March 1, 2008
Dumb and Dumber: Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?
"Susan Jacoby's new book bemoans the state of American culture. Not only are citizens ignorant about essential knowledge, she says, but they also don’t think it matters." [RJ]
Editors Picked 'Em: Best Collections of Downloads
"These are among the most popular collections of downloads we've produced in recent months.
When you open a link, you'll see a list of the downloads we've picked. Simply click on the name of the download that interests you, read our mini-review, and if you're still interested, download away!" [RJ]
February 29, 2008
Update on WikiLeaks Case
The hearing, scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m. in San Francisco, was supposed to address whether to make permanent a second order that the judge signed, prohibiting “displaying, posting, publishing, distributing, linking to and/or otherwise providing any information for the access or other dissemination of copies of and/or images of” the documents sought by the bank.
Now the hearing may cover much more as a result of the many motions raising First Amendment concerns. And late Thursday, Judge White issued a list of questions suggesting he had worries of his own. Among other things, the judge asked whether the bank should be suing Dynadot and Wikileaks at all, whether a “right to privacy trumps the freedom of access to information,” and whether an order extending the prohibition on displaying the bank’s documents could be enforceable.
Big-Firm Associates in the News
Big-Firm associates are the topic du jour again. Both law.com and the WSJ law blog are talking about this report (link difficulties experienced with report): "After the JD." Here are a few of the problems identified (via):
Early in their careers, far too many associates are given a steady diet of drudge work: reviewing documents; reading e-mails; organizing schedules for transactions; researching small, tangential issues. Partners may not take time to communicate the overall issues and strategy in a large matter, but just send younger associates off to till a small part of the North 40. Too often the junior associates have to work for senior associates whose goal in life is their own advancement, not the well-being of their younger colleagues. Partners, who have huge workloads and unceasing pressures to produce, do not spend much time worrying about the professional development of young lawyers nor provide adequate mentoring, education and training.
Meanwhile, Eric Johnson over at PrawfsBlog is urging associates to unionize:
Think about it. Associates at big law firms are perfectly suited to unionize. They are overworked and underpaid. And partners utterly depend on them. If associates actually used their latent collective bargaining power, it seems to me they could extract huge concessions from partners.
Friday Fun: The Subprime Primer
Let's Make St. Patrick's Day an Official Holiday!
Proposition 3-17 is a Guinness-sponsored campaign to make St. Patrick's Day an official holiday. It isn't already?!?!? In order to present the petition to Congress, the brewers of Guinness need 1 million signatures by midnight on March 16, 2008. At the moment, the Company is about 900,000 short of their mark.
What's neat about this online petition (read marketing campaign) is that you get to use an embedded graphic pen to sign your name to it and your signature ends up looking like something you might have written on a credit card receipt after one too many pints.
Truly a worthy cause deserving the attention of law librarians nationwide! LLB is powered by Guinness. Hat tip to Ron Jones for sharing. [JH]
New on LLRX.com
- Eight Legal Technology Trends for 2008 – Good Times, Bad Times or Hard Times in Legal Tech? by Dennis Kennedy
- E-Discovery Update: Resolving Client-Vendor Disputes, by Conrad Jacoby
- Happ-eee with my Eee PC, by Bette Dengel
- Knowledge Discovery Resources 2008, by Marcus P. Zillman
- The Government Domain: What's New in DotGov and Beyond, by Peggy Garvin
- FOIA Facts: The Congressional Role in FOIA Operations, by Scott A. Hodes
- Mexico and its Legal System, by Prof. Jorge A. Vargas
- CongressLine: The Budget, by Paul Jenks
- The Caribbean Court of Justice: A Research Guide, by Yasmin Morais
- Burney's Legal Tech Reviews, by Brett Burney
- More Recommendations from MacWorld 2008, by Nicholas Moline
- Commentary: The Theory of the Unitary Executive and the FY2009 Budget, by Beth Wellington
Just Released: Infanti's Everyday Law for Gays and Lesbians and Those Who Care about Them
Everyday Law for Gays and Lesbians is a combination of powerful narrative and intricate legal analysis. Anthony Infanti writes in a style that is easily accessible for nonlawyers while also providing the details and research notes that lawyers and academics will appreciate. His message, that legal change alone will not stamp out antigay bias, is not new, but his telling of this story is fresh, insightful, and full of constructive suggestions for social activists who wish to advance the cause. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone who cares about lesbians and gay men. -- Patricia A. Cain, Inez Mabie Professor of Law, Santa Clara University
Everyday Law for Gays and Lesbians and Those Who Care about Them
by Anthony C. Infanti
List Price: $23.95
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Paradigm Publishers (February 29, 2008)
Description: Everyday Law for Gays and Lesbians and Those Who Care about Them accessibly explains the myriad ways the law applies to and affects lesbian and gay lives. Written both concretely and clearly, each chapter opens with a vivid story about actual experiences of lesbians and gay men and then uses those experiences as a springboard for discussing the law. Using his personal and expert professional experience, Anthony Infanti makes complicated legal issues approachable, including marriage and its alternatives, bias crimes, the military, education, employment, housing, medical and tax planning, and parenting. Going beyond a mere summary of the law, this book provides both legal and nonlegal strategies for coping with and effecting positive change in the law as it affects the lives of lesbians and gay men. The book also contains an appendix with a list of useful resources for lesbians, gay men, and those who care about them.
