October 30, 2010
First Law Firm with Drive-Thru Service?
The Kocian Law Group has taken over a former fast food joint for a branch office of sorts. Clients can pick up and deliver documents via the drive-thru window staffed by a paralegal who is also available to answer some questions. While the media is having fun with this story (titles or subtitles containing references to "fries" aplenty), the firm makes a good point for explaining why. "We represent a lot of injured people," [Nick] Kocian said. "If you have somebody who's in a wheelchair or somebody who's hurt, it's convenient." Quoting from this NBC story which includes a video. Hat tip to former LLB co-editor Ron Jones. [JH]
October 29, 2010
Is AALL Lobbying Against Free Online Law Services?
A Oct. 27, 2010 tweet from Carl Malamud:
Amazed AALL lobbyists making rounds on Hill arguing against free law services like Justia because they aren't "trustworthy."
Context? I'm thinking (hoping) AALL was lobbying for authentication. [JH]
Friday Fun: The Haunted Meeting
Fire up that Powerpoint! There's no such thing as a bad idea in a staff meeting. Let's have a 2-fer, a meeting and a conference call at the same time. It's the haunted meeting from the Bob & Tom Show. [JH]
Students Prefer pTextbooks over eTextbooks
Hat tip to Villanova Law prof Louis J. Sirico on Legal Skills Prof Blog for calling attention to a recent consumer study conducted by the National Association of College Stores which found that 76% of surveyed students prefer pTextbooks over eTextbooks. About 13% of the students reported that they purchased an eBook in the past three months, most because it was required by their professors. But "some students uncomfortable with the technology and fear that they might lose something." (Quoting Elizabeth Riddle, the Association's Consumer-Research Manager) in Students Remain Reluctant to Try E-Textbooks, Survey Finds (The Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 26, 2010).
The findings are contrary to my own admittedly anecdotal evidence where even 4-5-6 years ago law students I knew want e-texts instead of or in addition to pBooks assigned for law school classes. But they are wanted eBooks in text-editable formats, not just to highlight and annotate but also to copy and paste text into the course outlines they were preparing.
The National Association of College Stores survey found that only 8 percent of students owned an eReader such as a Kindle or Sony Reader and also reported that the most popular device listed for electronic reading was the iPhone. The Association expects eTextbook sales to grow as profs and students become more comfortable with the format. According to Elizabeth Riddle, "[w]e definitely are expecting an increase—of probably 10 to 15 percent by 2012." [JH]
Evolution Can Be a Bitch
Hey, I'm only quoting from a heading used in a Nov. 2010 AALL Spectrum article. It must be OK to use the B-word when AALL publishes it, right? The article, Hula Hooping with the Alphabets, outlines differences and similarities between Gen Xers and Gen Yers. "Both groups have joined their elders in the workplace and share the same ambitions and aspirations with the same energy as the boomers who set the precedent in earlier days." Ah, those earlier days... .
In what to my mind is certainly a comment on Greg Lambert's post, This Isn't Your Daddy's Law Library! - Time For a Law Library Revolution!, comes this snip:
There are those of you who think of knowledge management (KM) and competitive intelligence (CI) as lost skirmishes, but there is also truth in the saying that sometimes we lose a battle but not the war. Both KM and CI have a new suaveness, not just for attorneys but also for their law firm clients, as they affect cost and profit.
There is always a new frontier to forge and to conquer. For example, what about the law firm workflow process and, more importantly, government risk compliance? Doesn’t the library touch both? We house the regulations and monitor the new sources, so why are we not part of these processes? What better way to elevate the library than to make it the research regulatory center?
Make the law library the what? Greg, buddy, but not bastard son (echoing AALL use of the B-word for PC CYA both sexes, if not gender ID, purposes) you are a BigLaw librarian circa-now. Perhaps you can explain "research regulatory center" to this rapidly aging and decrepit Boomer BigLaw librarian circa-1980s. I lived through the identity crisis when law libraries became legal information and/or legal research centers so I've got plenty of experience with the whole "center" thing and it's not that I think this is a bad idea per se. But what the hell is a research regulatory center?
I have to say this is one of the oddest AALL Spectrum articles I've ever read. It's almost stream of (un)consciousness in its references to farming, war, and IKEA. Yes, IKEA.
When you buy a drill from a hardware store, you are not paying for a drill but rather the opportunity to make holes. While the initial purchase price is high, a drill is one tool that can be used to make many holes—and there is considerable value in this. But do we really need an overly full toolbox? Do we need to pay heed to the salesperson trying to fill that toolbox with items we don’t need? Can anyone say IKEA?
