Monday, January 30, 2012

Jurors' use of social media during trials

According to a report published by the Federal Judicial Center, district court judges are addressing concerns that jurors will turn to social media during their jury duty to research trial issues or to post comments about the trials. Judges were surveyed to determine their strategies used in restricting jurors' access to social media. The report includes sample jury instructions drafted specifically to address this issue. InfoDocket summarized the report here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Top Massachusetts verdicts, awards and settlements of 2011

The January 19th issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly contains a useful article which highlights the top jury verdicts, bench verdicts, arbitration awards and settlements in Massachusetts during 2011. The case summaries are a lesson in placing a monetary value on life and health and are useful in evaluating cases with similar injuries and claims, in preparing settlement brochures and in preparing reports to corporate counsel and/or insurance claims managers. This and other Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly articles are available to the Boston College Law School community via the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly database.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Government's attachment of GPS to vehicle is a 4th Amendment search

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Jones, Case No. 10-1259, that the government's attachment of a GPS device to a vehicle and its subsequent monitoring of the vehicle's movements constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. Justice Scalia, who wrote the Court's opinion, employed a common law trespass analysis, rather than analyzing the respondent's reasonable expectation of privacy. The fact pattern and issues involved in this case were similar to those in last year's Grimes Moot Court Competition. To read the Court's opinion, simply click on the title to this blog entry.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Check out The Good Wife on DVD

The law library has recently acquired Seasons 1 and 2 of CBS's hit show, The Good Wife on DVD. The show stars Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, the wife of a scandal-ridden Illinois state's attorney, played by Chris Noth. After her husband is jailed on corruption charges, Alicia returns to work as a junior litigation associate at a medium-sized Chicago firm.

The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning show focuses on a wide variety of civil and criminal legal issues, in and out of the courtroom. Plus, it's a blast to watch. The third season is airing now, so catch up by checking out the DVDs! They are located in the reference area in the popular DVD collection--just grab the case and exchange it for the discs at the circulation desk. Happy viewing!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

E&R librarians begin teaching with iPads

As part of a university pilot program on teaching with tablet computers, the E&R librarians have begun using iPad 2s in their upper-level legal research courses. Since the introduction of the original iPad, attorneys have quickly discovered the many benefits of using tablets for conducting legal research on-the-go, reviewing documents when away from the office, and keeping up with email. As tablet use becomes more commonplace in the practice of law, E&R librarians believe it is important that students are exposed to using tablets for legal research.

In class, iPads have been wirelessly mirrored over the in-room projectors through the use of an Apple TV, allowing students to follow along on the projector's screen as presentations are displayed and legal research is conducted in iPad apps. Some E&R librarians expect to show students the benefits and drawbacks of using some iPad apps for legal research, such as WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, and CCH, along with Bloomberg Law and BNA in the mobile browser. The E&R librarians are also using their iPads for reviewing and commenting on assignments and final exams through the use of apps such as GoodReader, FileBrowser, Dropbox, and Pages.

Friday, January 6, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court to hear important election law cases

On Monday January 9, 2012 the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in three election law cases from Texas which involve plans for voting districts drawn up by the Texas legislature and a three judge Federal court in Texas. These cases will likely involve ruling on the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Misuse of student Lexis and Westlaw accounts

The Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Committee has issued an opinion concerning attorneys who require law student employees to use their student Westlaw and Lexis accounts for law firm research. The opinion characterizes such policies as "criminal misuse" of the students' educational accounts and a violation of the supervising attorney's professional ethics. The opinion is Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Opinion 11-03, dated November 15, 2011. The opinion is discussed on the Law Librarian Blog and the Legal Skills Prof Blog.