About the Author: Anthony C. Infanti is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. His work focuses on sexual orientation and the law, paying particular attention to the application of the tax laws to lesbians and gay men.
30 Google Apps You’ve Never Heard Of
Well, not really but that's the title of Laura Milligan's article which is useful for listing Google Apps and providing brief descriptions of ones you may not know. I, for example, didn't know Google's News Archive Search existed. Here's Milligan's description of it:
Archive Search: Forget dusting off old microfiche and microfilm from the library to discover archived photos and newspapers. Google’s Archive Search goes back 200 years and “can automatically create timelines which show selected results from relevant time periods” to augment your search.
NB: Google Answer is listed but that app died several years ago. [JH]
SMU To Be Site Of Bush Presidential Library
The George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU will consist of a a library, museum and institute. Read more about it in the press release [RJ]
Opening: Director, Law Library and Information Technology Services, LSU Law Center Library
The Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University, invites applications for the position of Associate Vice Chancellor for the Library and Information Technology Services.
Responsibilities: The Associate Vice Chancellor is the chief administrative officer for the law library and information technology services and is responsible for all operations within both areas including planning, budgeting, and administration. He or she monitors both the library and IT services to ensure all programs and functions of each fully support the academic, research, and practical skills needs of Law Center students, faculty, and visitors. The Associate Vice Chancellor reports directly to the Law Center Chancellor and participates as a member of the Law Center’s executive staff helping to determine the overall course and direction of the Law Center.
Required: Candidates must have a JD from an ABA-accredited law school and a MLS or equivalent degree from an ALA-accredited institution. They must have significant administrative experience in a substantial law library and understand the functioning and operation of an academic law school library. They must also have a customer oriented approach to working with all Law Center constituencies to support the teaching, scholarship, and service goals of the Law Center and must work to review, evaluate, and align services with ongoing changes in the Law Center curriculum. Candidates must possess a familiarity with and interest in information and instructional technologies.
Salary and Benefits: Salary and rank are commensurate with the successful candidate’s experience. The Associate Vice Chancellor is a member of the Law Center faculty and holds a tenured or tenure-track position in the library faculty.
Other: The library staff includes eleven professional librarians and nine library associates. The library houses over 850,000 volumes and volume equivalents and serves a student body of approximately 650 along with 40 full time faculty members. The Paul M. Hebert Law Center is an administratively independent institution located on the Louisiana State University campus and is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity within its organization. Visit www.law.lsu.edu for further information on the Law Center and the library.
To Apply: Submit a letter of interest, a detailed resume listing qualifications and experience, and the names and contact information of three professional references. The review of materials will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Applications should be sent or emailed to:
Professor Wendell H. Holmes
Chair, Library Director Search Committee
Paul M. Hebert Law Center
Louisiana State University
1 East Campus Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
The Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center is an Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Employer.
February 28, 2008
Consumer Reports Compares Westlaw and Lexis?
That's an article I'd love to read. Unfortunately, it's not here quite yet. But in the meantime, Wired has this entertaining article on being a purchaser for Consumer Reports, one of my favorite non-law periodicals. An excerpt:
Making these purchases without saying why can be tricky. Once, Jon told a phone salesman that he needed a particular model because his mother had Alzheimer's and he'd never be able to teach her how to use a new brand.... He fondly recalls the time he purchased five different washing machines, claiming that his landlord father had given tenants their choice of brands.
Lexis Reports Information Overload for Legal Professionals
The link to Lexis's report here.
A discussion from Legal Blog Watch:
Information overload is crushing white-collar professionals of all ilks, but hitting lawyers particularly hard, according to a LexisNexis published yesterday. Among professionals generally, seven in 10 feel inundated with information and two in five believe they are headed for an information "breaking point," the survey says. But among lawyers, 80 percent report being overloaded with information and 70 percent say they spend too much time sifting through irrelevant information. Common symptoms of information overload for lawyers include spending too much time conducting research, having trouble recreating research time for billing purposes, and wasting time searching for old e-mails and documents.
But while information overload is crushing us, nearly 70 percent of lawyers say that finding specific pieces of legal research or information is easier today than just two years ago, with 20 percent saying it is much easier today. Virtually all agree that having leading-edge legal technology is crucial to cutting through the clutter. For the lawyers surveyed, the most important technology tools are those that return comprehensive results, focus on the lawyer's practice area, provide analysis and expertise in addition to data, and are regularly updated. Less than half thought it was important to have a tool that offers access to online communities where they can discuss issues of law with their peers.
