December 02, 2012
RIP rethinc.k: 2009 - 2012
In his Nov. 26, 2012 blog tombstone post, Jones-McClure's Jason Wilson writes
Read it while you can until the end of the year, then I’m shuttin’ her down. I can’t stand the sight of a dead blog.
"It" is Wilson's rethinc.k blog. All good thing do come to an end.
What Jason doesn't mention is that Jones-McClure's O'Connor's Annotations blog is alive and well. [JH]
November 08, 2012
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]
November 07, 2012
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]
October 28, 2012
What Do You Think of the Law Library of Congress New Homepage?Check out Andrew Weber's Welcome to Our New Front Door: A Revamped Homepage and George David Wilson's Legal Research Plus post about the homepage makeover for Law Library of Congress. [JH]
October 27, 2012
The White House Homepage Gets a Makeover
October 10, 2012
What Else Can An Online Catalog Do?
There is an article in Library Journal, Librarians As Booksellers, which promotes the idea of libraries partnering with publishers as a sales point for e-books. One mechanism would have catalogs include “buy” buttons in a bibliographic record. A borrower may be a buyer if the book is unavailable for loan, or alternatively may want to acquire a title after having borrowed it. I like the idea in that, as the article suggests, publishers and libraries could easily be partners rather than antagonists. One of the themes running through the Apple e-book pricing case is preserving the local bookstore as a place of literary discovery. The library could easily fill that role if the local bookseller went out of business. Comparatively, the local library is not likely going away no matter how much market share Amazon amasses.
This got me thinking on how libraries could further adapt their roles in modern times. The term “information center” is another common way libraries define themselves these days. The heart of the information center is, of course, its catalog. The traditional view of the catalog is Charles Cutter’s Objectives as published in his Rules For A Dictionary Catalog (see page 12):
1. To enable a person to fine a book of which either
(A.) the author)
(B.) the title) is known
(C.) the subject)
2. To show what the library has
(D.) by a given author
(E.) on a given subject
(F.) in a given kind of literature
3. To assist in the choice of a book
(G.) as to its edition (bibliographically)
(H.) as to its character (literary or topical)
Modern catalogs changed in the 1980s and later to include features such as linking to external electronic sources. Many of these will be electronic components of a library’s collection such as subscriptions to electronic journals and books, videos, or any legitimate external link with a stable URL. Those of us in academics promote the use of the online catalog typically during orientation. We want students to use it. The current trend is to overlay the catalog with discovery mechanisms such as WorldCat Local as a way of deep mining subscription information beyond bibliographic content.
I realize that a school’s web site typically contains information about the academic program such as class schedule, texts, faculty, and other details. Why not make some of this information available through the online catalog? It would certainly promote it as a source of institutional information. This may not comport with Cutter’s Objects for a catalog, but the Internet did not exist in 1904 and the way we access and consume information has expanded since then.
I’m well aware of past discussions as to whether libraries should catalog the web. I think that is impossible given the number of pages out there. If anything, that is the purpose of Google and other search sites. Nonetheless, there can be room for curated local information that is not bibliographic. We have research guides and other self-generated content that can be discoverable through the catalog.
Traditionalists may disagree and I understand that. Libraries, however, are doing more than collecting books these days. If the Library Journal article floats the idea of libraries taking on the some of the role performed by bookstores, why stop there? The examples I used may or may not be practical. The institution’s web site may be sufficient. But my real point is how else can the catalog be useful? What other information pointers can be included?
