October 9, 2010
Riverside County Law Library's Legal Research 102: For Those Who Have Been There and Done That but Forgot How
Kudos to the winning entries in 2010 AALL Excellence in Marketing Awards. My favorite, yes, for its catchy title but more importantly for responding to the need is Riverside County Law Library Best Campaign award-winning entry: “Legal Research 102: For Those Who Have Been There and Done That but Forgot How”
The Riverside County Law Library created the Legal Research 102 course to better serve its constituents, the citizens of the County of Riverside—especially lawyers. Factors that contributed to the course’s creation included a noted lack of legal research skills among practicing lawyers and requests by other agencies including the County Counsel. The three part course provides mandatory continuing legal education credits, which is another benefit to the legal community. The course has been positively received, and there are plans to offer it every quarter to reach a larger audience, including paralegals.
Quoting from Karen Brunner's Promoting Excellence: Announcing the 2010 Excellence in Marketing Awards Winners, Spectrum, Sept/Oct 2010. The Riverside County Law Library offers additional outreach programs including free family law seminars and public education forums regularly. See the Library's website.
The Spectrum article provides brief descriptions for all 2010 marketing award winners:
- Best Brochure: Yale Law School Lillian Goldman Law Library, Biennial Report 2007-2009
- Best Newsletter: K&L Gates Library and Research Services, AsktheLibrary: News from K&L Gates Library and Research Services
- Best Use of Technology: Arizona State University Ross-Blakely Law Library, Indian Law Portal
- Best PR Toolkit: Thomas M. Cooley Law Libraries, Food for Fines
October 8, 2010
Friday Fun: Libraries Will Survive Budget Cuts
This video was produced by the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and features staff working at all 8 of the public library's branches. Hat tip to Sean Bonney. [JH]
A Brief History of Canadian Law Schools
Here's the three part series published by Lawyer's Weekly:
Hat tip to Brian Leiter's Law School Reports. [JH]
iAnnotate for iPad, a PDF reading and annotation tool, with email integration and document library manager
In Case Law Junkies Will Like the iAnnotate Application, Slaw's Dan Michaluk writes "iAnnotate [for the iPad], has been a great solution for downloading and actively reading case law. I’ve annotated cases for file work and feel good about saving them to our DMS having captured the “product” of my reading. I’ve also highlighted and annotated cases for professional development and have easily shared cases with embedded comments."
The annotated PDFs created using iAnnotate can be shared and read using common PDF readers and can be synchronized with your desktop PDF documents. See the product description (only $9.99) for details and the below video demo. One commenter to Michaluks' post wrote, "Perhaps this is the excuse I need to purchase an iPad." [JH]
Reminder: Law Librarian Conversions on Latest News and Developments Today
Rich, Marcia, Roger, Tracy, and Sarah Glassmeyer talk about the latest news in today's episode titled "Blog News and Industry News." Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM CDT. You can reserve your spot at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/753294491 [JH]
October 7, 2010
On Context-Based Licensing
There was a time when the Copyright Clearance Center provided a valuable if fairly mundane service. Those days are long gone. Just like the granting of rights has evolved to keep up with technology and the needs of the end user, so too has CCC, evolved one may say, to assist rights-holders reach the markets that will help optimze their return. Part of this evolution is educational in nature.
"Although [techonology] can help rights-holders deliver the right content and licensing at the right time and place, how does one know what the right time and place is unless one understands what motivates customers? That’s context-based licensing," writes CCC CEO Tracey Armstrong in her recent October 2010 Learned Publishing article, Context-Based Licensing: Technology and Content Working Together.
Context-based licensing is where everything begins. It is about understanding what readers really want. Where and how do they want to access information? In what formats do they want that material? How do they prefer to share information? And how can they spend the least amount of time and energy getting permission to share copyrighted material? The answers to those questions will likely vary depending on each individual audience within a publisher’s market.
Armstrong suggests concrete steps that publishers and content users can take to move forward. [JH]
The New Economics of the eBook
The eBook publishing model is not only disrupting the traditional pBook publishing model, but new and aspiring literary writers as well. They are less likely to gain attention from publishers or command the advances they once might have reports, WSJ's Jeffrey Trachtenberg in Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-Books.