The IKEA quote immediately preceded the KM-CI-"research regulatory center" snip quoted from the article and this entire discussion was under the heading "So…IKEA Anyone?"
Then it dawned on me. You see, the author of this AALL Spectrum "Perspective" piece is Linda G. Will, owner of Will Legal Resources (or Will Resources) in Minneapolis, a consulting firm, who was a Thomson Reuters consultant in 2009-10 and law firm librarian from 1994 to 2008 [Linkedin profile]. The last time she appeared in a Spectrum article, it was one she co-authored for the Sept./Oct. 2009 issue with Michael Orrick, then VP of Law Firm Markets Sales & Account Management, West North America Legal, entitled Leveraging the Synergy of the Librarian and the Vendor. LLB post re same here. To the best of my knowledge, meaning I'm not wasting any time researching this, Will is probably the only person who got a 2-fer from AALL -- two articles, not columns, published in AALL's best print ad revenue generator, Spectrum, in the last 12-13 months.
And then this strange little AALL Spectrum article starting making sense. You see, as I was reading this article, one question kept nagging at me. Why the parenthetical in one sentence in the second paragraph which opened an article that kept refering to we as in "we as librarians"? (That's a direct quote.)
[L]aw librarians are at a “tipping point” of significant change, and those in leadership roles (including vendors) are wondering which way it will tip.
Talk about "hula hooping;" research regulatory center - high purchase price of a drill - smaller toolbox - IKEA - very expensive vendors - harvesting (farming) - competition (war). Now, that's the hula hoop graphic that should have been used in this article by the editors of our association's magazine. Brilliant; can't wait for Will's next AALL Spectrum article to appear I guess right about this time next year.
NB: I'm not saying or implying Will's latest Spectrum article was associated in any way with TR Legal; her paid-by-TR Legal 2009 Spectrum article was like a laser pointer hitting points on a marketing agenda. This one is more like a floodlight, certainly less focused on any discernable agenda. Consultants, particularly ones who self-identify as a "writer on legal information" publish to get business. Alternatively, perhaps Will really was doing a "we as librarians" think piece, perhaps even churned out because Spectrum editors asked for it. Who knows... .
But until the next article, I don't think we're talking about "affordable solutions for better living." Hell, I don't think we are talking about affordable "research regulatory centers" either. But we most definitely are talking about software apps with and without utilization of the e-law content inventory provided by legal professional service vendors like both TR Legal and LN. All things considered, by which I mean LAW.GOV, evolution can be a bitch. [JH]
October 28, 2010
More Law Graduate Job Market Commentary
Slate Magazine has jumped on the no-jobs-for-law-grads bandwagon with a story titled A Case of Supply v. Demand. Ha ha, get it, supply versus demand. It's like the title of a case. Sorry, that was my inner Yakov Smirnoff coming out. Anyway, the thrust of the story is the person at Boston College who asked anonymously for tuition spent in return for dropping out, because of the bad job market; the student in bankruptcy court who named his law school in his petition because his school knew or should have known that he couldn't repay his student loans; NALP statistics that show the class of 2009 with only 88.3% holding employment, and about a quarter of those positions were temporary or low pay; and finally the paper (via SSRN) by David McGowan (University of San Diego School of Law) and Bernard A. Burk (Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance) who argue that the market for law grads is so bad that some of the lesser law schools might have to close.
I agree that the job prospects for those currently in law school are disconcerting. In one sense I am glad that Slate and other outlets publish this type of commentary. Otherwise, students and potential applicants complaining about the lack of jobs wouldn't have notice of what to expect when undertaking a really expensive curriculum with uncertain prospects. That said, law school applications are up and new schools are popping up. I don't understand why that is despite dire warnings from Slate and other news outlets. Prospective law students should take some time to research both the quality of their potential programs, and they shouldn't mislead themselves as to what happens at graduation. Take some personal responsibility over choices instead of blaming the schools. Law school is very expensive. The job market is bad. Now you know. [MG]
Unmasking the Ego at Durham
On Friday, Duke Law held a conference, Implementing the Durham Statement: Best Practices for Open Access Law Journals. It was a full house with student law review editors, law librarians, law review advisers, publishers, and others who are interested in open access and legal publishing crammed in a large classroom at Duke. Don't get me wrong, I was quite comfortable and can't complain about access to endless cups of coffee for free. There was a lot covered at the conference, and I don't plan on getting into all of that. If you're curious, you can watch the recordings of Part I and/or Part II. I intend only to point out one (of the few) conclusions reached at the conference.
