Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Resources to help lawyers weather the recession

The ABA is currently maintaining a web portal of resources to help lawyers through economic hard times, http://new.abanet.org/economicrecovery/default.aspx. In addition, the ABA is offering a series of teleconferences on surviving the recession which are free to ABA members and are available at a reduced cost to non-members. The teleconferences are Marketing Yourself, Succeed as a Solo, Adapt to Change and Stay Positive.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Open-toed shoes in court?

Know you look both professional and fashionable by following the advice on Corporette.com, “a fashion and lifestyle blog for women lawyers … and other overachieving chicks.” Written by a former journalist who is now practicing Big Law, it not only answers your questions about what is and isn’t appropriate for the office (or courtroom), it gives advice on where to buy those wardrobe essentials for less. Real lawyers who want to be effective can’t dress like TV lawyers, but they don’t have to give up fashion either. For more on that see Male Judges Advise Women Lawyers to Lose the Distracting ‘Ally McBeal’ Look.

So can you wear open-toed shoes in court?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Search Engines to Keep an Eye On

In “The Guide to the Four Search Engines of the Apocalypse” Seo.com takes a somewhat humorous look at the strengths and weaknesses of Cuil.com, Kosmix.com, WolframAlpha.com (apocalypse danger rating 9 (1-10), and my favorite - Hakia.com, which they give a danger rating of 7 (1-10). “A Hakia-based apocalypse will not be the work of machines, but of librarians. You’ll know it’s coming when any search on Wikipedia returns, “Ask your local librarian.”

Seriously, the guide is an interesting look at some new ways to search.

Thanks to Seo.com for the Guide, and to Blake at LISNews for the tip.

Listen to SC oral arguments on your Ipod

Audio recordings of hundreds of Supreme Court oral arguments are available for downloading to your Ipod, Kindle or other MP3 player at the Oyez Project, www.oyez.org. The Oyez Project is a free multimedia archive devoted to the United States Supreme Court. It offers case summaries, links to opinions and profiles of the justices throughout the Court’s history, in addition to audio recordings of oral arguments. Project Oyez’s oral argument collection is selective. Audio files of oral arguments are available for approximately 600 cases since 1955 and more are added every year. For some of the more recent cases, you can read along on a transcript while listening to the oral argument.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wolfram Alpha - A new way to search

Have you tried Wolfram Alpha? It's a new search engine that seeks to add computational ability to search queries. It's a fascinating look at data display capabilities. How will it impact legal research on the web? Check out the conversation at http://tinyurl.com/ozxda7.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Baked-Beans Protest

Solicitors in London staged a “baked-beans” protest earlier this week as they handed out free cans of beans outside the High Court, and warned that reforms under the Legal Services Act 2007 would lead to disaster. The reforms are being called the “Tesco law”, because they will let big companies, such as the Tesco supermarket chain, own law firms.

I wonder – will we one day see lawyers at the local Stop & Shop? In his 2008 book The End of Lawyers, author Richard Susskind wrote of exactly these kinds of changes coming to the legal services industry.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lexis ASPIRE from the Horse's Mouth

Recently Betsy McKenzie, director of the Suffolk University Law Library, interviewed Robert Romeo, SVP & GM Research & Litigation Solutions of LexisNexis, about the newly announced ASPIRE program in which the company is offering passwords to deferred law school graduates who will be working on public interest projects. Her questions and his answers include a list of some of the public interest groups Lexis is recognizing, as well as, more details about the databases that will be available and the time frame of the deferment.

To register for ASPIRE, go to the LexisNexis registration page.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BC Law Student Newsletter

The Spring 2009 issue of the Boston College Law Library student newsletter is out. The issue includes news about summer access to databases for law students and soon-to-be Boston College law school graduates, and a special feature on blawgs and bloggers. We hope you find it informative. Comments to the editor are welcome.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Vanishing Links in Judicial Opinions

We've all encountered a "dead" link when we're browsing web documents. What happens when the dead link is cited as part of a judicial opinion? This is the issue studied by Tina Ching in her survey of Washington State Supreme Court and Appellate Court opinions issued from 1999-2005. A total of 64% of the URL's cited failed to link to the referenced document. Links to government publications were the most frequently cited references in these opinions.

Marbling the U.S.Code

Peter James works for the Government Printing Office where he builds, binds and marbles federal documents such as archival editions of the official United States Code and reports of blue-ribbon commissions such as the 9/11 Commission. This video from the Washington Post shows his marbling technique – a process that’s been used for hundreds of years to ensure the authenticity of printed volumes. Watch him in action!

Thanks to Kristina Bobe of Georgetown University for this tip.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Kindle DX E-reader

The Kindle DX e-reader with its 9.7 inch screen was unveiled today. The screen is 250% bigger than the recently-announced Kindle 2; Amazon has deals with the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe to add their editorials and with three publishers to add their textbooks to the DX reader. And a recent article in the WSJ reported that some students at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland will be given large-screen Kindles with textbooks for chemistry, computer science and a freshman seminar already installed. Other schools looking at Kindle DX deals are Pace, Princeton, Reed, Darden School at the University of Virginia, and Arizona State. No deals with legal publishers have been publicly announced. But what’s most amazing is today’s announcement by CEO Jeff Bezos that Kindle sales are now 35% of book sales when Kindle editions are available. Ask at the Information Desk, if you're interesting in test driving a Kindle and have circulation privileges.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Graphical Statutes on Westlaw

I had the opportunity the other day to use graphical statutes now that it has matured a little, and it’s an amazing tool for finding out what a federal statute looked like on a particular day.

I was looking at changes in 17 U.S.C. § 506, which has had a number of recent amendments. You can instantly link to the way that code section appeared on any particular day back to 1996. We are getting closer and closer to the day when electronic statutes are as easy as or easier to use than print.

Treaties in Force, 2009

The Department of State has posted the 2009 Treaties in Force. Treaties in Force provides information on treaties and other international agreements to which the United States has become a party and which are carried on the records of the Department of State as being in force as of its stated publication date, January 1, 2009. Information about the scope of the title is available here.

Thanks to David McFadden at Southwestern Law School library for this information.