November 10, 2012
Another Law School Employment Case Gets Dismissed
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the deceptive employment statistics case brought against the John Marshall Law School in Chicago has been dismissed. The track record for these types of suits has been dismal, with cases against Brooklyn, DePaul, and other schools getting dissed or dismissed at the pleading stage by skeptical judges. Dean John Corkery is quoted as saying "The judge's ruling vindicates John Marshall's position that our reporting of post-graduate employment statistics did not violate the rights of any of our students." The case was dismissed with prejudice. The case against the Thomas Jefferson School of Law may have some merit due to allegations of cooking the stats by the school rather than reporting them straight up. [MG]
New and Updated Research Guides from GlobaLex
Recent international, comparative, and foreign law research guides published by GlobaLex include:
- Research Guide of the Legal System of Kingdom of Nepal by Md. Ershadul Karim and Sirjana Sharma Pokhrel.
- An Overview of the Egyptian Legal System and Legal Research by Dr. Mohamed S. E. Abdel Wahab.
- A Guide on the Harmonization of International Commercial Law by Duncan Alford.
- Basic Primary and Secondary Information Online Sources for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the United States Central American Free Trade Agreement-Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR) Research by Francisco A. Avalos and Maureen Garmon; Update by Francisco A. Avalos.
- Researching the United Nations: Finding the Organization's Internal Resource Trails by Linda Tashbook.
- The Austrian Legal System and Laws: a Brief Overview by Johannes Oehlboeck and Immanuel Gerstner; Update by Johannes Öhlböck.
November 9, 2012
Did Hank The Cat Come In Third In The Virginia Senate Race?
I usually stay away from writing about politics. The country is polarized politically, more so after last Tuesday’s election results. There is one election result that caught my eye that is worth mentioning however. The race for the Senator for the state of Virginia resulted in the election of Tim Kaine over George Allen. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Hank the Cat likely came in third with possibly as many as 29,000 write-in votes. We are used to close elections where a handful of votes could swing a major election. Allen v. Kaine v. Hank anyone? It’s a great day for feline-Americans everywhere. I don’t know who might have come in fourth or fifth, but I’d feel pretty stupid by losing to a cat. I would expect Hank to celebrate his showing with a round of catnip. Unlike human catnip, it’s legal. [MG]
How Bad Are the Official Records of the Constitutional Convention?: A Critique of Farrand
Boston College law prof Mary Bilder's How Bad Were the Official Records of the Federal Convention? [SSRN] will appear in the George Washington Law Review's symposium on the 100th anniversary of Max Farrand's edition of the Constitutional Convention. Here's the abstract:
The official records of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 have been neglected and dismissed by scholars for the last century, largely to due to Max Farrand’s criticisms of both the records and the man responsible for keeping them - Secretary of the Convention William Jackson. This Article disagrees with Farrand’s conclusion that the Convention records were bad, and aims to resurrect the records and Jackson’s reputation. The Article suggests that the endurance of Farrand’s critique arises in part from misinterpretations of certain procedural components of the Convention and failure to appreciate the significance of others, understandable considering the inaccessibility of the official records. The Article also describes the story of the records after the Convention but before they were published, including the physical limbo of the records in the aftermath of the Convention and the eventual deposit of the records in March 1796 amidst the rapid development of disagreements over constitutional interpretation. Finally, the Article offers a few cautionary reflections about the lessons to be drawn from the official records. Particularly, it recommends using caution with Max Farrand’s records, paying increased attention to the procedural context of the Convention, and recognizing that Constitutional interpretation postdated the Constitution.
