March 5, 2008
Online Companions to Law Reviews -- Fizz or Fizzle?
Online law review companions can take several forms (websites, blogs, forums, etc) for a number of purposes (publishing scholarship on topics that might not fit the editorial confines of the hardcopy review, providing a means for responses and critiques of recently published articles, etc). On PrawfsBlawg, Scott Dodson (Arkansas) wonders about the value of online companions to law reviews. Do they? Unfortunately, Dodson poses the question without surveying the landscape of this form of web communications.
Hat tip to Adjunct Law Prof Blog. [JH]
Another New Legal Education Reform Blog
Hosted by the Elon University Law School, the Center for Engaged Learning in the Law Blog "is intended to contribute to the discourse on teaching and learning in law, from the inspirational to the whimsical, to the mechanical. It includes the varying perspectives of teachers, administrators, learners and practicioners." See our earlier posts covering this growing body of resourses:
National Summits Help Federal Courts Prepare for Sentence Reduction Requests
"More than 600 district court judges, federal defenders, prosecutors, and probation officers gathered last month for two-day summits in Charlotte, North Carolina, and St. Louis, Missouri, to help each other prepare for a sudden increase in their workloads. Chief Probation Officer Greg Forest of the Western District of North Carolina welcomed hundreds of attendees to the Crack Retroactivity Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As of March 3, 2008, more than 21,000 inmates serving time for federal crimes involving crack cocaine will be eligible to have their sentences reduced. Federal courts already are preparing to rule on requests from inmates, some imprisoned since 1992.
After amending the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to reduce penalties for crack cocaine offenders sentenced on or after November 1, 2007, the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) voted a month later to make the amendment retroactive." [RJ]
Unequal Access: Neglecting the National Voter Registration Act, 1995-2007
"As the nation prepares for the 2008 election, a new study reveals that many states are routinely failing to offer low-income Americans an opportunity to register to vote as required by the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Unequal Access: Neglecting the National Voter Registration Act, 1995-2007, published this week by the non-partisan voting rights groups Demos and Project Vote, shows that 12 years after the NVRA’s requirements went into effect, voter registrations from public agencies that provide services to low-income Americans have declined dramatically.
Unequal Access: Neglecting the National Voter Registration Act, 1995-2007 examines voter registration data state by state, finding that in states across the nation—Virginia, Florida, Texas, Nevada and many others—public assistance agencies are neglecting to offer voter registration to all clients and applicants, as required by the law. Because of noncompliance with the NVRA, the rights of thousands of low-income citizens are violated daily." [RJ]
INTELWIRE Releases FBI Documents Cited In 9/11 Commission Report
"INTELWIRE has obtained more than 1,700 pages of FBI documents cited in the end notes of the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission.
They reveal a wealth of new details about the hijacker's movements, possible links between the hijackers and the government of Saudi Arabia, and connections to extremist figures in the United States, including blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.
The package covers a wide variety of topics, including the movements of the hijackers over more than 10 years, people who associated with the hijackers in the U.S., FBI interviews with the victims, transcripts of phone calls to the hijacked flights, intelligence obtained by overseas agencies and much, much more."
Law Librarian, Connecticut Judicial Branch
The Connecticut Judicial Branch is seeking a qualified individual to perform professional to advanced library duties which include providing legal reference and research guidance, instruction in database searching, and catalog and collection maintenance.
Minimum Qualifications: A Master’s degree in Library Science or Information Science from a graduate school accredited by the American Library Association.
Starting Salary: $53,809 – plus benefits. In-state travel required. Resumes must be received by March 10, 2008. Online applications are preferred; however, you may email or mail your resume to: Judicial Branch, Human Resources, 90 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106. Please reference ad I.D. #08-1000-050. AA/EOE
March 4, 2008
Librarians looking to move to a tropical locale?
As I am sure many law librarians look out their windows at work they see the cold, long winter. I'm writing this from central Mississippi and it is 38 degrees outside right now. For all of you who have had enough and want to change to a tropical locale a job is now available as a Supervisory Librarian at the Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay.
Librarian jobs at Gitmo seem to keep coming available so if you are looking for a possible adventure and a story for a lifetime (what you can tell of it) spruce up that resume. [BB]
Tarlton Law Library Launches Patent and Trademark Current Awareness Services
The Tarlton Law Library has launched two new current awareness services, Current Patent Literature and Current Trademark Literature. The new services complement Tarlton’s Current Copyright Literature [RSS feed] service. The goal is to create a suite of current awareness services covering the major areas of IP law.
