November 17, 2007
The iPod: Lightning Rod for Criminals?
"Crime statistics released by the FBI showed violent crime increased in 2005 and 2006, and a new Urban Institute analysis offers evidence that the concurrent explosion in iPod use may have triggered the spike.
The gadgets are not just entertaining and convenient; their high value, visibility, and versatility make them "criminogenic"—or "crime-creating," in the vocabulary of criminologists. And their power to distract users can give thieves an advantage. Researchers John Roman and Aaron Chalfin suggest in the report "Is There an iCrime Wave?" that iPods' popularity with consumers and appeal to criminals may have translated into rising violent crime rates." [RJ]
Microsoft chairman reflects on what course technology will take
"Microsoft chairman reflects on what course technology will take. In the coming years, the conference table will be a computer, the whiteboard will be a computer, says Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. He sits down with CNET News.com's Ina Fried to discuss what he sees as the future of tech." (video) [RJ]
How Schools Responded to Student Mental Health Needs Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
"This fact sheet summarizes a study that examined how schools in the U.S. Gulf Coast region perceived the mental health needs of students after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and how schools responded." [RJ]
November 16, 2007
Columbia Law Professor Blasts Law Professors' Bad Legal Advice in Racial Discrimination Case in Forthcoming Law Review Article
The National Law Journal is reporting that Columbia Law School professor WIlliam Simon "issues a scathing review" of the conduct of University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor Geoffrey Hazard, Fordham University School of Law Professor Bruce Green, and Hofstra University School of Law Professor Roy Simon because, according to Simon in The Market for Bad Legal Advice, they gave highly questionable legal advice to the detriment of some 587 plaintiffs suing Nextel Corp. for racial discrimination.
Simon's article, The Market for Bad Legal Advice: Academic Professional Responsibility Consulting as an Example, is available from SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Clients demand bad legal advice when legal advice can favorably influence third-party conduct or attitudes even when it is wrong. Lawyers supply bad legal advice most readily when they are substantially immunized from accountability to the people it is intended to influence. Both demand and supply conditions for a flourishing market are in place in several quarters of the legal system. The resulting practices, however, are in tension with basic professional and academic values. I demonstrate these tensions through critiques of the work of academic professional responsibility consultants in such matters as Enron, Lincoln Savings & Loan, and a heretofore undiscussed aggregate litigation settlement. I also suggest reforms to reduce the incentives and pressures for bad advice that now prevail.
Hat tip to Mitchell Rubinstein, Adjunct Law Prof Blog. [JH]
Friday Fun: Three Short Videos on a Common Library Theme
Blonde in a Library
Video Shoutout in the Library: Here.
Computer Startup in a Library
Cell Phones Powered by Google's Android
Google just released a software development kit for Android, its open-source mobile software platform. So what does it look like? Take a look at c|net's Google Android slide show. [JH]
Does U.S. News Measure What Law Students Care About?
According to Michelle Weyenberg in Law School Rankings at Math's Mercy, National Jurist (November 2007), the answer is "no." Of concern to students but missing from the USNWR rankings are such factors as
- Quality of teaching
- Practical skills training available
- Assistance offered by placement office
- Number of courses offered beyond first year
- Overall quality of facilities
These certainly are the sorts of concerns one regularly hears from law school students but I'm not sure the quality of teaching can be measure unless a standardized teacher evaluation is implemented by the ABA/AALS but the other factors can be quantified.
In a comment ot Paul Caron's TaxProf Blog post about this article, Michael Livingston questions the assumption that law students are in a good position to evaluate the quality of law schools. I think the point is that law student opinion of their schools is not a factor included in USNWR. Why not include a student review component along with the peer review and bench and bar review components? [JH]
Race, Ethnicity, and the Criminal Justice System
"With the recent “Jena 6” racial incident at the forefront of debate and controversy in the United States, the relationship between race and the criminal justice system is once again the center of national attention.
A new research brief released recently by the American Sociological Association, in its series on How Race and Ethnicity Matter, highlights data and research on racial and ethnic disparities in crime and the criminal justice system in the United States. Focusing on studies that span several decades, the brief demonstrates how research from the social and behavioral sciences serves as a resource to understand the relationship between race and the criminal justice system.