The new economics of the e-book make the author's quandary painfully clear: A new $28 hardcover book returns half, or $14, to the publisher, and 15%, or $4.20, to the author. Under many e-book deals currently, a digital book sells for $12.99, returning 70%, or $9.09, to the publisher and typically 25% of that, or $2.27, to the author.
The article also reports that publishers are resisting the call by the Authors Guild and some literary agents to to raise the author's share of eBooks to as high as 50% because there is less overhead in their production. [JH]
October 6, 2010
Best Library People on Twitter
California Prosecutorial Misconduct Report Poses Interesting Questions
The Northern California Innocence Project, from Santa Clara University, has issued a report on prosecutorial misconduct in that state. The project examined some 4,000 cases where prosecutorial conduct could be an issue. The coverage was from 1997 to 2009. The report highlights facts such as out of 707 California cases where misconduct was found only six prosecutors were disciplined by the California State Bar. Only 159 of these cases resulted in setting aside convictions or barred evidence. The other 548 cases found that the defendant received a fair trial nonetheless.
Prosecutors reacted to the report via quotes in a Los Angeles Times article. Scott Thorpe, chief executive of the California District Attorneys Assn. called it overblown and said that his organization and others regularly put on ethics training seminars for prosecutors. State Bar officials said that not all instances of prosecutorial misconduct warranted discipline. The article notes that California courts are not required to forward cases of misconduct to the Bar.
The report focus quite a bit on harmless error as excusing prosecutor misconduct as a reason to change the result in a case. It does, however, highlight how the same conduct in two different cases leads to two different results. As the report states:
Comparing How Courts Characterize Misconduct: Courts have found the same types of misconduct in both cases where convictions or sentences were set aside, mistrials declared, or evidence barred and cases where convictions were upheld. The misconduct does not determine whether a trial is called fair by a court.
Harmful Error Conduct:
Perlaza, 439 F.3d 1149 (2006)
Shifting the Burden of Proof
“That presumption [of innocence], when you go back in the room behind you, is going to vanish when you start deliberating. And that’s when the presumption of guilt is going to take over…”
Harmless Error Conduct:
Flores-Perez, 311 Fed.Appx 69 (2009)
Shifting the Burden of Proof
“when you retire to the jury room to deliberate, the presumption [of innocence] is gone. You are no longer obligated to presume innocence, but you are obligated to draw rational
conclusions from the evidence.” (at 71)
There are several more examples listed. I understand that there are more factors in a case examined by judges than the simple quotes listed by the report authors. Still, why would one be harmless error and the other not? So, is it Equal Justice Under the Law, or Equal Justice Under the Luck of the Draw? [MG]
Why Can't Johnny Research Practice Law? The legal education system has broken the Social Contract
“The law schools excuse themselves by saying they are only supposed to teach legal theory. But who, and by what right, established that rule?” Sounds timely considering today's criticism of the legal academy but that statement was published almost 60 years ago. See Arch M. Cantrall, Law Schools and the Layman: Is Legal Education Doing Its Job? 38 A.B.A.J. 907, 908 (1952). In 2007, Hofstra law prof Richard K. Neumann Jr. wrote
[I]n the present situation we are not obligated to produce graduates fully educated in how to practice a profession. In comparison with medical and architecture schools, law schools in some but not all ways resemble graduate liberal arts departments — even though, unlike graduate liberal arts departments, we live off a revenue stream that is guaranteed because the degree we confer is a requirement of licensure. ... We accept all this as normative, even though it is inconsistent with education in the other professions and inconsistent with the ways lawyers are educated in most other industrialized countries.
Neumann compares medical and architecture schools educational and accreditation requirements with law schools in detail in Osler, Langdell, and the Atelier [SSRN] observing
Architecture and medicine are particularly apt for comparison with law. They are “hard” professions, requiring mastery of a great deal of specialized knowledge and skill for a practitioner to reach effectiveness. The licensing exams in both architecture and medicine (particularly the process of board certification) are, in fact, much more difficult than the bar exam. And the consequences of professional failure in all three fields can be catastrophic — failure of a building, loss of health, or loss of property or freedom.
The comparison reveals what is readily apparent, namely, despite the consequences of professional failure, very little skills learning is required in law schools while skills learning is at the core of both medical and architectural education, accreditation and licensure.
