July 23, 2008
Researching US and Foreign Law Firms
Chambers 2008 US Law Firm Rankings is a great resource for practitioners searching for co-counsel. law librarians looking for assistance from colleagues, and job hunting law school students because of the number of practice areas (listed below the fold) the report ranks firms by, the firm profiles the Chambers Report provides, and the tiered method it uses -- no top 10-20-30 here; instead first tier, second tier, etc. by practice area. For example, the report identifies the following US firms as top tier law firms for Privacy & Data Security law:
- Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
- Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates
- Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
- Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
From Legal Research Plus, we've learned about Fee Fie Foe's search engines. By country, the SEs focus on law firm websites:
- Fee Fie Foe US Law Firm SE
- Fee Fie Foe Canadian Law Firm SE
- Fee Fie Foe New Zealand Law Firm SE
- Fee Fie Foe UK Law Firm SE
Practice Areas Used in the Chambers 2008 US Law Firm Rankings:
- Appellate Law
- Banking & Finance
- Capital Markets: Debt & Equity
- Capital Markets: Derivatives & Structured Products
- Capital Markets: Securitization
- Climate Change
- ERISA Litigation
- Financial Services Regulation
- First Amendment Litigation
- Food & Beverages
- Food & Beverages: Alcohol
- Government: Government Contracts
- Government: Government Relations
- Government: Political Law
- Insurance: Insurer Firms
- Insurance: Policy Holder
- Intellectual Property
- International Arbitration
- International Trade
- International Trade: Intellectual Property (Section 337)
- Investment Funds: Hedge Funds
- Investment Funds: Private Equity: Buyouts
- Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation
- Investment Funds: Registered Funds
- Investment Funds: REITs
- Investment Funds: Venture Capital
- Labor & Employment
- Leisure & Hospitality
- Life Sciences
- Native American Law
- Privacy & Data Security
- Products Liability
- Sports Law
- Sports Law: Canada
- Tax: Controversy & Fraud
- Tax: Corporate & Finance
- Transportation (Overview)
- Transportation: Aviation: Finance
- Transportation: Aviation: Litigation
- Transportation: Aviation: Regulatory
- Transportation: Energy
- Transportation: Rail (for Railroads)
- Transportation: Rail (for Shippers)
- Transportation: Road (Carriage/Commercial)
- Transportation: Road (Infrastructure)
- Transportation: Shipping: Finance (New York)
- Transportation: Shipping: Litigation (New York)
- Transportation: Shipping: Litigation (outside New York)
- Transportation: Shipping: Regulatory (outside New York)
- Wealth Management
Professional Reading: Identifying Key Differences Between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0
Graham Cormode's and Balachander Krishnamurthy's Key Differences Between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 has been published in First Monday (June 2, 2008 issue). Here's the abstract:
Web 2.0 is a buzzword introduced in 2003–04 which is commonly used to encompass various novel phenomena on the World Wide Web. Although largely a marketing term, some of the key attributes associated with Web 2.0 include the growth of social networks, bi–directional communication, various ‘glue’ technologies, and significant diversity in content types. We are not aware of a technical comparison between Web 1.0 and 2.0. While most of Web 2.0 runs on the same substrate as 1.0, there are some key differences. We capture those differences and their implications for technical work in this paper. Our goal is to identify the primary differences leading to the properties of interest in 2.0 to be characterized. We identify novel challenges due to the different structures of Web 2.0 sites, richer methods of user interaction, new technologies, and fundamentally different philosophy. Although a significant amount of past work can be reapplied, some critical thinking is needed for the networking community to analyze the challenges of this new and rapidly evolving environment.
Chinese Law Databases
Flora Sapio has compiled a list of 30 Chinese law databases (with very brief descriptions), most in Chinese, some in English such as the Asian Legal Information Institute's Laws of the People's Republic of China or bilingual e.g., iSinoLaw's fee-based resources. Hat tip to Chinese Law Prof Blog. [JH]
Blogging the Legal Writing Institute Conference
Check out the great series of Legal Writing Prof Blog posts covering the 13th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute that took place on July 14-17, 2008 at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. [JH]
Bibliography of Academic Writings in the Field of Chinese Law in Western Languages, 2007
Dr. Knut Benjamin Pissler (Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law) has published the latest version of his annual bibliography on academic works concerning Chinese law in western languages (primarily in English or German). Download Pissler's very helpful bibliography (pdf). [JH]
Opening: Electronic Services Librarian/Assistant Professor, St. Mary’s University School of Law Library
The position of Electronic Services Librarian/Assistant Professor at St. Mary’s University Law Library is a University tenure-track (non-law) faculty position reporting directly to the law library director. The position is open immediately. Applications are accepted until the position is filled.