On November 7, 2008, the library directors from University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, New York University, Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, the University of Texas, and Yale University met in Durham, North Carolina at the Duke Law School met to draft the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship. It was published on February 11, 2009. The statement had two objectives: (1) to have law schools commit to providing open access to their law journals (2) to end the publication of law journals in print and move to an all digital model. (In my mind, this would make the world shine a little brighter.) My understanding is that there were originally sixteen signatories to the statement, but many more have since signed. (And you can too). Since the publication of the statement, not one law journal which provides readers a copy of their issues in print have stopped their presses. On a practical level, this means nothing to me. I work in an academic law library which does not subscribe to the print publication of a single law journal. We have access to things like Westlaw, Lexis, Heinonline, ProQuest, JStor, and EBSCO Host. If we don't have something, we can get it.
However, on a theoretical level, I am disheartened. I almost always read law journal articles only when I am trying to uncover knowledge of a specific subject matter. Should we have print copies of law reviews, I would not endeavor to roam the shelves and pick a volume at random and start reading. Nor would I make it a habit to regularly read a single title. I don't even read my alma mater's Rutgers Law Journal. While not exclusive, my use of law review articles is done in the course of researching a specific are of law; and I suspect that is the case for most practitioners. When I do search for law review articles, I use online tools such as WEXIS or Hein. In any case, I require only the single article in a digital format – though I prefer PDF as a general rule. I’m not sure that I have ever needed an original print copy of a law journal issue save to show my students and say, "Um, this is what it looks like."
The conclusion reached at Durham as to why most journals are reluctant to move to an all digital open-access format is the fear of losing prestigious authors. The journal editors seem to believe that if they go all-digital, prestigious authors might be view the electronic-only journal to be less prestigious than a journal in print and not want to submit their work to the electronic journal. In turn, they believe that losing prestigious authors would make their journals less prestigious. So the fight is against two egos: (1) the egos of the authors; and (2) the egos of the editors.
I don’t know of any evidence that any author (prestigious or not) would refrain from having their work published in an electronic-only journal. And even if that were so, does it matter? If a journal’s prestige is linked primarily to its impact factor, all a journal needs to do is publish timely, well-researched, well-written articles on issues of importance to courts, practitioners and other academics. Rarely do I include the name of the author in one of my searches. It is subject matter for which I am concerned, and the well-researched, well-written articles make it to my final results (should I need to choose). Assuming, however, that the prestige of authors might actually matter when it comes to impact factor, I think a study is in order. (It can be as easy as polling the authors of article from the top 20 to 30 highest ranked journals in the last few years as to whether the fact of the journal being absent a print medium would matter to them). I submit that I don’t think it would matter to most of them. Right now, however, all we have is editor fear; and, moreover, that fear lies entirely in narcissism. So maybe we have another conclusion, i.e., law review editors are inherently narcissistic.
I’m tending to think that LMU Law Review should publish their first issue in print, and then cease all print publications from there on out, making them the first print law review to go all digital. Of course, that would be hippocritical since we don’t carry print journals in our library. (Which leads us to another question: how much power do libraries have over their schools’ journals – my guess is mostly none).
In the end I can only offer my advice: authors write, editors publish; do us all a favor and save some trees.
Well, I can say one other thing: good conference, Danner. Thanks. (DCW)
Starting to Fill the Practical Skills Niche in the Legal Blogosphere
Dennis Kennedy, who needs no introduction to most legal information professionals, recently wrote in Starting to Fill the Practical Skills Niche:
My “beat” on [Legal Skills Prof Blog] will, not surprisingly, given my long history of writing and speaking about legal technology, focus on technology aspects of law practice and legal education, and ways we can teach and, most importantly, learn about technology. Ideally, we can all learn from each other.
I’ll admit to being a technology advocate. I can assure you that you won’t ever see my advocating a prohibition on the use of laptop computers in the classroom.
