November 20, 2010
Dean Me: The Checkerboard World of Law School Administration
Carol Roehrenbeck (Rutgers School of Law-Newark) and Gail Levin Richmond (Nova Southeastern) have published the third in a series of plays. This one, Dean Me, [SSRN] focuses on growth in the administrative ranks in the legal academy. (Do note the stats provided in the appendix.) From the abstract:
[T]his time the stakes are higher - library layout and improved student evaluations (discussed in the previous plays) don’t involve the 'Do we really need more of THEM?' hand-wringing occasioned by new administrative hires. As the authors indicate, the increased number of administrators and use of the dean title have many explanations. Hiring freezes caused by current economic conditions may slow this growth, but there is no reason to believe it will end unless law schools stop adding services and programs to support current students and entice new ones.
November 19, 2010
On Strategic Vision: Thomson Reuters Acquires Indian Legal Process Outsourcing Firm, Pangea3; Wants to Sell BAR/BRI
Following on the heels of its recent layoff announcement, Thomson Reuters reported last evening that it is acquiring Pangea3, one of the largest legal outsourcing firms in India. Pangea3's annual revenue is estimated in excess of $25 million. The Business Standard of India values the deal at between $35 million and $40 million. From the Thomson Reuters press release:
The acquisition extends the Thomson Reuters strategy to develop world-class information, software and workflow solutions for legal professionals around the world. Pangea3 is headquartered in New York and Mumbai, India, and has 650 employees at its major delivery centers in Mumbai and New Delhi. Pangea3's client base includes Am Law 250 law firms and some of the world's largest financial services, pharmaceutical, healthcare, food and beverage, technology and consumer goods companies. The firm offers a variety of services organized into four distinct lines of business including legal document review; corporate transactions; intellectual property; and risk management and compliance.
"The addition of Pangea3 to the Thomson Reuters family creates a solid foundation in the global solutions suite that is a perfect fit in our long-term growth strategy," said Tony Abena, president and general manager, Global Legal Solutions. "With overlays in key segments including our Corporate General Counsel, IP Solutions, Governance, Risk and Compliance and Law Firm businesses, we're aligning ourselves more closely into general counsel and law firm workflows. Pangea3 brings to Thomson Reuters a broad and rapidly growing client base, and a reputation that is unmatched in the LPO marketplace. I'm very pleased to welcome the Pangea3 team to Thomson Reuters."
In November 2008, the Wall Street Journal featured Pangea3 at With Times Tight, Even Lawyers Get Outsourced.
BAR/BRI For Sale, No Longer Fits TR's Strategic Vision. ATL is reporting that one member of the "Thomson Reuters family" is about to be "disowned." TR has informed BAR/BRI employees that the Company intends to sell BAR/BRI. Current BAR/BRI students received an email on Nov. 18th:
Yesterday, BARBRI’s parent company announced that it is exploring the possible sale of the BARBRI business. ... Our parent company believes ... that bar preparation no longer fits its long-term strategic vision, which is to provide intelligent information and workflow solutions to professionals.
About these developments, ATL's Elie Mystal writes "people concerned with the long term future need for young American lawyers can’t be thrilled about this. Throwing your lot in with Pangea3, instead of bar exam behemoth that is BAR/BRI, really says a lot about where you think the future is heading." [JH]
Friday Fun: Library Closing Announcement
This is an alternative closing announcement for Stanford's Meyer Library, completed by a student in Apple GarageBand for the CS2C: Multimedia Production class at Stanford University. [JH]
Understanding Shifts in Legal Doctrine By Examining Foundational Facts
From the introduction to Vanderbilt Law prof Suzanna Sherry's very interesting forthcoming article, Foundational Facts and Doctrinal Change, [SSRN], 2011 U. Ill. L. Rev. ___ (January 2011):
Shifts in the tectonic plates under the Earth's bedrock cause earthquakes. Shifts in the tacit factual assumptions underlying legal doctrine can produce equally seismic results. This Article suggests that focusing on these hidden foundational facts—the factual assumptions on which doctrine is based—is a vital but neglected approach to understanding legal doctrine. Just as earthquakes were once the only observable sign of movement in the tectonic plates, sudden and seemingly inexplicable changes in doctrine may alert us to changes in underlying assumptions. Indeed, such shifts may sometimes trigger our first awareness that foundational facts were driving the doctrine in the first place. And because foundational facts are invisible, the judges who alter the doctrine differ from modern scientists studying earthquakes. The judges may be unaware of (or unwilling to acknowledge) either the original assumptions or their replacements. This blindness can yield a jarring discontinuity between old doctrine and new doctrine, accompanied by a denial that the doctrine is changing at all.
