offering cutting edge technology like Google Glass or 3D printers to their patrons.

The other programming happening in Colorado libraries include:

Anythink created The Studio at Wright Farms, which has HD cameras, a green screen, tripods, lighting kits and editing software. And that's just for video. There's an audio recording studio, graphic design software and gaming computersA programmable Finch to learn computer codeSeed libraries to offer up cheaper ways to cultivate plants, herbs, fruits and vegetablesIn Denver, you can stream and download music from local bandsIn JeffCo, a library card also gets you a Culture Pass, where cardholders can reserve passes to access local museums and attractions
The Communications Dire…

Recent RIPS Post - Teaching With Visual Legal Research Platforms

Please see my recent Research Instruction & Patron Services (RIPS) Blog post on teaching with visual legal research platforms.

The RIPS Law Librarian Blog has a lot of other great content for law librarians, as well.

Lexis Advance Is Here

Lexis released the new interface, Lexis Advance, on Monday, September 8.

From the promotional literature:
It's cleaner, simpler and easier to use than ever before. Some of the new Lexis Advance features include:

A new streamlined interfaceTab-less, uncluttered resultsMore intuitive filters get you to the answer fasterImproved Alerts, Tables of Contents, Mobile Apps and moreThe same great search functions that you already know For more information on the Lexis Advance interface, see the following YouTube videos: New Look of Lexis Advance videoLexis Advance Before and After GuideThe research tasks you must do: Here's how at Lexis Advance On first impression, it looks like Lexis Advance really listened to user comments and recommendations for improvement.

Twitter Account Announces Changes To SCOTUS Opinions

Earlier this year, I posted about SCOTUS continuing to edit opinions after release.

From the NYTimes, "[t]he Supreme Court has been quietly revising its decisions years after they were issued, altering the law of the land without public notice. The revisions include 'truly substantive changes in factual statements and legal reasoning,' said Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard and the author of a new study examining the phenomenon."

In June, the ABAJournal noted that there is a Twitter account that is tracking the changes made to opinions after release.

"Lawyer David Zvenyach, general counsel to the Council of the District of Columbia, looked for a solution [to notifying the public of changes to the opinions]. He used an application called Node to crawl slip opinions from the Supreme Court’s website every five minutes. The changes are automatically noted on Twitter at the account @Scotus_servo."

A a caveat, "TechDirt points out that the system …

Find A Little Help From My Friends (Reading First-Year Cases)

As law school heads into the first few weeks of class, it is probable that 1Ls will run across the most famous cases in the first-year subjects.

The Findlaw Blog has a series of helpful posts for the classic law school cases.

Torts:

Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co. (1928)Summers v. Tice (1948)MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. (1916)Garratt v. Dailey (1955)United States v. Carroll Towing Co. (1947)
Criminal Law:

R. v. Dudley and Stephens (Queen's Bench, 1884)M'Naghten's Case (House of Lords 1843)R. v. Cunningham (Queen's Bench, 1957)People v. Ceballos (Calif. Supreme Court, 1973)Lawrence v. Texas (U.S. Supreme Court, 2003)
Property:

Pierson v. Post (New York, 1805)Ghen v. Rich (Massachusetts, 1881)Duke of Norfolk's Case (House of Lords, 1682)United States v. Causby (U.S. Supreme Court, 1946)Johnson & Graham's Lessee v. M'Intosh (U.S. Supreme Court, 1823)
Civil Procedure:

Pennoyer v. Neff (SCOTUS 1878)International Shoe v. Washington (SCOTUS 1945)Gray v. American…

SCOTUS Relies Perilously On Amicus Briefs

The NYTimes reported on a fairly new phenomenon at the Supreme Court level. As the justices look to amicus briefs for help with data, "[t]heir opinions are increasingly studded with citations of facts they learned from amicus briefs."

While this may not seem problematic on its face, "'[t]his is a perilous trend,' said Allison Orr Larsen, a law professor at the College of William and Mary. 'The court is inundated with 11th-hour, untested, advocacy-motivated claims of factual expertise,' she wrote in an article to be published in The Virginia Law Review."

"Some of the factual assertions in recent amicus briefs would not pass muster in a high school research paper. But that has not stopped the Supreme Court from relying on them. Recent opinions have cited 'facts' from amicus briefs that were backed up by blog posts, emails or nothing at all."

The justices must be cognizant of the resources that amicus briefs cite for authority. It is …

FREE Librarian Webinars In September

The Open Education Database posted a slew of free professional-development webinars for librarians in the month of September. There are 48 webinars in total.

Here are a few of the listings:

Wednesday, September 3
11:00 – 12:00 pm (Eastern)
Resource Description and What? RDA for Non-Catalogers (Nebraska Library Commission)

Thursday, September 4
2:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)
20 Questions: Government Information Resources (Florida Library)

Tuesday, September 9
12:00 – 1:00 pm (Eastern)
The Reader’s First Initiative: Fighting for Fair Access to ebooks (Washington State Library)

Tuesday, September 9
3:00 – 4:00 pm (Eastern)
The Reference Interview Today: Practical Principles, Timeless Tips (Library Journal)

Thursday, September 18
2:00 – 3:00 pm (Eastern)
Taming Tech Tools for Libraries (WebJunction)

Friday, September 19
11:00 – 12:00 pm (Eastern)
Tech Tools with Tine: 1 Hour of Google Drive (Texas State Library & Archives Commission)

Tuesday, September 23
2:00 – 3:00 pm (Eastern)
Promoting …

Librarian Jobs: Outlook Good

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that librarians may be facing a labor shortage in the coming years. "America may be running out of sea captains and librarians. Those professions, along with occupational therapists, plant operators and scores of others, are likely to report significant deficits of qualified workers over the next 15 years or so, according to a report coming out Tuesday from the Conference Board."

"In the Conference Board report—titled 'From Not Enough Jobs to Not Enough Workers'—the authors analyzed 12 factors that will affect labor supply across industries and professions until 2030, including the Labor Department's growth outlook for different occupations, the proportion of older workers in those fields, the rate at which young people are entering those careers and risks of offshoring and automation."

One of the main factors affecting librarianship is the number of older workers in the field. "By 2030, the youngest baby boomer…