I think any adaptation of the online catalog to include other content is less a technological issue than a financial one. It comes down whether the money is there to buy the infrastructure and the people to manage it. Who knows? The future may be a discovery service partnered with a large Internet search company.Look at page 99 of The New Catalogue of Harvard College Library where Cutter describes the mechanisms of the card catalog drawer. He marveled at the utility of the rods that held the cards in place. They prevented accidental spills but allowed orderly rearrangement. I wonder what he would think of today’s catalogs. [MG]
October 09, 2012
Some Thoughts (And A Few Personal Disclosures) On Web Privacy
I’m always fascinated by news concerning online privacy, especially in the context of marketing. I think it’s pretty well established that free services from Google, Facebook, and others are not really free. Our payment is the information we voluntarily provide combined with monitoring our activities on the Internet. A story in CIO highlights the lack of transparency on the part of the largest Internet companies on how they create and update user profiles. It’s not merely a matter of filling in the blanks on a profile page. That’s too easy and too obvious. I know that search habits and clicks form the basis of the implied interests, but how does that really work? The more important questions may be how can we edit that information and control its use.
All we see are the end results of that inferential profile. I use Gmail and I know I get targeted ads based on the content of mail sent to and from my account. Google does have a link “Why this ad?” The short description says it is based on emails from my inbox and offers links where I may manage or opt out of ads. There is another option called “Ads on the web” where I can view some of the interest categories associated with my profile.
They are not all entirely accurate. One shows I'm interested in “Arts & Entertainment - Music & Audio - Urban & Hip-Hop - Rap & Hip-Hop.” I do have an interest in music but it does not extend to the listed genres. Another category is “Books & Literature - Children's Literature.” I admit a fondness to Scooby-Doo videos, though I can’t believe that outweighs the subject searches I perform as a reference librarian. I assume Google hasn’t found a way to turn extensive searches on competition, marketing, and antitrust into an ad bonanza. Google seems to think I like basketball. I guess all those searches for news on the Chicago Blackhawks do not register with our mechanized overlords.
The point of this outpouring of detail is to illustrate Google, Facebook, and others pay detailed attention to what we do. We’ve always known that. What I don’t know is how Google selected basketball over hockey. They are not anything alike outside of they are both team sports and typically played in dual use arenas. It also illustrates how profoundly wrong some of algorithms may be in generating our preferred interests. Some of these inferences may have consequences beyond ads.
The CIO article suggests our profiles contain our political affiliations. That may not matter much to some in the United States. It may make a difference, as CIO notes, for citizens in other countries where politics and violence are heavily associated. Google doesn’t list this in my limited demographic listing it displays. For some reason, however, Google suggests following the Obama campaign whenever I log into Google+. I do read a lot of political news though I find it disturbing that Google is predicting an assumed voting preference on my part based on my web habits. I rarely visit campaign sites.
One suggestion in the article is that the only way to make this process more transparent to the end user is through regulation. I think it is a great idea though I think it would be hard to implement. Congress isn’t known for productivity these days. Moreover, there’s money in this, likely generating hard resistance to changing the privacy landscape. CNN reports on how much an individual is worth to Google and others. The amounts change based on, you guessed it, demographics but in 2010 an individual was worth about $14.70 per thousand searches. There are estimates for Facebook as well.
I wouldn’t suggest that individuals give up Google and the rest. I do suggest, however, that anyone using these services should pay attention to the details they have on us when possible. It’s not only marketing. Who knows, maybe these profiles could become a component of things like credit scores. It seems unlikely, but then again, social security numbers were never meant to be unique personal identifiers. Look how that turned out. [MG]
October 05, 2012
The New Model: Near-Unbiquitous Internet Censorship by Democratic and Authoritarian Regimes
Quoting from the abstract of Arizona Law prof Derek E. Bambauer's Censorship V3.1 [SSRN]:
Internet censorship has evolved. In Version 1.0, censorship was impossible; in Version 2.0, it was a characteristic of repressive regimes; and in Version 3.0, it spread to democracies who desired to use technology to restrain unwanted information. Its latest iteration, Version 3.1, involves near-ubiquitous censorship by democratic and authoritarian countries alike. This Article argues that the new censorship model involves four changes: a shift in implementation to private parties; a hybrid approach mixing promotion of favored viewpoints with suppression of disfavored ones; a blend of formal mandates with informal pressures; and a framing of censorship using uncontroversial labels. It suggests a set of responses to censorship that cabin its abuses and push it towards more legitimate methods: focusing on governmental restrictions, insisting on labeling censorship as such, supporting distributed Internet governance, demanding a default right of access to information, and addressing corporate involvement.
