Friday, October 17, 2014

Justice Department announces new policy on waivers of ineffective assistance of counsel

On October 14, 2014, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, circulated a memorandum to all federal prosecutors announcing a new policy on waivers of ineffective assistance of counsel claims:
Federal prosecutors should no longer seek in plea agreements to have a defendant waive claims of ineffective assistance of counsel whether those claims are made on collateral attack or, when permitted by circuit law, made on direct appeal.  For cases in which a defendant's ineffective assistance claim would be barred by a previously executed waiver, prosecutors should decline to enforce the waiver when defense counsel rendered ineffective assistance resulting in prejudice or when the defendant's ineffective assistance claim raises a serious debatable issue that a court should resolve.
This policy recognizes that effective assistance of counsel is necessary for the adversarial criminal justice system to function fairly.  The new policy takes effect immediately.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Terrific Source for Researching International Law in U.S. Courts

The American Society of International Law (ASIL) has just re-launched a terrific source for researching international law in U.S. courts, "i.lex," at

"i.lex" is an online database for selected U.S. federal and state court cases applying and interpreting international law. It is a free and practical source for anyone who is interested in understanding the interplay between domestic and international laws in the U.S. courts.

The i.lex content may be searched by topic, jurisdiction, treaty, or statute in the drop down menus, by keyword, or by tags.

Monday, September 8, 2014

New Lexis Advance enhancements!

If you logged in to Lexis Advance this morning, September 8th, you saw the new and enhanced user interface.  The selection wheel is gone and the option to browse topics and sources has moved. This video provides the highlights.  Training sessions will be provided by our Lexis representative, Reeves Nelson.  Check the training calendar when you log in to Lexis using your student account.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Practical Law Company (PLC) available via Westlaw!

In 2013, the news broke that Thomas Reuters (parent of West and Westlaw) had purchased the popular practitioner-oriented Practical Law Company. Just this year, the PLC platform was integrated into our law school Westlaw subscription and is now easily accessible from the law school homepage (see screenshot above).

Geared toward practitioners, PLC has a plethora of incredibly useful materials in a variety of different practice areas including bankruptcy, securities, corporate and M&A, IP, labor and employment, tax, and others. The content is produced and maintained by practitioners in each area of the law. There are practice notes describing major topics within the area of law and pointing out practical considerations; standard documents and clauses; checklists; state-specific resources and comparison tools; and more.

It’s a tremendous resource that all students should keep in mind, particularly during externships for academic credit and for clinics. The PLC focus can be helpful as you try to put what you have learned in law school into practice! For professors, this would be a great resource to consult when thinking about integrating practice-oriented exercises into class materials. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Class action lawsuit for right to counsel for children in removal proceedings

Last month, the American Immigration Council and the ACLU, along with other organizations, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of children in removal proceedings who are unrepresented by counsel.  Each year, the government initiates removal proceedings against thousands of children.  The named plaintiffs are 8 children, ages ranging from 8 to 17, who are unrepresented by counsel and against whom the government has instituted removal proceedings.  A motion for a preliminary injunction to stay the removal proceedings against the children until representation is provided has been filed as well.  The lawsuit, J.E.F.M. v. Holder, United States District Court for the Western District of Washington C.A. No. 2:14CV01026, contends that the 5th Amendment and 8 U.S.C. Sections 1229 and 1229a guarantee the right to a full and fair hearing, but that children unrepresented by counsel lack the capacity to exercise those rights, making the removal proceedings fundamentally unfair.  Further information is available in the American Immigration Council's press release.

UPDATE:  On August 22, 2014, the same groups filed a second lawsuit against the U.S. government over life-threatening deportations of mothers and small children who came to the U.S. seeking refuge from violence in their Central American home countries.  The press release is here.  The lawsuit is M.S.P.C. v. Johnson, United States District Court for the District of Columbia Civil Action No. 1:14-CV-1437.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

Massachusetts recently became one of a few states to adopt a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, Chapter 148 of the 2014 Acts.  This Act amends current Massachusetts law to provides additional protections to domestic workers in private homes, including nannies and housekeepers.  Some of the key provisions require employers to provide mandated time-off for full-time domestic workers and novel privacy rights for all domestic workers.  For a more detailed summary of the new law, see the information at Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Definitive treatise How Arbitration Works now available online

For nearly 60 years, Elkouri & Elkouri's How Arbitration Works has been the gold standard of treatises on arbitration law.  It discusses and cites to approximately 15,000 cases and arbitration awards, and features a table of cases, table of awards and table of arbitrators.  Now, the seventh edition (2012) of this excellent resource is available electronically on Bloomberg Law.