This Article uses these doctrinal discontinuities to challenge conventional views of legal doctrine. The usual approach to doctrine focuses on identifying and evaluating its underlying purpose and its applications. What is the doctrine designed to do and how does it function? But some—perhaps many—doctrines cannot be adequately understood or evaluated under the conventional model because they contain an additional, but hidden, element. More specifically, some doctrines are built on foundational facts: potentially contested factual assumptions that are embedded in the doctrine itself and on which the doctrine is based. Without an understanding of a doctrine's foundational facts, we have an inadequate understanding of the doctrine and its changes over time.
Foundational facts, as described in this Article, are judges' generalized, but invisible, intuitions about how the world works. They are distinguishable from judicial values because they are, at least in theory, empirically testable. Foundational facts, however, are more generalized than what might be called the decisional facts specific to each case. Whether a particular defendant acted in a particular way out of a particular motive are decisional facts (and doctrine determines what consequences will follow from those decisional facts). But the likelihood of actors in defendant's position acting in a particular way or having a particular motive is a foundational fact, and doctrinal rules—including burdens of proof and standards of review—will be structured differently depending on whether judges assume a high or low likelihood. ... Foundational facts thus drive doctrine, and are internal to it.
These foundational facts come to light only when doctrine shifts, seemingly inexplicably and often without any judicial acknowledgment that anything has changed. When assumptions about foundational facts change, doctrine shifts as well. That doctrinal shift serves as a cue to look for changed foundational assumptions that might be driving the change in doctrine. Identifying those foundational facts, in turn, allows us to better understand and evaluate both the doctrines and the underlying assumptions.
Hat tip to Civil Procedure and Federal Courts Blog. [JH]
Proposals for Second Annual Empire State Legal Writing Conference Due Dec. 20: Theme is Teaching Legal Writing Effectively to Prepare Students for Practice
Second Annual Empire State Legal Writing Conference
Teaching Legal Writing Effectively to Prepare Students for Practice
Friday, May 13, 2011
Hosted by St. John’s University School of Law
to be held at 101 Murray Street, Manhattan
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
The Second Annual Empire State Legal Writing Conference will be held at the St. John’s University campus in lower Manhattan on Friday, May 13, 2011. We invite proposals for presentations on a broad range of topics relevant to those teaching legal writing and research. We hope to provide attendees with practical teaching suggestions to implement in their own classrooms. Some possible topics include the following: experiences in the first years of teaching, preparing students for practice, best practices for teaching written legal analysis, and effective responses to student questions. We seek proposals from those who have previously presented at legal writing conferences and also from those who have not presented before. Please feel free to contact any of the Planning Committee Members so that we may assist you in developing your proposal, or if you would like to see sample proposals. Individual and panel presentations are both welcome, especially where panel members are from different schools.
Our plenary speaker this year will be Stephen Younger, Esq., President of the New York State Bar Association and partner at the law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP. He will be addressing a topic of importance to the bar and classroom: practical skills training of lawyers.
Please limit your proposal to one page, single-spaced, and include the following information:
- Presenter(s),title(s), and school affiliation(s);
- Title of proposed presentation;
- A paragraph description of proposed presentation and the teaching method for the presentation (lecture, simulation, small group exercises, etc.);
- A two-sentence summary of your presentation for the program brochure;
- Indicate whether this presentation would benefit new or experienced (or both) LRW professors;
- Time needed for presentation -- 25 minutes or 50 minutes (we will try to accommodate requests, but cannot guarantee);
- Technology needs for your presentation (please describe);
- Contact information for one presenter including email address, mailing address, and telephone number;
- State whether you have previously presented at any national or regional legal writing conferences.
