September 26, 2006
Webcast of Harvard Law Dean's "State of the School" Address
You can watch a webcast of Dean Elena Kagan's fourth "State of the School" speech to students and other members of the Harvard Law community. Kagan focused on current priorities such as faculty hiring and the increasing importance of clinical programs. [JH]
Implementation of Real ID Act to Cost States $11 Billion Over 5 Years
From the press release:
“A comprehensive analysis of the federal Real ID Act was released today, revealing a cost to states of more than $11 billion over five years. The report—which reflects findings from a survey conducted by the National Governors Association (NGA), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA)—sets forth the consequences and costs of implementing the act and makes recommendations to facilitate a more realistic approach.”
Nonprofit Governance and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
From press release:
“The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in 2002 following widely publicized governance scandals at corporations such as Enron, was intended to deter fraud in publicly traded corporations. The Act extended boards’ financial oversight responsibilities and imposed new financial disclosure requirements. Only two of these provisions applied to nonprofits. Its passage nonetheless quickly sparked discussions about nonprofit accountability and whether nonprofits should adhere to certain provisions of the Act, either on a voluntary or mandatory basis.”
AALL's Publising Initiatives Caucus Resources
AALL's Publishing Initiatives Caucus has published its recently compiled List of Articles Published by Law Librarians in Legal Publications. See also Carol Bannen's Publication Resources for Law Librarians. Kudos to the Causus for all their hard work. [RJ & JH]
Damn Yankee's Stolen Law Book Returned to Rightful Owner
UPI is reporting that an 18th century law report volume, valued at $1,500, has been returned to the North Carolina Supreme Court 143 years after it was stolen (apparently by a Union soldier). The work, published in 1708, is "Report of Divers Cases in Pleas of the Crown Adjudged and Determined; in the Reign of King Charles II." There are two clues to the book's origin: (1) an unsigned inscription "Obtained in July 1865 at Raleigh, North Carolina," and (2) an inscription signed by Quentin Busbee, who served as the North Carolina Supreme Court reporter in 1853.
Kudos to the librarians at Indiana University Library who tracked down the rightful owners after receiving the volume from an anonymous donor. Hat tip to LISNews. [JH]
A Very Quick look at LibraryActivist.org
Library Activist has, you guessed it, a great list of library activist groups, as one would expect from a blog whose mission is to provide news, information, and resources to librarians who want to be active in political and social issues surrounding libraries and librarianship. Check out the about page for details about the site's bloggers, all of whom are current Canadian LIS students or recent LIS grads. [JH]
Opening: Reference Librarian/Assistant Professor of Law, Baylor
Sheridan and John Eddie Williams Legal Research and Technology Center - Baylor Law School
Title: Reference Librarian/Assistant Professor of Law
Position: Tenure-Track Law Faculty
Qualifications: Masters degree from an ALA-accredited library school; J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school; commitment to outstanding teaching; knowledge of current information technologies and publishing formats, database and Internet searching proficiencies, and a mastery of legal research sources and techniques using both print and electronic materials; a superb work ethic, excellent oral and written communication skills, a strong service orientation, a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation, and the ability to thrive in a very fast-paced environment.
Responsibilities: Reporting to the Director of the Law Library, the Reference Librarian provides in-depth research and reference services to the faculty and students of the Law School, as well as the University, the legal community, and the general public. Teaches basic (first-year) and possibly advanced legal research courses. Oversees the public services department, including supervision of the Circulation and Reserve Specialist. Handles faculty and student interlibrary loan requests. Prepares library publications, such as research guides and bibliographies. Assists with collection development work and testing/evaluation of new electronic products. Serves on Law School and University committees. Performs other duties as assigned by the Director or the Associate Director of the Law Library (reports to the Associate Director regarding teaching responsibilities).
This position is a tenure-track faculty appointment. A successful candidate must demonstrate an outstanding record of or potential for the following: teaching and mentoring of students; scholarship in the form of external publications; and university and community service.
Salary: Commensurate with experience and qualifications.
General Information: Baylor University is a private institution affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Baylor University has an enrollment of 13,900 students and is conveniently located in the heart of Texas, within easy driving distance of most of the state’s major cities: Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin are each only a 90-minute drive away. For more information on Baylor Law School and the Law Library, see http://law.baylor.edu.
Submission Deadline: Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Appointment date: May 2007.
Application Procedure: Please submit a letter of application, current curriculum vitae, and transcripts. Include names, addresses, and phone numbers of three individuals from whom you have requested letters of recommendation to:
Professor Brandon D. Quarles
Director of the Law Library
One Bear Place #97128
Waco, TX 76798-7128
Baylor is a Baptist university affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. An Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, Baylor encourages minorities, women, veterans, and persons with disabilities to apply.
September 25, 2006
Class Action Status Granted To Smokers of "Light" Cigarettes
In SCHWAB V. PHILIP MORRIS USA, ET AL., a federal judge grants smokers of 'light' cigarettes class action status against tobacco companies, concluding "that the scale tips heavily...in favor of allowing a jury rather than a judge to decide the case." Here's the Findlaw collection of pleadings and memoranda. [JH]
More Law Blogs Covering Current E. Coli Outbreak
In addition to Food Poisoning Law Blog (previously mentioned), Marler Blog and E. Coli Blog, both published by Marler Clark LLP, PS, are reporting on and providing commentary about the current E. Coli outbreak. [JH]
New York's Town and Village Courts: Judicial Abuses and Errors and the Failure to Curb Them
In In Tiny Courts of New York, Abuses of Law and Power, the New York Times kicks off the first of a three part series that examines New York Stat's town and village court systems.
Some of the courtrooms are not even courtrooms: tiny offices or basement rooms without a judge’s bench or jury box. Sometimes the public is not admitted, witnesses are not sworn to tell the truth, and there is no word-for-word record of the proceedings.