Friday Fun: Replace Your Dusty Old Print Edition of EB with This "Definitive Encyclopaedia"
Namely The Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopaedia Of Existing Information (Little, Brown and Company, October 23, 2012). "With hundreds of entries for all 27 letters of the alphabet, THE ONION BOOK OF KNOWN KNOWLEDGE must be purchased immediately to avoid the sting of eternal ignorance." It should come in handy when working the reference desk on Saturdays. [JH]
November 8, 2012
Law Via The Internet Conference 2012
Former Supreme Court Librarian (and before that, Director of the Law Library at DePaul University) Judith Gaskell reports on the Law Via The Internet Conference 2012 on SLAW. From her post:
The rest of the post describes the different issue tracks that were presented at the conference. It’s well worth a read. [MG]
I have been retired for one year, but still continue to work on one of my favorite causes – access to legal information as a basic societal right. Many years ago, when I was a documents librarian, the rallying cry of law librarians was “Documents to the People.” Now we have a much less catchy, but more accurate American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) policy statement that “Federal, state and local authorities must ensure government legal information is permanently available to the public at low or no cost, in an easily accessible and professionally maintained environment.” This policy does not preclude print documents, but does reflect the reality of our digital age, where members of the public expect information to be free and fast.
Lawyer2Lawyer RIPBob Ambrogi and Craig Williams' Lawyer2Lawyer podcast series closed its seven year run with a final retrospective episode. See also Bob's Lawyer2Lawyer: The Final Podcast :-( post for more. [JH]
Evaluating Licensing and Managing eResources: A Professional Reading List of Recent Publications
Here's three recent Neal-Schuman Publishers titles. While the monographs are not specific to law libraries they may still be of interest:
The Librarian's Legal Companion for Licensing Information Resources and Services [Amazon]
Tomas A. Lipinski
Neal-Schuman Publishers (October 12, 2012)
From the blurb:
Legal expert Lipinski offers a definitive sourcebook for information licensing in libraries, including copyright and contract matters, general contract law concepts, developments in online and information contracting; and the advantages and disadvantages of licensing. Readers will find clear guidance on deciphering the legalese in agreements, advice on negotiating or countering provisions with library-friendly alternatives, and detailed explanations of specific licenses as well as a discussion of issues regarding online and information contracting. Additionally, three special sections provide valuable information in an easy-to-reference format:
Deconstructions of four common license agreements: Access Newspaper Archive, BioOne, Nature Academic, and Amazon.com Kindle
Answers to 126 questions about specific licensing agreements, plus a glossary, checklist and review tool for evaluating a license agreement
20 key issues in licensing agreements, accompanied by sample clauses
Building and Managing E-Book Collections: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians [Amazon]
Richard B. Kaplan
Neal-Schuman Publishers (August 6, 2012)
From the blurb:
Beginning with a short history of e-books and a review of the e-book publishing industry and its effect on the library s selection and budget process, this how-to provides a thorough treatment of collection development issues, including the selection process and development policies, the use of approval plans, patron-driven acquisition, and practical solutions for creating your e-book collection policies. Chapters on budgeting and licensing cover ownership versus leasing models, the differences in licensing options from the major publishers and aggregators including information on digital rights management, and strategies for success in retention, access, and budgeting.
Managing Electronic Resources: A LITA Guide [Amazon]
Ryan O. Weir (Author, Editor)
Neal-Schuman Publishers (August 6, 2012)
From the blurb:
Electronic resource management encompasses much more than turning on and off resources and tracking usage. This guide provides advice on the tools and best practices of the field help you tackle your workload while saving you time, effort, and money.
Chapters include: Coping with Economic Issues; Acquiring Electronic Resources ; Negotiating Resource Licensing; Reconciling with Payment Systems; Making Electronic Resource Accessible; Gathering, Evaluating and Communicating Statistical Usage Information; Changing Staff to Facilitate the Shift to Electronic; Looking Ahead from Now to 2020.
All three are recommended but Lipinski's The Librarian's Legal Companion for Licensing Information Resources and Services [Amazon] is well worth the cost. While Lipinski does not include major legal publishing vendor licensing clauses, the specificity of the addressed licenses analysis, the answers to over 100 questions about specific licensing agreements, and 20 key issues in licensing agreements, accompanied by sample clauses, makes the work a must-read at least until AALL produces something as detailed. OK, OK, that's probably wishful thinking on my part.
