January 17, 2012
Is the Great Legal Recession of 2008 Over?
"There are some encouraging signs in hiring, compensation and partner profits at the nation's biggest firms, but things may not be as good as they seem, Above the Law Editor-in-Chief David Lat tells Bloomberg Law's Lee Pacchia. David also gives his views on ABA President Bill Robinson's controversial remarks regarding the legal job market." Quoting from the Bloomberg Law YouTube summary. [JH]
December 15, 2011
Can Your Dean, Your Law School, Handle the Truth?
Following the example set by Yale Law School, the University of Chicago Law School has published fairly detailed recent graduate employment data. Yale Law data here, U of Chicago Law data here. ATL's David Lat would like to know if other law schools will follow these examples:
To the deans of top 15 — or top 25, or top 50, or top 100 — law schools: Yale and Chicago can handle the truth. Can your school?
Sorry David, while I agree with the call for the top 15 or 25, those are the easy ones. This needs to be extended to all law schools. In a nutshell, one way to pose the challenge is:
Can Thomas Cooley handle the truth?
Oh yes, it is time for the very obvious clip from A Few Good Men. [JH]
July 15, 2010
Public Law Libraries Have Value As Well
I wrote yesterday about public libraries and the need they fill for the average person as a way of showing their value to budget cutters. Law libraries, especially public law libraries, probably have even less publicity for the roles they fill. I came across this article, At Tarrant Law Library, Most Clients Are Regular People, in the Forth-Worth Star Telegram. It profiles less the Tarrant County Law Library than the people who use it. If I read it correctly, there are about 15,000 pro se patrons per year using the resources there. My library is in downtown Chicago and though we are an academic library, we are open to the public. We get our fair share of pro se patrons using the collection. Not the amount they get in Texas, but I can relate to the experience the article describes.
Library Director Sharon Wayland is quoted as saying patrons without a lawyer "have high expectations when they come in the door. And then they get shot down. It's not easy." She is referring, of course, to the fact that the staff can't offer legal advice, which is what most pro se patrons hope to get. The article notes in several of the interviews that the unrealistic expectations of a pro se patron sometimes leads to "loud arguments." The volume of patrons we help in Chicago does not lead to that result here most of the time. Nonetheless, it does happen every now and then, and it's always based on a false expectation of what types of help we can provide.
The fact is, law is hard. Not just for pro se's, but for lawyers and law students, if the questions at the reference desk are any indication. And it seems even harder for pro se's when there's a filing deadline looming. I can empathize with the Tarrant County librarians mentioned in the article. The approach is to help them as best as possible despite the limitations on what that help may be. It's nice to see a non-legal publication describe, even in a short article, how a public law library helps the public. [MG]
April 07, 2010
Barbara Bintliff to Become Next Director at the University of Texas Tarlton Law Library
From Acting Director Terry Martin's email to the Tarlton family of librarians:
It has been my privilege and pleasure to serve as director of the Tarlton Law Library for the past two academic years. But I am nonetheless relieved and happy to announce that service approaches its end.
In 1966, Dean Page Keeton went looking for a library director to succeed Helen Hargrave, who served 25 years as the Tarlton Director and was much beloved by law students who had interrupted their studies to serve in WWII. Keeton contacted Dean Edward King at the University of Colorado for advice. King bragged about Colorado’s new librarian, Roy Mersky. As King later told Mersky, “I mistakenly told him you were the best law librarian in the country.” Roy always wondered about the true sentiment behind that phrasing. At any event, Keeton persuaded Mersky to move to Austin and history was made.
If not once, why not again? Putting aside any concerns about a pattern of repeated raiding of a fellow institution, Dean Larry Sager has also found the next Texas director at Colorado. I am very pleased to inform you that this coming August Professor Barbara A. Bintliff will become the Joseph C. Hutcheson Professor in Law and next director of the Tarlton Law Library.
