April 12, 2008
Sandra Day O'Connor on Saving Our Courts
CREW Report Detailing Senators' Use of Positions to Benefit Family Members
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has released its first-ever analysis of the misuse of power by all members of the Senate to financially benefit their family members. The analysis covers the 2002, 2004 and 2006 election cycles. The new report, Family Affair - Senate names 87 senators from all 50 states: 42 Democrats, 43 Republicans and 2 Independents."
And from the Senate's Virtual Reference Desk: Salaries of Members of Congress: A List of Payable Rates and Effective Dates, 1789-2008:
"From 1789 through 1968, Congress raised its pay 22 times using this procedure. Congressional salaries initially were $1,500. By 1968, they had risen to $30,000. Stand-alone legislation may still be used to raise Member pay, as it was most recently in 1982, 1983, 1989, and 1991, but two other methods — including an automatic annual adjustment procedure and a commission process — are now also available.
Under the annual adjustment procedure, Members are scheduled to receive a 2.8% adjustment in January 2009. Members originally were scheduled to receive a 2.7% increase in January 2008. The increase was revised to 2.5%, resulting in a salary in 2008 of $169,300, to match the percent increase in the base pay of General Schedule (GS) employees. By law, Members may not receive an increase greater than the increase in the base pay of GS employees. Congress voted to deny the scheduled January 2007 adjustment. Members previously received a pay increase (1.9%) in January 2006, increasing their salary to the rate of $165,200."
April 11, 2008
"The Science of Search"
That's the title of this Legal Technology News article comparing e-discovery keyword searches against legal research keyword searches.
The notion that lawyers are unqualified per se to concoct keyword searches is likely to shake some sensibilities. Lawyers believe themselves adept at keyword search in e-discovery because they've mastered keyword search in online legal research. The correlation is superficial at best. Unlike the crazy quilt of ESI, the language of reported cases is precise, consistent and structured. Misspellings are rare. Legal research is Disneyland. E-discovery is Baghdad.
The author, Craig Ball, stresses the complexity of keyword searches, the science behind it, and the need for search science as part of CLE. I couldn't agree more, even for the "Disneyland" of legal research, although I wonder about his blanket statement that all attorneys have mastered keyword searching. Lawyers do it alot, but I think their strategies and effectiveness vary quite a bit depending on training and experience.
Law schools teach the science and art of legal research when modern methods have all but eliminated the need to navigate the reporter system. Instead, students and lawyers must be afforded the means to master the art and science of digital information. We must dare to tread in these areas, not as fools but as professionals skilled in eliciting, testing and marshaling evidence wherever it may be found.
I've blogged before on the possible affinity between e-discovery and librarians. Should law librarians be teaching e-discovery search techniques as well to advanced students? It's an interesting article. Check it out! [JJ]
Friday Fun: A 1L Student's Ode to His Law Library
Well, he'll escape from the library soon enough...in 5 or 6 or 7 years from now.
Hat tip to Legal Writing Prof Blog. [JH]
Help Lawrence Lessig and Joe Trippi Change Congress
Change Congress is a movement to build support for basic reform in how our government functions. Using our tools, both candidates and citizens can pledge their support for basic changes to reduce the distorting influence of money in Washington. Our community will link candidates committed to a reform with volunteers and contributors who support it.
Sounds like they need some librarians. [JH]
New Free Business Search Engine from Northern Light
Northern Light Search provides access to "business and industry news from thousands of hand-selected business news sites, leading business publications, industry authority blogs, regional newspapers, and national news sources." Formerly fee-based, a retooled free SE will offically launch in mid-April. Check out the beta version. Details at Information Today. Hat tip to LISNews. [JH]
Internet Crime Report: The Top Scams of 2007
"According to the 2007 Internet Crime Report, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 206,884 complaints of crimes perpetrated over the Internet during 2007. Of the complaints received, more than 90,000 were referred to law enforcement around the nation, amounting to nearly $240 million in reported losses. This represents a $40 million increase in reported losses from complaints referred to law enforcement in 2006. All complaints received by IC3 are accessible to federal, state, and local law enforcement to support active investigations, trend analysis, and public outreach and awareness efforts."