The brief indicates that researchers have concluded that there is a substantial body of evidence to show race differences in the juvenile justice system. Studies also show that the most severe impacts of criminal justice outcomes over the past several decades have been experienced by young, black males, who are stopped, searched by police, arrested, sentenced, and incarcerated at levels far beyond their representation in the general population." [RJ]
Celebrating Research: Rare and Special Collections
From the Association of Research Libraries: "This compendium is a sampling of the remarkable abundance of collections available for use in the member libraries of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). It is not a comprehensive view or a directory but instead an array of profiles that exemplify a spectrum of rare and special collections in research libraries. Special collections have been broadly construed to encompass the distinctive, the rare and unique, emerging media, born-digital, digitized materials, uncommon, non-standard, primary, and heritage materials. Each profile tells a story of a single collection, briefly recounting how the resources were acquired and developed and, importantly, how they are being used." [RJ]
Verizon Says It Turned Over Data Without Court Orders
"Verizon Communications, the nation's second-largest telecom company, told congressional investigators that it has provided customers' telephone records to federal authorities in emergency cases without court orders hundreds of times since 2005.
The company said it does not determine the requests' legality or necessity because to do so would slow efforts to save lives in criminal investigations." [RJ]
Opening: Associate Librarian for Administration at Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School
The Associate Law Librarian for Administration reports directly to the Law Librarian and helps lead the library as a vital center for research and teaching within the Law School and University communities, and for an international body of scholars.
1. Oversee and supervise the operations of the Law Library's administrative office, which includes a support staff of two.
2. Manage administrative services operations of the Law Library in consultation with the Law Librarian and in his absence.
3. Play a leading role in budget and space planning for the Law Library.
4. Play a major role in supporting and advising supervisors on issues relating to the Law Library's human resources.
5. Maintain an understanding of trends and development in legal publishing and information technology and contribute this expertise to strategic planning for the future growth and development of the Law Library.
6. Assist with planning and monitoring library programs and services, including evaluation and articulation of quality library services.
7. Support the Law Library's relations with the Law School, the University and University Libraries, library consortia and professional organizations.
Education and Experience
1. MLS or JD with substantial progress towards completion of MLS from ALA and ABA accredited institutions.
2. Minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible professional experience and accomplishment in academic law libraries or library-related organizations. Appointment at the Librarian IV or V level requires 8 or 12 years of professional experience, respectively, and professional accomplishment. Strong analytical skills; excellent oral and written communication skills, and a demonstrated commitment to providing excellent customer services are essential.
3. Strong record of active engagement in the library profession, demonstrating teamwork, leadership and service.
Skills & Abilities
1. Candidates must demonstrate their understanding and commitment to the vital role libraries play in supporting legal scholarship.
2. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
3. Strong managerial skills and leadership experience. Demonstrated ability to plan and implement projects and services.
4. Demonstrated ability to plan and monitor budgets.
Background Check Requirements
All external candidates for employment will be subject to pre-employment screening. All offers are contingent on successful completion of a background check.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled with a review date beginning on November 30, 2007.
November 15, 2007
Just Released: Leiter's Most Cited Law Professors by Specialty, 2000-2007
Brian Leiter has published his study entitled Most Cited Law Professors by Specialty, 2000-2007 at Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings. Here's the announcement on his blog. The study identifies the 10 most cited faculty (in many instances the 20 most cited faculty) in 18 legal specialties. The image (left, click to enlarge) displays the citation density for the top 10 most cited faculty in each specialty. Note how compact Will, Trusts and Estates, Tax, Criminal Law and Procedure, and several other specialties are.
Leiter's study also ranks the top 15 law schools by percentage of faculty in the Top 10 or Top 20 of their specialties. Not surprisingly, Yale ranks first.
If one wishes to estimate a law school's scholarly reputation in a specialty by the number of faculty members listed in Leiter's citation analysis of that specialty then Yale stands out with 4 faculty members in the top 10 for Constitutional and Public Law and 3 in the top 8 for Legal History; Columbia with 3 in the top 4 for Business Law; Harvard with 2 in the top 3 and Georgetown with 3 in the top 10 for Critical Theories; UC-Berkeley with 2 in the top 3 for IP/Cyberlaw; and the University of Chicago with 3 in the top 4 for Law & Economics.
Top Guns. Some top ranked law professors stand out by how many more citations their work has garnered over the next most cited scholar in their specialty. For example:
- Constitutional and Public Law: Cass Sustein's 6,180 citations (first in the field) compared to Laurence Tribe's 3,520 (second);
- Law & Economics: Richard Epstein, first with 3,390 citations, Eric Posner, second with 2,020 (but Epstein has had a 22 year head start);
- Law & Philosophy: Ronald Dworkin, 3,070 followed by Martha Nussbaum, 1,130; and
- Legal Ethics/Legal Profession: Deborah Rhodes with 3,180, Geoffrey Hazard, Jr., 1,140.