Edited by Jane O’Connell, director of faculty and student services, the new patent and trademark services provide basic bibliographic data for recent articles appearing in U.S. legal journals and non-U.S. legal journals published in English. Additionally, the first page of each article is available for 60 days. Both services are RSS-enabled to allow users to receive automatic notices of updates. Here's the links for these very useful services:
Well done! [JH]
C-SPAN Congressional Chronicle
The C-SPAN Congressional Chronicle is an index to the C-SPAN video recordings of the House and Senate floor proceedings. The video recordings are matched with the text of the Congressional Record as soon as the Congressional Record is available. It only includes members who appeared on the floor to deliver or insert their remarks. The text included here is what the member submitted. Each appearance has a video link where users can watch and listen to the actual remarks.
Hat tip to beSpacific. [JH]
Westbrook's Between Citizen and State: An Introduction to the Corporation
Now available in paperback. From the University at Buffalo's press release, Corporate Law as Theater: New Book Brings 'Mysterious' Social Structure to Light:
Westbrook's work is a departure from traditional corporate law books, which typically use statutes, cases and other texts to present the law as an object, if sometimes a tool of "policy." Westbrook instead focuses on how corporation law presumes and creates a very familiar, yet somewhat mysterious, social structure.
In Westbrook's view, the corporation can be seen as theater, as a play with three main characters -- stockholders, directors and managers -- who act out traditional corporate roles, each with their own set of complementary and conflicting motivations, goals and powers. From this perspective, Westbrook provides a unique and accessible account of how corporations are governed and a way to understand what corporate law means for society-at-large.
Between Citizen and State: An Introduction to the Corporation
by David A. Westbrook
List Price: $34.95
Paperback: 242 pages
Publisher: Paradigm Publishers (February 29, 2008)
Description: Between Citizen and State is an intrepid and readable introduction to, and insightful commentary on, the role of the corporation in the modern world. Corporate actors have typical motivations, opportunities, temptations they are characters, and their interactions follow familiar plotlines. Part I, Background, introduces the characters and their context. Part II, Internal Struggles, explains common conflicts in terms of well-known court cases. Part III, External Relations, examines relationships between the corporation, individuals, and the state.
The book is addressed,
- [F]irst, to students and other citizens who are not lawyers, and is useful for graduate and undergraduate classes in anthropology, business, cultural studies, economics, geography/globalization, pre-law programs, and sociology.
- For law students, second, the book provides a forest-for-the-trees account of the field s logical structure.
- For academics, third, this book is a wry comment on professional discourse. Notes and an extensive bibliography guide further reading.
About the Author: David A. Westbrook is Professor of Law, SUNY-Buffalo, and author of City of Gold: An Apology for Global Capitalism in a Time of Discontent (Routledge 2003).
Link to order the hardcover editon from Amazon. [JH]
Beta Research Tools
CollegeDegree.com, a very useful and comprehensive online education resource site [see their directories of online law school and paralegal programs and IT schools) has published 25 Awesome Beta Research Tools from Libraries Around the World. See also their 99 Mind Mapping Resources, Tools, and Tips. [JH]
Immigration to Play Lead Role In Future U.S. Growth
"If current trends continue, the population of the United States will rise to 438 million in 2050, from 296 million in 2005, and 82% of the increase will be due to immigrants arriving from 2005 to 2050 and their U.S.-born descendants, according to new projections developed by the Pew Research Center.
Of the 117 million people added to the population during this period due to the effect of new immigration, 67 million will be the immigrants themselves and 50 million will be their U.S.-born children or grandchildren." [RJ]
Opening: Reference/Research Librarian, University of Houston" O’Quinn Law Library
The O’Quinn Law Library at the University of Houston Law Center seeks a highly motivated and service oriented person with drive for a Reference/Research Librarian position.
The duties of the reference/research librarian include: providing reference service to all patrons of the Law Library; serving as library liaison to faculty members; taking part in the evaluation and selection of information resources for collection development; preparing research guides, bibliographies, instructional materials, and other library publications; lecturing on legal research to various classes; assisting in the creation and maintenance of the Law Library’s web site; participating in regular reference desk duties, including some scheduled weekend and evening hours; and other duties as assigned by the Head of Reference or the Law Library Administration.
Required qualifications: A master’s degree in library or information science from an ALA accredited program and a law degree from an ABA accredited law school. A degree from an equivalent Canadian law school may also satisfy the law degree requirement. Also required: a demonstrated ability to work flexibly with law faculty, students, staff, and a diverse research community; effective team-building; and excellent oral and written communications skills. The position requires a service orientation, and the ability to work both independently and as a team member.