Nearly three-quarters of the judges are not lawyers, and many — truck drivers, sewer workers or laborers — have scant grasp of the most basic legal principles. Some never got through high school, and at least one went no further than grade school.
But serious things happen in these little rooms all over New York State. People have been sent to jail without a guilty plea or a trial, or tossed from their homes without a proper proceeding. In violation of the law, defendants have been refused lawyers, or sentenced to weeks in jail because they cannot pay a fine. Frightened women have been denied protection from abuse.
A View from the Stacks: My Day of Civic Duty
I had seriously considered writing ANOTHER blog entry about podcasts this week. However, out of concern that I would soon be classified as a “one-trick pony”, I am departing from the usual discourse of podcasts and my CCH filing to highlight something a little different.
In an effort to make a few extra dollars this last week, I decided to work at a polling place near my house for the Washington State Primary Elections. The story I am about to tell is about overcoming the unthinkable: sitting in a Middle School Gymnasium for 16 hours with one magazine and sewing machine instruction book.
Despite attending one four-hour training session, I was not prepared for a day of aiding voters. I was not even prepared for a half-day of aiding voters. This, by the way, was not the trainer’s fault. For some reason, I thought that between individuals needing ballots and those individuals using the new Accessible-Voting Units, I would be busy enough to only get through my thick new issue of In Style (in all fairness, the magazine weighed about 50 lbs.) and maybe glance over the instruction booklet that went along with my sewing machine. Why I was reading this booklet is a story for another day but it involves nearly electrocuting myself.
When I showed up to the gymnasium, everything needed to set up for the day was set out and ready for assembly. But since it was 5:45 in the morning, some of us were still moving a little slow. By 7 AM, when the polls opened, we had just barely finished with all our set-up. We even had a line! I thought that this was a sign that turn out might be more than the 20% projected by some on the morning news and that we would be in for a busy day.
I worked at the provisional ballot table because I thought that would be the place that would stay the busiest. I have absolutely no idea why I assumed this, but for some reason, visions of hanging chads and angry voters made me shy away from the general ballot tables (full disclosure: the ballots used did not involve chads and that made me a little sad.) Plus, I leave my house all the time without my ID, so I figured that other people like me might try to vote and need a provisional ballot.
It was not a busy day. By 10:00 that night, we had not seen that many people. Like me, most of my precinct’s voters had probably mailed in their ballots the previous week. But, and in despite of my complaining, I am glad that I saw the process of voting from beginning to end. Especially since my lack of reading materials forced me to really read through my Poll Worker Manual and get acquainted with the laws surrounding Washington Elections. I was even able to transfer some of this new-found knowledge into an upcoming podcast script.
There is one thing though; you don’t get to keep the “Vote Here” button.
Stina McClintock, Library Technician, King County Law Library (Seattle) and Beer Judge (BJCP)
Online Guide To PACER
Judicial Conference Moves to Enhance Judges' Accountability,
From the press release:
"The Judicial Conference of the United States today approved two policies aimed at aiding and enhancing judges' compliance with established ethical obligations.
The Conference voted to require all federal courts to use conflict-checking computer software to identify cases in which judges may have a financial conflict of interest and should disqualify themselves. It also approved a new policy requiring greater disclosure by both those who provide privately funded educational programs for judges and the judges who attend such programs."
Two "Landmark" Bills in the War on Terror Reported Out by House Judiciary Committee
From the House Judiciary Committee:
"The House Judiciary Committee approved two landmark bills fighting the War on Terror. The first, H.R. 6054, the “Military Commissions Act,” establishes terrorist tribunals.
The second bill, H.R. 5825, the “Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act,” updates and reforms the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to fight the modern terrorist threat and provides increased congressional and FISA Court oversight of surveillance operations."
Opening: Associate Research Librarian, DC Law Firm
Prominent downtown D.C. Law firm is looking for an Associate Research Librarian.
Duties & Responsibilities:
- Assists Conflicts staff in compiling comprehensive and current reports of client and potential client related entities and business relationships, and any other information that is relevant to the firm's provision of legal services.
- Provides ready reference and basic legal and non-legal research assistance to lawyers, law clerks, paralegals, and staff using both online and print resources.
- Assists in the maintenance of an internal database of information about firm clients and all related parties to specific matters (including adverse, co-party, and "other" parties).
- Compiles guides to the library's collection and subject bibliographies (print and electronic) on topics of current interest.
- Participates in various in-house library instruction and orientation programs.
- Stays current on rapidly changing technology developments relating to online research services (e.g., Lexis and Westlaw) and assisting patrons with basic questions related to these services.
- Assists with automated tracking of case dockets using CourtLink, CourtExpress, etc.
- Assists with obtaining court filings and decisions using PACER, document retrieval resources, Lexis Get & Print, Westlaw Find & Print, etc.
- Assists library’s inter-library loan section maintain borrowing and lending records and processes inter-library loan requests as needed.
- Performs other duties as assigned.
- Master’s degree in library science from an ALA-accredited school.
- Minimum one year law library experience.
- Demonstrated competence in performing legal and business research.
- Familiarity with Lexis/Nexis, Westlaw, D&B, Hoovers, Dialog, PACER, and the use of the Internet for legal and non-legal research.
- Ability to learn new online and Internet research tools quickly.
- Excellent communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills and ability to work well under pressure.
To apply: Email resume and salary requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 24, 2006
War Profiteers: Profits Over Patriotism in Iraq
"New report explores the unprecedented use of private contractors during the Iraq war and occupation and shows how the catastrophic failures in Iraqi reconstruction derive directly from the conservative ideology and policies of those who drove this "war of choice."