September 26, 2012
Pro Bono Net's Libraries and Access to Justice Webinar Series
Quoting from Pro Bono Net's free webinar series announcement:
With funding from a Legal Services Corporation Technology Initiative (TIG) grant, Pro Bono Net is producing four national training webinars for librarians, in collaboration with the Legal Aid Society of Louisville, Central Minnesota Legal Services and Legal Services State Support (MN). The goal of the series is to increase awareness among librarians and community stakeholders about online access to justice resources that are available to them, how librarians can access and utilize those resources to better educate and assist their patrons with legal needs, and models for legal aid-library collaborations to connect people with legal information.
The first webinar, Welcoming Librarians to the Access to Justice Movement, conducted on September 13, 2012, provided an overview of legal information needs among low-income and vulnerable Americans, the nonprofit legal aid, court and community groups that serve them. Here's the schedule for the remaining webinars:
- Webinar 2: Connecting Library Patrons with Legal Information: Key Resources
Date: Thursday, September 27, 2012
- Webinar 3: Helping Patrons Find Legal Assistance in their Community: Online Referral Tools
Date: Thursday, October 11, 2012
- Webinar 4: Developing Legal Aid-Library Collaborations: Models and Replication Resources
Date: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Details on Pro Bono Net's Libraries and Access to Justice webinar series can be found here. The webinars will be archived and made available along with all presentation materials.
Hat tip to LISWire. [JH]
September 21, 2012
Reminder: Today's Law Librarian Conversations "Summer 2012 Wrap-up/Fall Look Ahead" Podcast
According to the recent announcement, today's LawLIbCon program will cover "this past summer's annual meeting, a look at a group of new, specialized mini-conferences that will be offered this fall, new developments in legal publishing, new technologies, progress of UELMA, AALL news, the death of How To Find the Law, and much more." Sounds interesting.
Co-hosted by Rich Leiter, Roger Skalbeck and Marcia Dority Baker, anticipated panelists include Greg Lambert, Ken Hirsh, Sarah Glassmeyer and Connie Crosby. The Summer 2012 Wrap-Up/Fall Look Ahead program will start at 1:00 PM Central Time. Here's the link. [JH]
September 04, 2012
Just in Time for Christmas eShopping: Walmart claims sales increase since roll-out of its own semantic search engine
D'oh! I never once gave a thought about where the SE technology for eCommerce sites came from. Nor had I ever thought about the possible competititve advances any such technology might give to an eCommerce retailer. That's because I never thought that the walmarts of the eCommerce world might be creating their our SEs in-house. Insert your favorite Homer Simpson quote here.
... Recently I read that Walmart's research and technology lab created and launched Polaris. Polaris is a semantic search engine based on the lab's Social Genome project which identifies entity relationships using public data on the Web, proprietary data, and social media. I have no idea if the Social Genome database establishes taxonomic relationships in hierarchical or cluster or hybrid models one might expect for a "semantic search engine" but Walmart is claiming a 10% to 15% increase in shoppers completing a purchase since Polaris was rolled out.
Sam Walton would be proud. Considering the scope of Walmart's catalog and pricing of items for sale, will searchers of the Company's eCommerce site turn to "best pricing" sites after finding the item they were looking for (and just as importantly related items) by way of Polaris? Is the increased sales stats based on single item purchases, bundled item purchases? Who knows. A purchase is a purchase is a purchase.
For more, see Ryan Kim's Walmart builds its own shopping search engine (Gigaom), John Ribeiro's Walmart rolls out semantic search engine, sees business boost (Computer World) and Jessica Leber's Walmart Dives Into Search Technology (Technology Review). See also Stephen Arnold's think piece on Beyond Search, WalMart Blasts Off with Polaris: Destination Semantic Search.
