Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bloomberg agrees to buy BNA

Bloomberg LP, owner of Westlaw and LexisNexis competitor Bloomberg Law, has announced an agreement to purchase the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) for $990 million. Bloomberg is controlled by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg; Bloomberg Law was first unveiled to law schools in late 2006. BNA was founded in 1929 and has been a trusted source for up-to-date news and developments for many areas of the law, including tax, health care, environmental, intellectual property and corporate law.

Since 1947, BNA has been owned by current and former employees who will be cashed out at $39.50 per share if the deal goes through. Dan Doctoroff, CEO and President of Bloomberg, states that "BNA research and analysis will make Bloomberg's products even more valuable, and BNA would benefit from our data and technology expertise." BNA would become a stand-alone subsidiary of Bloomberg.

BC Law currently subscribes to many BNA products (available through the law library's A-Z list), and Bloomberg Law is available to interested students and faculty. Keep an eye out for further developments--the deal is expected to close by the end of 2011.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dutch Law Firm Uses Corporate Take Over Video Game to Test Candidates' Lawyering Skills

Houthoff Buruma, one of the largest law firms in the Netherlands, has created a video game simulation of a firm's role in a client's takeover of another company to test the analytical and problem solving abilities of job candidates. The law students represent a Chinese state-owned company who wants to take over a family-owned Dutch company.

One week before they play the game, students are briefed on the deal and are sent off to research the issues involved. During the game, teams of three students must collaborate to close the deal within 90 minutes. Gameplay requires students to review electronic and paper documents, communicate with representatives of both companies via email, instant messaging, and video chat, and conduct research to solve unexpected problems that arise during the game. Multiple teams compete against one another during each playing and then discuss their approaches and tactics afterward.

Houthoff Buruma The Game is a uniquely innovative way for a law firm's hiring committee to evaluate how a student will perform under the stresses of practicing law by allowing students to experience the kind of heavy involvement in a deal that they would not likely encounter until several years into their careers.

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Uniform Law on Electronic Legal Materials

Exactly one month ago the Uniform Law Commission approved a new act that will help ensure that primary legal materials that are published electronically can be authenticated, preserved, and permanently accessible to the public.

According to a press release from the ULC:
Increasingly, state governments are publishing laws, statutes, agency rules, and court rules and decisions online. In some states, important state-level legal material is no longer published in books, but is only available online. While electronic publication of legal material has facilitated public access to the material, it has also raised concerns. Is the legal material official, authentic, government data that has not been altered? For the long term, how will this electronic legal material be preserved? How will the public access the material 10, 50, or 100 years from now? The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act provides a consistent approach to solving these problems.

Read the full text of the Uniform law (which is subject to stylistic changes) as approved on July 12, or follow the whole uniform law drafting process through the committee page.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

ABA Urges Law Schools to Adopt More Practical Training for Students

On the final day of this year's American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Toronto, the ABA's policy-making board, the House of Delegates, passed a resolution urging law schools to implement more curricular programs geared at developing law students' practical skills, preparing them for the practice of law. Proposed by the NY State Bar Association, their news release explains the resolution proposal stemmed from their recommendations published in the “Report on the Task Force on the Future of the Legal Profession” emphasizing the need for more skills-based training in law schools' curricula.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New search option for U.S. Code

The Office of Law Revision Counsel, a function of the U.S. House of Representatives, has released a new beta site for searching the U.S. Code. New features include searching a preliminary version of the next online version of the U.S. Code; this preliminary site is available for certain Code titles only. Improved table of contents searching, a better browse feature and a popular name table are included in the beta site. The intriguing "Cite Checker" function allows searchers to track public law provisions which will be classified under a particular section or note under a section but which are not represented in the Code yet. The explanatory text about the Code, the updating schedule and the role of Law Revision Counsel are valuable additions. Both the beta site and the existing Code search page created by Law Revision Counsel will be available during the beta test period.