October 18, 2008
SCOTUS Blocks GOP Challenge to Ohio Voters; Republicans Turns to Ohio Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court vacated a temporary restraining order won by the GOP in lower court rulings to challenge some 200,000 newly registered Ohio voters. The Court ruled that the plaintiffs in the action were not “sufficiently likely to prevail on the question whether Congress has authorized the District Court to enforce Section 303 in an action brought by a private litigant to justify the issuance of a TRO.” [Order] See Justices Block Effort to Challenge Ohio Voters (New York Times). For background, see LLB's earlier post, Ohio Secretary of State Must Verify Voter Registrations.
October 17, 2008
Legal Issues Every Librarian Should Know
In 25 Important Legal Issues Every Librarian Should Research, Jessica Merritt writes "most people don’t think of librarians as legal entities, but the fact is there are a number of legal issues that are important for librarians to understand. Whether you’re dealing with copyright or disabilities, the best way to protect yourself is to be informed. Be sure that you’ve brushed up on these important issues." Issues presented in the article include the following:
Filters: Many public libraries are under pressure to filter Internet access to patrons. Whether or not you do so can have legal implications for your library.
Accessibility: It’s important that libraries comply with the Americans with Disabilities act in order to make accessing the libray easier for people with disabilities.
Accessible website and written materials: Accesibility in your library also extends to your website and written materials. Make sure you’re in compliance with this resource.
Privacy: As many libraries become more technologically savvy, the issue of privacy will often come up. You will have to be careful about publishing your patrons’ information, images, and more.
Information liability: If a patron uses your library resources to learn how to build a bomb, and then uses the bomb to harm people, can your library be held partially responsible? Find out the exact legalities and how you can protect your library and resources from this issue.
Friday Fun: The Law Phone
You've seen the ads for the iPhone, now Professor C. Steven Bradford of the University of Nebraska College of Law brings you the L-phone! (mp3). [JH]
The Future of the Legal Coursebook
A workshop at Seattle University School of Law that discussed alternatives to the heavy printed legal casebooks has generated a lot of press coverage, including an excellent article in the Chronicle, the National Law Journal, and Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
- Due Processors: Educators Seek a Digital Upgrade for Teaching Law, Chronicle of Higher Education
- Law professors put printed textbooks on trial, Seattle P-I
- Bulky Legal Texts Eyed for Digital Makeover, Legal Times
- Eyeing 'e-books' for future law students. National Law Journal
- Books a weighty issue for law schools, Seattle P-I
In the legal blogosphere, see John Palfrey's The Future of the Legal Course Book post and Gee Koo's (CALI) conference wrapup and series of liveblogging posts, here, here, here and here on Law School Innovation. [RJ & JH]
Check out the UN on YouTube
CRS Report on Federal Tort Reform Legislation
In, Federal Tort Reform Legislation: Constitutionality and Summaries of Selected Statutes, the Congressional Research Service (via OpenCRS) considers the constitutionality of federal tort reform legislation, such as the products liability and medical malpractice reform proposals that have been introduced for the last several Congresses. Part I of the report concludes that there would appear to be no due process or federalism (or any other constitutional) impediments to Congress’s limiting a state common law right of recovery. The only exception concerns requiring alternative dispute resolution that limits the right to a jury trial. Part II considers alternative dispute resolution alternatives, some of which could have constitutional problems. The report concludes with a a strong argument may be made that Congress has the power to eliminate jury trials in tort actions brought in state court, but this is uncertain. [RJ]
Opening: Instructional / Reference Librarian, CUNY School of Law Library
We are currently seeking at least one, but possibly two enthusiastic, energetic candidates dependent on funding, who are willing to be an integral part of the library management team at CUNY School of Law. The successful candidate will be joining a library that is committed to providing the highest level of research support to students and faculty. She/he will be responsible for providing reference services to the library community, teaching in the first year Legal Research Program in a collaborative environment, and assisting the Faculty Research Services Program. Candidates who have an interest or are interested in developing a specialty on emerging technologies in the research, reference and instruction programs of the library are also encouraged to apply for this position. The position will be filled at the entry or mid-level range depending on the experience of qualified candidates. New graduates possessing both the J.D. and M.L.S. are encouraged to apply.
We are looking for individuals with a desire to help us further the Law School's mission of "Law in the Service of Human Needs." Towards that end, we are ideally looking for applicants whose background or experience illustrate a strong commitment to social justice and supporting our faculty and students' work in the public interest.
Law Librarians are active participants in shaping the future of the institution. They have full faculty status and are completely integrated into the governance processes of the Law School. Working with our colleagues outside of the Library, librarians add to the rich diversity of the law school experience by having their own scholarship interests, in addition to supporting those of the other members of the faculty.