The deadline for submissions is Monday, December 20, 2010. We hope to have program selection completed before the end of March. Please email Proposals as a Word Document attachment to: Robin Boyle, Conference Chair, St. John’s University School of Law, email@example.com (718) 990-6609, with a copy to Christine Patrizzo, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you. We look forward to reviewing your proposals!
|The Empire State Legal Writing Conference Planning Committee|
|Robin Boyle, St. John’s University School of Lawemail@example.com|
|Ian Gallacher, Syracuse University College of Lawfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Tracy McGaugh, Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Centeremail@example.com|
|John Mollenkamp, Cornell University Law Schoolfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Stephen Paskey, University at Buffalo Law Schooemail@example.com|
|Amy Stein, Hofstra University School of Law||Amy.R.Stein@hofstra.edu|
|Marilyn Walter, Brooklyn Law Schoolfirstname.lastname@example.org|
Opening: Technical Services Librarian, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Los Angeles
Under the supervision of the Head Librarian, the Technical Services Librarian coordinates the operation of Library Technical Services and the Integrated Library Management System (“EOS”).
- Providing leadership in the implementation, enhancement, database design and restructuring of the EOS Integrated Library Management System, and supervising the use of EOS modules for cataloging, acquisitions, reference, inter-library loans, and serials;
- Planning, coordinating and overseeing innovative development of EOS in collaboration with the Information Technology Department, EOS International, and the Firm’s library managers to meet the Firm’s library goals;
- Preparing in-house EOS training manuals and procedural manuals;
- Conducting virtual and live training sessions on the use of EOS and library cataloging;
- Managing EOS systems administration including license issues, coordination of scheduled maintenance, software updates, and trouble shooting of system failures;
- Reviewing and approving bibliographic records submitted by library staff members for inclusion in the EOS catalog database and reviewing the quality of data to ensure the consistency and accuracy of bibliographic and serial records;
- Investigating technical problems (e.g., integrating software capabilities with in-house work flow needs and complex cataloging standards) and working with library staff members to formulate creative solutions;
- Providing original and copy cataloging of monographs, serials, and electronic resources in an online environment, according to prescribed standards; and
- Prioritizing tasks and directing the workflow of library technical services.
- Communicates with library managers and library staff members, both orally and in writing, regarding the system, procedures, and local use of EOS to ensure consistency in quality of library technical services;
- Coordinates system reports and statistics;
- Takes a leadership role in defining and implementing an EOS user forum and other team structures and responsibilities;
- Completes partial cataloging records as necessary;
- Applies cataloging rules to describe and determine subject content and to establish and modify personal names, corporate names, subject headings, classification and content designation;
- Provides EOS user support, in conjunction with vendor’s user support, to the library staff members;
- Participates in testing and selection of electronic resources; and
- Performs other duties as may be assigned.
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:
- Masters Degree in Library Science (M.L.S. or M.L.I.S.)
- Minimum of (2) two years of professional law library experience; and- Lead or supervisory experience preferred but not necessary.
- Library management, including high level communication skills;
- Library of Congress Subject Headings, Classification, and Rule Interpretations;
- Anglo-American Cataloging Rules 2nd ed. revised, MARC21, and other relevant standards;
- The principles, concepts and techniques associated with descriptive and subject cataloging rules applied to multiple formats;
- Integrated library management system experience;
- Legal bibliography;
- Database structure and theory;
- Microsoft Word and Excel;
- Library ethics.
Please go to www.paulhastings.com to upload your resume.
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
November 18, 2010
NU Innocence Project Takes Another Hit From Prosecutors
I write, from time to time, on Northwestern's Innocence Project and its attempts to get Anthony McKinney a new trial. Prosecutors in the past have issued subpoenas for internal memos, class documents, notes, grades, and other materials that would otherwise not be available if the Project were McKinney's lawyer, which it is not. Prosecutors alleged at one point that the students had paid a witness for testimony. The developments in the case since seem more about the grudge between the Project and the prosecutors rather than McKinney, or any justice he may or may not be due.
The latest skirmish involves the revelation that students who interviewed a witness, a convicted murderer, had secretly recorded the conversation. Illinois law prohibits such recordings except in some circumstances. The Chicago Tribune article on the development notes that one of these exceptions is when the recorder anticipates potential bodily harm from the recordee. The students wore the wire so a private investigator would be alerted to any danger that may have arisen during the interview. It was the investigator who made the decision to make the recording. An State's Attorney said it was unlikely charges would be brought as the statute of limitations had passed.
