Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Defense Approporation Act Contains Restriction on Arbitration

Section 8116 of PL 111-118, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010 will prevent military contractors from enforcing mandatory arbitration clauses in some employment contracts. Section 8116 provides that no funds may be expended for military contracts unless the contractor agrees not to enter into or enforce any employment contract “that requires, as a condition of employment, that the employee or independent contractor agree to resolve through arbitration any claim under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or any tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention.”

The provision was, in part, an attempt to ensure that future military contractor employees do not find themselves in situations similar to that of Jamie Jones. Jones, a former employee of defense contractor Kellogg Brown & Root, reported being raped by her coworkers in Iraq. KBR, along with its former owner Haliburton, sought to handle her case in arbitration, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that some of the claims were not subject to arbitration. Minnesota Senator Al Franken, sponsor of the provision, spoke about Jones’ case on the Senate floor.

Hat tip to BLT: the Blog of the Legal Times

Monday, December 28, 2009

No Holiday Break for the Cobell Case Attorneys

While many of us have taken a holiday break, the attorneys in the Cobell Indian trust case have been hard at work preparing and filing a petition for certiorari. The petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court challenges the July ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The filing of the petition may seem unusual given that the parties recently announced a $1.41 billion dollar settlement of the case. However, because the settlement is contingent on Congress passing legislation authorizing and implementing the settlement by December 31st, the attorneys for Cobell are keeping their options open.

Hat tip to the BLT: Blog of Legal Times

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mistake by Law Prof on Exam leads to Student Headaches

At the University of Oregon, Professor John Bonine accidently posted one of his law exams on a listserv. According to Above the Law and ABA Journal, when he discovered his mistake, he asked the students to delete the exam and report how much of the exam that they viewed. Bonine holds that students are bound to the honor code of the school and the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct to report their behavior.

Nevertheless, this did not keep Bonine from administrating a different law exam on the day of the exam. Above the Law author, Elie Mystal, writes a skeptical post on this situation and argues from the students’ perspective. She writes, “They did nothing wrong!”

Read the following articles to find out more on the subject.



Hat Tip to Darla Jackson for alerting me to the topic.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Listening for the Legally Minded

Finals are almost over, and professors and students alike are looking forward to a well-deserved break.

However, if you want to exercise your mind this vacation, try listening to some political classics. Steven D. Schwinn on Constitutional Law Prof Blog suggests listening to our constitution this holiday or perhaps Plato's Republic or a little Rousseau. All of these are available for free on LibriVox, a website with audio recordings of books in the public domain. They are available in mp3 or ogg. There is also a podcast option.

Ah... nothing like 11 hours of John Locke on the way to Grandma's house.

(Read the rest of the article here.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Courts Cutting the Gordian Knot of Technology and Privacy

Just when you think the law is complicated enough… technological advances lead to new dilemmas. The problem is most evident in legal issues related to text messaging and social networking. Here are a few examples.

1. In November, the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee decided that judges may not “friend” attorneys on Facebook who may appear in their court. Meanwhile, the South Carolina Advisory Committee on Standards of Judicial Conduct allows judges to “friend” law enforcement officers and employees as long as the judge does not communicate things concerning his position. (See article on Legal Blog Watch.)

2. Last week, two cases were dismissed in Maryland because jurors were using Wikipedia and Facebook. In one case, the jurors were trying to look up scientific terms on Wikipedia. In the other, five jurors became Facebook friends. The lawyers complained that they created a clique and changed the jury dynamic. (See the article in ABA Journal.)

3. Yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed to listen to a case concerning text messaging and the police from Ontario, California. Police Chief, Jeff Quon, sued three officers for sending sexually explicit messages on city-owned devices. However, the officers are complaining that their boss read their text messages. The officers argue that the Ontario Police Department verbally assured its employees that their messages would not be reviewed unless there were charges beyond the service contract. Meanwhile, the police department’s written policy had no such protections. Read these articles from NPR.org and the Los Angeles Times for more information.

These issues will continue to grow. Keep an eye out for new developments.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Death Penalty in the News

On December 2, the issue of the death penalty came before the Supreme Court, and they refused to listen to the appeal of death row inmate Cecil Johnson. In the dissent, Justice Stevens made the argument that execution after a lengthy delay was unconstitutional because it was “unacceptably cruel.” Meanwhile, Justice Thomas responded against Stevens saying there was no support for his argument and that the state would never be able to please Stevens’ conditions for justice because of Stevens’ previously-held opinions against the death penalty.

Meanwhile on December 7, Franklin E. Zimring of the National Law Journal reported that the American Law Institute (ALI) had withdrawn its approval of the its own standards for capital punishment. The Supreme Court adopted this standard from the ALI’s Model Penal Code §210.6 during the 1976 case Gregg v. Georgia. However, Zimring states that this standard was weak because the categories of “death-eligible” crimes were too broad, and juries were often left to their own discretion in making the judgment. Nevertheless, the precedent remains, and it is unsure how this withdrawn approval will affect the current legal situation.