All librarians must have a J.D. and M.L.S. in order to be considered for a tenure track faculty appointment. Salary Range: Assistant Professor ($41,624 – $71,974); Associate Professor ($53,982 - $85,842). Details.
Please send a letter of application, including a detailed description of education and work experience, and curriculum vitae to:
Ms. Maureen McCafferty
Coordinator of Faculty Recruitment
CUNY School of Law
65-21 Main Street
Flushing, New York 11367
October 16, 2008
The 2008 Plaintiffs' Hot List
The seventh annual Plaintiffs' Hot List (sub. req.) is the National Law Journal's "unscientific survey" of the litigation scene since the summer of 2007. The list is based on reader nominations of exemplary firms that devote at least half of their resources to plaintiffs' work, and which have achieved at least one significant win during that period. "The firms we recognize here struck us as representing the best qualities of the plaintiffs' bar and demonstrating unusual dedication and creativity."
The Plaintiff's Hot List firms selected for this year's honors are Baron & Budd; Beasley Allen; Berger & Montague; Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz; Bernstein Litowitz; The Cochran Firm; Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy; Coughlin Stoia; Dickstein Shapiro; Grant & Eisenhofer; Korein Tillery; Labaton Sucharow; Lieff Cabraser; Quinn Emanuel and Seeger Weiss. [RJ]
EDUCAUSE's Core Data Service Report on Campus IT Environments, 2007
EDUCAUSE has released its Core Data Service Report on Campus IT Environments covering fiscal year 2007. 1,016 campuses had completed the Core Data Service (CDS) survey. Responding institutions were 58% public and 42% private. The large response pool for the core data survey includes institutions of all enrollment sizes, Carnegie classes, and types of governance, as well as international institutions, giving the summary report a broad view of the IT environment in higher education.
Some of the significant findings:
- Use of open source software — in any form, whether one product or many, and whether or not it was modified out of the box — increased to almost 51 percent of responding institutions, from 47 percent the previous year and 32 percent in 2005.
- Over 35 percent of the institutions surveyed reported that they use course management systems such as Blackboard, WebCT or open source solutions like Moodle or Sakai for all or almost all of their courses, up from 29 percent the previous year. Only half a percent said they didn’t or didn’t plan to use such a system at all.
- Among various technologies deployed on campus networks, several saw marked increases last year, including software that blocks spyware, personal firewalls and voice over IP (VoIP), among others.
- Sixty-eight percent said they had performed a formal campus IT risk assessment, up from 63 percent last year. Forty-nine percent have deployed emergency notification systems (such as text message alerts) and 47 percent are exploring their options.
- With 15 percent of responding campuses already offering legal downloading services, another 17 percent are considering the option, an increase for the second consecutive year.
- While slightly more IT administrators this past fiscal year sat on the president’s cabinet, the number of such top administrators reporting directly to the president remains most marked for community colleges, with 37 percent as compared to 31 percent for all colleges.
The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law Online
The online edition of the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law Encyclopedia is adding new material quarterly and is expected to reaching completion in 2010. The online edition will include search functionality and click-through cross references to other Encyclopedia entries as well as related content in the online service Oxford Reports on International Law. A print edition will become available in 2010. Features include:
- A Fully revised version of the print edition initially published under the auspices of Rudolf Bernhardt
- The 1,700 articles include more than 700 new topics not covered in the previous edition
- Reflects modern developments with greatly increased coverage of international criminal law, international dispute settlement, trade law and environmental lawWritten by over 650 scholars and practitioners drawn from all over the world
- Edited by a team of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg under the auspices of Rüdiger Wolfrum
- Each article is peer received by members of the Advisory Board
On Justifying Punishment
Kevin M. Carlsmith (Colgate University Psychology Department) has posted On Justifying Punishment: The Discrepancy between Words and Actions on SSRN. The article reveals a discrepancy between the actual and stated motives for punishment based on survey data. People support laws designed on the utilitarian principle of deterrence in the abstract, yet reject the consequences of these same laws when they are applied. According to Carlsmith, this demonstrates people's inability to know their own motivations, and shows that one consequence of this ignorance is to generate support for laws that they ultimately find unjust.
Hat tip to Sentencing Law & Policy Blog. [JH]
Barriers to Justice: Examining Equal Pay for Equal Work
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing entitled "Barriers to Justice: Examining Equal Pay for Equal Work" that examined how federal courts treat employment discrimination cases. Reacting to the forthcoming article from the Harvard Law & Policy Review "Employment Discrimination Plaintiffs in Federal Court: From Bad to Worse?", panelists elaborate on why employment discrimination cases fare so poorly in federal courts.