The University has hired former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas to investigate, though David Protess, the Innocence Project Director, has said that the investigation is not focusing on ethical violations. The upshot of all of this is that the students involved in this and future investigations will be subject to limitations on their methods. This must be the aim of the prosecution as Illinois law does not automatically suppress evidence gathered in violation of the wiretapping statute (See West Topic and Key Criminal Law 394.3, which I coincidentally used as a legal research example in class.) I do agree with the commentators in the article that students need to take more care when dealing with the criminal element. It doesn't help enrollment to say a student died or injured while working on a criminal investigation no matter how well motivated to the purpose. Some day the issue of whether McKinney deserves a new trial will actually get decided. [MG]
More Than Just Librarian Relations Staffers: 60 Eagan Employees To Be Laid Off by Thomson Reuters Legal
In addition to the report of pink slips being handed out to librarian relations staff, the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal is reporting that Thomson Reuters is cutting its Eagan workforce by a total of 60 employees.
Chris Cartrett, Vice President, Sales and Account Management for Large and Medium Law Firms, "explains" the rationale behind the librarian relations layoffs on 3 Geeks. It makes for an interesting if not quite a creditable explanation.
This latest round of layoffs follows a workforce reduction over the past year or so of about 250 employers in Eagan and Rochester, NY. The fortunes of TR Legal follows those of law firms. When the legal services industry suffers an economic downturn, TR Legal can be expected to respond by cutting its labor costs. It's called "restructuring." [JH]
Oyez Project Moves to IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
Wolters Kluwer Germany Holding GmbH Acquires LexisNexis Deutschland
From Wolters Kluwer's press release:
With a workforce of over 200 employees based in Münster, LexisNexis Deutschland is a leading information and knowledge management provider with strong online legal services in the law and business segment in Germany. Under its publishing brands, which include ZAP, the business also produces legal publications in the areas of insolvency, notarial, employment, family, and social law and provides information services for the areas of public administration, health insurance funds, and human resources. The addition of LexisNexis Deutschland expands the range of publications and strengthens the online services provided by Wolters Kluwer in the German legal market. The German Business Information activities of LexisNexis with approximately 20 employees as well as use of the LexisNexis brand in Germany remain with LexisNexis International.
Hat tip to ResourceShelf. [JH]
IRS Ends Mailing Tax Package Information for Individuals
According to Notice 1400 (9-2010), the IRS will no longer mail paper tax packages, promoting e-filing of tax returns instead. From Notice 1400:
If you still wish to use a paper form, the IRS has several options available to help you obtain paper copies of individual forms and instructions, including:
● Accessing our forms and instructions online at IRS.gov. You can quickly download the latest products from our site.
● Dropping by your local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center
● Going to your local post office or library (if they participate in the federal tax products program).
If you are experiencing a hardship in obtaining paper tax forms, please call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) after January 10, 2011.
Which Government Documents Can Be Confidently Migrated to Digital Form?
Shannon E. Martin, Professor of Journalism, Indiana University, Bloomington, and Gerry Lanosga, Assistant Professor of Journalism, Ball State University, review historical uses and value of public documents to aid those responsible for describing which government documents can be confidently migrated to digital form in The Historical and Legal Underpinnings of Access to Public Documents, 102 LLJ 613 (2010). The authors present the problems for distribution and use of government documents today in the following terms:
The changing environment of government-held information from paper format to digital archive has spawned concerns from every group of stakeholders. Among the issues raised recently is that of authentication for public records distributed on the Internet. A major part of authentication is the question of legitimacy. Without paper documents in hand, and all the telltale marks those pages carry, so that we quickly notice if text has been altered or pages are missing, how can those who search the web for government documents know that what is before them is as it should be? The continuing concern about authenticity, existing today, as it did millennia ago in Athens, suggests that this element is one we consistently expect government to protect.
The concern for authenticity sometimes contravenes government efforts at efficiency and the trend of contracting with outside companies who actually do the work of data generation, collection, storage, and retrieval—that is, the privatization of government information. By the turn of the twenty-first century, many articles had been written about the issue, but few offered comprehensive solutions. One survey of state-level practices in 2000 suggested that access to government records, which were increasingly generated and held in private hands, was uneven. Some government entities were better poised to manage the private sector’s contribution across all agencies, while others relied either on the courts or on case-by-case decisions to decide when to bar access.
From this interesting article's conclusion:
The governments of working democracies, as long ago as the early Greek states, recognize the value of public access to government records as a means of keeping bureaucrats accountable for their activities, but they also understand the value of public records as a way to educate the public through authentic or official text. If we now recognize these sometimes competing interests—accountability and authenticity—when documenting government-held information, we can better address the needs of both government and the public in accessing these sorts of records.
