Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Law students may be able to find more leads for financial assistance via a listing of 50 Tips and Tools to Find Scholarships on Twitter. Law professors who don't Twitter can learn a lot about the many things one can do via Twitter just by skimming the list -- and also learn just that much more about the e-world our students inhabit.
hat tip: Amber Johnson (spl)
This top story in yesterday's ABA Journal online describes the cultural change taking place as family members start the day on their separate computers in separate rooms. It also notes the frustration of coffehouse owners (a/k/a free wifi providers) who see their tables tied up for hours while users surf the web on a single dose of java.
"Hey, honey," I yell to my husband in the next room, who has already read the news and weather this morning on his computer, "you ought to come take a look at this." At least we are not fighting over who gets to read which section of the newspaper first.
State bar associations have learned about an important membership benefit -- free legal research! There are two main research services that state bar associations offer to their members -- Fastcase and Casemaker. Together, these services provide FREE legal research as a membership benefit to perhaps half a million lawyers and law students. Many law firms have cancelled their Lexis and Westlaw accounts or substantially reduced their use because they now have access to these free services. But many legal writing and research professors seem to be unfamiliar with these services.
Bar associations offer free research because it is a tremendous membership benefit, and lawyers will keep their memberships in voluntary bar associations because of this access to free legal research.
Here is a list of states that offer FASTCASE as a free membership benefit through their state bar associations.
New Jersey (June 2009)
South Dakota (June 2009)
Oregon (Fall 2009)
And in addition to those state bar associations, these other bar assocations and law libraries also offer Fastcase:
National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
San Fernando Valley Bar Association
Los Angeles County Law Library (July 2009)
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar
Cincinnati Law Library
Social Law Library
Is this a complete substitute for Lexis and Westlaw? No, not yet any way. But Fastcase offers free tutorials and training programs on how to use it effectively. Click here for more information. For the list of current Fastcase subscribers, a hat tip to Michael Al-Megdad, the Fastcase Customer Outreach Director. You can reach him by phone in Washington DC at 1-866-773-2782 or by email at malmegdad [at] fastcase.com.
Your students can often get free access as well by joining the state bar association. Many state bar student memberships are free or very low cost indeed.
For information on Casemaker (the other legal research service offered by state bar associations), click here. Here is a list of the 28 state bar associations that offer Casemaker as a membership benefit: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
One might be tempted to compare the two systems based on the number of bar associations that offer a particular product as a membership beneift, but you really should look at the size of those state bar associations as well as the number of bar associations.
Monday, August 10, 2009
As he leaves UNLV (Boyd) to join the faculty at the University of Tennessee, we learn that Michael Higdon has been named the 2009 William S. Boyd School of Law Alumnus of the Year. Michael joined the UNLV faculty in 2004, and received the student body's 2006 law faculty member of the year award. He was a member of the school’s charter class, the first student Editor-in-Chief of the Nevada Law Journal, and the first alum to be hired there as a faculty member. Michael will receive the award at a special reception during the annual UNLV Alumni Association Homecoming on October 16.
hat tip: Terri Pollmann (spl)
With this summer's SEALS conference just recently completed, the call for papers has already gone out for next summer's conference, which will take place from July 29 to August 5, 2010, at The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida. Your submission may be on any topic related to law, so it's a good way for legal writing professors to get their scholarship before a wider audience in the academy. Both unpublished papers and abstracts are accepted, but completed papers seem to have been favored in the judging in the past. The deadline is December 1, 2009; decisions will be sent by February 1, 2010 . Address questions about the Call for Papers to Russell Weaver, SEALS Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for a short rant on the high cost of an international law casebook. And once you read that post (on the International Law Prof Blog, please come back here to leave a comment on the Legal Writing Prof Blog with your thoughts about the cost of texts for legal research and writing. Thanks.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
The sixth annual LWI Writers' Workshop took place July 25th through 27th, at The Resort at the Mountain, carved in the foothills of Mt. Hood, Oregon. A dozen legal writing professors who were working on law journal articles gathered with four legal writing professors who served as facilitators. They shared writing wisdom and encouragement, both as one large group and in small group sessions. More than one participant I happened to contact in the past two weeks had gotten on such a roll with their writing, thanks to the workshop, that they didn't want to break their momentum for anything. Kudos to facilitators Lou Sirico, Steve Johansen, Chris Rideout, and Ruth Anne Robbins for helping them get there!
hat tip: Ken Chestek (spl)
A big thank you to blogmeister extraordinaire Joe Hodnicki at the Law Librarian Blog (who, along with Paul Caron of the TaxProf Blog, are the hosts of the Law Professors Blog network) for fixing the blog bug that prevented us from offering a fully functioning index to previous posts. We now have two ways you can search the blog. First, at the bottom of each page is a button that lets you scroll back and forth one page at a time to find earlier posts. In addition, the right margin of each blog page features a weekly index of all earlier posts.
Let us know, either in the comments below or be emailing anyone of us directly, how you like the index and whether you have any suggestions for further improvements.
I am the scholarship dude.