Alan Dershowitz: The Advocate and Scholar as Jew; the Jew as Advocate and Scholar
Martin Belsky (Akron) has posted his interesting think piece on controversal law prof Alan Dershowitz. Check out Alan Dershowitz: The Advocate and Scholar as Jew; the Jew as Advocate and Scholar in SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Professor Dershowitz has melded his Jewish identity with his academic scholarship and public advocacy. First, he has described in great detail the Jewish stereotype and challenged it - not for its content but for its negativity. In Chutzpah, he defines the Jewish stereotype, as boldness, assertiveness, a willingness to demand what it due, to defy tradition, to challenge authority, to raise eyebrows. He also recognizes that detractors define these sets of characteristics as unmitigated gall, nerve, uppityness, arrogance, hypocritical demanding.
Second, Dershowitz's religious heritage has infused his perspective and commentary on a variety of legal topics from criminal justice to professional responsibility, to constitutional law. Because of his Jewish, and particularly religious Jewish upbringing, he uses Biblical and Jewish commentary as sources of analogy and reference.
Third, he has written and spoken about the difference between a faith-based perspective and a faith-biased one. The American tradition is based on many religious traditions and has prided itself on protection of religious and other minorities. It has also rejected the control by any religious group, even if it is the dominant majority.
Fourth, he has indicated his unwavering support for the State of Israel [but not all its politics and leaders] and opposition to those who are not just critical but perhaps have biased and, in some cases, even anti-Semitic attitudes. It is in American and not just American Jewish interest that we support and understand the only real democracy in the region.
And finally, Dershowitz has assumed the role of popular translator. He wants to explain his Jewishness, his religion and other religions in a manner that, though scholarly, can be understood by a broad audience. He can use his visibility and access to convey his perspectives and concerns. He believes, from his meetings, from his research, from the letters he receives - from Jews, non-Jews and even anti-Semites - that he knows what is on the mind and souls of many Jews of all ages and that he has a unique window into the mind of the anti-Semite.
Professor Dershowitz has his critics - both in the academy and in the quasi and not so quasi public sphere. But he brings credibility to his arguments because of his legal skills - careful scholarship, articulate expression and sometimes overwhelming persistency. You may disagree with him, but prepared to refute his logic, facts, and citations.
Susan Westerberg Prager Named Sixth Executive Director of AALS
Former UCLA Law School Dean Susan Westerberg Prager has been named Executive Director and CEO of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). Prager will become the sixth Executive Director of the AALS since its founding in 1900. Her appointment becomes effective September 1, 2008.
Professor Prager is a graduate of Stanford University and the UCLA School of Law, where she served as editor-in-chief of the UCLA Law Review. She joined the UCLA faculty in 1972, became Dean a decade later, and served as dean from 1982-1998 - the longest tenure of any dean in UCLA law school history. At the time Prager became Dean she was one of two female law Deans in the country. Prager was a trustee of Stanford University for 14 years. She chaired the board's Academic Policy Committee and was a Vice President of the Board. She left UCLA in 1999 to become Provost at Dartmouth College, and recently was President of Occidental College in Los Angeles. Prager is a longtime Director of the Pacific Mutual Holding Company, which owns Pacific Life Insurance Company. Over the years she has been engaged in the national legal education community in a wide variety of ways, serving as AALS President in 1986. She is Professor of History at Occidental College and the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Professor of Law Emeritus at UCLA. Her research has focused on marital property law, and on California legal history.
April 10, 2008
Keys to Personnel Management
Two different takes today on how to encourage positive development in the workplace. Marie Newman at OOTJ posts on the need to nuture the professional growth of lawyers (and librarians), and provides the text of a recent NY Lawyer article on providing constructive criticism and useful feedback.