Hat tip to Darla Jackson for alerting me to these articles from The BLT: Blog of the Legal Times and the National Law Journal.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

American Indian Trust Suit Settled

For 13 years, Elouise Cobell and 500,000 American Indians have fought to win a class action law suit against the U.S. Government. The plaintiff accused the U.S. Department of Interior of mismanaging tribal trust funds that received money from the leasing of Native American lands. On December 8th, the parties settled on an agreement worth 3.4 billion dollars. 1.4 billion will be immediately distributed to the class members. 2 billion will be placed in another trust fund to buy family land parcels and consolidate them into tribal properties. In one situation, a 40-acre plot has over 400 owners from one family. The trust will try to buy the land from the family members and place the land under tribal stewardship for easier management. Finally, 6 million will go to youth education funds.

To learn more, visit articles in the New York Times, the WSJ LawBlog, and the Jurist.

To see government documents, visit the U.S. Department of the Interior online. There you can find the settlement, the press release, and other documents.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chief Judge Robert Henry of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to Become OCU President

Chief Judge Robert Henry of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit has announced that he will step down from the bench in 2010 to become the President of Oklahoma City University.

OCU's press release regarding Henry's selection details his past affiliation with OCU, including his service as the Dean of OCU Law School from 1991-1994.

Additional coverage is available from How Appealing, NewsOK, and National Law Journal.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tiger Woods and Exams?!

Have you heard enough about Tiger Woods? Well, maybe you should keep listening.

Eric Turkewitz of the New York Personal Injury Law Blog writes that Tiger Woods is a “One Man Bar Exam” because of the breadth of his legal difficulty. Click here to see Turkewitz’s list of Tiger’s legal troubles, exam topics, and a terribly photoshopped image of Tiger Woods.

(Article found on Above the Law.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

OCU Law School Wins with Maps 3

According to the Daily Oklahoma, Maps 3 passed yesterday with a vote 40,956 yes, 34,465 no. This continuation of a one cent sales tax over the next seven years is slated to improve the downtown area. It includes the construction of a new convention center, a 70-acre park, and aquatic health centers for senior adults. It also provides for repairs and improvements for sidewalks, walking trails, the fairgrounds, and facilities on the Oklahoma River.

OCU Law School also possibly benefits from Maps 3 passing. The passing of Maps 3 is one the primary conditions for moving the Law School downtown. In fact, the introduction of public transit to the downtown area including streetcars and a possible commuter rail will make it possible for law students to travel to a downtown law school without exorbitant cost in parking.

Click on the following links to read the news coverage on this issue:





Monday, December 7, 2009

A Little Less Bah-HumBug: Good News on Student Loan Payment and Forgiveness

It is a good thing to hear good news during the holidays… especially good news about money.

As summarized here, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act helps in regard to student loan payment in three ways: (1) It will bring down loan interest rates down to 3.4% in 2011. (2) Beginning July 2009, borrowers can repay their loans with an income based repayment plan. (3) If the borrower has a Federal Direct Loan, they can participate in Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Under these stipulations, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program will forgive the loans of those who work with “public interest legal services” for over ten years. This includes “prosecutors, public defenders and legal advocacy on behalf of low-income communities at a nonprofit organization” Visit http://edlabor.house.gov/college-cost-reduction-and-access-act/index.shtml and http://www.finaid.org/loans/publicservice.phtml for additional information regarding public service loan forgiveness.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Social Networking (Facebook) Helps Exonerate Teen

Evidence collected from social networks has been increasingly used to obtain convictions. Recently, however, evidence collected from Facebook resulted in the dismissal of robbery charges against a New York teen. According to the a posting on eWeek.com, defense attorneys were excited to hear of "a Brooklyn teenager's acquittal over robbery charges when it was learned the teen had posted a status update on Facebook from his home computer during the crime. " While the facts related in a New York Post story vary slightly, it does appear that Facebook was used to support the teen's "alibi".

As the eWeek.com posting indicates. Location features of social networking services, such as Google Latitude, may be utilized as "legal tool[s]" in the future. However, members of organizations such as Electronic Frontier Foundation have cautioned about the privacy risk of location features, particularly those that have a location history function.

Hat tip to Equal Justice Works E-Clips

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Books: November 2009

Each month, the OCU Law Library's website features the new books added to the collection. You can use the library catalog to search for new books or review the list on the website. Check out the new books acquired in November 2009.

Finals Time is Here!

Studying for final can be a daunting experience, but the OCU Law Library is here to help.

#1 We provide you with the ability to reserve a study room for your next big study session. We are now booking rooms up to a week in advance. Come by the circulation desk. Available times are quickly disappearing. When you come, bring a list of those you are sharing the room with. We need to add them to the list as well.

#2 OCU Law Library also has longer hours beginning Thursday, December 3. We will be open from 7:30am-1am weekdays until December 17th. On the weekends, we will be open 9:00am-1:00am on Saturday and 1:00pm-1:00am on Sunday.
However, on December 18th, we close at 6pm, and our hours will be limited through December 22. Then, our doors will be closed December 20th and December 23rd through January 2nd. So if you are graduating, return all of your books early!