Impeachment of State Court Judges
Interesting article from Gavel to Gavel: "While threats to remove judges from office over their decisions are nothing new, the last two state legislative cycles have been unprecedented in the actual number of resolutions introduced. Beyond simple rhetorical jousting, the drafting and consideration of articles of impeachment (or in some states bills of address) for judicial decisions has become more widespread and are not necessarily only contending with highly charged political issues." [RJ]
Big Drop in Minority Law Students, Columbia Site Says
"Nationwide enrollment of African-American and Mexican-American students in U.S. law schools is down significantly since 1992 and could drop further.
According to statistics reviewed by individuals at Columbia Law School and the Society of American Law Teachers and discussed on their website, law school enrollment by members of these racial minority groups has dropped by 8.6 percent over the past 15 years. And that has occurred despite a constant number of minority applications and an increasing number of law students overall during the same period, reports the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. It apparently got the scoop from an upcoming article in the National Law Journal.
The statistics, which were compiled by the nonprofit Law School Admission Council, show a disturbing trend away from making law school admissions process more inclusive of minority applicants, experts say.
And "it's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better," predicts Vernellia Randall. A professor at the University of Dayton School of Law in Ohio, she has put together a report on "America's Whitest Law Schools." [RJ]
Coordination of IP Enforcement and Protection
"This is the sixth annual report on the activities of the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council (“NIPLECC” or “Council”) submitted pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1128(e). This report continues to build upon the improvements made in the 2006 report, which was the first submitted after Public Law 108-447 established the U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement (Coordinator) at the head of the Council and charged the Council with coordinating and overseeing the Federal Government’s intellectual property protection and enforcement efforts.
The current report contains significantly more data and analysis, and establishes the precedent of submitting the report early in the calendar year so that we can provide the full results of our intellectual property (IP) enforcement efforts which have been typically reported by agencies on a fiscal year basis.
We have also attempted to provide greater detail on the full range of U.S. Government activities focused on IP enforcement and to analyze more fully the extensive interagency coordination that has supported substantial progress in the past year. This is done to demonstrate our commitment to a permanent and sustainable approach to IP enforcement that is focused on clear strategic goals." [RJ]
Acquire Everything You Need for a Law Library Coffee Bar from Amazon
Want to open a coffee bar in the law library to supplement your library's budget? This one, available from Amazon.com(!), is designed as a turnkey drive-thru operation so it will cut down on noise and, with the removal of a few shelving units it can easily fit inside a law library.
For $89,000, you can buy an Espresso Americano Brevita Drive-Thru coffee shop, including building materials and equipment. All you need is to find a site. Not sure what shipping will cost but the turnkey operation weighs four tons! Here's what you get:
- Complete, self-contained business. Just pick your site and we'll provide everything else you need to start your own espresso business.
- Kit includes the drive thru unit (pictured on Amazon page), all equipment needed for start-up, start-up supplies including product and small wares, membership in the EA Brevita Cooperative Association for one year featuring product discounts and online, video-based training 24/7.
- Includes all training materials, business plan and documentation necessary to obtain financing, site selection guidelines and procedures, and regulatory information.
- Full support of a national brand, complete with branded loyalty cards good at all EA Brevita locations.
- National branded support of a large network without the expensive franchise cost.
Economic Report of the President
"The Economic Report of the President is a detailed summary of the economic issues and policies that face our nation today. Although not every topic worthy of consideration can be covered in one volume, we believe that those covered in this report are among the most important."
See also: Fact Sheet: The Economic Report of the President
February 27, 2008
Drexel Law Receives ABA Provisional Accreditation
As noted in the Drexel press release, it is no small accomplishment that the law school recieved provision accreditation less that 18 months after opening its doors to students:
To reach this milestone less than 18 months after welcoming our first law students to Drexel is remarkable, and a testament to the vision and commitment of our Board of Trustees and the hard work and passion of the faculty and staff of the College of Law and its founding dean, Roger Dennis. Drexel Law has gathered some of the most talented, innovative law faculty, practice professionals and students anywhere, and it shows in every initiative.
Certainly true with respect to the law library staff. In 2005, law school representatives were making some "wild and crazy" statements about the school's law library and the provision of information resources and services to students and faculty. See our posts here and here. Luckily reality set in. Drexel hired Chris Simoni and he, in turn, hired a well-qualified staff. Congratulations to Chris and his team on a job very well done. [JH]
Law Library of Congress Current Awareness Resources
Available RSS feeds:
- News & Events: http://www.loc.gov/rss/law/news.xml
- Research Reports: http://www.loc.gov/rss/law/reports.xml
- Webcasts: http://www.loc.gov/rss/law/webcasts.xml
- Global Legal Monitor: http://www.loc.gov/rss/law/globalmonitor.xml