Preferred qualifications: Experience in academic law libraries and a history of increasing responsibilities. Knowledge of one or more European languages other than English or experience in teaching or public presentation is a plus.
Salary and Benefits:
Competitive salary and benefits.
The O’Quinn Law Library is the largest public legal research institution in the nation’s fourth largest city. With a very reasonable cost of living, Houston is home to first-rate restaurants, symphony, opera, ballet, and theatrical companies and museums, as well as to the country’s second largest port, which ranks first in international shipping. A sophisticated legal practice provides a superb professional environment for law librarianship. Law Center programs consistently rank among the best in the country. The Law Center’s student body of over 1,000, forty-five full-time faculty, and a rich complement of adjunct faculty provide intellectual challenges and opportunities for professional growth. The Law Center and the library support the professional activities and travel of professional staff.
Official review of applications begins immediately until the position is filled. Applicants should send a cover letter, a resume and the names of three references to: Mon Yin Lung, Associate Director, O’Quinn Law Library, University of Houston, 12 Law Library, Houston, TX 77204-6054 or email@example.com.
The University of Houston is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
March 3, 2008
Judge Reconsiders WikiLeaks
Judge White of WikiLeaks fame has thoughtfully reconsidered his earlier opinion, and decided that perhaps he got it wrong. It takes a courageous soul to admit one's mistakes so publicly. Wired has a copy of Friday's order and quotes from Friday's hearing:
From the outset, the judge seemed to agree with the media and rights groups. About 30 minutes into the hearing, White said the case concerned "very important issues" and "the court does not want to be a part of any order that is not constitutional."
The NYT has the story, too:
In reversing himself at a hearing here on Friday, Judge White acknowledged that the bank’s request posed serious First Amendment questions and might constitute unjustified prior restraint. He also appeared visibly frustrated that technology might have outrun the law and that, as a result, the court might not be able to rein in information once it had been disclosed online.
“We live in an age,” Judge White said, “when people can do some good things and people can do some terrible things without accountability necessarily in a court of law.”
I imagine this isn't the end of the saga. Previous LLB posts here. [JJ]
Building Libraries in the Age of Google
Slate has an interesting piece concerning the architecture of public libraries and how the communal meeting place that libraries have always been, enhanced by unique and often historical styles, maybe the salvation of disappearing libraries in the Age of Google. While I disagree with the premise of the Age of Google being the downfall of brick and mortar libraries the discussion and slide show are interesting.
Please provide some of your favorite visually appealing library locations in the comments. [BB]
Fair Warning to Law Schools ... Deadwood Investigators Coming to Your Website
Many (most?) but not all law schools simply cannot stand to be what they are, namely run of the mill. Not as in diploma mill fashion, but just down right ordinary. Enter the marketing component of law school publications, the law porn published in slick brochures, magazines, and now law school websites. You've seen the puffery which tries to entice unwitting prospective students to apply for admissions, alumni to write big checks without stipulations about how the funds will be used, and new profs to join the "best" under-appreciated law faculty in the country. As Ross Davies (George Mason) recently explained in an Inside Higher Ed interview, "All our faculty are the same: Each one is an active scholar, an active teacher, and committed to law in the service of the public. ... We have 180-190 institutions saying, We are bastions of teaching, scholarship and service."
Such puffery is double-edged. Someone with the time, energy, resources, and courage (yes, courage) to reality-check claims made by law schools about their faculty is needed to cut through these exaggerations; it's long overdue (and many largely silent law profs would agree, I think). Enter the Deadwood Report. Sponsored by Green Bag, it will test the accuracy of claims law schools make. [George Mason press release] The focus will be on the most objective of measures: "whether the work is being done – whether each law school faculty member is teaching courses, publishing scholarly works, and performing pro bono service."
Beginning this spring, George Mason law prof Ross Davies, editor-in-chief of Green Bag since 1997, and a team of research assistants will begin gathering information from law school websites for Green Bag's first substantial effort to help applicants make more informed decisions for admission to or employment by law schools. The first effort may not solve this problem but over time the Deadwood Report could contribute to reigning in law schools' more spacious claims.
Such an effort wouldn't been needed if law schools policed themselves or if the Association of American Law Schools and the American Bar Association held the legal academy accountable but these organizations "'appear to be committed to obfuscation'” and avoid qualitative assessment of law schools at all costs" according to Green Bag. Let the nightmare of reality checking begin; nightmare for the PR folks, law school administrators and law profs responsible for this widespread phenomena, that is.
