Wednesday, June 23, 2010 Wrap-up

I attended the final workshops June 17 and 18 at Harvard Law School. Highlights of Thursday’s session on Massachusetts included an inspiring talk by Lawrence Lessig on Who Owns the Law, an introduction to the Trial Court Access to Justice Initiatives by the Honorable Dina E. Fein, and a tour of the primary legal materials currently accessible via links from the Massachusetts Trial Court web pages.
Friday’s session was primarily an open discussion attempting to bring together many of the insights gained to articulate some of the core principles about access to primary legal materials.
An initial draft of the technical and non-technical principles articulated will probably be posted on the Google group in the near future with its official roll-out scheduled for September.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cities of Asylum

In 1994, the International Parliament of Writers (IPW) was formed to provide sanctuary for persecuted writers and to defend freedom of expression and creation. Fittingly, Salman Rushdie was its first president. The IPW provided residencies in safe haven countries for writers who were persecuted or threatened with death or imprisonment in their own countries. Today, the Cities of Refuge North America (formerly North American Network of Cities of Asylum) and its sister organization, International Cities of Refuge Network, continue IPW's mission. There are more than 30 Cities of Asylum worldwide. Participating cities in the United States include Las Vegas, Ithaca, Pittsburgh and Miami.

The title to this blog entry links to the homepage of the City of Asylum/Pittsburgh which provides housing, a stipend, health coverage and transitioning assistance to exiled writers such as Horacio Castellanos Moya. Castellanos Moya wrote a searing postmodern novel, Senselessness, based upon his own human rights work in Central America. The novel follows the stream of consciousness of a journalist who is hired to edit a human rights report for a Catholic Archdiocese on the atrocities committed by the military regime of an unnamed Central American country against its indigenous population.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Remembering William P. Homans, Jr.

Boston College Law School Professor Mark Brodin has published a biography of the late Massachusetts attorney William P. Homans, Jr. The book, William P. Homans, Jr.: A Life in Court, celebrates the extraordinary career of a litigator who represented antiwar protesters, including Dr. Benjamin Spock, and who fought to eliminate the death penalty in Massachusetts. Karen Breda, Legal Information Librarian and Lecturer in Law at Boston College Law Library, interviewed Professor Brodin about this book. Watch this video interview with Professor Brodin about his new book. It is very fitting that Karen conducted the interview due to her close involvement with and support of Professor Brodin's research. Also, Karen's knowledge of Attorney Homans during her previous career as a litigator adds an extra dimension to her discussion of Homans' life work.