Note to FTC. No review copy provided; bought it. [JH]
November 7, 2012
Terms Of Apple Settlement With Europe In e-Book Probe Reported
Apple and major e-book publishers are set to settle an antitrust investigation by the European Union that parallels the contentious litigation Apple and publishers face in the United States. The allegations before the European Commission is essentially the same: Apple’s “most favored nation” contracts with publishers combined with adoption of the agency model inflated e-book prices for consumers. Amazon played a factor in Europe as much as in the United States as it wants to discount e-books to build market share.
Reports indicate the unannounced terms Europe is ready to accept include Apple dropping its MFN contracts for a period of five years and letting retailers set their own prices for two years. A formal announcement is expected within a month. I wrote about this last September in a post titles Apple And Publishers To Settle e-Book Case in Europe. The Commission at that point had made an initial determination that Apple and publishers had likely breached European trade laws. The more recent announcement offers some specific remedies the parties have agreed upon. That post speculates that the motivation for settling may be in the fact that the e-book market is worth a lot less that in the United States. On that basis, it may not be worth the fight.
Improving AALL's Vendor Relations Online ResourcesRecently, the CRIV Web Committee announced that it has been and is continuing to work on improving the AALL's Vendor Relations web presence, including reorganizing content and updating links. It's a "good thing." Web destinations routinely need regular housekeeping to keep them up-to-date and relevant. For details, see this The CRIV Blog post. [JH]
Want to Know Your Chances of Finding a Lawyering Gig Based on Comparative Law School Data Wannabe Law Students?
Law School Transparency's Score Reports tool helps prospective law students compare law schools by employment outcomes. From LST's Score Reports description:
The Score Reports help prospective students make informed law school application and enrollment decisions using job outcome data. Our collection of geographic, school, and other reports have been designed to focus applicants on schools with observable relationships to specific locations and job types. The goal is to help prospective students understand which schools, if any, can help them achieve various career objectives.
For details, see Karen Sloan's NLJ article, Tool designed to help students choose the right law school for them and Staci Zaretsky's ATL post, Rankings That Actually Matter: Law School Transparency Uses Employment Outcomes To Rate Schools. [JH]
November 6, 2012
Election Day Special: What Fonts Say About the Presidential Campaigns
"We asked designers of various fonts now in use by Obama and Romney what they had in mind when designing them in hopes of gaining insight into what the campaigns are going for — at least in a design sense." Check out Rani Molla's report on The Content Strategist for details. [JH]
Have All Forecasted Lawyer Jobs for the Rest of This Decade Been Filled Already?
A snip from Elizabeth Lesly Stevens' Washington Post story:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 73,600 new lawyer jobs from 2010 to 2020. But just three years into that decade, about 132,757 new lawyers have hit the job market.
While not every new JD seeks employment as a lawyer, it is safe to say that planning to work as an attorney is not rare among law students. But perhaps it should be. Data from the National Association of Legal Career Professionals indicate that since 2010, about 75,000 new law grads have found full-time jobs as lawyers.
So, in theory, all of the BLS-forecasted job openings through 2020 have already been filled, and 59,157 new lawyers are still looking for “real” law jobs.
For much more, see Will law school students have jobs after they graduate? ATL's Elie Mystal writes "Now we can add this Washington Post article to the tome of 'information readily available for those who bother to look'" in Washington Post Hops On The ‘Do Law Students Know How Stupid They Are’ Bandwagon.