:) IMHO, the best way to get law students to stop surfing the Internet, playing online poker, Facebooking and tweeting in class is for law profs to give interesting lectures. The call for banning laptops because they are a "distraction in the classroom" may be because lectures aren't stimulating active listening and class participation. My opinion, not Kennedy's. [JH]
Law Student Research Competency Task Force Hosts Live Online Discussion - Nov 1st-12th
Please join the Law Student Research Competency Task Force for an online discussion November 1-12. The task force would like to engage in a dialogue with members about legal research competency standards for law students. The results of the discussion will be used to prepare a report for the AALL Executive Board, in accordance with the task force's charge. This report will be the basis of an anticipated partnership with the ABA to set standards for law schools in the teaching of legal research. The task force’s charge can be found at http://www.aallnet.org/committee/res_stds.asp
Please sign up to join the discussion. To sign-up, click on http://share.aallnet.org/read/all_forums/subscribe?name=lsrc If you have any questions, please contact Sally Wise at email@example.com [BA]
Not Just True but Tried: Darnton on the Prospects for a National Digital Library
"Despite the complexities, the fundamental idea of a National Digital Library (or NDL) is, at its core, straightforward. The NDL would make the cultural patrimony of this country freely available to all of its citizens," writes Robert Darnton, Harvard University Library Director and Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor, on NYR Blog. A snip:
I don’t want to minimize those problems, but I think we should approach them with a can-do spirit. After all, we have acquired a great deal of experience with digitization. Every research library has developed digital projects, some of them on a very large scale. And libraries have cooperated with one another and with outside agencies in all sorts of initiatives that could be useful and instructive in the creation of a National Digital Library. Think of the HathiTrust, the Internet Archive, the Knowledge Commons Initiative, the California Digital Library, the Digital Library Federation, the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, and other nonprofit enterprises. They have opened many routes toward what could be a common goal.
Moreover, we can learn from the experience of other countries. Virtually every developed country has launched some kind of national digital library, and many developing countries are doing the same. They have worked through all sorts of problems and have arrived at viable solutions. If they have not come up with one model that fits countries of all sizes, they have demonstrated that the idea of a national digital library can be put into practice. It is not just true but tried.
See also Jennifer Howard's interview with Robert Darnton in One Step Closer to a National Digital Library (Chronicle of Higher Education). [JH]
The Google Book Settlement as Copyright Reform: On Google's possible motivation to settle the Authors Guild lawsuit
Berkeley Law Prof Pamela Samuelson has made her forthcoming Wisconsin Law Review article, The Google Book Settlement as Copyright Reform, available on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
An intriguing way to view the proposed settlement of the copyright litigation over the Google Book Search (GBS) Project is as a mechanism through which to achieve copyright reform that Congress has not yet and may never be willing to do. The settlement would, in effect, give Google a compulsory license to commercialize millions of out-of-print books, including those that are “orphans” (that is, books whose rights holders cannot readily be located), establish a revenue-sharing arrangement as to these books, authorize the creation of an institutional subscription database that would be licensed to libraries and other entities, resolve disputes between authors and publishers over who owns copyrights in electronic versions of their books, provide a safe harbor for Google for any mistakes it might make in good faith as to whether books are in the public domain or in-copyright, and immunize libraries from secondary liability for providing books to Google for GBS, among other things.
This Article explains why certain features of U.S. law, particularly copyright law, may have contributed to Google’s willingness to undertake the GBS project in the first place and later to its motivation to settle the Authors Guild lawsuit. It then demonstrates that the proposed settlement would indeed achieve a measure of copyright reform that Congress would find difficult to accomplish. Some of this reform may be in the public interest. It also considers whether the quasi-legislative nature of the GBS settlement is merely an interesting side effect of the agreement or an additional reason in favor or against approval of this settlement.
Opening: Head of Public Services, Touro Law Center
The Gould Law Library of Touro Law Center is accepting applications for the position of Head of Public Services. The successful candidate will work directly with the library director, Associate Dean April Schwartz, to build upon a tradition of excellent service to law students, faculty, administrators, Friends of the Library, and Alumni Association members.
Touro Law Center is located in Central Islip, on the south shore of Long Island, an hour from New York City. Fifty full-time law faculty members provide a practice-oriented educational curriculum to approximately 800 students in both full-time day and part-time evening programs. The library contains over 450,000 volumes and equivalents, and provides access to myriad online subscription databases. The library staff includes ten professional librarians and fourteen support staff members. Visit http://www.tourolaw.edu for more information about Touro Law Center.
The Head of Public Services manages the Reference and Circulation Departments, providing leadership and policy planning for these departments in close cooperation with the library director. This person supervises or oversees the supervision of four reference librarians, two reference assistants, the Head of Circulation, four library assistants, the Evening/Weekend Circulation Librarian, and a student Research Assistant. S/he will maintain written policies and procedures for the two departments, and will arrange for continuing professional development and training opportunities. The Head of Public Services also coordinates the library’s research instruction program, which includes one-credit legal research specialty courses (such as New York Legal Research, and Foreign & International Legal Research), guest appearances in first-year Legal Process classes and upper-level courses, and occasional brownbag lunch presentations. The Head of Public Services also oversees the library’s faculty services, coordinating numerous projects related to faculty teaching and writing, and the training of faculty research assistants. This person will participate in faculty committees at Touro Law Center, will contribute time to professional organizations, and will contribute to the written scholarship activities of Touro Law Center.
The salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. Benefits include medical and life insurance, and disability benefits. The search committee will review applications immediately.
Required Qualifications: J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school; M.L.I.S. or equivalent degree from an ALA-accredited school; minimum of three years of academic law library experience with a record of increasing responsibility; knowledge of traditional and online legal resources; excellent written and oral communication skills; strong interpersonal and organizational skills; and teaching experience.
Preferred Qualifications: Management experience; knowledge of Innovative Interfaces integrated library system; involvement in professional organizations; and a record of publications.
Send cover letter, resume, and three references to Associate Dean April Schwartz at aschwartz(at)tourolaw.edu.
Touro Law Center is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.
October 27, 2010
Glassmeyer's Using Technology to Work Collaboratively
Early in her ORALL annual meeting presentation entitled Using Technology to Work Collaboratively, Sarah Glassmeyer mentioned that all the information she was providing was posted on her blog. Good thing because that meant I could pay attention to what she was saying without trying to jot down notes because a fair number of the 23 sites she reviewed were new to me. Sites covered web-based services for scheduling, file sharing, collaborative editing, website annotation, white boards, voice/video chat, vitual meetings and social networking (no, not Facebook!) All the sites are "free…as in beer, not as in kittens" to quote Sarah. Highly recommended; just click on the above link to check them out. [JH]
Is the Legal Academy "Big But Brittle" in the New Economy?
In ABA Weighs Required Disclosure of Law School Job Stats, More Rigorous Reporting, Debra Cassens Weiss reports that ABA President Stephen Zack says potential law students lack awareness about lawyer jobs and salaries, and the association is considering ways to correct this misimpression. This because rising law school enrollment is not a rational choice in view of current labor market conditions. See, for example, Karen Sloan's NLJ article Law school hopefuls undaunted by dim prospects. Is the ABA going to audit the data reported by the legal academy?
Wash Univ -St. Louis Law prof Brian Tamanaha recently charted the number of applicants who actually enrolled in law school and the total law related employment -- attorney and non-attorney -- from 2001 through 2009. Tamanaha observes that "while legal employment has fallen dramatically since 2007 (with a further decline in 2010), law schools, after remaining flat in 2008, increased by 5% the number of students admitted (and enrolled) in 2009" in The Irresponsibility of Law Schools. Note the title's implication. David Welker did in a comment to Tamanaha's post:
Law schools, all things being equal, SHOULD admit more students during a recession. The opportunity cost of law school for students who would otherwise be unemployed is very low. It makes sense for people who, in normal economic times would have a job and thus face a higher cost to furthering their education, to go ahead and get more education during a recession.
That comment assumes that the JD remains a golden ticket, that the on-going changes in the legal labor market and law firm-client relationship are temporary, not structually transformative. In Big But Brittle: Economic Perspectives on the Future of the Law Firm in the New Economy, [SSRN] Bernard A. Burk (Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance) and David McGowan (Univ. of San Diego School of Law) make the case that Welker's opportunity cost argument is wrong.
A law degree has enjoyed a long and widespread reputation as a “golden ticket,” and a disproportionate number of law students reportedly still believed in 2010 that, even though they doubted the prospects of their peers, they themselves would somehow win the employment lottery, or at least break even.
But the lessons of hard experience will eventually seep into the market. To the extent that market is economic and rational—and we believe that it is more than enough of both to matter—the phenomena we have discussed likely imply that there are more law schools than an increasingly competitive environment will support. Contraction in the number of schools seems probable and likely would be efficient. How far such contraction extends will be a function of the value schools find ways to deliver in relation to the particular needs and pricing of the legal labor markets. We see that dynamic playing out in two general ways [namely, applications to law school should fall and among those still committed to pursuing a legal education, there will be increased scrutiny of the value proposition particular institutions offer.]
Burk and McGowan's article is not a "BigLaw is Dead" analysis but the authors convincingly argue that reductions in transaction costs and in the cost of key inputs, primarily IT related, are helpful in explaining the trends in the staffing and pricing of legal services in recent years. BigLaw is changing and it is transformative with "profound implications for practicing and aspiring lawyers, as well as the law schools that prepare them for the increasingly competitive and increasingly global markets for their services." (Quoting from the abstract). If, as the authors predict, law school applicants will become economic and rational, one can expect applications to law school will decline.
