January 17, 2007
Boalt Hall Law Student Joins the Circus of Info Antics
In Which Tenured Boalt Faculty Still Publish Articles, Berkeley law student Tom Fletcher has published a faculty productivity study using Boalt's faculty website, HeinOnline's All Journals database, and HeinOnline's Most Cited Journals database. It's an interesting (and gutsy) study but one that is seriously flawed for a number of reasons. Commenting on the study, Al Brophy observes that Fletcher's work fails to take into account articles published outside the legal literature. Brophy also notes that books are not covered but monographs are clearly outside the scope of Fletcher's study.
What I find interesting is that to the best of my knowledge, Fletcher's study is the first law student example of "info antics" in the legal blogosphere. One cannot blame Fletcher for this. He is, after all, just following examples set by law profs who have blogged the results of sloppy bibliometric research of the legal literature. [JH]
Try New THOMAS Features In Beta
University Institutional Repositories: Are You Underutilizing A Valuable Resource?
In July 2006, I attempted to count the number of Law Schools that had established institutional repositories (IRs) which, among other things, enable open access to legal scholarship via author self-archiving. I identified 77 repositories in use by approximately 40% of ABA-approved schools. The vast majority of these schools (67) had paid to sponsor a Law School Research Papers collection in SSRN’s Legal Scholarship Network, and another 30 had paid to sponsor a bepress Legal Repository Working Paper Series. What was interesting to me was that 19 of the schools that elected to pay SSRN or bepress to host a repository did so rather than use existing university repositories that presumably are freely available to them. Another 13 schools did not use their university repository nor had they established separate law school repositories through SSRN or bepress.
Schools that do not use their university IRs are underutilizing a valuable resource. Even if a law school determines that it needs to purchase the services of SSRN and bepress, schools can still host other digital content on these multi-media university IRs. We should not overlook the contribution that could be made if law faculties digitized and shared original research material or original historical documents discovered in the course of scholarly research. The potential for IRs to disseminate important material that otherwise languishes in file cabinets or on computer hard drives is one of the most exciting applications emerging from the development of IRs. Developers of policies governing IRs often choose to not limit what faculty can place in repositories, but instead step back to see how creatively the repositories can be used.
For example, a member of the University of New Mexico law faculty used our university repository, DSpace, to publish the 1974 transcript of a federal district court trial that led to a U.S. Supreme Court opinion affirming tribal sovereignty <https://repository.unm.edu/handle/1928/342>. The transcript is in the public domain and was easily scanned to convert it to PDF. Now that it is in DSpace, the transcript is indexed by Google. Its DSpace abstract states: “A search of the Westlaw and Lexis databases shows that this case is among the most cited in constitutional and federal law as well as the focus of continuing law review articles and critiques by scholars. Until this transcript was made available here, the scholarship on Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez was done without the benefit of the trial transcript details. This transcript reveals a fuller picture of the controversy. It documents the evidence and testimony from tribal members, Pueblo government officials, and the key “outside” expert, Florence Hawley Ellis, Ph.D., Anthropologist. . . .” The transcript has since formed the basis for three new scholarly publications.
If you would like more information about the other potential uses of university IRs, feel free to contact me [email@example.com].
Carol A. Parker, Law Library Director & Assistant Professor of Law, Univ. of New Mexico School of Law
[Derived from a work that is forthcoming in 37:2 New Mexico Law Review (Summer 2007)]
As if the Public Mattered: Public Accountability for the Rankings Game
In Law School Rankings as if the Public Mattered, Tom Bell asks what would we measure if we wanted to rank law schools in terms of their public benefits? His answer: "First and foremost, we would care about how well each school trains its graduates to practice the law competently and ethically. To best measure that, we would need data about where attorneys who have lost legal malpractice lawsuits or who have suffered Bar discipline got their JDs."
Great idea but as Bell notes "nobody has yet collected that data." Commenting on Bell's post, Alan Childress observes that "Tom Bell's addendum is that outsiders can't truly assess law schools' most fundamental performances either--until the institutional production of ethical, competent lawyers is part of the ratings calculus." Agreed.