Major Responsibilities: Evaluate, select, and manage electronic information products and resources; provide reference service, research assistance and instruction to law students, law faculty and other users; conduct general reference, including evening and weekend rotation; create and manage the contents of the library’s Web site; serve as the library’s liaison with information system providers.
Required Qualifications: A JD degree or equivalent from an ABA-accredited law school; an MLS or equivalent degree from an ALA-accredited institution.
Desired Qualifications: One years’ professional work experience in a law library. Strong service orientation, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, interest to interact with the faculty, and ability to plan and carry out programs independently.
Salary and Benefits: Salary is commensurate with qualification and experience. The University offers a full range of benefits.
How To Apply: Applications are accepted and reviewed immediately. The position will remain open until filled. Send an application and resume with three references to Elizabeth Cadena, Executive Assistant, St. Mary's University School of Law, Sarita Kenedy East Law Library, One Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, TX 78228; Phone: 210-431-4351. Applications can be sent by e-mail to: email@example.com.
St. Mary's University is an equal opportunity employer.
July 22, 2008
AALL CS-SIS Web 2.0 course has begun...
The CS-SIS has begun their five week online course in Web 2.0 geared to law librarians. The course is full for registered participants, but the course materials may be accessed through the guest login by anyone who is interested. (You miss out on the prizes and blogging/chatting with the teachers...but, really, don't you have enough AALL vendor goodies anyway? And blogging and chatting with me..eh, I don't know if you are missing anything there...)
You can access the Web 2.0 challenge here, hit the guest login button and follow along for five weeks of Blogs & RSS, Wikis, Social Networking & SecondLife, Flickr & Social Bookmarking, and then Web 2.0 @ your library. The course materials for all the weeks are accessible now, so take a look! [MD]
Third Circuit Tosses FCC's "Wardrobe Malfunction" Fine
Remember the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake "wardrobe malfunction" during their Super Bowl XXXVIII half-time performance? The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has just tossed the FCC's $550,000 fine of CBS, ruling that the FCC “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in issuing the fine for the fleeting image of nudity. (Jackson's breast was exposed for nine-sixteenths of a second.)[Text of Opinion] See also Mark Giangrande's (DePaul) post on Tech Law Prof Blog (Observing that Super Bowl commercials didn't cost as much as the fine). No doubt CBS litigation fees certainly did.
Remember the GoDaddy.com Wardrobe Malfunction 2008 Super Bowl Commercial (scene: a Congressional hearing)?
LifeHacker's Google School
On Adjunct Law Prof Blog, Mitchell Rubinstein recommends Dennis Kennedy's Become a Google Master (ABA Journal, July 2008) but for librarians the only thing that might be useful is a link to Google School, a compilation of LifeHacker blog posts on Google tips and tricks.
See also: Google Pocket Guide by Tara Calishain, Rael Dornfest and D.J. Adams, and Chris Sherman's Google Power: Unleash the Full Potential of Google for Google search tips. [JH]
State Legislative History Research Guides on the Web
George Taoultsides calls attention to State Legislative History Research Guides on the Web compiled by Jennifer Bryan Morgan, Documents Librarian, Indiana University School of Law Library – Bloomington on Et Seq. The Harvard Law School Library Blog. Bookmark it! [JH]
A Visual Guide for Understanding the Amended FISA
On Congress Gossip Blog, Donny Shaw observes that "unless you’re a legal scholar, it’s pretty tough to conduct your own analysis of the complex ... amended Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act]. Wes Alwan of Ketchup and Kaviar, however, has put together a pair of flow charts that make it easier to understand how the bill changes the government’s wiretapping policy." See Alwan's Understanding Recent Changes to FISA — A Visual Guide.
See also LLB's earlier post: The New Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Presidential Politics. [JH]
Coming Soon to HeinOnline: Nyberg & Boast's Subject Compilations of State Laws
HeinOnline has announced that it will be adding Cheryl Nyberg & Carol Boast's Subject Compilations of State Laws as an a-la-carte library module. A great print resource for 50-state surveys published in law review articles, books, court briefs and opinions, federal and state government publications, and loose-leaf services, researchers will be able to search all 25 volumes containing references to more than 17,000 sources in the database. [Product Description] [JH]
Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Protection
Check out this recent NBER report: Corporate Social Responsibility Through an Economic Lens by Forest L. Reinhardt, Robert N. Stavins, Richard H. K. Vietor. Here's the abstract:
Business leaders, government officials, and academics are focusing considerable attention on the concept of "corporate social responsibility" (CSR), particularly in the realm of environmental protection. Beyond complete compliance with environmental regulations, do firms have additional moral or social responsibilities to commit resources to environmental protection? How should we think about the notion of firms sacrificing profits in the social interest? May they do so within the scope of their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders? Can they do so on a sustainable basis, or will the forces of a competitive marketplace render such efforts and their impacts transient at best? Do firms, in fact, frequently or at least sometimes behave this way, reducing their earnings by voluntarily engaging in environmental stewardship? And finally, should firms carry out such profit-sacrificing activities (i.e., is this an efficient use of social resources)? We address these questions through the lens of economics, including insights from legal analysis and business scholarship.