One current objection from the legal academy to the call for legal education reform is the costs associated. Neumann observes that the cost is "tiny" compared to the expense in medical schools, "which must own or affiliate with teaching hospitals and must support the extraordinarily expensive equipment, layers of bureaucracy, and support staff normally found in a hospital." End of argument.
About accreditation, Neumann writes
Law’s accreditation standards have one of the sketchiest sets of curricular requirements in the professions. ... Both medicine and architecture expect every student to learn those things, at least to the extent that a student can learn them. Although architecture and medicine have incorporated those inventories into their accreditation standards, law has not.
Neumann uses architectural schools for illustration:
When inspected for accreditation purposes ... an architecture school has the burden of proving that its students are learning everything listed in the Student Performance Criteria. During the site visit, the school must provide the inspection team with a room filled with a representative sample of student designs and other student work. The accreditation procedures set out detailed instructions on how the school must select the student work, display it, and annotate it, and they impose on inspection team members an individual and joint responsibility to assess student designs and to decide whether they demonstrate that students are learning what the Student Performance Criteria require. To appreciate this kind of site visit, imagine that (1) some version of the MacCrate Report’s Statement of Skills and Values were incorporated directly into the accreditation standards governing law schools; (2) law schools were required to produce for accreditation site teams portfolios of student work, including motions, briefs, contracts, and recordings of negotiations and simulated courtroom work; and (3) reviewing this material for compliance with the MacCrate SSV were to occupy a substantial amount of an inspection team’s time.
Imagine indeed because nothing in the current draft of the ABA's "outcomes" standard suggests anything like this is going to be required.
Neumann also observes that unlike medical and architectural schools, the undergrad prerequisites for law school adminission are, well, let's put it this way, would a grad with a BA in, oh I don't know, let's pick cultural anthropology and with no biology, chemistry, engineering or math education qualify as a top candidate for medical or architectural school because of his or her high GPA and standardized entrance exam score? Perhaps universities should convert law schools into undergraduate departments that offer a major in law for a BA followed by a legal profession infrastructure that requires rigorous practical training like some Western European countries do.
Pedagogical tweaking? Following the comparison to medical schools, Christine Nero Coughlin, Lisa McElroy and Sandy Patrick focus on the “see one, do one, teach one” approach used in medical education "because of its broad potential applicability in legal education, especially insofar as it seeks to hone students’ inductive and deductive analytical skills. Because medical students and law students develop early professional reasoning skills in parallel ways, successful medical school pedagogy may be particularly applicable to the law school setting." Quoting from the abstract. See See One, Do One, Teach One: Dissecting the Use of Medical Education’s Signature Pedagogy in the Law School Curriculum, 26 Georgia State University Law Review 36 (2010) [SSRN]. Good luck with trying to get the legal academy on the same page that way, particularly when a strong case can be made that the professoriate has lost its practical moorings to such as extent that the typical tenured faculty is simply not qualified. See Brent E. Newton's Preaching What They Don't Practice: Why Law Faculties' Preoccupation with Impractical Scholarship and Devaluation of Practical Competencies Obstruct Reform in the Legal Academy, 62 South Carolina Law Review __ (Nov. 2010) [SSRN].
In Search of a Socially Responsible Professional Education Model for Law. As noted above, Neuman oberves that no other industrialized democratic nation, perhaps with the exception of Canada, requires students to spend so much time receiving an academic education while offering so little skills training. Nothing new here. In fact Neuman cites Joel Seligman's The High Citadel: The Influence of the Harvard Law School which was published in 1978. He does not offer a comparative analysis of US legal education and European models. But Peter Lyons calls for one in his contribution to The Future of Legal Education: A Skills Continuum (White Paper Prepared by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2009), "Study and Mirror Effective Components of the UK Law Society Model":
The UK Law Society Model provides important parallels and contrasts to the system currently in place in the US. In particular, with a focus on providing the type of practical, real-world skills training that enable the transition from law student to fully-billable and productive lawyer, we believe a careful review and analysis of the ongoing changes in the UK could provide important insight into needed changes, both in content and in concept, to the U.S. methods.