Time to Edit Law School Websites. So law schools, keep your websites current, weed out the self-promotional language that is too laughable to be taken seriously by insiders, your fellow colleagues, because the Deadwood Report is coming. It's about time. I wonder how many members of the legal academy are contacting Davies right now to call attention to some nonsense published by their law schools on their websites. I certainly could come up with examples; bet you could too.
The sad truth is that all too often law students discover that what law school websites claim is substantially less than what law schools deliver. They simply do not believe the legal academy would stoop to marketing practices perfected to persuade consumers to buy one brand of canned soup over another. The tens of thousands of dollars spent by individual law schools to "brand" themselves and to create slick websites to market themselves is shameful. And the content, well finding accurate information in a forest of puffery is not always an easy task. One need only try to determine how frequently upper-level courses listed in a law school's online catalog of course descriptions are being offered to appreciate the problem; after that, try to figure out if a course is being taught by an expert in the field, dumped on an nontenured prof who has no interest in the subject matter, or assigned to a adjunct who is teaching non-practice related courses to fill in gaps in the knowledge base of the regular faculty.
Kudos to Davies for taking dead aim at this issue.
Read more about the Deadwood Report in Ross Davies' Green Bag editorial: Fair Warning to Law Schools ... and an Invitation to 1Ls, 2Ls & 3Ls (available on SSRN). Here's the abstract:
Aspiring law students and professors should have more and better information about the relative quality of law schools. Unfortunately, the people in the best positions to provide that information - the AALS and ABA - have powerful reasons to avoid doing so. The void has been filled in part by the U.S. News rankings. We could go on about their defects and limitations, but we have done that before. U.S. News could improve its product, but why bother? Doing more and better work would be costly, and in the absence of a genuine competitive threat there is no reason to make the investment. Enter the Deadwood Report, in which the Green Bag will provide rough and admittedly partial but transparent measures of law school faculty quality by measuring teaching, scholarship, and (eventually) service. Law schools generally hold themselves out as institutions led by faculties whose members are committed to working in all three areas. Why? Because - according to the law schools and many leaders of the profession - the best teachers tend to be active scholars, and the best scholars tend to be active teachers, and all the best lawyers of every stripe engage in service for the public good. Evidence of the law schools' commitment to this view is reflected in the practically universal requirement of high achievement in all three areas for tenure. And so we should be able to say with some confidence that a good law school will have a faculty consisting of hard-working teacher-scholar-humanitarians. The Deadwood Report will simply test the accuracy of that picture. Our focus will be on the most dully objective of measures: whether the work is being done - whether each law school faculty member is teaching courses, publishing scholarly works, and performing pro bono service.
Open Minds, Open Books, Open Source
Interesting article from Inside Higher Ed: "Libraries are starting to embrace technologies developed in-house or by other universities. Will they eventually replace third-party vendors?" See also, Perceptions 2007: An International Survey of Library Automation. [RJ]
New GlobaLex Articles
New legal research articles and guides from from GlobaLex:
- Legal Information Institutes and the Free Access to Law Movement by Graham Greenleaf
- Guide to Legal Research in Belarus By Nadia Shalygina
- Legal Research in Germany between Print and Electronic Media: An Overview by Rita Exter and Martina Kammer
- The Law and Legal Research in Lesotho by Buhle Angelo Dube
- An Overview of Malaysian Legal System and Research by Shaikh Mohamed Noordin and Lim Pui Keng
EFF, ACLU Move to Intervene in Wikileaks Case
From the EFF press release:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California (ACLU-Northern California) has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit where a federal judge ordered the disabling of one of the domain names associated with "Wikileaks," a website designed to give whistleblowers a forum for posting materials of public concern.
"This unwarranted injunction [to disable the wikileaks.org domain name and preventing that domain name from being transferred to any other registrar] should remind everyone who hosts critical information on the Web that such information may only remain accessible as long as your service provider or registrar is willing to stand up for you against obviously overreaching legal attacks," EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman.
Resources: Bank Julius Baer & Co v. Wikileaks Litigation Archive hosted by EFF.
Librarians Without Easily Granted Permission to use Without Borders
Check out the latest issue of Compass, the offical newsletter of Librarians Without Borders. Download compassjanuary20081.pdf This once small student group now numbers over 500 members. The group, however, is still too small to resist bullying from Doctors Without Borders, which issued a "cease and desist" order because of the use of "without borders" in its name. Librarians Without Easily Granted Permission to use Without Borders will be changing its name soon. Where's the harm done? [JH]