Clearly, too, the uses of these records do affect our perception of how they should be made available. Though the text or fixed-form information may not be transformed by collection, use, or storage, the way the records affect our thinking is changed. The immediacy of online distribution may create instant concern among privacy advocates, but the offending or worrisome information may quickly be replaced when the site is refreshed, leaving no trace. In contrast, paper based records with obvious insertions, corrections, or notation often appear to the reviewer as more authentic and therefore more authoritative. While statutory law tries to address these sorts of differences, the ever-changing information environment is difficult to anticipate, leaving the courts to sort out and contextualize new situations through the litigation process.
November 17, 2010
Law School Graduate Blues Ctd. With Post-Graduation Welfare
There's a buzz in the news about the new University Miami School of Law program called Legal Corps. The school will organize recent graduates into a free work force for judges, firms, and other organizations and pay the graduates $2,500 per month for six months. Placement opportunities are not limited to Miami locations. Some of the host organizations include the Center for Disability and Elder Law in Chicago and the Animal Legal Defense Fund in Cotati, California.
It's an interesting concept, although not necessarily a new one. One online comment to the American Bar Journal report on the program indicates that Touro Law School and other New York area law schools have similar programs for the last year. The positive side is that recent graduates are getting experience in the real world, something most law schools do not teach, and getting some financial support in the process. I think the message to students includes something along the lines of, your school did not abandon you at graduation, please give generously. Nothing wrong with that. A full subsidy at 6 months is worth $15,000. How many classes does that rebate?
I wonder if this will pressure other law schools into doing something similar or even spread to other programs where graduate job prospects are distressed. UMiami is a private school and has the flexibility to offer this as part of their program. I'm guessing that state supported schools would not have that same flexibility in how they spend their money. Programs such as these, however, may only postpone the inevitable realization that good law jobs are hard to come by. They at least put a buffer between schools and the graduate frustration over the job market. That's another positive for the school(s).
Details for the UMiami program are here, including links to the program handbook. [MG]
The Way I See It
I heard some shocking news about the West Librarian Relations team. Mark Schwartz's position as Director of the team was eliminated and it is my understanding that Mark has been given his walking papers. With Mark goes the heart and soul of West Librarian Relations. Following on the heels of that was news that four West Librarian Relations Managers were also given their walking papers. That leaves five Librarian Relations Managers plus Anne Ellis (Senior Director) and Lori Hedstrom (Marketing Manager).
I have known Mark Schwartz for many years. He is a consummate professional who succeeded in making the customer experience better. I could always count on Mark's assistance when I had a Westlaw problem. Nothing was not within the purview of his job and I know from others that when I called upon him for help he would often go from office to office in Eagan looking for and finding someone to solve the problem. I know Mark is held in very high regard by his Librarian Relations Managers and imagine they are devastated to lose Mark's invaluable guidance. I know I am. Mark, your presence at TR will be sorely missed by me and I suspect many others.
I am concerned about the fate of Librarian Relations at the big vendors. Last year TR cut one third of its team and LexisNexis also made huge cuts. The biggest ambassadors for TR and LexisNexis are its Librarian Relations team. They showcase products to librarians (who play a huge role in deciding whether these products should be purchased). They train librarians on the products, who then train the lawyers. They take feedback from the librarians on these products, which oftentimes results in improvements to the products. They act as troubleshooters when the librarians have a problem, often easily solving a problem that the librarian might have otherwise had to spend hours just finding the right person to go to.
So why is Librarian Relations being cut? I think it is economics. I think it's the fact that Librarian Relations team members don't directly make sales to the customers. But the truth of the matter is that they are making sales to the customers. You may not be able to directly point to a sale, but believe me, its Librarian Relations who makes me interested in a product and comfortable with a product. And it's the personal touch that does that. The visit, the phone call, the librarian showcases where we get to see the product and hear about it from Librarian Relations, ask questions, and network with other librarians about the product. I am a big believer in technology and the web ex but it is no replacement for the personal touch. So the way I see it is that TR and LexisNexis should invest in expanding Librarian Relations, not contracting it.
Should Law Schools Publish Warnings for Prospective Applicants?