What's noteworthy is that Lyons' recommendation is a call for the legal academy, bar associations and CLE providers to work together to produce structural reforms. That, however, may require reaching a broader consensus, one that includes the bench and bar more generally, namely a national Standard of Practice for U.S. Attorneys. Steve Gibson, COO of NITA, characterizes this as "[p]erhaps the most far-reaching and simultaneously least tangible of our recommendations" in his contribution to The Future of Legal Education: A Skills Continuum (White Paper Prepared by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2009).
Personally I have little faith in the ABA promulgating accreditation standards producing substantive reforms and little hope that the more comprehensive and systematic recommendations offered by Lyons and Gibson will yield anything productive whatsoever. Ah, wait, let me qualify that -- unless the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States chairs a blue-ribbon commission intent on structurally reforming legal education. Everyone listens and acts when the CJ speaks, right? For now, it is fair to conclude that the legal education system has broken the Social Contract.
“Society’s contract with the law schools is to train lawyers, not to produce half-lawyers, taught some of the theories of the law but not how to put those theories into practice.” -- Arch M. Cantrall
Law Schools and the Layman: Is Legal Education Doing Its Job? 38 A.B.A.J. 907 (1952).
End note This concludes our four-part Why Can't Johnny Research Practice Law series of posts. Earlier posts are listed below:
- Would you hire a law prof to represent you?
- Academic law libraries are not wasting a perfectly good recession to develop collections that look more "real world."
- Is Johnny thinking like "Chad," the LRW instructor, instead of thinking like a law librarian?
And yes, I intentionally decided to open and close with quotes from Cantrall. Why? Because 1952, the year his ABA Journal article was published, is the year of my birth and I expect nothing to have changed when the year of my death is engraved on my tombstone. [JH]
A Quick Look at Google Instant: Just keep typing!
Following up on Mark Giangrande's Short Takes On The News (Aug. 23, 2010), Google Instant is the recently launched search feature that displays search results as you type. It is available (read default) for web searches and some specialized searches like Google Books. See image right for the display after starting a search for The Bramble Bush by typing 'bram" -- in other words, keep typing! Google Instant apparently is not available for GLOJ, at least not yet.
According to the Google Official Blog post, Search: now faster than the speed of type, benefits include
Dynamic Results - Google dynamically displays relevant search results as you type so you can quickly interact and click through to the web content you need.
Predictions - One of the key technologies in Google Instant is that we predict the rest of your query (in light gray text) before you finish typing. See what you need? Stop typing, look down and find what you’re looking for.
Scroll to search - Scroll through predictions and see results instantly for each as you arrow down.
See also the following Google post, Fly through your Instant search results with keyboard nav.
In SEO Experts Examine Early Findings on Google Instant, Josh Braaten reports
Think about Google Instant as you plan out the content of your site. Longer keyword phrases typically convert much better and can often come with less competition than shorter keyword phrases. And now it seems as though Google is introducing changes to promote longer searches.
Keyword phrase length was one important topic, but the real speculation centered on the effects of the new user interface of Google Instant. As we type, more paid search results and the top several organic rankings for head terms have a greater chance of peeling off search users from long-tail terms as they dynamically generate as users type.
Steve Matthews identifies some of the issues that merit attention with Google's recent implementation of this default setting search query feature in his LLRX post, Google Instant and Legal Search. [JH]
Opening: Jones Day Washington Office Library Services Manager
The international law firm of Jones Day is seeking a Washington Office Library Services Manager who will be responsible for the complete operation of the Washington office library. The Library Services Manager must positively support the growth and development of the Jones Day global library structure in a manner which fulfills the needs of the Washington office and consistent with the Firm's vision and values. Primary responsibilities include budget management; personnel supervision; and managing all aspects of library service delivery for the Washington Office. The Library Service Manager must demonstrate initiative; set priorities; ensure timely and accurate completion of assignments; and oversee compliance by the library with Firm and Office policies and procedures. In addition, this position requires one to serve as a positive role model for the library staff providing on-the-job training, mentoring, and staff development.
Candidates must possess an MLS degree or equivalent, JD preferred; a minimum of 7 years of law firm library experience and 5 years of supervisory experience. Please send cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to washingtonhr(at)jonesday.com. Principals only; EOE
October 5, 2010
When Is eReserves Like Illegal File Sharing?