Over at law.com, advice is given to corporate counsel managers on combating negative attitudes and behaviors in the workplace, also applicable to libraries.
General counsel are tagged as custodians of their companies' most crucial, yet most sensitive and volatile asset: its employees. Henry Ford saw them as one big headache, immune from any analgesic's curative powers: "Why is it that I always end up with a person, when all I really want is a pair of hands?" But it's a person you get, and if you believe people are of value, then the question becomes how to go about managing, motivating and inspiring them -- and, just as important, learning how to unlock their embedded value. Here's a guide on the do's and don'ts to reach that goal.
A Tale of Two Attorneys
The committee's report, adopted unanimously by the Bar's House of Delegates on Saturday, concluded that being an attorney is an ever-more demanding profession in which practitioners are finding less time for families or for the citizenship activities that have been the traditional obligation of lawyers.
The committee worked for nearly three years on the report, which was based in part on nine invitation-only forums around the state.
The attorneys' responses, regardless of the number of years in practice, size of firm or practice setting, were consistent on one central point: "They all were having a very difficult time achieving a balanced life in the law," the study said.
Most attorneys told the committee they did not understand how demanding their jobs would be before entering the profession nor the stresses it would place on other aspects of their lives.
One contributing factor is technology. E-mail, BlackBerrys, cell phones and other devices make it possible for lawyers to be always on call to their firms and clients, Richardson said.
But it's not all bad news. Despite the hard hours, the work remains rewarding for many:
Richardson, of Bond, Shoeneck & King in Syracuse, said attorneys overwhelmingly told the committee that they like practicing law and would enter the profession if they had it to do over again.
Access Denied, Definitive Analysis of Global Internet Filtering Policies
Access Denied provides the definitive analysis of government justifications for denying their own people access to some information and also documents global Internet filtering practices on a country-by-country basis. This is timely and important. --Jonathan Aronson, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California
Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering
Edited by by Ronald J. Deibert, John G. Palfrey, Rafal Rohozinski & Jonathan Zittrain.
List Price: $20.00
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: The MIT Press (February 29, 2008)
Product Description: Many countries around the world block or filter Internet content, denying access to information--often about politics, but also relating to sexuality, culture, or religion--that they deem too sensitive for ordinary citizens. Access Denied documents and analyzes Internet filtering practices in over three dozen countries, offering the first rigorously conducted study of this accelerating trend.
Internet filtering takes place in at least forty states worldwide including many countries in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa. Related Internet content control mechanisms are also in place in Canada, the United States and a cluster of countries in Europe. Drawing on a just-completed survey of global Internet filtering undertaken by the OpenNet Initiative (a collaboration of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, and the University of Cambridge) and relying on work by regional experts and an extensive network of researchers, Access Denied examines the political, legal, social, and cultural contexts of Internet filtering in these states from a variety of perspectives. Chapters discuss the mechanisms and politics of Internet filtering, the strengths and limitations of the technology that powers it, the relevance of international law, ethical considerations for corporations that supply states with the tools for blocking and filtering, and the implications of Internet filtering for activist communities that increasingly rely on Internet technologies for communicating their missions.
Reports on Internet content regulation in forty different countries follow, with each country profile outlining the types of content blocked by category and documenting key findings.
Contributors: Ross Anderson, Malcolm Birdling, Ronald Deibert, Robert Faris, Vesselina Haralampieva, Steven Murdoch, Helmi Noman, John Palfrey, Rafal Rohozinski, Mary Rundle, Nart Villeneuve, Stephanie Wang, and Jonathan Zittrain
Professional Reading: Use of Legal Scholarship by Judges
Much has been made recently of the charge by federal judges that law reviews have become all-but-irrelevant to contemporary judicial decisionmaking, and that, as Second Circuit Judge Robert Sack put it, even when judges do use law reviews today, they use legal scholarship the same way drunks use lampposts - for support rather than illumination. Stephen Vladeck (American University Washington College of Law) considers the possible role that the ever-shrinking scope of judicial discretion may have on the ability of jurists today to rely upon legal scholarship in Law Reviews vs. the Courts: Two Thoughts from the Ivory Tower (SSRN). From the abstract:
Although the recent trend toward the cabining of judicial discretion cannot fully account for the extent to which judges are finding law reviews increasingly inaccessible, the essay suggests that far more attention should be paid to the effects vis-a-vis legal scholarship of this well-documented trend toward more rigid judicial decisionmaking.