End note. The published reports indicate that Walmart Lab created Polaris in just 10 months. [JH]
August 30, 2012
Has the Law Prof Blogosphere Established Itself as a Disruptive Publishing Medium?
Law prof blogging is no longer the latest "hot" thing to do. Hasn't been for years. After some ten years or so the law prof blog is a mature publishing medium. Denver Law prof J. Robert Brown Jr. has been publishing a series of posts entitled "Law Faculty Blogs and Disruptive Innovation" on the Race to the Bottom blog. [First post here]. The posts are based on and highlight themes from his Essay: Law Faculty Blogs and Disruptive Innovation [SSRN].
While relying on data [SSRN download link], I wouldn't characterize Brown's work as empirical infometric research; I hope that wasn't the author's purpose because he overreaches at times. It is best to view Brown's essay as placing this mature and accepted publishing medium in the context of academic legal serial publishing generally.
Brown discusses relative merits and postulates selected outcomes. Here's an excerpt from the essay's abstract:
Law faculty blogs arose in a state of nature and were often perceived as inferior technology used by faculty to convey random, often personal, views. Over time, however, a recognized class of law faculty blogs emerged, with at least one having been cited 45 times in court opinions and another having been cited by over 700 times in assorted legal publications. Widely read and regularly cited, they offered a superior method for the rapid dissemination of some types of legal analysis and facilitate the introduction of ideas into an ongoing debate. They also provide a form of intermediation that discourages low quality posts.
Law faculty blogs provide a form of scholarship that fills a gap left by traditional law reviews. Law faculty blogs overcome the slow publication process and dense analysis that often prevents traditional law review articles from playing a role in an ongoing debate. Said another way, law faculty blogs have altered the continuum of legal scholarship and reduced the role of traditional law reviews. Efforts by law reviews to fight back through the implementation of online supplements has so far failed.
Law faculty blogs have also had a disruptive impact on the determination of faculty reputation. Blogging allows law professors to route around the traditional indicia of reputation such as the frequency of publication in elite law journals. Providing a “prominence” dividend, faculty who blog are able to advertise their expertise through substantive posts and become better known to practitioners, academics and decision makers.
Content is king if content is original. Any given law prof blog can have a relatively long or short publishing lifespan in "blogosphere years." In the now decade-long publishing history of the law prof blogosphere, launch dates oftentimes are key to garnering readership because earlier blogs arrived on the scene before the law prof blogosphere became a fairly crowded space. Newer blogs can acquire sustainable audiences and can even become more widely read than established blogs if their blogging law profs take the long view in "blogosphere years" to establish their web destination as a place to visit because their blogs consistently publish interesting and stimulating content.
As a practical matter, new law prof blogs must face the reality that this is a fairly crowded web space. Prof blogs must also recognize that commerical law media outlets are now well entrenched and that unlike the good old days when Google searches would expose new readers to blogs regardless of published content, modififications of Google's SE algorhythm tends now to filter regurgitated content.
Content is king if content is originial. That can be real plus when law profs blog commentary and analysis based on expert assessments of legal news and developments. That "scholarship in action" blog writing takes more time and thought but when captured by Google's SE, at least today's web browsers now provide an easy means to take an RSS feed. No so back in the early days.
Establishing a Merits-Based Reputation. Having been involved in publishing law prof blogs since co-founding the Law Professor Blogs Network back in the relatively early days when blogging was the latest "hot" thing to do if tenured, in 2004, the acceptance by the legal academy of the blogging platform as being a legitimate publishing medium can have what Brown calls a '"prominence' dividend". The real plus here is the exposure junior faculty can acquire by "thinking out loud" to display their interests and expertise. I won't detail how often junior faculty wanted to blog on a Network blog or wanted to launch a Network blog between 2004 and 2006 but were seriously concerned about the negitive consequences that might have for earning tenure by doing so. At least the legal academy has accepted blogging as a legitimate publishing medium.