#3 The Law Library posts many practice exams online. Find them on StarNet- http://starnet.okcu.edu/Academics/OCULaw/LawLib/Practice. Check this website often. Just recently, librarians have uploaded new exams from several professors. If you have difficulty logging on, remember to use “ocu\username.stu” and then your password.

#4 Coffee!! This tradition lives on. The Law Library provides coffee for finals-weary students on December 5th, 9th, 13th, and 16th. We’ll keep it piping hot for you.

Best wishes on your studying and exams.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fantasy League for the Legally-Inclined

FantasySCOTUS.net is a new fantasy league that allows those of us who are legally inclined (as to perhaps sports inclined) to compete to determine who has the greatest ability to predict the outcome of Supreme Court cases.

The site, a brainchild of Josh Blackman -a George Mason law grad, explains the rules of the leagues as follows:

For each case the Supreme Court grants cert, predict:

-The Outcome of the Case (Affirm or Reverse the lower Court)

-The Split (9-0, 8-1, 7-2, 6-3, 5-4, 4-1-4, or fragmented)

- The Justices in the Majority, and the Justices in the Dissent

At the end of the Term, the Associate Justice who predicts the most cases correctly will be confirmed as the Chief Justice of the Fantasy Supreme Court League, and win a to-be-determined prize.

The League is intended to allow those who compete "to play like the Tenth Justice."

Source: WisBlawg - From the Univ. of Wisconsin Law Library

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Need Assistance With Citations? Bluebook Tips May Help

Bluebook Tips is a compilation of brief answers to questions regarding proper citation format received by the editors of the Uniform System of Citation (Bluebook) editors. The most recent tips may be browsed or tips on a specific category of citations (cases, statutes, periodicals, quotations, etc.) may be viewed.

The editors also encourage submission of additional questions. "Send your questions to editor@legalbluebook.com. If our answer is useful to Bluebookers generally, it may be formulated into a new tip..."

Hat tip to Law Librarian Blog and the Cleveland Marshal Law Library Blog.

Thanksgiving Law Library Hours

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, November 25, 26 & 27- the law library will be CLOSED for Thanksgiving.

Extended Hours will run from 12/3 to 12/17. During this period the law library will be open as follows:

Monday- Friday, OPEN 7:30am-1am
Saturday, OPEN 9am – 1am
Sunday, OPEN 1pm – 1am

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Legal Research on the Bar Exam?

Within 3-5 years is is likely that legal research will be included as part of the bar examination, according to Erica Moeser, President of the National Conference of Bar Examiners. What the questions will look like is still open to debate. A program at the 2009 American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting covered the topic. Steven Barkan's thought provoking article tries to answer how legal research could be tested on a bar exam.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Improving Research Skills

As you consider your spring schedule I urge you to think about taking Advanced Legal Research. Research is a fundamental skill that lawyers are called upon to do day in and day out. If you have questions about the class come see me. In the meantime consider Professor Bowman's idea that legal research skills should be taught across the entire law school curriculum. (abstract below - full text here).

In the ever growing movement to integrate skills and values across the law school curriculum, research instruction cannot be overlooked or forgotten. Research serves as the fulcrum upon which "skills and values" such as ethics and practical application of doctrinal studies, rests. Therefore, research instruction cannot be limited to what the students learn in their first-year legal research and writing classes. A concentrated effort must be made in all classes to ensure that what the students learn in the first-year research and writing classes will be further developed, refined, revisited and reinforced. This Article, Research Across the Curriculum: The Road Must Continue Beyond the First Year, offers a new paradigm for how research instruction should change in the upper-level classes from requiring all students to take Advanced Legal Research courses, for example, to integrating research instruction into specialized areas such as international law and tax courses.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Uniform Bar Exam

Did you know that 10 states will implement a uniform bar exam in 2010? This would allow scores to be applied across state lines without having to take another exam. Read more here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is Mining Metadata Ethical?

Professor Andrew Cavo explores this question in a recent article available here. The abstract is here:

Imagine the following extreme scenario: you represent the defendant in a contract dispute. A junior associate at the plaintiff’s firm sends you a Microsoft Word document that purports to represent the plaintiff’s final, pay-it-or-we-go-to-trial settlement demand: $10 million. But you believe the plaintiff would actually be willing to settle for far less. So, in a frenzy of zealous representation, you 'mine for metadata'; that is, you deliberately search that document’s hidden or embedded information. A few mouse clicks reveal a wealth of information: when the document was created, who worked on it, for how long…a few more clicks and…what’s this?! You are now looking at the same document, but it suddenly includes comments in the margins, made during the document’s editing process! One of those comments is from the partner overseeing the case and it reads, 'We’ll tell them $10 million for now, but that’s just to feel them out. Our actual bottom line is $750,000.' Armed with that information, you counteroffer for $500,000 and eventually settle the case for exactly $750,000. The few minutes it took you to 'mine for metadata' (combined with your opposition’s failure to 'scrub' the document) saved your client millions! Is what you did ethical? The American Bar Association (ABA) says yes. But the New York County Lawyer’s Association (NYCLA) Committee on Professional Ethics disagrees. In recent opinions on the ethics of 'mining for metadata,' the ABA and NYCLA come out on opposite sides over whether attorneys may ethically seek such a strategical advantage. Part II of this paper will define 'metadata,' explain its significance, and describe potential pitfalls for the unwary lawyer. Part III will discuss the conflicting ABA and NYCLA opinions, their underlying rationale, and ways that other states have addressed the ethics of 'mining.' Part IV offers practical tips to prevent attorneys from ending up on the wrong side of an inadvertent metadata disclosure. Part V provides a quick and dirty guide on just how to “mine for metadata.” Part VI is a brief conclusion.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New LexisNexis iPhone App

LexisNexis recently rolled out a free iPhone app called "Get Cases and Shepardize." You can download it in iTunes here. It will prompt you to enter your user id and password once you install the app. It is a handy application but I don't think I will be reading many cases on my iPhone!

JOTWELL - Providing Reviews of New Legal Scholarship

Michael Froomkin, University of Miami School of Law professor, serves as the editor of JOTWELL, the Journal of Things We Like (Lots). However, Section Editors, who are "distinguished scholars" from schools, including Harvard and Georgetown Law Schools, are the primary contributors of JOTWELL's content. 3L Student Editors from the University of Miami also participate in the work of the Journal.

The stated mission of the JOTWELL is to provide "a space where legal academics will go to identify, celebrate, and discuss the best new legal scholarship." As noted, "[n]ever in legal publishing have so many written so much, and never has it been harder to figure out what to read..." JOTWELL will recommend new scholarship worthy of attention.

Hat tip to WisBlawg, the blawg of the UW Law Library

Sunday, November 8, 2009

eBooks for Law

Professor Eugene Volokh posted an interesting series on ebooks and their applicability to law last month. You can read his posts here. Would you read a 1,000 + page casebook on a Kindle? Could your brain handle it. Check out this recent article in the New York Times Does the Brain Like E-Books

Hat tip to Professor Beveridge for calling the NYT article to my attention.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Law Library's Most Wanted

Jennifer Pohlman's Law School Library's Most Wanted, in the October issue of the National Jurist, gives an amusing look at those characters who present a challenge to other students desiring to study in the Law Library.

Hat tip to Karen Kalnins, OCU's Reference Librarian, who located the National Jurist article.

Using Facebook in Insurance Litigation

Another post about facebook. In this post I call your attention to a recent article about the use of social networking sites in insurance litigation. The article is available here. Even if you have managed to avoid creating your own facebook page, you can't ignore social networking as it might relate to your clients.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Be Careful Who You Friend on Facebook

The New York Law Journal ran an interesting story about the savvy use of social networking sites and their impact in litigation. The article includes examples of good uses of social networking sites and not so good ones. Like the lawyers in Texas who friended a judge on facebook. The lawyer asked the judge for a continuance based on the excuse of a death in the family. The judge later discovered that the lawyer was not at a funeral but instead was posting facebook updates detailing a weekend of drinking and partying. The article is here (free with registration).

Friday, October 30, 2009


Welcome to the Supreme Court of the United State's Blog, or, SCOTUS Blog.


The blog features commentary on current issues that the Supreme Court faces. Written by the below pictured authors, the blog features an archive and search feature.


Here you can also find links to Orders and Opinion, Commentary and Analysis, New Filings, Petitions to Watch, and a Term Tracker tool.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quinlan Lecture - Oct. 29, 2009

Yale Law School’s Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Professor of Law, Reva Siegel, will present the 2009 Quinlan Lecture in OCU LAW’s Homsey Family Moot Courtroom at 5 p.m. Thursday, October 29. Professor Siegel’s lecture is titled "Race Talk and Ricci: The Court and the Confirmation Process.“

To view Reva Siegel's publications, please visit the Quinlan Lecture Display outside the Law Library Reference Offices.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Juveniles and the Supreme Court

Cases involving criminal charges against juveniles have been around for a long time. Last weeks edition of Newsweek Magazine contained an article penned by a former juvenile offender. Please take a look at it here.


The author, Raphael Johnson, points to two current cases coming before the supreme court that deal with the contentious issue of convicting children to life terms in prison.

The first,


Can be found on,


The second


Can be found on the SCOTUS Wiki.


Both cases are also mentioned on the webpage of the Juvenile Law Center.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Results Are In - 2009 Law Library Student Survey

Thanks to the 196 law students who participated in the library's recent student survey. We are pouring over the results and are learning a lot about how students view the collection and services. We will use the information to improve what we offer students. Some improvements will happen quickly, others will take some planning before we implement them. But we appreciate the strong response from the student body to the survey.