Moreover, to whatever extent that there is a correlation between the decline of judicial discretion and the growing complaints that legal scholarship is irrelevant and inaccessible, the essay suggests that online companions, such as CONNtemplations [the online companion to the Connecticut Law Review] may help make legal scholarship more accessible to those in the best position to use it - to practitioners.
Torres and Guymon's Bar Exam/Bar Admission Annotated Bibliography
Arturo Torres, Associate Dean of Law Library and Computing, at Texas Tech School of Law and Texas Tech 2L Bryan J. Guymon have published an annotated bibliography of leading articles written about the bar examination and/or admission to the bar. The bibliography covers works published from 1998 to 2007 and appeared in the February 2008 issue of The Bar Examiner. The authors have graciously supplied a PDF that you can download here.
Hat tip to Amy Jarmon (Texas Tech), Law School Academic Support Blog. [JH]
New Law Titles from Cambridge UP
War and the Law of Nations by Stephen C. Neff
- A history of war, from an international law perspective, from Roman times to the present.
Fiscal Challenges by Elizabeth Garrett, Elizabeth A. Graddy, and Howell E. Jackson
- Explores the problems of budget policy and reform in Congress, on the state level, and within the European Union.
Constitutionalizing Economic Globalization by David Schneiderman
- Critical examination of the regime governing international economic relations in the realm of foreign investment.
International Law on the Left, edited by Susan Marks
- This volume of essays explores the contemporary relevance of Marxism to international law.
Webcast of Randall Kennedy Discussing His Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal
Harvard law prof Randall Kennedy discussed his new book, Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal, at a recent HLS event. To view the event's archived website, go to the School's press release. [JH]
Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal
by Randall Kennedy
List Price: $22.00
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Pantheon (January 8, 2008)
Book Description: In the wake of his controversial national best-seller, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, Randall Kennedy grapples brilliantly and judiciously with another stigma of our racial discourse: "selling out," or racial betrayal, which is a subject of much anxiety and acrimony in Black America. He atomizes the vicissitudes of the term and shows how its usage bedevils blacks and whites, while elucidating the effects it has on individuals and on our society as a whole.
Kennedy begins his exploration of selling out with a cogent, historical definition of the "black" community, accounting precisely for who is considered black and who is not. He looks at the ways in which prominent members of that community--Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Barack Obama, among others--have been stigmatized as sellouts. He outlines the history of the suspicion of racial betrayal among blacks, and he shows how current fears of selling out are expressed in thought and practice. He offers a rigorous and bracing case study of the quintessential "sellout"--Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, perhaps the most vilified black public official in American history. And he gives is a first-person reckoning of how he himself has dealt with accusations of having sold out at Harvard, especially after the publication of Nigger.
Lucidly and powerfully articulated, Sellout is essential to any discussion of the troubled history of race in America.
About the Author: Randall Kennedy is the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard University. He is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia and the Supreme Court of the United States, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the American Philosophical Association. His book Race, Crime, and the Law won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.
April 9, 2008
The Perfect Library Only Needs
110 98 Books
From classics and sci-fi to poetry and biographies, The Telegraph lists 110 titles for the perfect library. If you don't want any children's books in your library, the title counts can be reduced by 10.
Under the heading, "Books That Changed Your World" are two hippie classics, Robert M. Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The "Books That Changed the World" list is remarkably gloomy. It includes Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan and Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince.