There is a case out of the Northern District of Georgia where three academic publishers (Cambridge, Oxford, and Sage) are suing Georgia State University for copyright infringement because the University places excerpts of their publications on electronic reserve without paying a fee. The publishers are not seeking monetary damages but rather injunctive and declaratory relief. The case is not about a single incident or publication, but about the fair use policy for academic use at Georgia State. By implication it becomes a case about every academic institution's policy for copyrighted materials used as course readings. Where is that line between fair use and infringement? So far, the Court has ruled more favorably than not for the University.
Cambridge et al. sued on three different theories: direct copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement, and vicarious copyright infringement. The order issued by the Court on October 1 addressed these and other issues in cross motions for summary judgment. Some of these other issues included whether sovereign immunity shielded the Board of Regents from suit (in this case, not), and which University copyright/fair use policy was at issue. GSU revised its policy in February 2009. The plaintiffs brought their suit against incidents before and after the revision. The Court limited the suit to incidents after the revision.
The plaintiffs claimed that direct infringement was provable through the doctrine of respondeat superior. The Court said that despite arguments about alleged infringement occurring within our without the scope of employment, respondeat superior only enables indirect liability. The doctrine, therefore, was not applicable.
The Court concludes that Defendants cannot be held directly liable for any copyright infringements which may have occurred after the 2009 Copyright Policy was enacted. Georgia State as an entity is not capable of copying or reproducing copyrighted materials or making the individual fair use determinations. This must be done through its agents. Further, Georgia State cannot be held directly liable for actions of the individual instructors through a respondeat superior theory because respondeat superior applies in the copyright context as a basis for finding vicarious liability, not direct liability. Accordingly, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to Claim 1, direct liability for copyright infringement,is GRANTED and Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment as to Claim 1 is DENIED.
The Court next tackled the vicarious liability claim. One of the requirements for imposing vicarious liability is that the infringer profit directly from the infringement. Plaintiffs argued that using current technology to attract and retain students is enough of a connection to meet that requirement. Plaintiffs also cited edited statements from a technology manager and a faculty member about the financial impact on students as a way to create that nexus. Not so, said the Court:
Overall, the evidence presented does not indicate that Defendants "profited directly from" or "had a direct financial interest in" the infringement alleged by Plaintiffs. There is absolutely no evidence in the record showing that Georgia State benefitted financially from the alleged infringements. At most, if the Court takes the inferential steps suggested by Plaintiffs, any benefit the infringement provides to students constitutes "just an added benefit" rather than a clear "draw" to Georgia State. Therefore, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as to the third claim, vicarious copyright infringement and DENIES Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment as to the third claim.
The last claim at issue, contributory infringement, is a bit trickier. As stated by the Court:
As to Claim 2, contributory infringement, the First Amended Complaint alleges that Defendants infringed Plaintiffs' copyrights "[b]y facilitating, encouraging, and inducing librarians and professors to scan, copy, display, and distribute Plaintiffs' copyrighted material included but not limited to each copyrighted work identified on Exhibit 1 -on a widespread and continuing basis via the Georgia State University website and other Georgia State computers and servers. . . ."
* * * *
Plaintiffs contend that contributory liability is established solely by Defendants' undisputed knowledge of the electronic distribution of their works and the fact that Defendants have the authority and ability to remove infringing material from ERes and uLearn. They argue that they need not show that Defendants induced or caused the infringing activity in order to be held contributorily liable, and that the following is sufficient to constitute "material contribution": Defendants' provision of the "site and facilities" for the electronic distribution of copyrighted materials; Defendants' failure to remove "infringing works"; Defendants' encouragement of the use of ERes and uLearn; and Georgia State's failure to pay permission fees to distribute Plaintiffs' works (or to establish a budget dedicated to doing so). The Court disagrees.
