November 22, 2008
Teen Commits Suicide as Others Watch Online
The medical examiner said the teen may have stood a chance of surviving the drug overdose had someone notified authorities right away. CNN has the story. [JH]
Does the US Detention of Asylum Seekers Violate International Law?
This video, produced by NIJC intern Kevin Koll, explains how the U.S. immigrant detention system violates key international human rights standards.
Hat tip to Kevin Johnson (Dean, UC Davis School of Law), ImmigrationProf Blog. [JH]
U.N. Security Council Report 2007-2008
The Report of the U.N. Security Council to the General Assembly is now available (A/63/2). Highlights of the report include:
- Peace and security in Africa
- Middle East peace process
- Kosovo’s independence
- Protection of civilians in armed conflict
November 21, 2008
Kudos to Robert Ambrogi
Robert Ambrogi's LawSites blog celebrated it's sixth anniversary on Wednesday. [JH]
IRS Investigating Mozilla Foundation
The IRS is investigating the tax status of the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation. John Colombo (Illinois) writes, "apparently, the issue is whether the foundation qualifies as a public charity or private foundation, and central to the dispute is the fact that last year the Foundation received 88% of its revenues from Google as part of an agreement that causes the Firefox browser to default to a Google search page. For more information, check out Colombo's Unincorporated Business Law Prof Blog post. [JH]
Friday Fun: IT Cat Fixes Paper Jam
Hat tip to Meev. [JH]
Federal Reserve of New York's Dynamic Maps on US Credit Conditions
Credit Card and Mortgage Delinquency displays the 60+ day delinquency rates for credit cards issued by banks and the 90+ day delinquency rates for mortgages as well as the percentage point change in the delinquency rates from one year ago, by county.
Nonprime Mortgage Conditions in the United States shows conditions and density of owner-occupied subprime mortgage loans for the states, counties and zip codes in the United States. The maps are based on data for owner-occupied mortgage loans that have been securitized into a product that is categorized as subprime, based on the grade assigned to the security. [JH]
HotDocs for Creating Transactional & Litigation Documents
HotDocs software allows attorneys to create a template based upon a legal document they composed. When the template is created, it can be used to generate similar documents for different situations. The template is opened using HotDocs Player. Per the HotDocs site,
“HotDocs Player guides you through interview-style questions to gather necessary information and then assembles a custom document based on your answers. You can modify the custom document in your word processor.”
HotDocs Player is free to download and use. There are free HotDocs templates available at LexisONE Automated Forms. ( Free registration is required to use LexisONE.) There are also free templates available at NPADO.org for non-commercial use only. See A2J Author Blog post. If you want to turn your document into a HotDoc, you must purchase software to do so. [SA]
Judicial Compensation in the Early Republic
James Pfander (Northwestern) has posted Judicial Compensation and the Definition of Judicial Power in the Early Republic, 107 Mich L. Rev. ___ (2008) on SSRN. The article explores the role of judicial compensation in shaping the familiar jurisdictional landmarks of the early Republic. It shows that Congress chose a salary-based compensation scheme, and took early steps to rule out fee payments to federal judges. The Article also demonstrates that the judicial salary was understood to include compensation for official travel, a fact that sheds important new light on the Supreme Court Justices' hostility to the burdens, and expense, of riding the circuit. The Article suggests that financial self-interest may have played a role in shaping the early definition of judicial power and the willingness of the Justices to take on extrajudicial assignments. Concluding remarks focus on judicial independence and the way Article III frames debate over judicial compensation and workload.
Hat tip to Rory Ryan (Baylor), Civil Procedure Prof Blog. [JH]
A Quick Look at USPTO Examiners
USPTO Examiners is a website designed for professionals to anonymously review, rank, and learn about a patent examiner or a trademark examining attorney who works at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The site, which is not affliaged with any government agency, has been developed to form an online collaborative environment in which members of professional organizations, corporations, and inventors may anonymously pool their experiences and opinions about a patent examiner or a trademark examining attorney, including their knowledge of the law and technology, as well as their accessibility. [JH]
November 20, 2008
Gun Sales Spike Since Obama's Win
Gun shops nationwide are reporting huge sales since the election. According to NPR's All Things Considered, "some gun enthusiasts are worried that the president-elect and the Democratic Congress will move for tougher new gun laws that restrict some weapons." Obama has repeatedly stated that he believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, however, commonsense measures do not infringe upon that right. To read more about Obama's position on gun control check out his Sportmen and Urban Policy Factsheet and FactCheck.org's analysis.
Is One of Your Profs on Obama's Transition Team?
Nan Hunter (Georgetown Law) is keeping track of "lawbama profs." So far there's 31 law profs on the transition team. [JH]
NAWL Releases 2008 Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms
The National Association of Women Lawyers's 2008 Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms finds that women are still underrepresented at top levels of large law firms, paid less at every stage of practice than male lawyers, and promoted to equity partner less often than men As the Report puts it:
[I]f a client were to enter a conference room of 50 first year associates in the average large firm, about 23 (almost half) of the associates would be women. In contrast, if that same client were to enter a conference room of 50 equity partners in the average large firm, only eight equity partners would be women.
- Compensation. Male equity partners earn on average over $87,000 a year more than female equity partners.
- Partnership Track: Women constitute 48% of first and second year associates, a percentage that approximates the law school population. There is a small fall off at higher levels of the associate ranks, with women constituting 45% of mid"level associates and 44% of 7th year associates but women constitute only 34% of of-counsels, 27% of non-equity partners, and fewer than 16% of equity partners.