Elizabeth Lesly Stevens was the featured guest in the Nov. 5, 2012 episode of NPR's TELL ME MORE. [JH]
November 5, 2012
Macmillan Ends Print DictionariesMacmillan Education said today that it will no longer publish its dictionaries in print. It cited the fact that most people get their information from the web via mobile devices. Rather than decrying the fact, the publisher said the end of print for digital editions was "liberating." The story is in the Chicago Tribune. [MG]
Supreme Court Action: Who Is The Prevailing Party Under §1988 For An Award of Attorney's Fees
The first Supreme Court opinion for the current term appeared this morning. The case is LeFemine v. Wildmon (12-168). The case concerns the award of attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. §1988. The question raised is the type of case result that triggers designating someone as the prevailing party and thus the award.
LeFemine demonstrated with others in Greenword County, South Carolina. They carried signs with pictures of aborted fetuses. Police told LeFemine that the group would be ticketed for breach of peace if the signs were not discarded. The group objected on First Amendment grounds but disbanded. They wrote to the Sheriff a year later to inform him that they intended to resume protesting. The Sheriff responded by saying his department would respond in the same way.
LeFemine sued for an injunction, nominal money damages, a declaratory judgment, and attorney’s fees. The District Court held that LeFemine’s First Amendment rights and entered an injunction. There was no award of fees as the judge held the defendants had qualified immunity. The Fourth Circuit upheld the denial of attorney’s fees on the basis that LeFemine did not receive any money damages.
The Supreme Court reversed. The Court said the plaintiff prevails “when actual relief on the merits of his claim materially alters the legal relationship between the parties by modifying the defendant’s behavior in a way that directly benefits the plaintiff.” There are some exceptions to this when special circumstances occur. The Court sent the case back for further proceedings to determine whether any of these existed in this case. [MG]
BLS Stats Show Really Bad News For Law Grads
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 73,600 new lawyer jobs between 2010 and 2020. The ABA Journal tells us that 132,757 newly minted lawyers have graduated in the last two years. The obvious question is where are we going to put the coming surplus in the next eight years? And how are they going to pay off their debts?
Fortune’s list of fastest growing jobs shows growth in mostly in medical and medical-related fields. Jobs such as Physical Therapist, Medical Devices Clinical Engineer, and Home Care Nurse are leading jobs. Meeting/Convention Planner is on the list with a 43.7% growth potential over the next ten years. The median pay is $56,500. A marketing consultant position shows a ten year growth of 41.2% with a median pay of $92,100. I have to believe that a hotel and hospitality degree is a lot less expensive than law school. I’m not so sure about the costs for business school or medical/nursing programs, but the jobs seem to be there. It’s going to be pretty dire out there for law graduates if the BLS predictions are accurate. [MG]
"The ballot closed at 11:59 p.m. CDT on October 30": Acts of God and the results of AALL's membership bylaws amendment voting
By the slimmest of margins, 50.64 percent, 596 votes cast in favor, the membership categories and rights bylaws amendment passed. We will never know what the tally might have been if AALL had announced to members the voting deadline was being extended a week or two because of Sandy. It's not like anyone didn't know that this slow moving hurricane was going to leave a path of destruction from the Mid-Atlantic to the East Coast of the US.
As people prepared for Sandy at work and at home and then dealt with the devastating consequences in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and other states (including West Virginia, for example), I seriously doubt voting on the bylaws amendments was even on our rank-and file members' reprioritized to-do list. States of emergency were declared. Evaluation orders were issued. Disaster areas were announced by FEMA. Federal, state and county agencies and courts were closed. Commerce including the practice of law ceased. Thousands were displaced, millions lost power, and billions will be spent on recovery. None of this mattered to AALL which had sufficient warning that all hell would break loose.
I seriously doubt AALL even gave extending the deadline for e-voting a thought. My hunch is AALL's response to a time extension request would be the same as a similar severe weather-related member request. See Caren Biberman's August 30, 2011 LLB post, So what that there was a Hurricane and Earthquake--Adherence is More Important.
I received an email this evening telling me my request had been considered but that AALL would not change the deadline [for submitting annual meeting program proposals]. Why? What I was told was that they had been advertising the date since early June and they want to adhere to the date.