The benefits for junior law profs now being able to blog because blogging is an acceptable publishing medium are at least three-fold:
- A higher profile for a junior faculty may mean law reviews will take their article submissions more seriously.
- Demonstrated expertise may result in calls for comments and/or citations to timely posts on topics by or in major general and legal commercial media outlets, and/or an invitation for the law prof to right a think piece; and
- A solicitation for a public service contribution, an amicus brief, or a firm or advocacy group to work for hire on a specific topic or more generally.
August 17, 2012
Law Prof as Innovator of Online Legal Transactional Skills Training Platform
Drexel Law prof Karl Okamoto's LawMeet teaches lawyering skills by having students post videos advising "clients" on hypothetical transactional scenarios. The students then receive feedback on their performances through a voting system. The top-rated performances are reviewed by experienced transactional lawyers in a competitive setting.
It has been reported that several law firms are using the online training platform with junior associates and faculty at 48 law schools expressed interest in testing LawMeet exercises after Okamoto demonstrated LawMeets at AALS this year. Hopefully interest in this platform will expanding legal skills offerings for law school courses and in-house law firm training with additional topical competitions for transactional lawyering. Perhaps someday LawMeet execises will offer law school course credit and CLE credit hours as standalone transaction-based legal skills offerings.
LawMeets was launched by two-year old start-up ApprenNet. Okamoto's venture recently received a $500,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation to expand LawMeet. For more see Drexel Law Prof to Use $500K Grant to Expand LawMeets, an Online Lawyering Skills Platform and Philadelphia Inquirer Features Professor Karl Okamoto's Online Experiential Learning Platform. [JH]
July 22, 2012
Some Details Emerge On The ISP Copyright Infringement Monitoring
Jill Lesser, the Executive Director of the Center for Copyright Information wrote a piece last week in CNN that explains a bit of the mechanism that ISPs will use in their cooperative effort with content owners to squelch copyright infringement on the web. The plan calls for graduated responses from ISPs described as “non-punitive.” The possibility exists for the ISP to dump a user to an educational page on the evils of copyright infringement or slow down the stream in some circumstances. It seems that the content holder will be doing the tracking while sending notices of “hey you stop that” through the ISP. Names and other personal information will not be given to the content holder.
It appears from her statement that the focus will be on peer-to-peer traffic:
As they have done for years, content owners will use technical methodologies to identify alleged infringements over peer-to-peer networks and will request that notices of such alleged infringement be passed on to subscribers by the participating ISPs.
I would find it hard to believe that content owners would limit themselves to P2P traffic given the number of file lockers, blogs, and other sites at which content may be available. I suppose they could get the Megaupload treatment under existing law. The tracking should have started July 1 if previous reports are to be believed. We will have a better idea once the notices and the circumstances surrounding them start hitting individual users. I have a funny that this may not slow down infringing conduct at all, and may be used as a failed experiment to show that we need more SOPA type legislation. I hope they notice that not all P2P traffic out there contains copyrighted content. [MG]
July 15, 2012
Round-Up of Law Practitioner Blogs
Monmouth County Bankruptcy and Consumer Lawyer Blog
Examines bankruptcy cases, news, and opinions as well as related consumer law topics in New Jersey. Published by Riviere Cresci & Singer
Virginia Defamation Law Blog
Examines defamation cases, news, and related legal topics in Virginia. Published by BerlikLaw
Mississippi Injury Lawyers Blog
Discusses personal injury cases, news, and related legal topics in Mississippi. Published by Kobs & Philley
Dallas Divorce Lawyer Blog
Examines divorce cases, news, and related family law topics in Texas. Published by Guest & Gray
Gravel2Gavel Construction Law Blog
Examines construction law cases, news, and related topics nationwide. Published by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
July 09, 2012
Old Habits Die Hard, Part I: SMART Publish or Perish for Serial Law Titles in the 21st Century
|While not discussing hardware monitoring (see Wikipedia entry for that), the all-caps format for "SMART" in this post's title is used intentionally to echo "self-monitoring, analysis and reporting technology" in the context of anticipating failures for generating reliable legal content research, analysis and communication at the intersection of publisher and consuming reader.