Impacts on Law Profs and Their Current Employers. As noted above, the authors expect some law school closures. Imagine laid-off law profs sitting next to their former students performing document review work on a contract basis. Those applicants still committed to joining the legal profession will more carefully scrutinize the value particular law schools offer according to the authors:
There are a few superelite schools, perhaps as many as 20 but maybe fewer than 10, followed by a rapid flattening in the eyes of prospective consumers. Once we move out of the echelon of institutions where prestige swamps any other variable (and presumably also in distinguishing among super-elite institutions), students choosing a law school will look to other qualities. Their future relative importance is difficult to predict, but they can be broken down into benefit and cost factors in the value calculus.
Burk and McGowan predict that (1) cost considerations will become more important, and (2) the quantity and quality of entry-level placement will receive increasing weight for schools not among the super-elite, for those who want to attend law school. Burk and McGowan also predict that law profs can expect flat salaries and higher teaching loads if they are not standing in breadlines with their former students.
Needless to say, price pressures on tuition will reduce resources available for other operating costs. We suspect that faculty salaries and support will be particularly vulnerable to such pressures in the nearer term because they are generally adjustable in smaller increments and over shorter time horizons than other big-ticket items such as facilities. As legal education becomes more competitive, outside the more elite schools teaching loads may increase in order to offer a more robust curriculum (if that proves to attract students or employers) or accommodate larger numbers, while salaries stay relatively flat.
As an economic analysis, "big but brittle" is an apt characterization of the legal academy in the new economy. It makes sense. The authors' forecasts may be dead on. Some law schools may close. Faculty salaries may stagnate and teaching loads may increase. This, however, assumes that law school applicants will become rational actors who are sufficiently well informed to make economic decisions based on a cost-benefit analysis. But when employment prospects are based on "cooked" data reported by law schools and law schools compete with each other to move up a peg or two in US News rankings with no hope whatsoever of reaching elite let alone superelite top 10 or even top 20 status by increasing expeditures per student -- most easily done by hiring more faculty while reducing their teaching loads -- one has to wonder whether, to borrow from Tamanaha, the legal academy will behave responsibly or remain irresponsible over the nearer term. [JH]
Opening: Assistant/Associate Dean for Library and Information Services, Roger Williams School of Law
The Roger Williams University School of Law seeks applications for the position of Assistant/Associate Dean for Library and Information Services. Roger Williams University is a private academic institution located in the historic seacoast town of Bristol, Rhode Island, minutes from Providence and Newport and one hour from Boston. The School of Law opened in 1993 and is the only law school in the state of Rhode Island, offering future attorneys a rigorous, world-class legal education in a supportive, personalized environment. The Roger Williams University School of Law Library provides exceptional support for students and faculty through its collection, staff, and services. Support from the library has contributed to the faculty's ranking fourth among New England law schools in per capita production of original scholarship in elite law journals.
The Assistant/Associate Dean for Library and Information Services is responsible for the planning and overall administration of all operations, programs, and services of the law library, including strategic planning, collection development, personnel administration, implementation of technology, fiscal management and allocation of resources to best serve the research, teaching and scholarship needs of the faculty and students. The Assistant/Associate Dean reports directly to the Dean of the School of Law and manages a staff of six professional law librarians and five paraprofessional staff members. The Assistant/Associate Dean for Library and Information Services is a full-time member of the law faculty.
- J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school
- M.L.S. or equivalent degree from an ALA-accredited library or information science program
- Eight to ten years successful administrative experience in all aspects of library operations
- Demonstrated administrative, financial, organizational and interpersonal skills
- Ability to work collegially with law school faculty, administration, staff and students
- Knowledge of the research, teaching, educational and information technology needs of the law school
- Ability to responsibly manage a significant allocation for library expenses
- Ability to foster staff development and growth
- Ability to provide leadership in planning for law library collection and services
- Ability to teach substantive or legal research courses
Applications consisting of a letter of interest, curriculum vitae or resume, and the names and contact information of at least three professional references should be submitted electronically to http://rwu.interviewexchange.com/jobofferdetails.jsp?JOBID=21690
Roger Williams University is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer committed to inclusive excellence and encourages applications from underrepresented populations.
October 26, 2010
North Carolina Tax Request to Amazon Shot Down by District Court
North Carolina lost a summary judgment motion to Amazon today over requests for customer data on purchases made by North Carolina residents. The case involves successive data requests from the North Carolina Department of Revenue. Amazon first turned over details of around 50 million records of sales to North Carolina residents between 2003 and 2009. None of these had customer information associated with them. the NC DOR made successive requests for information which would reveal customer names and purchases. Amazon filed suit on privacy grounds. These requests were ostensibly over Amazon's tax liability, but the same information would allow NC to bill use and sales tax to its residents.