July 21, 2008
Concordia Moves Forward with Boise Law School
Concordia University has announced that it intends to open its new law school in Boise, Idaho with classes scheduled to begin in Fall, 2009. The University has opened its dean search [announcement]. [JH]
Barbie Kicks Bratz Dolls' Butt in First Round of IP Litigation
Mattel has triumphed in a copyright case against the maker of the popular Bratz dolls, MGA Entertainment. See Mattel's press release. MGA Entertainment plans to file an appeal. [MGA Entertainment press release]. Hat tip to BBC News. [JH]
Big Screen Kindle Aiming for $5.5 Billion Textbook Market
Sometime ago I wrote, "while the Kindle buzz has stimulated interest in the legal academy, the development model will not follow along the lines of Kindle" because the digital text-study aid functionality law schools students want is not gizmo-dependent and products are or can be expected to integrate their computer-based apps with online research services. The AspenStudyDesk is leading the way and, in Professional Reading: Is Open-Source the Future of eBook Legal Publishing?, I predicted that "Lexis and Thomson-West [will] join this market and dominate it eventually by allowing their eBooks to be customized and updated via their online research services. Hopefully, both will offer two options for their eBooks: (1) an word processing application that can be downloaded and (2) a web-based service that allows students to work collaboratively." See also our Beyond the Kindle Hype LLB post, and Law School Innovation posts: Kindle won't catch fire in law schools and Advances in Book-Hauling Technologies.
Of course, before any of this can happen, legal publishers like Thomson-West, LexisNexis and Aspen, have to start offering eBook editions of all the titles in their law school catalogs first. Not yet happening but may be forthcoming now. I might have to eat my e-words about the development model not being Kindled because a new large-display Kindle model, reported to be "shaped like an 8 1/2 x 11-inch piece of paper," may become available next year. See CrunchGear and TechCrunch posts. It is highly unlikely that digital text-study aid functionality identified above will be incorporated into the new Kindle model so the sheer market presence of Amazon may prove once again that bad technology will trump consumer needs.
It's clear that that Amazon is targeting the $5.5 billion textbook market with it's new big screen Kindle. This can't be a good development if legal publishers accept Amazon's Kindle Terms of Service agreement, [Everyone Understands Jeff Bezos (Amazon's Kindle Terms of Service Agreement)], and distribute their e-titles using Kindle's proprietary and user-unfriendly document creation code.
Who needs a Kindle? [video parody] Law students may not have a choice if they want e-text editions of their casebooks, treatises and study guides. In E-Textbooks — for Real This Time?, Inside Higher Ed observed that "It’s the central paradox of 21st-century college students: Despite embracing radically new ways of communicating with each other and learning about the world, they still remain wedded to the old-fashioned, paper-bound textbook." Even more true for law school students considering that legal publishers embraced full-text e-publishing long before most other publishers. (Ever try to obtain digital versions of print titles from legal publishers for students with disabilities?)
Stay tuned. Meanwhile, news about the big screen Kindle is generating asinine commentary like the following blog post: "And why aren’t University libraries being set up around Kindle technology? Why keep all those crazy books? Set up a server in a basement somewhere, create some sort of library checkout licensing scheme (Amazon would administer this), and voila! Everything is computerized." [JH]
Professional Reading: The Taxonomy of Interdisciplinary Legal Research
Mathias Siems (Edinburgh School of Law and Cambridge Centre for Business Research) recently posted The Taxonomy of Interdisciplinary Legal Research: Finding the Way Out of the Desert in SSRN. Here's the abstract:
This article identifies four different types of interdisciplinary legal research: one basic and three advanced types. Basic interdisciplinary research uses the same questions as starting points as traditional legal research, however, it also considers other academic disciplines in order to answer these questions. Advanced interdisciplinary research goes further: it can either deal with research questions that are not about the law as such (type 1), or incorporate "scientific methods" into legal thinking (type 2), or combine both (type 3.) This new taxonomy is useful in order to identify the benefits and difficulties of different types of interdisciplinary legal research.
Flavors of Legal Journalism: Roman Polanski Statutory Rape and Paxil Consumer Fraud Cases
Advocacy, Gonzo, Investigative, Watchdog, or Yellow Journalism?