- Firm Governance. The average firm’s highest governing committee counts women as only 15% of its members – and 15% of the nation’s largest firms have no women at all on their governing committees. Only about 6% of law firm managing partners are women.
Does SCOTUS Need a Math Geek on Staff?
It's a small example of SCOTUS innumeracy but Sonja West's (Georgia) "nerdy and pedantic colleague" Christian Turner deserves his 15 seconds of SCOTUS fame for finding an incorrect mathematical reference in the Court's opinion in Winter v. NRDC (No. 07–1239, Decided November 12, 2008).
The opinion contains the following statement: "There is an exponential relationship between radius length and surface area (Area = pi r^2)."
In an email to the Court, Turner writes:
This is decidedly not an exponential relationship, but it could be called a power relationship, quadratic relationship, or geometric relationship. An exponential relationship is something like y = 3^x. The difference between the two kinds of relationship is huge, easily seen as x grows large. (Though there's disagreement, the number of electrons in the universe is very, very likely less than 10^100.)
I have no idea if this error changes the outcome of the case because, well, I was a humanities major. Turner has a Ph.D. in math so I'm sure he is correct because the odds are astronomically high that any SCOTUS clerk also has one. The email, published in full on PrawfsBlawg by West, includes the follow statement by Turner: "Correcting this could be my only shot at leaving any kind of mark on the Court."
In a comment to the blog post, Paul H Edelman writes about the Court's sometimes faulty computational skills:
For an example of where the Court couldn't compute a percentage correctly (!!) and it arguably altered the outcome see US Dept of Commerce v Montana 503 US 442 (1992) as detailed in Getting the Math Right: Why California Has Too Many Seats in the House of Representatives, 59 Vanderbilt L. Rev. 297 (2006).
Perhaps SCOTUS needs a math advisor. If so, Christian Turner is da man for the job. [JH]
A Guide for the Perplexed: Libraries and the Google Library Project Settlement
Here's an ALA-ARL sponsored 23-page explanation of the pending Google Library copyright settlement: A Guide for the Perplexed: Libraries & the Google Library Project Settlement (Nov. 13, 2008). On the tentative settlement, see also LLB's post. [JH]
Top 50 Homeland Security Blogs
e-Justice identifies 50 excellent blogs representing the government, researchers, professionals in the field, and every-day citizens and their offerings on the ever-evolving and important topic of homeland security. Among the blogs listed is the Law Professor Blogs Network's ImmigrationProf Blog. [JH]
Opening: Law Library Director, St. Thomas University Law School Library
The St. Thomas University Law School invites applications from candidates for its Law Library Director. An ABA accredited law degree and an ALA accredited library degree are required, along with significant experience in an academic law library. The directorship is a tenured or tenure-track position with a rank and salary commensurate with the successful applicant's experience. An active role in teaching courses in advanced legal research is desirable.
St. Thomas’ Alex A. Hanna Law Library plays a central role in the life of the law school. The school is looking for an individual who will maintain the tradition of excellence in the Library's collection and acquisitions programs. We are also looking for someone who will bring superb management skills to the direction of a customer service oriented team. The law library is 330,000+ volume and volume equivalents, housed in a 24,000 square foot facility, with a library staff composed of six full time librarians (including the Director) and 11 FTE paraprofessionals. The law library serves a student body of 600+ law students, 37 full-time faculty members, and a number of adjunct faculty.
The law library director reports to the Dean of the Law School, is a tenure track member of the law school faculty, participates in the committee work of the law school, and in the faculty governance of the law school. Candidates should also be engaged in their professional community of law librarianship. The Law School is an ABA accredited institution, a member of the American Association of Law Schools, and places a substantial emphasis on faculty scholarship, including that of the law librarian. The Law School is located on the 150 acre campus of St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida. St. Thomas is a Catholic university with a highly diverse student body. The cities of Miami and South Beach are minutes away, with the Atlantic Ocean just to the East and the Everglades to the West of the Law School. Travel to and from the area is easy and the climate very salubrious.
Candidates should submit a cover letter, a resume, and list three references. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. The St. Thomas University Law School is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to diversity. Applications or inquiries, should be sent to:
Prof. John Makdisi
Chair, Search Committee
St. Thomas University Law School
16401 N.W. 37th Avenue
Miami Gardens, FL 33054
Applications may be submitted electronically to Prof. Makdisi’s email address.
November 19, 2008
The Joys of ABA Accreditation Review (After Being Put on Probation)
A Catalyst for Legal Education Reform?
Will the University of California's Irvine School of Law be a catalyst for reform in legal education? That's the objective according to National Jurist's review of the school's plans and interview of Dean Chemerinsky in the magazine's November issue (at page 20). [JH]
ARL Releases Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication Final Report
ARL has released the final report from a study that ARL commissioned Ithaka to conduct, Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication. Highlights from the study’s findings include:
- While some disciplines seem to lend themselves to certain formats of digital resource more than others, examples of innovative resources can be found across the humanities, social sciences, and scientific/technical/medical subject areas.
- Of all the resources suggested by faculty, almost every one that contained an original scholarly work operates under some form of peer review or editorial oversight.
- Some of the resources with greatest impact are those that have been around a long while.
- While some resources serve very large audiences, many digital publications—capable of running on relatively small budgets—are tailored to small, niche audiences.
- Innovations relating to multimedia content and Web 2.0 functionality appear in some cases to blur the lines between resource types.
- Projects of all sizes—especially open-access sites and publications—employ a range of support strategies in the search for financial sustainability.
You can search the study's database. [JH]