Additional Missing Components. There is, of course, another missing component of the ratings calculus of law schools' most fundamental performances that outsiders cannot truly assess, namely law school administration, the conduct of law school administrators in their official capacity, who, among other activities, provide unaudited data to reporting bodies which inevitably find its way into ranking studies. Perhaps I should say "unaudited" and, in some instances, nothing more than "works of the imagination."Texas Law Prof and student of law school rankings Brian Leiter characterized the employment data reported by law schools as "highly manipulable." That data accounts for 12% of the overall score in USNWR's law school rankings. He writes:
This [employment] data is entirely self-reported by schools, and should be treated as essentially fiction: it may have elements of truth, but basically it’s a work of the imagination. Schools report it, and U.S. News has no way of checking. In addition, we know nothing about the nature of the employment—it could simply be as a research assistant, which is what Northwestern did a few years ago for its unemployed grads.
More generally, see, Rebecca Luczycki, The Rankings Race: How Far Will Law Schools Go to Win? The National Jurist, January 2007 at 18 ("[E]veryone in the law school community knows it is possible to fudge the stats. And everyone thinks someone is doing it.").
I'm sure members of the public have more than a passing interest in the administration of law schools but, left to their own resources, all the public has to go on is (1) the reporting of scandals, you know the ones that make the press, and (2) critiques of ranking studies, many of which are not readily available to the public.
Public information on administrator conduct is not readily available because there is no universally accepted code of conduct and professional responsibility for law school administrators enforceable by a sanction-empowered organization. Where are the NCAA inspector?
And, of course, a third related missing component of the rankings calculus, the public reporting of professorial misconduct in a similar wished-for structure, is ... well, there's always the scandals making the press, (such as Tribe, Ogletree, and others). [JH]
Top Ten Court Website Awards
NCSL's Top 10 Policy Issue Forecast
From the National Conference of State Legislatures: "NCSL’s annual top 10 forecast takes a look at the hot political menu. For 2007, we expect a mix of issues including immigration, state-issued identification cards, state revenues, health insurance, privacy, energy sources and their effect on the environment, minimum wage, higher education, sexual offenders and obesity."
At the top of the list is immigration. The NCSL writes:
Thirty-two states approved 84 new laws on immigration in 2006, from a record 570 introduced. Many were enforcement-related, focusing on the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country, while at least nine states addressed human trafficking. Georgia’s omnibus bill generated the most headlines for its tightening of public benefits and requiring the private sector to use a federal work authorization system to verify that employees are eligible to work. If the federal government continues to be deadlocked, expect continued innovation in the states as they weigh the social and economic implications of immigration policy.
See our earlier post on immigration scholarship for a list of several important works published last year. [RJ]
LexisNexis Releases Congressional Hearings Digital Collection
New product from Lexis: "LexisNexis U.S., a leading provider of information and services solutions, is releasing the LexisNexis® Congressional Hearings Digital Collection (www.lexisnexis.com/hearings). The new collection provides access to both published and unpublished hearings from 1824 to present. Now that researchers can easily search over 170 years of information they are able to get a new perspective on a wide variety of topics of interest." [RJ]
January 16, 2007
Library of Congress Launches RSS Feeds
- News, a bulletin service of the latest news from the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing resources to Congress and the American people
- Upcoming Events, a listing of the dozens of free concerts, lectures, exhibitions, symposia, films and other special programs offered at the Library on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
- New on the Web, updates on new collections, features, reference materials and other services available on the Library's award-winning Web site
- New Webcasts, the latest webcasts and podcasts of lectures and events sponsored by the Library
- News from the John W. Kluge Center, featuring updates on lectures, presentations and other news from this center for scholars within the Library of Congress, established to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize scholarly discussion, distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and interact with policy-makers in Washington.
- And What's New in Science Reference, new products and services on the subject of science and technology from the Library's Science, Technology & Business Division.