The Court noted in its disagreement that the electronic reserve system has more "significant non-infringing uses," citing the Sony Betamax case. The Court also notes the Grokster case where the Supreme Court held that though a system may have dual uses, when combined with active promotion to use the system to infringe copyright, liability would attach. Nonetheless, the Court did not view the electronic reserve system as one promoting infringement:
Here, the evidence indicates that ERes and uLearn have significant noninfringing uses. They can be used to facilitate distribution of materials protected by fair use. They can be used to digitally distribute works for which Georgia State owns licenses. They can also be used to distribute copyrighted works with permission from the copyright holders. They can be used to distribute original materials created by the instructors or materials for which the instructors or the university owns copyrights. uLearn allows instructors to utilize a wide range of tools to manage their courses, such as discussion forums, quizzes, and announcement pages. None of these activities implicate copyright infringement.
Moreover, there is no indication in the record of a "clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement" by Defendants with respect to ERes and uLearn. The fact that no budget exists to pay permissions fees for electronic postings cannot be said to encourage unlawful conduct. Indeed, the instructors testified that if they determined that a use of a work was not fair such that permissions fees must be paid, they would simply elect not to use the work [citations to the record omitted]. The fact that Georgia State administrators encourage the use of electronic systems such as ERes and uLearn also does not constitute a material contribution to copyright infringement, since these systems allow for significant non-infringing uses as described above.
The contributory infringement claim will go to trial, however, as the question remains as to whether the current copyright policy encourages improper application of the fair use defense. The policy in question is attached to the order as an appendix. The opinion is available from Justia with attachments. There is an excellent discussion of this case by Kevin Smith on the blog Scholarly Communications @ Duke. Hat tip to him for noting the issues. The current Georgia State University Copyright Policy is here. This case will have national impact at its conclusion. [MG]
Free PDF Casebooks via SSRN
See North Dakota law prof Eric Johnson's blog post about his recently released free, downloadable torts casebook. The first volume, now available on SSRN, covers negligence and health care liability. Johnson plans to complete a freely downloadable second volume for Spring 2011. Volume Two will include intentional torts, strict liability, economic torts, dignitary torts and a few other subjects.
In his post, Johnson notes that he was inspired by New Hampshire law prof Thomas Field's Fundamentals of Intellectual Property: Cases & Materials, which is a free download from SSRN. Field has also made available on SSRN his Introduction to Administrative Process: Cases & Materials. Both titles were once published by Carolina Academic Press but "the author, now holding the copyright, can revise it more frequently."
Production of Casebook PDFs. Certainly we should applaud law profs Eric Johnson and Thomas Field for all the hard work they put into creating and then freely distributing their casebooks but I was disappointed when I discovered that no internal navigation links were embedded in the PDFs. Links to web access for the full texts of excerpted materials would also be a plus but that does take one hellva lot of work! Bookmarking the PDFs at the chapter level, however, does not. Got an RA? Sit him or her in front of a computer to take advantage of the software by doing a little editorial production work when creating PDFs for electronic distribution. [JH]
IDEO’s Vision for the Future of the Book
Hat tip to Jason Wilson for calling attention to IDEO's vision for the future of the book. "The interesting thing about their concepts—Nelson, Coupland, and Alice—is that each attempts to extend what we think about reading," writes Jason. Here's the video. [JH]
October 4, 2010
Quick: Friday Fun Right Now! As in before Disney lawyers' takedown notice vaporizes "Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck in Right Wing Radio"
Well, the description for the YouTube video below cannot be vaporized. A big hat tip to LLB's co-editor, Mark Giangrande. [JH]
This is a re-imagined Donald Duck cartoon remix constructed using dozens of classic Walt Disney cartoons from the 1930s to 1960s. Donald's life is turned upside-down by the current economic crisis and he finds himself unemployed and falling behind on his house payments. As his frustration turns into despair Donald discovers a seemingly sympathetic voice coming from his radio named Glenn Beck.
Watch Out WLN, Fastcase, Casemaker, Loislaw, Here Comes Lexis Advance for Solos
On 3 Geeks, Greg Lambert does an excellent job at describing Lexis Advance for Solos, the first release of the from-the-ground-up new Lexis Advance platform. Future market segment versions to come. Lexis Advance for Solos is a web-based interface delivering LexisNexis content in XML markup language over a .NET architecture.