This is where passively watching the boob-tube does not result in a light bulb being turned on in AALL officialdom’s collective head. The only official Sandy-related message from AALL came by way of AALL's Open Members web community:
We extend our thoughts and prayers to all our friends and colleagues on the east coast who are being affected by the incoming storm. Stay safe as you ride out the storm.
Note well that this message was time-stamped October 29, 2012 11:20 AM; it was posted 36 hours before "[t]he ballot [for the bylaw amendments will be] closed at 11:59 p.m. CDT on October 30."
Members vote early, members vote mid-way, members vote just before the voting deadline is reached. Sure, I voted against the membership bylaws amendment and I voted early because at 60 years old I have no functional short-term memory left. But that is just me. I received several confidential emails midway and much later in the voting period that said in effect, “I finally had time to read about this.” Some indicated they voted "no"; some indicated they were going to vote “no.” I wonder if those members voted before Sandy because most of the emails came from east coast law firm librarians.
While opposed to the bylaws amendment, that's just my opinion. I am willing to accept a vote that gives all members the same opportunity to participate in AALL activities during the entire allotted time period. That did not happen. For the second time in a little of one year, AALL has failed to take into consideration "Acts of God" that would afford all members an opportunity to participate by extending deadlines because Acts of God made it impossible for many to do so.
The results BTW were reported on AALLNET on Oct. 31, 2012. I doubt I am the only person wondering when AALL members in the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast "read more about it."
I am not sour-grape-ing the results of the voting on the membership bylaws issue. Perhaps a do-over drafted membership amendment can be submitted to the E-Board. But what do you think are the chances of that happening? Remember how the Bylaws Committee’s initial draft was revised based on E-Board instructions?
Will AALL ever address the "Acts of God" issue? Fairness requires that all members has the same opportunity to participate; allotted time periods have to be extended when circumstances beyond the control of members make that impossible. Do note, had the membership bylaws vote rejected the amendment, I do believe AALL would have adhered to its deadline without any consideration for Acts of God negating equal opportunity for all members, including those in favor of the proposed membership bylaws changes. This is a case where blind adherence to a deadline fails to recognize the dependence on and easily adaptive and emergency-responsive benefits of 21st century web-based communications mediums for eVoting.
Because no contingency procedures are in place for electing national officers before voting is closed on November 30, 2012, to hell with viewing candidate bios and campaign statements. To hell with thinking about who you may want to vote into national leadership positions -- just vote and do it now if you want your voice heard.
Do note well, if AALL institutes some sort of contingency procedures for the election of national officers this year, it most certainly raises doubts about the bylaws voting results. AALL is between a rock and a hard place by issuing a knee-jerk, thoughtless, move onto the next membership request push-back response for exactly the same sort of issue presented to our association's leaders back in August of 2011. [JH]
November 4, 2012
JAG's The Operational Law Handbook 2012
From the Preface to The Operational Law Handbook 2012:
The Operational Law Handbook is a “how to” guide for Judge Advocates practicing operational law. It provides references and describes tactics and techniques for the practice of operational law. The Operational Law Handbook is not a substitute for official references. Like operational law itself, the Handbook is a focused collection of diverse legal and practical information. The handbook is not intended to provide “the school solution” to a particular problem, but to help Judge Advocates recognize, analyze, and resolve problems they will encounter in the operational context. Similarly, the Handbook is not intended to represent official U.S. policy regarding the binding application of varied sources of law, though it may reference source documents which themselves do so. The Handbook was designed and written for Judge Advocates practicing operational law.
The size and contents of the Handbook are controlled by this focus.
Did I mention that the PDF version provided in the above link is 576 pages long? To order copies call (434) 971-3339; or email usarmy.pentagon.hqda-tjaglcs.mbx.clamo-tjaglcs(at)mail.mil.
Hat tip to beSpacific. [JH]