Neither "world changing" heading includes any religious Scripture. The closest to a religious title is St. Augustine's Confessions, listed under "Lives." Also listed under "Lives" is Alan Clark's Diaries (a notorious Tory MP, "his indiscreet memoirs detailed countless extra-marital affairs and character assassinations of colleagues.")
Let's see, subtract children's books and Clark's Diaries and that leaves 99 titles. I don't think many people will want to slog through Diderot's 35-volume L'Encyclopédie so the number is down to 98. [JH]
Passing of a Giant, Igor I. Kavass
Roy Mersky (Texas) reports that Igor Kavass passed away Sunday. An expert on international and comparative legal research, Igor Kavass served as Director of law libraries at Vanderbilt, Duke, Northwestern and Alabama. He was born in Riga, Latvia in 1932 and educated in Europe and Australia. He received his LL.B. in 1956 from the University of Melbourne, where he served as editor of the Melbourne Law Review. He briefly practiced law as a barrister and solicitor in Melbourne, Australia. Active in many professional organizations, Igor Kavass was President of the International Association of Law Libraries, 1976-1983, and served as chair of the Board of Directors at the International Institute for Legal Information
Igor Kavass spent much of his career identifying and obtaining treaties and agreements entered into by the United States since 1950 that have not yet been published in UST or TIAS, and assigning them a unique "KAV" number to aid in their identification. These KAV Agreements were the first source for locating the text of unpublished U.S. treaties and other international agreements in one location. His Guide to Treaties in Force, designed to be used in conjunction with TIF, greatly expanded upon the rather simplistic approach of the U.S. Department of State's indexing by providing access points well beyond those found in TIF. With the late Adolf Sprudzs (Chicago), he edited U.S. Treaty Indexing Service, Current Treaty Index and UST Cumulative Indexing Service, all Hein titles. Also published by Hein, his United States Legislation on Foreign Relations and International Commerce (edited with Michael Blake) received the American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit and Soviet Law in English Research Guide and Bibliography, 1970-1987, was awarded the Joseph L. Andrews Bibliographical Award.
Our deepest sympathy and thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of Igor Kavass today. [JH]
Professional Reading: Turning Static Pathfinders Into Dynamic Online Resources
Demonstrating my utter lack of imagination, I led the charge for converting print-based subject guides and pathfinders into quasi-static web pages at the University of Cincinnati Law Library a couple of years ago. At the time I was thinking that it would be easier to update webpages and distribute download-able PDF files, while saving a few trees in the process. But someone still had to code the updates or create the PDF files, and that work couldn't be distributed to all pathfinder authors because many didn't know how to compose in HTLM, most we didn't want to have web server authorization for uploading purposes because we were fearful of the Oops factor, and, alas, we were too cash-strapped to hand out PDF-creator software to everyone. In other words, delays.
Plus the "ownership" aspect of our publications tended to reduce collaboration. That meant our pathfinders and subject guides revealed relative strength and weakness in covering both online and print resources. While that may be good for management purposes in terms of identifying competencies, it was bad for the users of our publications.
There's a number of better ways to create and update web-based pathfinders and subject guides. Edward M. Corrado and Kathryn A. Frederick review cost-effective options in their Free and Open Source Options for Creating Database-Driven Subject Guides (Code4Lib Issue 2, 2008-03-24). The article discusses both the functionality and the relative strengths and weaknesses of open source database-driven solutions (such as SubjectsPlus, LibData, Research Guide, and Library Course Builder), social bookmarking sites, blogs, wikis, and eCourse management systems. [JH]
Cybercrime Legislation: 27 Country Profiles
The cybercrime national legislation profiles have been prepared within the framework of the Council of Europe’s Project on Cybercrime for sharing information on cybercrime legislation and assessing the current state of implementation of the Convention on Cybercrime under national legislation. Hat tip to beSpacific. [JH]