Like Greg, I was impressed after reviewing the product demo last week. Pricing is right -- Lexis Advance for Solos offers an attractive flat-rate monthly price, starting at $175 per month for one attorney, and $140 per month for the second attorney with one, two, or three-year licensing options -- particularly for what one is getting. All primary legal sources, plus comprehensive Shepards in a more user-friendly display, LN Court-Link content, and more. A selection of LN's most frequently used secondary sources displayed with easier internal navigation at no cost during the introductory offer is available based on one's selection of available licensing options. I would like to see more state-focused practitioner secondary sources for this particular market and, perhaps, we will.
Something like 1,200 LN staffers worked on the project; a job very well done. Adoption will not be frustrated by the sort of marketing and pricing scheming we saw with the release of WLN. Like Greg (and quoting from his post):
I was relieved and impressed that LexisNexis would come right out and say "this is our price." This isn't just the "street value" of the product, it is the actual "take it or leave it" price. Local sales reps do not have any authority to negotiate pricing (up or down). Again, after dealing with the WestlawNext pricing issues, and then having the sales force turned loose on the law firms with orders to basically "get as much as you can from them," this was a huge relief to hear that LexisNexis wouldn't be taking this type of approach on its new platform.
Lexis Advance for Solos is targeted to compete in the solo-"duo" market with Fastcase, Casemaker, Loislaw and yes WLN, which may be that service's current largest subscriber base if we include very small firms. Like Greg, I think LN has a winner: excellent selection of resources and tools, user-friendly features and attractive predictable pricing is key to this market segment. See his Lexis Advance for Solos: What It Is... What It Does... And, Yes... Even What It Costs for a detailed overview of this new service. See also Sean Doherty's LexisNexis Rolls Out Lexis Advance for Solos on Law.com. [JH]
PACER User Assessment Survey Findings Released
The Judicial Conference of the United States recently released the findings of a year-long PACER user assessment survey. 86% of participants were satisfied with PACER, 9% were dissatisifed. Areas of system improvement noted by the Report authors, Pacific Consulting Group, included (1) searching across cases, across courts, and getting the desired results; and (2) consistency across courts in terms of information and interface.
The press release notes that three improvements have been made since March, 2010 and indicates that more improvements are planned. The May 2010 redesign of the PACER website was a major step in making information more easily accessible.
With a hat tip to Gary Price's always timely Resource Shelf post about the release of this Report, here are some screen captures from the powerpoint stack of the PACER Service Assessment Findings (Sept. 2010). [JH]
Like the Military, Is It Time to Call Up the Reserves Retired to Conduct SCOTUS Business?
In a recent LLB post, Kagan Applies for a Part-time Job, Vicki Szymczak noted that "our newest Supreme Court justice has recently recused herself from an additional ten cases slated to be heard in the coming Supreme Court term, her first term on the venerated bench. This will bring the total number of cases (so far) up to 21, or slightly more than 50% of the 40 cases currently granted writ for this term. ... Justice Kagan excused herself from the first eleven cases because she was the counsel of record. These ten new cases are those where, in her role as Solicitor General, either authorized or did not authorize government involvemend in lower court litigation."
So who is going to pick up the slack? Time to call back retired SCOTUS justices, O'Connor, Souter, and Stevens. Constitutional Law Prof Blog is reporting that Senator Patrick Leahy has introduced a Bill which would allow this to happen. Well, this could upset the political balance of power that is the SCOTUS appointment game. It's unlikely the bill will receive any attention during the upcoming lame duck session of the 111th Congress but it would be interesting to watch each political party's maneuvering on the issue if it did.
End note. The Supreme Court formally welcomed Justice Elena Kagan to the bench on Friday in a ceremony in the Court chamber that marked the third time she has been sworn in as the 100th SCOTUS associate justice. See BTL's Obama Looks On As Kagan Takes Her Place on the Bench. [JH]
October 3, 2010
Is the Drug Industry Promoting a Widely Used But Inaccurate Heart Attack Risk Calculator to Promote Cholesterol-Lowering Meds Sales?
On HealthLawProf Blog, Katharine Van Tassel is reporting on a new study which suggests a commonly used web tool misclassifies the heart attack risk of 15 percent of the people who use it. "This tool improperly pushes almost four million people into a higher risk category which means that these people are more likely to be treated with medication." The American Heart Association, the Mayo Clinic and many drug companies use the tool. Here it is. Van Tassel reports this equally user friendly tool is far more accurate. [JH]