Opening: Director of Information Technologies, University of California, Irvine, School of Law
The School of Law at The University of California, Irvine, is searching for a Director of Information Technologies.
Under the general direction of the Associate Dean for Library and Information Services, the Director of Information Technologies is responsible for the vision, strategic planning, development, implementation, management and coordination of information technologies and systems at the UC Irvine School of Law. Via effective communication, consultation, and collaboration, the Director oversees and coordinates all IT activities, and provides flexible and responsive leadership in the application of new and innovative technologies in the Law School's infrastructure, operations, and services. The incumbent leads collaborative processes to develop short and long-range plans that meet School's needs and goals; coordinates campus support and technical relationships with appropriate departments; maintains productive working relationships with the client community and vendors, and attends local, regional, and national meetings to maintain currency with developments in technology.
Interested applicants should possess a Bachelor’s Degree in a computer science related discipline or equivalent education and experience, have a minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience in information technology, and have a minimum of 2 years successful supervisory experience. Interested applicants should also have strong conceptual and practical understanding of networking, of all aspects of hardware and software usage and implementation, and of specialized uses of technology within an academic/legal environment, including library research and pedagogical uses of technology, and knowledge of telecommunications equipment and services, and demonstrated leadership, management and organizational skills.
Salary: Annual $69,700 - $103,500
Must occasionally work non-standard hours to deal with system emergencies. Will be expected to be on-call to handle urgent technical problems. Final candidate subject to background check.
UCI offers excellent benefits including a minimum of 3 weeks vacation per year. To be considered for this position, please apply directly at: http://jobs.uci.edu. Search by job number: 2008-0819. UCI is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer dedicated to excellence through diversity.
October 15, 2008
Remix or Pirate Culture
Larry Lessig's Wall Street Journal article, In Defense of Piracy, calls for "reject[ing] the notion that Internet culture must oppose profit, or that profit must destroy Internet culture. But real change will be necessary if this is to be our future -- changes in law, and changes in us." [JH]
Who Should Teach LRW?
According to Hillel Levin (Georgia), "whatever the model, LRW instructors need to have some basic practice experience. They don't all need to have been litigators, despite the fact that LRW programs usually focus on the litigation context; indeed, given that many (probably most) of our law students will not be litigators, it is important to have instructors with a diverse range of lawyering experiences. But they absolutely must have some practical lawyering experience." Ah, OK. Absolutely not one word about the role of law librarians in teaching LRW in his PrawfsBlawg post. [JH]
Hakia: Help Us Guide Web Searchers to Credible Websites
"Semantic search engine hakia announced an open call to librarians and information professionals to participate in a new program to unlock credible and free Web resources to Web searchers. Currently, hakia is generating credibility-stamped results for health and medical searches to guide users towards credible Web content. These results come from credible Web sites vetted by the Medical Library Association. Now, hakia is aiming to further its coverage to all topics, with the participation of librarians and information professionals.
A popular Web source may not always be credible, and a credible Web source may not always be popular. hakia is the first search engine to channel the collective knowledge of librarians and information professionals to generate credibility-stamped results using semantic technology. This is in contrast to leading general search engines like Google, which rely mostly on the popularity of keywords and Webpages. For an example of what a credibility-stamped search looks like on hakia today, try a search for: What causes heart disease?
Librarians and information professionals can suggest URLs leading to the most credible Websites on a given topic. hakia will process the sites with its proprietary QDEX (Query Detection and Extraction) technology and make them available to Web searchers in credibility-stamped search results. Each month hakia will give away thank-you prizes, ranging from a book donation to two conference grants, to participants.
"By having information experts suggest sites to hakia, we can guide searchers to relevant and credible information on the Web. As a search engine, we will rely on information professionals’ collective knowledge to add a dimension to search: credibility," said Melek Pulatkonak, President and Chief Operating Officer of hakia, at the Web Search University event in Washington DC.
"The campaign that hakia is starting is a great way to leverage the never-ending knowledge and information analysis skills of the information professional in building a Web database full of the web resources that are most useful, and most importantly, have the most credibility," said Gary Price, Editor, ResourceShelf.com. "This is a new chapter for library collection development. I hope this is only the beginning."
To learn more or suggest credible Web sites, please visit http://club.hakia.com/lib/.
Electronic Resources from the United Nations
For the legal researcher focusing on international law, the UN has put together a fine collection of digital resources including:
- Yearbook of the United Nations (1946-2005): The Yearbook is the principal reference work of the United Nations and provides a detailed overview of the Organization's activities. Each Yearbook is fully indexed and includes all major General Assembly, Security Council and Economic and Social Council resolutions.