Of course, it could a "good thing" if AALL would someday set an example by getting SMARTer. Apparently that is too much to ask from an "old habits live on" publisher whose intented audience is 21st century legal information professionals right now. Failure at the intersection of publisher and audience in print-bound AALL publications like LLJ and Spectrum, make many law librarians who live in the 21st century professionally embarrassed by their association's mimicry of an obsolute publishing format when LLJ and Spectrum are e-disseminated.
For a recent failure example, there was clearly insufficent LLJ editorial oversight during the mocked-up production of dialog between two law librarians that confused the new WEXIS platform with WLN in a recent LLJ article. See "WestlawNext": What happens when a brand becomes synonymous with the negatives of all similiar products. On Nota Bene, Dan Baker stated the case explicitly, along with quoting text to illustrate the point at Yet Another Lexis Advance Polemic: A Reply to Sellers & Gragg ("[N]early every statement made by the authors about WestlawNext also applies to Lexis Advance".)
A SMARTer LLJ publishing platform would allow the authors of their fossilized-in-print article to clarify their statements.
"The page volume of law reviews has proliferated beyond reason with no corresponding rise in compelling content" is the pull quote from Walter Olson's article, Abolish the Law Reviews!, in The Atlantic. The case Olson makes against law reviews isn't new. But for compelling content, he promotes timely online published short-form works that OSU law prof Douglas Berman characterized during the early days of law prof blogging as "scholarship in action". Olson writes:
One way or another, some scholarly apparatus will be found to publish meritorious longer articles that advance the mission of serious research into the law. But when it comes to discussion of timely controversies, slash-and-thrust debates, and other forms of writing that people actually go out of their way to read, there's no doubt where talented legal academics are headed: to blogs and other shorter-form online publications.
... Professionally edited web outlets (including The Atlantic) allow law professors to get their arguments before an intelligent audience in hours rather than weeks or months. As online law writing has taken off, readers are rewarding qualities like clarity, concision, relevance, and wit, and steering clear of pedantry and mystification.
Sounds good, right? One question is whether long-form legal scholarly works will end up only being published in peer-reviewed law journals like the rest of university scholarship is? If not, I have my doubts that the mission of serious law writing will be well-served. Being realistic, however, I seriously doubt the student-edited law review will disappear any time soon, if ever (unless law tenure standards are ratched up to conform to the norms very well-established for other disciplines "on campus").
A much more important question is how the long-form law article should be published. Mark Giangrande makes the case for electronic publication of law reviews. While some law reviews have experimented with online supplements to their print titles, Mark calls for the enhanced law review article in Don't Abolish the Law Review, Adapt It:
I think a law review could easily exist online with the same editorial standards that appear now. In fact, I think they would have a better life online by adopting some of the features of online publication. The footnotes, for example, could lead to live sources, and at the very least PDF versions of the information. The “last visited” could be replaced or augmented with snapshots of sites as they existed at the time of the research. There need not be “on file” notes with some content.
Moderated comments could aid readers as well. The articles can be updated and revised over time. West does it with weekly updates to ALR online. Law faculty can take charge of revisiting their content. There is precedent for that with SSRN as a pre-publication outlet with some faculty having multiple drafts of the same article on the site. I’m sure a law review editorial staff could develop standards for publishing revisions.
My biggest problem with law review content is that even when it is presented online it still generally conforms to print. Maybe it’s the Bluebook mentality. There is the possibility of an enhanced presentation of an article if someone can set standards in light of the available web features. One or two respected titles can lead the way. The rest will likely follow.