As promised all those who completed the survey will have any fines they owed for overdue materials waived as of the date they took the survey. We are in the process of doing this now. If you owed any fines and took the survey watch for an email soon confirming the waiver of your fines. We also gave away an iPhone to one lucky winner who completed the survey, Keegan Harroz. Her name was chosen at random from the list of all those who completed the survey.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Embracing the Fierce Urgency of Now

Embracing the Fierce Urgency of Now is the theme of the 2009 National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Visit their site to read more about Hispanic heritage.


On the site you'll find links to projects sponsored by entities like the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives.


You'll also find links to the amazing images used to create the site as well as illustrate the history of Hispanic culture in the United States.


If you find yourself more interested in an audio/visual explorations, we suggest you take a look at the audio/video page of the Hispanic Heritage site.


National Hispanic Heritage month runs from September 15th through October 15th. The Law Library has set up a display that celebrates this rich tradition.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Innocence Project

Earlier this week, OCU welcomed author John Grisham to speak on campus to help solicit donations for the future Innocence Project to be housed at the Oklahoma City University Law School.

For more information on the project, one can browse their site.


The site features an interesting blog that features convictions that have been over turned and other related news items.


If you're interested in keeping up with Mr. Grisham's publications, you can check out his official website.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Law Students - Take Survey - Win iPhone

This survey will ask your opinion of the Law Library facility, services, and collection. The survey should only take 5 minutes to complete. We value your input. As a thank you for completing this survey we will:

1. Waive any fines that you owe for books you have already returned to the Law Library as of the date you take the survey. Lost items are not eligible for this waiver.
2. Enter you in a drawing to win an Apple iPhone (pre-owned 1st generation)

At the end of this survey you will be asked for your contact information so we can waive your fines and enter you into the prize drawing. Only one entry per student is allowed. Please give us your honest opinion. If you have any trouble completing the survey please contact Lee Peoples (lpeoples@okcu.edu) The survey will be available from October 2 to 16, 2009.
Click here to take this short survey: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/?p=WEB229Q3SMYB4B

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Internet and your Law Practice

Have you ever thought about how you might integrate Internet Application Technology into your Law Practice?

The blawg Law Vibe has a post that will let you know how other Lawyers are currently using technology to keep track of their clients and cases.


Wired GC also has several postings about technology and the practice of law. Posts include online advertising and virtual law partners. Read about those topics here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Grisham to Speak at OCU

Bestselling author John Grisham will appear at a special event on OCU’s campus on October 13 to help raise funds for a program at OCU LAW to address erroneous convictions.

Additional information concerning the event is available here. Visit a display of Grisham publications and information on the Innocence Project outside the Reference Office in the Library.

The Supreme Court's New Term


Today on the Diane Rehm Show the discussion focused on the new term of the Supreme Court. This term will bring decisions on the following topics:

Gun Rights

Campaign Finance

Free Speech

Religious Symbols on public land

Listen to the podcast of the discussion here.

Find this and other issues and episodes of the Diane Rehm Show here.

Diane's guests include:

Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at the George Washington University and legal affairs editor of "The New Republic." He's the author of "The Supreme Court," "The Most Democratic Branch," "The Naked Crowd," and "The Unwanted Gaze."

David Savage, reporter, "Los Angeles Times."

Barry Friedman
, professor, New York University School of Law; author, "The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Resurgance of Militias

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the country is experiencing a resurgence of radical militias for the first time since the beginning of their decline in the 1990s.


The article explains:

"A key difference this time is that the federal government — the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy — is headed by a black man. That, coupled with high levels of non-white immigration and a decline in the percentage of whites overall in America, has helped to racialize the Patriot movement, which in the past was not primarily motivated by race hate. One result has been a remarkable rash of domestic terror incidents since the presidential campaign, most of them related to anger over the election of Barack Obama. At the same time, ostensibly mainstream politicians and media pundits have helped to spread Patriot and related propaganda, from conspiracy theories about a secret network of U.S. concentration camps to wholly unsubstantiated claims about the president's country of birth."

This resurgence is bringing back thoughts and images from the Oklahoma City Bombing, perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh, a sympathizer to the militia movement.

In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center puts the number of militant plots against the government since the bombing in Oklahoma City at 75. Read more about each plot here.

Currently, the government is looking into a YouTube video posted by suspected militia members threating the government with reprisal by war.

Nancy Cowden, OCU Law Library's Asst. Director for Technical Services, Recognized as OCU Employee of the Month

Nancy Cowden, OCU Law Library's Asst. Director for Technical Services, was recognized as OCU Employee of the Month at a reception on October 7, 2009. The nominations for this award all noted that she has worked as a part of the Law Library team and OCU Community to accomplish whatever task needs to be done for over 25 years.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Animal Cruelty- Resources for Prosecutors and Attorneys General

The dog fighting scandal that has surrounded Michael Vick of late has brought the specter of animal cruelty regulation into the forefront of many prosecutors and law enforcement officers in the country.

The Humane Society of the United States has put together a resource for those faced with prosecuting the crime of Animal Cruelty.