Roman Polanski Rape Case. The HBO documentary film Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired was an eye-opening experience when I viewed it on cable TV recently. Remember the case? On March 11, 1977, Polanski was arrested in Los Angeles and charged with furnishing a controlled substance to a minor, committing a lewd or lascivious act on a child, unlawful sexual intercourse, rape by use of drugs, and perversion and sodomy of a 13-year-old girl. Less than a year later, on February 1, 1978, Polanski fled the United States, never to return. What I remember is that Polanski was vilified by the American press.
The documentary explores the little-known specifics of the case, including a number of very dubious, arguably vindictive, actions by the California state court judge hearing the case, the late Judge Laurence J. Rittenband, including reneging on in-chambers agreements, using a California psychiatric evaluation law to punish Polanski by sending him to a California prison for 90 days, and taking advice from a former deputy district attorney who was not assigned to the case. The documentary provides convincing evidence that Rittenband became so upset when Polanski was released from prison mid-way through his 90-day "sentence" that he was planning to sentence Polanski to serve the balance of the 90-day term for the statutory rape charge even thought that was contrary to the findings of the State's psychiatric evaluation. The documentary suggests that Polanski fled the country because he could not trust Rittenband. Would the sentence really have only been for 48 more days?
After his victim publicly forgave him in 1997, a California state court judge rule that Polanski would serve no more time in custody if he returned to the US on one condition: the proceedings would be televised. Polanski declined. His case remains unresolved but The New York Times is reporting that Polanski's lawyer have now asked the Los Angeles district attorney’s office to review the new documentary for possible prosecutorial misconduct. See also Could Revelations in Polanski Documentary Lead to Appeal? on WSJ Law Blog
Paxil Consumer Fraud Case. According to Mark Hermann's review, Alison Bass' new book, Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial (Algonquin Books, June 17, 2008) "belongs to a genre of investigative journalism that involves talking to plaintiffs, their lawyers and their expert witnesses, taking their stories as gospel and denigrating the opposing view because corporate money (apparently less pure than money from the plaintiffs' side) supposedly has a corrupting effect. Side Effects is lively and well-written, but readers should be warned that they may have an adverse reaction: a deep disquiet that only half the story has been told." Most certainly this may be an accurate, balanced evaluation of the book but you might want to decide for yourself because this review was published in the Wall Street Journal and Hermann's firm has defended drug manufacturers in product liability cases. [Book details below the fold].
List Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 260 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1 edition (June 17, 2008)
Description: Side Effects tells the tale of a gutsy assistant attorney general who, along with an unlikely whistle-blower at an Ivy League university, uncovered evidence of deception behind one of the most successful drug campaigns in history. Paxil was the world's bestselling antidepressant in 2002. Pediatric prescriptions soared, even though there was no proof that the drug performed any better than sugar pills in treating children and adolescents, and the real risks the drugs posed were withheld from the public. The New York State Attorney General's office brought an unprecedented lawsuit against giant manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, for consumer fraud. The successful suit launched a tidal wave of protest that changed the way drugs are tested, sold, and marketed in this country.
With meticulous research, Alison Bass shows us the underbelly of the pharmaceutical industry. She lays bare the unhealthy ties between the medical establishment, big pharma, and the FDA—relationships that place vulnerable children and adults at risk every day.
About the Author: Alison Bass has covered medicine, science, and technology for the Boston Globe and other publications, including the Miami Herald, Psychology Today, and Technology Review. She has received top media awards from the National Mental Health Association and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and an Associated Press First Place Award.
NACTT Launches Consumer Bankruptcy Website
The National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees (NACTT) recently launched ConsiderChapter13.org. Produced by NACITT's Academy for Consumer Bankruptcy Education, ConsiderChapter13.org is designed to raise awareness of Chapter 13 and provide resources for legal professionals, financial advisors and consumers. [Press Release] The resources are categorized as Seminar Materials, Member Content, and Public Content. The premium, members-only area contains audio and video webcasts, webinars, forums and user response/commentary, as well as articles on current cases, bankruptcy ethics, the mortgage crisis, trustee, debtor, creditor and court perspectives on current issues, pending litigation, and other areas of interest. Annual NACITT Academy membership for the premium content will cost $275, with reduced rates for Chapter 13 Trustees ($250) and Judicial, Academic, or Government members ($95). However, the entire site is available to all visitors until September 30, 2008.
See also NACTT's Trustees' Education Network for additional publicly available resources and links to websites. Hat tip to Jonathan Hayes (Univ. of West Los Angeles School of Law), BankruptcyProf Blog. [JH]