Barbara is well known as a leader in the law library profession, a former President of the American Association of Law Libraries, a member of the American Law Institute, a noted teacher, scholar, and consultant. She is involved in cutting-edge issues, having served on the ALI Consultative Group developing Principles of the Law of Government Access to and Use of Digital Information and serving as Reporter for the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws Drafting Committee on Authentication and Preservation of State Electronic Legal Materials. She recently organized the Conference on Legal Information: Scholarship and Teaching held at the University of Colorado Law School that produced the Boulder Statement on Legal Research Education.
Barbara is well regarded as a mentor and educator of law librarians. She will be a natural successor to Roy Mersky as the director of the Tarlton Law Library and as a leader of the new Texas dual MSIS/Juris Doctor Degree program.
As a scholar, teacher, colleague, and library manager, there are few in her class. The entire staff and I are thrilled. Wish her well.
The law school's announcement is here.
October 20, 2009
Cooley Law Library ExpandingThe Cooley Law Library will be expanding through the renovation of the Town Center Building in downtown Lansing, Michigan. The $6 million project will add classrooms, an all night study lounge, and 25,400 linear feet of stack space. More details are in the Lansing State Journal. [MG]
August 10, 2009
House Votes Name Change: Law Library of Congress to Become the National Law Library
The House has voted overwhelmingly in favor on a bill that would rename the Law Library of Congress as the National Law Library. The bill also establishes the William Orton Law Library Support Program, which allows the Library to accept donations in partnership with other organizations. Any money received is in addition to regular budgeted funds from Congress, and not meant to supplant appropriations to run the Library. The Librarian of Congress is directed to separate out the Law Libraries expenses and salaries as a line item in preparing budget requests. Is the National Law Library on the road to becoming its own agency? The bill is the William Orton Law Library Improvement and Modernization Act, H.R. 2728. It is now pending in the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. Should the act be signed into law, new business cards are in order. [MG]
December 07, 2006
McGill's Gelber Law Library
Excerpt from McGill Reporter:
The library opened its doors in 1998, rescuing scores of students and faculty from the previous library, often described as overcrowded and stuffy. Designed by one of Canada's most influential architects, Dan Hanganu, the Gelber Library is a bright, beautiful, contemporary building. It is an integral part of the law faculty and of its program as well. Every law student must follow two years of legal methodology courses, the research section of which is taught by a librarian. This way, every student is provided with an opportunity to hone their skills in what John Hobbins, law librarian, terms "information literacy" — the ability to find information in the electronic world.
Hat tip to David Dillard, Temple University. [JH]
November 21, 2006
Profile of the Directorate of Legal Research at the Library of Congress
Michael Ravnitzky's The Directorate of Legal Research at the Library of Congress: A Treasure Hidden Under a Bushel Basket has been published on LLRX.com. Here's the abstract:
Despite harsh criticism of the citation of foreign law in American court decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal appellate courts solicit and are supplied with numerous studies surveying foreign law each year, according to the Library of Congress's annual reports. The source of this scholarship is the talented staff of the Directorate of Legal Research (DLR), a little known but well-regarded and highly influential research department contained within the Library of Congress. DLR is a sister organization to the better-known Congressional Research Service (which itself has an American Law Division that produces legal studies on U.S. Law). The Directorate of Legal Research receives scant mention even among the legal research community.
October 09, 2006
King County Law Library (Seattle)
Readers of this blog know that the King County Law Library (Seattle)(KCLL) has started a podcasting service. See this morning's column, A View from the Stacks, for the latest. Podcasting is just one of many KCLL web-based services that, taken together, can serve as a model for web-based out-reach programs. KCLL offers email and chat reference; research guides, collection & web notes; KCLL newsletters and other publications. On-site, KCLL offers training classes (calendar of classes) among its many other services. Check out the KCLL site map for more information.
Law Library Profiles. This iteration of features hardly does justice as a profile of the King County Law Library -- it fails miserably at highlighting the professionalism and dedication of KCLL's wonderful and caring staff, Marcus, Rita K, Stina, and others I have not had the pleasure to meet -- but it leads me to this solicitation: if you would like to submit a profile of your library for publication in the blog, please email one to me. The first five submissions will receive a free "I (heart) my law library" 2" x 3" rectangle magnet, a $4.99 value!
Visitors to this blog would enjoy reading about your law library. [JH]