On the resource page you can find

  • Training Opportunities
  • Help with Cruelty Cases
  • Publications
  • Guides and Manuals for Investigating and Prosecuting Animal Cruelty
  • Other Legal Resources
  • Recent Victories in Court

The Michigan State University College of Law also has a website dedicated to legals resources and historical information dedicated to animals and animal cruelty.


In Oklahoma, Title 21 Chapter 67 covers Animal Cruelty.

Monday, October 5, 2009

OKC Drive-By Shooters Released from Death Row

Due to "witness problems," two men convicted of murder perpetrated during a drive by shooting have been released from prison.

Read more here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

October is Cyber Security Month

October is Cyber Security Month.

Cyber Security tips are available from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

Visit a display with Cyber Security information and other resource, including a cable to lock laptops to tables, outside the Reference Wing.

Public Nationwide Online Lawyer Ratings

Have you heard about Avvo?


A lot has been written about online rating systems like Angie's List- and now, with Avvo.com, an online rating system has come to the world of law.

Avvo.com states that "At Avvo, our mission is to help people navigate the complex and confusing legal industry. Choosing a lawyer is an incredibly important decision—yet most people have no idea how to go about doing it, and resources to guide them are scarce."

The tool is mostly for the layman, but the site offers professional lawyers the opportunity to network and answer questions that the public post to the site. While the site has not reached all states (Oklahoma, for instance, is not included), each person represented as a lawyer on the site must be registered with the Bar in their state. Only confirmed lawyers can post answers to legal questions.

Current law students should be aware of this site as they move into their professional roles. In today's digital age a reputation can be made or broken on the open web. But professionals can use the site to build their online reputation, which is of increasing importance.

For a deeper look at Avvo, please look here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

LegalTube - The Next Thing In Legal Marketing?

Legal Tube invites you to "tune in" to:
- search by practice area and location to get a list of all of the attorneys that might meet your needs
- get face time with potential matches by watching videos until you find the perfect lawyer
- get answers to common legal questions, answered by the legal experts themselves
- find out about vital legal news, like drug recalls and class-action suits
- take a break from your day with some legal humor or our entertaining original webisode series

In reality, because the site is just starting out, the "matchmaking" function between lawyers and potential clients is perhaps the least developed. Only a few videos from lawyers and firms are currently accessible. However, the site may have some potential.

Hat Tip to WisBlawg and Legal Blog Watch.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Banned Books Week Stresses Importance of the First Amendment, Sept 26 - Oct 3

Banned Books Week stresses "the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature" and draws "attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society." Read more about Banned Book Week from the American Library Association.

Also, visit the Banned Book Week displays just inside and outside the Reference Wing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Stress Importance of "Open Internet"

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, at a speech at the Brookings Institute on Monday, September 21st, stressed the importance of "open Internet" principles and proposed regulations intended to prevent Internet providers from restricting access to particular services. Complete video of the speech is available here.

Hat tip to Jurist.

Stamps Honoring Supreme Court Justices

On September 22nd, the U.S. Postal Service will be dedicating four 44-cent stamps honoring Supreme Court justices Joseph Story, Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter, and William Brennan Jr. The Law Library will have these stamps available as soon as possible after the release date.

Hat tip to WisBlawg.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Plan on Attending the Oklahoma Bar Association Annual Meeting

The 105th Oklahoma Bar Association Annual Meeting will be held in Oklahoma City on November 4-6, 2009. The theme of the meeting is "Failure is Not an Option" and the keynote speaker will be Gene Kranz, the NASA’s flight director who guided the crippled Apollo 13 spacecraft safely back to Earth.

Prior to October 12, Law Student registration for the educational programing is only $25.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Peer Review of Law Review Articles by PRISM

Peer Reviewed Scholarship Marketplace (PRISM) is billed as "the next generation for article submission to student edited legal journals." Prism offers authors review of their articles and then provides a pool of reviewed articles and recommendations to member law reviews and journals. For more details click here.

Hat tip to Adjunct Law Professors Blog

Monday, September 14, 2009

61 Percent Public Approval Rating for the US Supreme Court

As the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) begins its new term with a new justice, Justice Sotomayor, Gallup is reporting that the Court received a 61 percent approval rating from Americans. This is one of the most positive ratings the court has received in the past decade. Click here for more information regarding the Court's rating.

Hat Tip to Law Librarian Blog

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) Technology Fair - September 24, 2009

Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) Technology Fair will be held on September 24, 2009 at the Oklahoma Bar Center. The Tech Fair will feature the American Bar Association's Tech Show Roadshow. For more information visit http://www.okbar.org/techfair/

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Constitution Day - September 17, 2009

Celebrate Constitution Day on September 17. 2009. Visit the National Archives for background facts about the Constitution and ideas for observing Constitution Day.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Federal Bar Association Annual Meeting In Oklahoma City - September 10-12

In September, the Federal Bar Association Annual Meeting will be held in Oklahoma City. Visit the Federal Bar Association's website for more information about the organization. Information about speakers and the CLE programs at the meeting is available here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Islam Day at Oklahoma City University - September 10

Islam Day (September 10) at OCU aims to share Muslim students’ observance of Ramadan month with the campus and community. This event is also intended to increase the university’s visibility with the Muslim community in Oklahoma. Various community organizations have partnered with OCU for this event, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Institute of Interfaith Dialogue, and the Governor’s Ethnic American Advisory Council.