Copyright Legislation: A Look Forward and a Look Back
Over on LibraryLaw Blog, check out Mary Minow's copyright legislative status post. [JH]
New blog from D.C attorney Scott A. Hodes. Check it out. [RJ]
Suit Charging BAR/BRI With Antitrust Breach to Proceed
Interesting article from Law.com: "A Manhattan federal judge has ruled that the BAR/BRI bar exam review comprises separate state-specific and multistate components that could potentially be tied and forced on consumers in violation of antitrust laws." [RJ]
Even a Supreme Court Loss Can Propel a Cause
Opening: Assistant Law Librarian, LA Law Firm
Responsible for technical services duties including mail check-in, materials ordering and processing, and copy cataloging of new materials. Conduct in-depth legal, business, and client-development research for attorneys, clients, and the firm. Responsible for interlibrary loan services. Supervise filing service. Collaborate on library initiatives and services with firm-wide library staff. Maintain awareness of emerging trends in technology, reference services, and librarianship. Promote information resources and services. Additional tasks as assigned.
The ideal candidate will be service and detail oriented, have an ability to organize and prioritize multiple tasks, and perform self-directed work. This fast-paced environment requires critical thinking and the desire to expand task list and job description.
This is an excellent entry level position for someone who is interested in specializing in law firm librarianship. M.L.S. or equivalent from an ALA-accredited school required. Candidates currently enrolled in a program will be considered. Preferred coursework includes general and specialized reference (law, business, health, etc.), Cataloging I, and Electronic Resource Management. 1-2 years of experience in any capacity at a library, archive, or law firm preferred. Must be able to lift 20 lbs. while wearing firm-issued back brace.
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., M-F Full-time position with excellent benefits in a prestigious firm. (Non-Exempt)
This position is in our Los Angeles office.
Please direct resumes to:
Ms. Judi Bikel, Senior Librarian
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP
2029 Century Park East St. 2400
Los Angeles, CA 90046
January 15, 2007
Barzan Hassan and Awad Bandar Hanged
CNN is reporting that Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Barzan Hassan, the former chief of Hussein's secret police, and Awad Bandar, the chief judge under his Baath Party regime, were executed early Monday. Hassan and Bandar were sentenced to death in November for the executions of 148 people from the mostly Shiite Muslim village of Dujail after an unsuccessful attempt to kill Saddam Hussein. Their death sentences were upheld by an Iraqi appeals court in December but delayed amid the controversy surrounding Saddam Hussein's Dec. 30 execution. [JH]
MLK and the Law of the Land
"I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law. " -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963.
Still the "moral leader of our country."
"I Have a Dream" delivered August 28 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
"I've Been to the Mountaintop" delivered April 3, 1968 (prophetic last speech delivered the day before King was murdered).
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would have been 78 years old today. [JH]
Digital Collection Of Civil Rights Documents
From the press release:
"As the Nation pauses to remember the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) teams up with the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) and the Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland School of Law, to provide the American public a website of authentic Civil Rights historical publications.
The Thurgood Marshall Law Library, which is a GPO Federal Depository Library, has been been scanning hundreds of historical Civil Rights publications to make this digital collection possible. These documents are provided by USCCR. With a couple strokes of the keyboard, Americans can access Civil Rights documents such as The Civil Rights Act. These documents are accessible at: http://www.law.umaryland.edu/marshall/usccr/index.asp"
January 14, 2007
The Gentlemen Should Not Interrupt Barney Frank
Barney Frank throws a fit on Cavuto.
And another one on the House floor.
Department of Defense and CIA Using National Security Letters to Access Bank and Credit Records
The New York Times is reporting that the Department of Defense and the CIA have been using “noncompulsory” versions of national security letters to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States. See also Bank Data Is Sifted by U.S. in Secret to Block Terror, New York Times, June 23, 2006 (CIA program operated for the Treasury Department). [JH]
In Padilla Wiretaps, Murky View of ‘Jihad’ Case
Interesting article from the N.Y. Times: "Tens of thousands of conversations were recorded. Some 230 phone calls form the core of the government’s case, including 21 that make reference to Mr. Padilla, prosecutors said. But Mr. Padilla’s voice is heard on only seven calls. And on those seven, which The Times obtained from a participant in the case, Mr. Padilla does not discuss violent plots." [Rj]
Photos of Vintage Mobile Phones
From back in the day when one had to pump it up just to carry your mobile phone. Check it out. [JH]