With enhance law eBooks at one end of the spectrum and law blogs at the other end, I believe it is inevitable that the long-form law article will adapt to the new normal of electronic publishing. Whether it begins with academic law serials, commercially published law journals, or ABA journals remains to be seen. But eventually, reader expectations will push the long-form law article into the 21st century of e-publishing.
In the process one can only hope that law journals and enhanced regularly updated serial law eBooks will also eliminate the print era version of date-stamping by ceasing publication of "issues" for journals and, for serial eBooks, scheduled "supplements" or "editions." As soon as the text has completed the editorial process, just e-publish the damn thing immediately.
Old publishing habits die hard, but it is time to create new ones by eliminating print era legacies.
Endnote. A case in point on killing off print era legacies -- this is "part one" of a series of blog posts on "old habits die hard" but I don't even know what the hell the topic for part two in this series will be right now, when it will be published, or how many parts to this post series I will get around to writing and eventually publishing. Plus, based on past experience of "thinking out loud", there is no doubt in my mind that some "parts" will be drafted but never be published. [JH]
July 08, 2012
Round-Up of Law Practitioner Blogs
Michigan Healthcare Law Blog
Examines healthcare law cases, news, and related legal topics in Michigan. Published by Wachler & Associates
Chicago Injury Lawyer Blog
Examines injury and accident cases, news, and related legal topics in Illinois. Published by the Law Offices of John J. Malm
Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg
Discusses serious personal injury cases, news, and related topics in Florida. Published by Leesfield & Partners
New Jersey Lawyers Blog
Examines various legal topics related to business matters through case discussion as well as news on employment and consumer law matters In New Jersey. Published by McLaughlin & Nardi
Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog
Examines injury and accident cases, news, and related legal matters in Georgia. Published by Sammons & Carpenter.
July 06, 2012
SCOTUSblog at Work on the Supreme Court's Health Care Ruling: On "being first AND accurate at the same time"
Many mainstream media sources got the SCOTUS ACA ruling wrong in their knee-jerk initial reports. That included CNN, Fox News and NPR. Not so with the best source for SCOTUS news and analysis, SCOTUSblog. paidContent's Staci Kramer reports on how the editors of SCOTUSblog strived to be first and accurate at the same time:
[T]he team at SCOTUSblog took three long minutes from getting the ruling to reporting that Chief Justice John Roberts led the 5-4 majority declaring the Obama administration had a mandate, then another two minutes to declare the whole ACA was upheld with the exception of narrow reading on Medicare. Howe almost instantly mentioned the part about the mandate being judged a tax but held off on the rest. The screengrab from the CoveritLive replay below covers that three minutes:
For Supreme Court watchers, SCOTUSblog has been the web destination to go to for a very long time. Due to the blog's coverage of the Court's end-of-term dump of some very significant decisions last month, it appears that the site is now receiving long-overdue recognition beyond SCOTUSblog's regular audience for its excellent coverage by way of current awareness, source documents and analysis. See Kramer's SCOTUSblog: After a decade, an overnight sensation for more. Reportedly, President Obama initially thought that the Court struck down "Obamacare" based on early mainstream media's inaccurate reporting. Reporting an "existential moment," LLB's co-editor and SCOTUS watcher Mark Giangrande wrote:
What a difference an hour makes. I checked in with CNN this morning just before I left for the office and saw the headline that the individual mandate was struck down. I get to downtown Chicago and every news site trumpets that the mandate is upheld. I guess that’s what happens if one reads the first few paragraphs of the syllabus.