For additional coverage of Islam Day at OCU visit The Campus Online. For more information regarding resources on Islam and Law, visit a display outside the Reference Office in the Law Library.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Spell Checker for Library Catalog Modified

The existing dictionary spell checker for the Law Library's catalog has been modified to help account for specific legal terminology. The modification is intended to prevent situations in which the user gets a message "Did you mean trots" when searching for a title including a reference to torts. If you have spelled a legal term correctly and continue to get a “did you mean” result, please advise a reference or circulation staff member so that we can ensure that we further modify the function.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Justice Stevens To Retire from Supreme Court?

The Associated Press has reported that Justice John Paul Stevens has hired only one law clerk for the term beginning in October 2010. This has led to speculation that Justice Stevens may be planning to retire.

Hat tip to The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes

Sunday, August 30, 2009


The federal government's flu Web site is an excellent resource as the flu season approaches. Stay updated with their RSS feed or look at state specific information.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


For those interested in the environment, Environment21 is a blog published by the University of Denver that focuses on environmental and natural resources issues.

Thanks to Hearsay.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Edward (Ted) M. Kennedy

Read the article in the Boston Globe to find out the latest on Senator Kennedy's funeral and visit his memorial Web site.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Download the New OCU LAW Library Toolbar Now

Download the OCU Law Library Web Browser Toolbar at: http://oculawlibrary.ourtoolbar.com/. It works in Firefox and Internet Explorer. With the toolbar you can quickly search the law library catalog and other law related databases, access law library databases, frequently used parts of the law library website, or submit a reference question with one click.

For more information about the toolbar visit: http://www.okcu.edu/law/lawlib/pdfs/guide_toolbar.pdf

Monday, August 24, 2009


NARA (The National Archives) launched its blog, NARAtions, in August 2009. Topics covered include historical records, research, and online access to documents located at the Archives.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Simple Tech Tips

In the August 2009 edition of Law Practice Today, Thomas W. Shumate outlines some simple steps to avoid common tech mistakes.

Thanks to Slaw.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Internet Advocates' Watchlist for Ugly Laws has compiled its August 2009 list of top 10 "reckless and misguided" laws in the U.S.

Thanks to beSpacific.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Facebook Gets Sued Again

According to the WSJ Law Blog, Facebook is being sued in California. The plaintiffs' gripes include improper uploading of pictures, changing the terms of service without consent, and accessing personal pages without consent.

Thanks to the WSJ Law Blog.

Monday, August 17, 2009

TechCrunch's 35 Best iPhone Apps for 2009

With plenty of 2009 still to go, TechCrunch released its list of 35 Best iPhone Apps for 2009 (So Far).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Upgrade to RECAP

If you use Pacer, the electronic public access system for U.S. Federal District and Bankruptcy Courts, you will want to download RECAP. It is billed as a Firefox extension that will help you "give back, save money, and keep you organized."

Thanks to Barco 2.0.

Friday, August 14, 2009

OKC Highlights

If you are new in town, welcome. You probably will not have much time to enjoy the sights once classes start, but below are some suggestions if you need a break or have out-of-town guests.

Cattlemen's Steakhouse is a well-known restaurant located in Stockyards City.

Bricktown has a variety of restaurants to please many palates.

The Asian District is right down the street and has its share of good places to eat.

If you want to know more about Oklahoma, visit the History Center.

The Cowboy Museum is world famous for its unique collection.

The OKC Art Museum offers movies as well as art.

Watch OKC's own NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Oklahoma City RedHawks are the local baseball team.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Old Tweets

Can you access old Twitter postings? According to an article by Sarah Perez, tweets have a searchable life expectancy of about a week and a half. Happily, Marshall Kirkpatrick has outlined how to archive those tweets in Google Reader.

Thanks to Slaw.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Supreme Court Database

While still in beta, this free database offers researchers and others a plethora of information about U.S. Supreme Court cases. One of the features includes the ability to set one's own specific search parameters such as issues, legal provisions, or type of decision.

Thanks to CM Law Library Blog.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Welcome (Back) to the Law Library

1L students Welcome to OCU and the Law Library. We enjoyed seeing you at orientation. Currently on display, across from the Circulation Desk, are a number of resources designed to help you transition successfully into Law School.

Returning Law Students, you may notice that over the summer there have been significant changes in the Reference Wing as well as on every floor of the library. There have also been significant changes in our circulation staffing. We will certainly miss Jim Gettys, but we are glad to welcome Emily Brown, the new Circulation Librarian, and Jenny Rempel, a new daytime Circulation Assistant. Emily Brown received her M.L.I.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and Jenny Rempel anticipates completion of M.L.I.S. degree requirements at the University of Oklahoma in December 2009.