The basis of Amazon's suit was that disclosing its customer's names, addresses, and otehr personal information violates the First Amendment, parts of the Washington State Constitution, and the Video Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2710. The ACLU intervened on the side of Amazon and presented similar arguments. The NC DOL opposed summary judgment on the grounds that Amazon's claim is not ripe because no tax summons was issued. The Court disagreed, stating that Amazon did not have to wait for an injury to proceed. The NC DOR also argued that the Tax Injunction Act precluded jurisdiction. That argument failed with a large part of the opinion explaining that result.
The most important part of the opinion covers the First Amendment issue:
Amazon and the Intervenors have established that the First Amendment protects the disclosure of individual’s reading, listening, and viewing habits. For example, the Intervenors make uncontroverted statements that they fear the disclosure of their identities and purchases from Amazon to the DOR and that they will not continue to make such purchases if Amazon reveals the contents of the purchases and their identities. (Dkt. Nos. 25-29.) The DOR concedes that the First Amendment protects them from such disclosures. In fact, the DOR has repeatedly stated it does not want detailed information about purchases for fear of implicating the First Amendment. (See Dkt. No. 43 at 8.) However, DOR has consistently requested this very information by reaffirming its broad requests. At the same time, the DOR has also refused to give up the detailed product information about Amazon’s customers’ purchases. (Woodard Decl. ¶ 16.) The pending request for “all information as to all sales” by Amazon implicates the First Amendment rights of Amazon’s customers and the Intervenors. While the DOR states that it could not possibly match the names to the purchases, its promise of forbearance is insufficient to moot the First Amendment issue. See United States v. Stevens, 130 S.Ct. 1566, 1591 (2010) (stating that the Court “would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the Government promised to use it responsibly”). The Court finds the disclosure of the identities and detailed information as to the expressive content of Amazons’ customers’ purchases will have a chilling effect that implicates the First Amendment.
The Court still allows North Carolina to ask for a new information set of names, addresses, and general product information provided that the NC DOR destroys the detailed information it currently has.
Oct. 18, 2010: The Day Bloomberg Law Got Its First Parallel Citation in a Federal Court Opinion?
Apparently so, reports eagle eye Greg Lambert on 3 Geeks. If not, meaning if interested in searching for earlier ___ BL ___ cites, add them as comments to Greg's post! [JH]
Take It or Leave It from RIA: No More 1st Supplement Only Standing Orders
RIA stopped accepting "first supplement only" standing orders to their print titles (some, all?) sometime this year. News to me because for the few remaining RIA print titles we still have, we've retained them on full supplement. News to you? Apparently the answer in some instances is "yes." At least, I haven't hear that second supplements are being shipped automatically. Law libraries have a choice to make -- take it or leave it as in an all print upkeep standing order or cancel.
Many law libraries have found that multiple supplements each year for RIA titles simply aren't cost effective and have opted for "1st sup only" standing orders as a way to keep their holdings relatively current. In our current budgetary climate. one has to wonder whether RIA thinks this "take all supplements" policy change is going to generate more revenue than the loss of business from print upkeep cancellations. I guess we'll know by watching if RIA annual upkeep costs increase on a percent basis at higher than previously years rates. Would be nice to hold on to the few remaining WG&L tax and accounting titles we still have but... .
What next, a no return-for-refund/credit policy change for print upkeep from TR's Tax & Accounting? Ah, wait, I better check my next RIA shipment to see if they have one. Add WG&L to the watch closely list. Well, I know TR Legal has one, at least as of last week's shipment.
Just imagine the consequences if TR Legal went the "take it or leave it" route in 2011 by refusing to accept print upkeep returns for refunds or credits. Not saying it will happen ... doubtful (I hope) ... but someone in the land of 10,000 invoices might be crunching numbers. Frankly, those folks are pretty smart so I'm thinking the forecasted rate of print returns is probably rolled into print upkeep pricing models. I just hope they factor in recycled paper credits. [JH]
Essay Contest Launched by Public.Resource.Org to Promote LAW.GOV
On Oct. 21st, Carl Malamud announced the Law.Gov Report contest with two categories of submissions: written essay or video essay and the winner in each category will receive $5,000 with funding provided by Public.Resource.Org. From the announcement:
The topic is really quite simple: What Does Law.Gov mean? You can write about one of the principles, or all of the principles, or any other take on the topic.
Now where have I heard that question posed before? Oh yeah, here. Well, this solicitation is open to a much wider audience. Hopefully all submissions will be published. Note the liberal licensing requirement for submission acceptance. Submissions are due before Memorial Day (May 31).