Ari Kaplan Advisors has released The Evolution of the Legal Profession: A Conversation with the Legal Community’s Thought Leaders on the Front Lines of an Industry in Transition, the first in a series of report that combines insights from a cross-section of the legal community, ranging from the deans of law schools and prominent practitioners, to in-house counsel, law professors and other industry experts, to examine whether the profession is experiencing a short term blip or if it is in the middle of a paradigm shift that will materially change the way law is practiced. From the introduction:
The enthusiasm for law school notwithstanding, the economy is forcing law firms to reevaluate the business model under which most institutions have been operating since their creation generations ago. Due to similar economic pressure, corporate clients are engaging in fewer strategic transactions and are forcing their lawyers to consider price reductions and alternative fee arrangements on those matters they are pursuing. This confluence of considerations is shifting the balance of power and forging a new model in the delivery of legal services.
"In the case of what ails legal education, however, it is not very easy to assign [responsibility for the 'enthusiasm for law school' exhibited by law school applicants]" writes Ari L. Kaplan because most prospective law students sincerely believe they will graduate in the top 10 percent of the class and law school applicants are generally naive consumers of debt. In his NLJ article, Would Law School Warning Labels Help?, Kaplan writes
If law schools really want to start addressing the transformation of the legal industry, perhaps they should consider providing stronger warnings.
That said, would it have made any difference to you if law schools warned students on their websites and in every piece of marketing that 90 percent of students are ranked below the top 10 percent of the class or that the number of jobs that pay $160,000 per year has dropped significantly? Consider all of the serious warnings adults ignore every day.
Perhaps schools should highlight the number of graduates who stop practicing after one year, five years and 10. Maybe revealing the percentage of law school graduates that default on their loans will have an impact... .
Maybe there is a way to offer a percentage of tuition insurance. Schools could charge even more for the first year and propose some type of money-back guarantee covered by the overall increase in its fees.
- Law Firm Hiring Model Adjusting to New Economic Reality of Legal Services Industry
- Is the Legal Academy "Big But Brittle" in the New Economy?
One-Day Training Workshops for Legal Writing Professors and Adjuncts Scheduled for Early December
In early December, 2010, the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) will hold one-day workshops at 16 locations nationwide. Taught by experienced legal writing professors, librarians and writing specialists, the workshops are designed for new legal research and writing professors and adjuncts. They will also benefit seasoned educators looking for practical ideas and insights on handling some of the more challenging aspects of this growing academic field. Presenters will offer tips and best practices for creating appropriate assignments, grading papers and holding student conferences. They will also discuss recent developments in teaching legal research and professional development.
Date: Friday, December 3, 2010 (except where otherwise noted below)
Time: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
American University Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C.
California Western School of Law, San Diego, CA
Charleston School of Law, Charleston, SC (Friday, December 10, 2010)
Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA
Pepperdine University School of Law, Malibu, CA
Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, CA
Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA
St. John's School of Law, New York, NY (Manhattan campus)
Stetson University College of Law, Tampa, FL
Suffolk Law School, Boston, MA
The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, IL
University of Dayton School of Law, Dayton, OH
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (Saturday, December 4, 2010)
University of Tulsa College of Law, Tulsa, OK
Wake Forest University School of Law, Winston-Salem, NC
Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, DL
Fee: $100. Registration fees will be donated to LWI, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving legal writing by providing a forum for discussion and scholarship about legal writing, analysis and research. LWI promotes these activities through its publications, workshops, specialty conferences and the national biennial conferences held in even-numbered years.
A small number of need-based scholarships will be available at each location. Contact Prof. Tracy McGaugh to apply for a scholarship.
More Information: Contact information for LWI’s national co-chairs is:
Professor Mark Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School) at email@example.com
Professor Robin Boyle (St. John’s University School of Law) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Tracy McGaugh (Touro Law Center) at email@example.com.
The Legal Writing Institute has over 2,600 members and includes representatives from 38 different countries. It is the second largest organization of law professors in the United States. LWI sponsors many different working committees and projects. It makes its physical home at Mercer University School of Law in Georgia.
November 16, 2010
Open Access Peer Reviewed Law Journals
Today I learned of two new oa peer reviewed law journals. The first comes out of Mauer Law School and is called IP Theory. It comes to us via the Center of Intellectual Property and focuses, appropriately enough, on copyright, trademark and patent law. The second is called Laws, and it is hosted at MDIP. Laws describes itself as a quarterly journal of legal systems, theory, and institutions. Both use different publishing platforms.