A Quick Look at Demographics for the Top 10 Most Cited Law Professors by Specialty
|Click on the image for a larger display|
Young Guns. As observed by Leiter, the lists are dominated by faculty in their 50s and 60s but I was surprised to find that the "young guns" are fairly well represented with 16% of the listed Top 10 most cited faculty being under the age of 50, including the following scholars listed in the Top 5 of their specialty:
- Criminal Law and Procedure: Dan Kahan (Yale) age 44 (ranked 1st), William Stuntz (Harvard) 49 (4th)
- Environmental Law: Richard Revesz (New York) 49 (3rd)
- International Law: Jack Goldsmith (Harvard) 45 (1st), Curtis Bradley (Duke) 43 (4th) and Sean Murphy (George Washington) 47 (5th)
- IP/Cyber Law: Mark Lemley (Stanford) 41 (1st), Robert Merges (UC-Berkeley) 48 ((2nd), Dan Burk (Minnesota) 45 (tied for 5th)
- Law & Economics: Eric Posner (Chicago) 42 (2nd), Ian Ayres (Yale) 48 (3rd)
- Law & Social Science: Lee Epstein (Northwestern) 49 (2nd), Jeffrey Rachlinski (Cornell) 41 (5th)
- Tax: Edward McCaffery (USC) 49 (3rd)
Two thirty-somethings made the most cited lists: Robert Sitkoff (Harvard) who at the age of 33 is the seventh most cited scholar in Wills, Trusts & Estates, and Orin Kerr (George Washington) age 36, the 20th most cited scholar in Criminal Law & Procedure. Not bad for a citation study that goes back to 2000.
Gender. Sixteen percent of the Top 10 most cited faculty are women, including the following scholars listed in the Top 5 of their speciality:
- Civil Procedure: Judith Resnik (Yale) (ranked 2nd), Deborah Hensler (Stanford) (4th)
- Critical Theories: Martha Minow (Harvard) (1st), Catharine MacKinnon (Michigan) (5th)
- Environmental Law: Carol Rose (Arizona) (2nd)
- Evidence: Margaret Berger (Brooklyn) (2nd)
- IP/Cyber Law: Pamela Samuelson (Berkeley) (3rd), Jessica Litman (Michigan) (4th), Jane Ginsburg (Columbia) (tied for 5th)
- Labor & Employment: Katherine van Wezel Stone (UCLA) (4th), Cynthia Estlund (New York) (5th)
- Law & Philosophy: Martha Nussbaum (Chicago) (2nd)
- Law & Social Science: Deborah Merrit (OSU) (3rd)
- Legal Ethics/Legal Profession: Deborah Rhode (Stanford) (1st)
- Legal History: Reva Siegel (Yale) (3rd)
The Human Stain, Law School Style
In Philip Roth's The Human Stain, Coleman Silk is a classics professor at a small liberal arts college. A black who is passing as an assimilated Jew, Silk retires after being accused of making a racist remark about two black students who were absent from his class and whom he had never seen before. He called them "spooks" — suggesting they were ghosts without considering that spooks is also an old-fashioned epithet for blacks. Trumped by the intellectual bankruptcy of political correctness, Silk's academic career ended on a shameful note, a faculty meeting where no one came to Silk's defense.
Now, the National Jurist is reporting about three law professors being criticized for ethnic-based comments made inside and outside the classroom that apparently offended students. What's the right response in this sort of situation? Check out what Brian Tamanaha has to say. [JH]
Professional Reading: Four Models of Fourth Amendment Protection
George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr's Four Models of Fourth Amendment Protection is now available from SSRN. Here's the abstract for this very interesting article.
The Fourth Amendment protects reasonable expectations of privacy, but the Supreme Court has refused to provide a consistent explanation for what makes an expectation of privacy reasonable. The Court's refusal has disappointed scholars and frustrated students for four decades. This article explains why the Supreme Court cannot provide an answer: No one test can accurately and consistently distinguish less troublesome police practices that do not require Fourth Amendment oversight from more troublesome police practices that are reasonable only if the police have a warrant or compelling circumstances. Instead of endorsing one single approach, the Supreme Court uses four different tests at the same time. There are four models of Fourth Amendment protection: a probabilistic model, a private facts model, a positive law model, and a policy model. The use of multiple models has a major advantage over a singular approach, as it allows the courts to use different approaches in different contexts depending on which can most accurately and consistently identify practices that need Fourth Amendment regulation.
Fair Use and Mashups
Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA) recently suggested that Congress should protect mashups in copyright law. Mashups draw on many sources and skillfully blend them together to create something (often startlingly) new in the form of music or Web 2.0 applications.
Technology has allowed lots of people to create new forms of music that don’t fit neatly into our current copyright legal structure. One of the genres that have exploded in popularity involves mashups... [A] constituent of mine... spins under the name Girl Talk....