The Memorial Day deadline was set so that students can consider making this a class project. We hope that professors in law schools, i-schools, journalism schools, and any other discipline will let their students know about this contest and offer them credit in their classes for preparing a submission.
Law librarians teaching ALR classes may want to follow up on the class project suggestion. I think it's a good vehicle for getting law students to start imagining the future of online legal research. Perhaps one or some of your students will be able to make a downpayment on their law school debt, too. Winners, by the way, will be announced the day after Labor Day at a prize ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Hat tip to Sarah Glassmeyer for calling the contest to my attention last Thursday while we were waiting for a LAW.GOV presentation to start at ORALL's annual meeting because I took the event as a opportunity to escape from my RSS feeds and email in-boxes. Ditto for emailing me the announcement link so I wouldn't have to rely on my always faulty short-term memory. [JH]
October 25, 2010
Once Upon (Many) a Time There Was Talk about a Reed Elsevier and Wolters Kluwer Combo
I've lost track of the number of times there has been either speculation or a distinct possibility that Reed Elsevier and Wolters Kluwer would merge. Let's see... .
In the 1980s, Reed launched a hostile takeover attempt to acquire Wolters Kluwer. Hey, it was the 1980s and that's what corporations were doing. Remember the 1980's classic film Wall Street? The takeover attempt failed. Well, it was a success for M&A attorneys and arbitrage traders.
In October 1997, the companies reached an agreement in principle to merge. At the time, the merger would have created the largest trade publishing company in the world with a substantial interest in legal publishing. See Hope Viner Samborn, The Costs of Growth: Partnership of European Companies Creates Another Legal Publishing Giant, Worrying Law Librarians, ABA Journal (Jan. 1998). The merger fell apart in March 1998 because the EU Competition Committee ruled that the two companies could merge only if the combined company divested itself of a number of legal, tax and science properties. Wolters Kluwer, which was asked to sell European properties it considered essential to its main business, unsuccessfully asked Reed Elsevier to renegotiate the deal.
In January 2007, Credit Suisse informed clients a private equity bid for Reed or merger with Wolters Kluwer could generate strong returns. It was a trading moment that even traders thought was speculative at best, creating buzz to trade into pumped up buying, selling, puts or calls, covered or naked, momentum at worse. In other words, I loved this nonsense when I was trading in real time in 1998-2000!
The November 2008 announcement that Ian Smith was coming on board as Reed Elsevier CEO fueled speculation of a merger with Wolters Kluwer because of Smith's past corporate merger experience (and lack of publishing industry experience). The speculation was reinforced in April 2009 when Smith stated publicly that the Company did not exclude the possibility of such a merger. Smith was fired in November 2009, only eight months after officially taking over the reigns of the Company. Despite offical statements to the contrary, this just doesn't happen unless Read Elsevier's Chairman and Board didn't think Smith's overall strategy was heading in the wrong direction. The Company was hurting from the recession and, for several months, had been trying to sell off Reed's US Business Information unit to use the proceeds to pay off the $4.1 billion debt it racked up in the September 2008 acquisition of ChoicePoint. Erik Engstrom, CEO of Elsevier, was quickly appointed CEO of Read Elsevier.
Now we come to October 2010 and speculation that Reed Elsevier may be in the cross-hairs of Wolters Kluwer or a private equity business. Shades of January 2007. One would think Wolters Kluwer would be the more likely target of acquisition by Reed Elsevier but any such combination regardless of which company is buying the other would still face stiff EU antitrust issues like it did in 1997/98. That, however, hasn't stopped Merger Antitrust Review from quickly preparing "a report assessing the antitrust impact in the EU of a potential deal between Reed Elsevier and Wolter Kluwer, and the most likely timetable of its regulatory review."
So what do we really know? It was a deadly quiet Monday morning on the London Exchange when this speculation started in, you guessed it, London. See Idle City tongues kill time on Smiths and Reed gossip (London Evening Standard). Is Wolters Kluwer going to buy Reed Elsevier? Is some unnamed private equity business going to buy Reed Elsevier? Is Reed Elsevier going to acquire Wolters Kluwer? Hell, you might as well ask is Thomson Reuters going to buy both Reed Elsevier and Wolters Kluwer and then be acquired by Google which afterwards will be bought by Baidu.
Having searched for him hundreds and thousands of times in the crowd, suddenly turning back by chance, I find him there in the dimmest candlelight. -- Xin Qiji's Green Jade Table in The Lantern Festival
Didn't a sequel to Wall Street just come out last month? Deadly quiet Monday mornings on a stock market exchange means no news is pushing share prices for trading on up or down ticks. Nothing wakes up money like a good takeover rumor. Wait 'n see. [JH]