According to Mark D. Janis, Robert A. Lucas Chair of Law and director of the center:
"...IP Theory is being indexed as an open access journal, in addition to being available through the usual online subscription services. "The open access feature will make it much easier for readers to find timely and relevant topics and to share them with peers..."
Interestingly, Laws is taking a different approach and seem to be bypassing the usual indexing services known to law students, librarians, law professors, judges, etc.... According to their web site, Laws will be indexed by:
- Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
- e-Helvetica (Swiss National Library Archive)
- Google Scholar
My guess is that both new peer-reviewed journals are banking on most of their hits coming from Google Scholar; however, IP Theory at least recognizes that periodical indexes are still a prominent way to perform literature reviews. It will be interesting to see how each journals impact factor will look like 3-5 years from now, and if avoiding traditional indexing services has any impact on how these new online journals are received. (VS)
Hein Legislative History Webinar
Hein is offering a webinar this coming Thursday on the use of its database materials for conducting legislative histories:
Do you often look for a legislative history or other document that exists as part of a legislative history set? If so, you'll find this Webinar helpful as we explore the four collections in HeinOnline that contain legislative history material. These include the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library, Intellectual Property Law Collection, Taxation & Economic Reform in America, and History of Bankruptcy libraries. Below are some specifics that we will try to cover during the session:
* Where you should start your research in HeinOnline when looking for a legislative history
* What is Nancy Johnson's Sources of Compiled Legislative History Database and why should you use it
* Browsing by popular name or public law number
* Linking to Nancy Johnson's database entry from the title listing to view additional resources related to the public law
* Viewing the cumulative contents for a legislative history
* Searching across a specific legislative history
* Searching across a specific document within a legislative history
* Cross library searching within the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library
* Faceted searching and it's integration into these libraries
* And much more!
Details and registration for the event are here. [MG]
Recent Supreme Court Opinions
Lost in the news yesterday was a unanimous opinion issued on sentencing under 18 USC § 924(c). The question revolved around an "except" clause in the statute that provided for mandatory minimums when a crime involving drug trafficking or violence also included use of a handgun. The clause in question assigned increasing mandatory minimum sentences for violation of the statute, but prefaced those assignments with this language:
Except to the extent that a greater minimum sen-tence is otherwise provided by this subsection or by any other provision of law....
The Court determined the meaning of "any other provision of law" to mean that minimum mandatory higher sentences given under other criminal provisions would not obviate sentences under the 924(c) questioned phrasing. Two unrelated criminal defendants sentenced under the provision were seeking shorter sentences determined under convictions based on multiple charges. The case is Abbot v. United States (09-479). Justice Kagan did not participate in the case.
This is actually the second opinion released by the Court this year. The first, on November 8th, withdrew habeas corpus relief from an Indiana criminal defendant. The Court reversed the Seventh Circuit grant because the defendant did not raise a Constitutional or federal ground for the grant. The Court noted in a Per Curiam opinion, using somewhat pointed language, the error of the Seventh Circuit in granting the writ. That case is Wilson v. Corcoran (10-91). [MG]
Do Editorial Standards Matter?
"After reading the briefs and deposition excerpts in the Rudovsky v. West Publishing matter, I had this sinking feeling that editorial standards—you know, the unwritten code that law book publishers seeking to produce really good books adhere to—were slipping. Or should I say, plummeting? Overly’s [Electronic Evidence in California, The Expert Series, West (2010-11), $198] simply reaffirms my opinion," writes Jason Wilson.
Note well the first sentence in the product description for this title:
Covers one of the most rapidly growing areas of the law—the discoverability and admissibility of electronic evidence.
Does it? About this West "Expert Series" title, Wilson observes:
I’m talking about the dozens of citations to the California Civil Discovery Act of 1986, which was renumbered in 2005, and the fact that the text relegates the highly important 2009 Electronic Discovery Act to a single 4-page section at the end of the commentaries. And these are just the things I saw immediately. All of which are no big deal if you don’t care about accuracy, currency, and, well, understanding.
Back when I worked for CCH, we had production editors who worked closely with authors to make damn sure what Wilson described above did not happen. That's also what BNA book editors do. West? Well, when I have a choice between acquiring a West title or a CCH or BNA title on the same topic, guess which publisher's work I acquire. Editorial standards do matter. For more, see Wilson's The death of embarrassment: when did we abandon editorial standards? [JH]