Girl Talk’s music... mixes rap lyrics on top of beats that he creates using snippets of existing songs... they’re mixed together in such a way that you have no idea how someone thought they’d sound good together. But they do, and the music form works.... [See Girl Talk's MySpace profile for samples of mashups]
A lot of what [Girl Talk] does falls under the fair use doctrine.
Girl Talk’s use of music is transformative. Furthermore, no one can reasonably think that the 5 seconds of a song he might use takes sales away from those artists who produced the songs that have been sampled.... The explosion of innovation and creativity [from] changes like [mashups] will... benefit all who make and listen to music.
I suspect that, in the long run, it makes more sense for record companies and retailers to embrace change rather than to fight it.
I don’t think Congress is ready to address mashups in legislation yet. But when Girl Talk performs live at a concert hall, festival, or a dance club, his performance is unquestionably legal because the venue compensates the artists and songwriters for their work through organizations like BMI [Broadcast Music Incorporated] or ASCAP [American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers]. If the issues of copyright and proper compensation can be solved there, maybe we need to consider that model for works like Girl Talk’s – which aren’t based on sampling from one song, but from hundreds.
As Congressman Doyle recognizes, Fair Use protects transformative uses of copyrighted material under the Supreme Court's holding in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, 510 U.S. 569 (1994), but the doctrine of transformative use is not codified, making Fair Use an even more ambiguous doctrine than before the Campbell holding.
One result of this ambiguity is that high school teachers and administrators are not well advised on the doctrine of Fair Use, according to a recent report, the Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy, from the Center for Social Media at American University.
As a result of this lack of clarity "teachers use less effective teaching techniques, teach and transmit erroneous copyright information, fail to share innovative instructional approaches, and do not take advantage of new digital platforms."
One example from the report illustrates that students are creating their own mashups, but are prevented from sharing them due to copyright concerns:
In Kwame Nelson’s social studies classes, students make mashups that draw from popular music and the latest political news, as audiovisual op-eds about current affairs. But they don’t show them on the school’s closed-circuit TV system. It might be a copyright violation.
According to the report, high school educators tend to view Fair Use as a rigid, codified principle due to resources such as Carol Simpson’s book, Copyright Catechism, which takes a very conservative view of Fair Use. Teachers do not necessarily appreciate the importance of balancing the interests of educators and copyright holders.
Teachers have also been intimidated by the anti-piracy campaigns of the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, through what the report describes as: "a barrage of fear-inducing stories about intellectual property from the mass media."
Congressman Doyle's suggestion to codify the value of mashups and other transformative works would go a long way towards reassuring educators of the scope of the Fair Use doctrine, an important task given the importance of Fair Use to our economy.
Neal R. Axton, Reference Librarian, William Mitchell College of Law
Interactive Database from the Department of Labor
"The elaws Advisors are interactive e-tools that provide easy-to-understand information about a number of federal employment laws. Each Advisor simulates the interaction you might have with an employment law expert. It asks questions and provides answers based on responses given.
Both employees and employers can benefit from elaws. Choose from one of the topics above to find an elaws Advisor of interest to you." [RJ]
Online Symposium on the Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit, and Patent Law
"This symposium takes place against a backdrop of three recent Supreme Court decisions affecting patent law—KSR v. Teleflex, Microsoft v. AT&T, and eBay v. MercExchange. It asks whether these cases together represent, as some commentators have suggested, a recent upheaval in patent law and modified relationship between the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court." [RJ]
Renditions: Constraints Imposed by Laws on Torture
CRS Report (via Federation of American Scientists): "This report discusses relevant international and domestic law restricting the transfer of persons to foreign states for the purpose of torture. The U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and its domestic implementing legislation (the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998) impose the primary legal restrictions on the transfer of persons to countries where they would face torture."
See also our earlier post, On Rendition (Not the Movie). [RJ]
Are universities protecting students from the RIAA?
Interesting story from CNet News: "The Recording Industry Association of America is waiting half a year to file lawsuits against alleged college file-swappers. But without schools keeping long-term logs of Internet addresses assigned, the RIAA won't get very far." [RJ]
November 14, 2007
Major Batch of Federal Case Law to be Freely Available Online
This just in:
1.8 million pages of federal case law to become freely available.
WASHINGTON, D.C. / SEBASTOPOL, CA—November 14, 2007—Public.Resource.Org and Fastcase, Inc. announced today that they will release a large and free archive of federal case law, including all Courts of Appeals decisions from 1950 to the present and all Supreme Court decisions since 1754. The archive will be public domain and usable by anyone for any purpose.
Read more at the Justia Blog.