Mark accurately reported the ACA ruling in his June 28, 2012 post, Supreme Court Action Today: The Mandate Is Constitutional, Lying Is Constitutional, And Another Ooops. Without his headcount analysis, I would have had a very difficult time trying to map out who agreed to what:
I’ve tried to summarize, albeit briefly, the net effect of the decision. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the main opinion, but five justices did not join all of it. The opinion of the Court is contained in Parts I, II, and III-C where the Chief Justice was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justices Breyer and Kagan joined in Part IV, which is the Medicare section. Parts III-A, III-B, and III-D are all Chief Justice Roberts. Justice Ginsburg filed a separate opinion concurring in part, concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part in which Justice Sotomayor joined, and also joined by Justices Breyer and Kagan as to Parts I, II, III, and IV. Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito filed a dissenting opinion. Justice Thomas dissented separately, agreeing with Chief Justice Roberts analysis on the limits of the Commerce Clause power. Got all that?
Yup, got it. See also Mark's Reactions To The Health Care Decision post.
The White House has all kinds of special assistants to the President and the President receives a daily briefing from the CIA but it looks like there is one huge gaping information hole in the current awareness feed of information to the Office of the President that requires law librarian skills. Either the Chief of Staff has to censor major media coverage that gets to the President so he (or someday she) does not experience an OMG reaction to sloppy major media reporting or hires someone for an official in-house, non-political appointment as the president's law librarian with information literacy skills. What a gig that would be! I doubt that would happen so Obama might want to take the SCOTUSblog RSS feed by the time the Court reconvenes.
Endnote. SCOTUSblog's coverage of the ACA ruling has not ending with just accurately reporting the Court's holding. See Special Feature: Post-decision Health Care Symposium. It features expert guest commentary in a series of published posts. [JH]
July 01, 2012
Round-Up of Law Practitioner Blogs
Broward Injury Lawyer Blog
Discusses injury and accident cases, news, and related topics in Florida. Published by The Law Offices of Richard Ansara
Wisconsin Family Lawyer Blog
Examines family law cases, news, and related topics such as divorce in Wisconsin. Published by Wessel, Lehker & Fumelle Inc.
Florida Immigration Lawyers Blog
Examines immigration cases, news, and related topics in Florida. Published by Punancy and Cosentino
Cruise Ship Lawyer Blog
Examines cruise ship accident cases, news, and related topics in Florida. Published by Greenberg & Stone.
Texas Federal Criminal Law Blog
Discusses federal criminal legal cases, news, and related topics in Texas. Published by Michael McCrum / McCrum Law Office
June 26, 2012
The Advance of the “No Touch” Sales Model: On obsolescence in the vendor-buyer "partnership"
Every major legal publisher has an eCommerce site for purchasing products. We routinely see this in the advertising spam that fills our email boxes with “Deals of the Day” and time-sensitive discount codes for executing multiple purchases via vendor websites. This is called “no touch” sales. By “no touch” is meant the automated processing of sales transactions – no labor cost expensive human interaction required on the vendor side of this “partnership.”. Just “click” to make the purchase and input the necessary billing data. (Don't be surprised if billing data is automatically filled in the online order form some day.) It's the Amazon model.
The difference is that Amazon has always been a “no touch” seller. Our legal vendors have not. Will we see the day when real human beings will only be servicing uber large accounts and the rest of us will be “no touched” for print standing orders and online licensing? I think it is very possible that we will.
Downsizing sales forces and reorganizations of sales territories is already becoming an almost annual event. It is not beyond the realm of the industry’s cost-savings objectives that the only humans in a sales force will be those who hunt for new accounts in the field. Why? Could it be because the MBA-types who are calling the shots fail to understand the sales relationship between vendor field reps and buyer reps? Could it be because they never received an education in sales in B-Schools? Could it be because all they understand about a sales force is that they have to meet in Las Vegas every year?
It certainly can be the objective of some vendors to make their field reps obsolete and hopefully make well-informed buyer reps also obsolete by way of No Touch eCommerce sites. Just market sales pitches to ill-informed individual consumers. At the moment, West Mart is leading the vendor pack in implementing “no touch” sales by way of its eCommerce site and its OnePassYourAss scheme. Will other vendors follow to this extreme into the twilight zone of mutual obsolescence because the human factor just doesn’t compute in the business model for sales? [JH]