- United Nations Demographic Yearbook: The United Nations Demographic Yearbook collects, compiles and disseminates official statistics on a wide range of topics. The Demographic Yearbook disseminates statistics on population size and composition, births, deaths, marriage and divorce on an annual basis. Demographic Yearbook special topics issues cover a wide range of additional topics including economic activity, educational attainment, household characteristics, housing, ethnicity and language, among others.
- United Nations Statistics Division: The Statistics Division is committed to the advancement of the global statistical system. We compile and disseminate global statistical information, develop standards and norms for statistical activities, and support countries efforts to strengthen their national statistical systems. We facilitate the coordination of international statistical activities and support the functioning of the UN Statistical Commission as the apex entity of the global statistical system.
And the Best Reason to Stop Banning Laptops in the Classroom Is...
In a very thoughtful post, Amy Jarmon, Assistant Dean for Academic Success Programs at Texas Tech, observes that "the banning of laptops is vogue right now, but the consequences for students with disabilities (and different learning styles for that matter) are not always recognized." Read and consider circulating her Accommodations for ADD/ADHD and LD Students post on Law School Academic Support Blog.
For more on life's struggles, see Elyn R. Saks' memoir, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness (2007). Associate Dean and Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at USC, Saks chronicles her life, legal education, and career battles with schizophrenia.
Jarmon and Saks' message is clear. Students are capable of high-level academic work but law profs and administrators must be sensitive to their desire to be like everyone else because they are reluctant to disclose their needs.
On banning laptops because they are a classroom distraction, I think Legal Blog Watch's Carolyn Elefant should have the last word:
I'm not quite sure how students who are distracted by laptops will have the ability to function in real world situations. These days, most lawyers take computers to court, to depositions and settlement conferences. If law students can't focus on the professor because a flashy computer screen (I'm assuming that students are required to silence the sound) or keyboarding noise bothers them, how are they going to manage in the real world?
See her post, Laptops in the Classroom Distract Non-Users More Than Users.
Isn't banning laptops in law school classrooms just a giant step backwards in the early 21st legal academy? [JH]
What is the Congressional Record?
For those of who offer instructional classes on federal legislative histories, check out LexisNexis's white paper entitled "What is the Congressional Record?". The paper provides a concise overview of the Record as well as a selected annotated bibliography. [RJ]
Opening: Director of the Tarlton Law Library, Texas
The University of Texas School of Law invites nominations and applications to become the Director of the Tarlton Law Library, Jamail Center for Legal Research.
The Tarlton Law Library is one of the leading law libraries in the world. It is the seventh largest academic law library in the nation with physical collections containing over a million volumes and electronic collections providing access to millions more documents. The library is staffed by more than 30 librarians and support personnel and has an annual budget over $3.5 million. Physically, the Tarlton Law Library is the largest academic law library facility in the country, occupying over 167,000 square feet.
The Tarlton Law Library is a leader in the provision and publication of electronic legal resources. Our digital libraries, current awareness services, and online bibliographies have been recognized nationally. With its expansive network of research databases, innovative preservation projects, and up-to-date equipment and resources, the library is on the leading edge of information technology. The library is also well known for its extensive research collections in United States and international law, its interdisciplinary focus, its rare book and special collections, and for the excellence of the services it offers.
The Director of the law library leads a diverse team of law librarians and information professionals in supporting the mission of the law school. Traditionally, the Tarlton Law Library has had a close connection with the University of Texas School of Information. A joint degree program (JD/MSIS) between the Law School and School of Information is moving towards implementation. The Director of the Law Library would be expected to play a prominent role in that program and would be expected to be a leader in the information community nationally and internationally.
The Director reports directly to the Dean of the School of Law. He or she participates with senior administrators in the overall direction of the School of Law. Depending on qualifications and interest, the Director may be considered for a faculty position at the School of Law, the School of Information, or both.
The successful candidate should be an innovative administrator who has a record of accomplishment and experience in a major university law library or comparable experience. The successful candidate must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the scope, process, and demands of a law school library and the need to align services to changes occurring in the curriculum and profession. Familiarity with and interest in new technologies are also expected. The ideal candidate will have a JD and an advanced degree in library or information science or similar field or equivalent experience in the organization and management of information.
Screening will begin immediately and continue until the time of selection. Applications should include a current curriculum vitae and a detailed letter discussing the candidate's qualifications. Please direct applications and nominations to:
Prof. Michael F. Sturley, Chair
Library Director Search Committee
The University of Texas School of Law
727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
Applications and nominations may also be submitted electronically to: email@example.com
The University of Texas is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.