Young Lawyers Blog

Written by a team of newly-minted attorneys, this blog delves into the unique issues faced by lawyers just beginning their practice.

Thanks to the National Law Journal.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Legal Analysis Materials for 1Ls

First year students should have received Westlaw passwords and instructions regarding how to register for the Legal Analysis class via email. If you have not received an email message, please contact the Law Library Reference Office. Once you have registered for the Legal Analysis TWEN course, you may access additional information and readings on the TWEN course site.

Please note that you should have reviewed the syllabus and have completed the appropriate reading before the first day of class.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Online Child Support Calculator

Oklahoma DHS now has an online child support calculator available. To find out more about the recent changes in child support click here.

Thanks to OBA's email newsletter.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Got grit?

According to an article in the Boston Globe, grit plays a role in helping people achieve their goals. A researcher at the University of Pennsylvania has developed a survey to study the nature of grit. So, the next time you experience a challenge, ask yourself if you've got the grit to overcome it.

Thanks to Out of the Jungle.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Want to find out which government employees are tweeting? GovTwit is an easy and searchable resource that will let you find out who is tweeting.

Thanks to beSpacific.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

OCU Law's Lee Peoples to Speak at Georgetown Law & AALL Conference

Lee Peoples, Associate Professor of Law Library Science at OCU Law, is scheduled to speak at a Georgetown symposium titled: The Future of Today's Legal Scholarship held in honor of the late Robert Oakley, former Director of the Georgetown Law Library and a well respected law librarian. Peoples' will discuss the use of blogs in judicial opinions and litigation. Following the Georgetown symposium Peoples will speak at the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting in a session titled: Law Librarians Abroad: Is a Foreign Study Program for You?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

OCU Law's Darla Jackson to Speak at AALL Conference

Darla Jackson, Head of Reference and Access Services at the OCU Law Library, will coordinate and moderate a program titled: Understanding the Mean: How the Average Law Librarian Can Encourage Empirical Research Initiatives. The program will be presented at the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Meeting. The program description is included below:

The U.S. Supreme Court has long acknowledged the usefulness of information produced by social science research methods. In 2003, the Supreme Court cited statistical evidence in two cases. Recognizing the persuasive power of research concluded through empirical methods, court, firm and academic librarians are now contemplating how they can add value to the empirical research process. This program will provide an introduction to empirical research methods and assist librarians in understanding how two academic law libraries and a law and legal studies librarian at an academic library have supported empirical legal research initiatives. Speakers will discuss their experiences in supporting empirical legal research initiatives and provide advice on the types of support “average” law librarians can provide. Speakers will also suggest avenues for law librarians to develop a greater familiarity with
empirical research methods.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Best Wishes on the Bar Exam

The OCU Law Library wishes all OCU Law grads good luck on the bar exam this summer. And don't forget to check out the OCU Law Library guide for alumni.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Firefox Tools for Legal Research & Writing

Users of the Firefox browser will appreciate this helpful list of tools and add-ons compiled by Wislawblog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Hein Databases

The Law Library recently added several new databases to our Hein Online collection. Law students and faculty now have access to the following databases on Hein Online:

1) National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws - Archive Publications

2) Selden Society Publications and the History of Early English Law

3) Subject Compilations of State Laws

Hein Online is accessible from our databases page here. You can access it on campus and off.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Recent Acquistions - In the Reference Wing

You may have noticed that the recent acquisitions are now available for your review in the Reference Wing. A list of recent acquisitions for June 2009 is available here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How Should Lawyers Dress

Apparently, the Seventh Circuit conference tackled the unusual issue of how lawyers dress. The consensus: Too sexy and too silly. Interestingly, they blame the law schools, in part, for this failure.

(hat tip to law school innovation)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Nolo's Free Legal Dictionary for iPhone

Nolo has developed a free legal dictionary for the iPhone. Nolo's Plain English Law Dictionary "contains nearly 4000 legal terms defined in everyday, understandable language," according to the iTunes descriptions.

Here's more about the app from iTunes:

"You'll find both the legal standards--Latin terms, courtroom jargon, contract basics--and newly minted terms that reflect the ever changing language of the law today. What does it mean to get "dooced"? Do you need that "pre-dup"? Had a run-in with a "patent troll" lately? Nolo is committed to finding and defining the latest twists in legal language that have entered our daily conversations--important words not found in other legal dictionaries. Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary is both authoritative and friendly, but it is not your grandfather's law dictionary."

Hat tip to WisBlawg.

Is Research on Westlaw / Lexis a Necessity in Texas?

A recent article in the Saint Mary's Law Journal “Practitioners Beware: Under Amended TRAP 47, “Unpublished” Memorandum Opinions in Civil Cases are Binding and Research on Westlaw and Lexis is a Necessity” Vol. 40, 2009, discusses the 2003 and 2008 amendments to the Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure (TRAP) 47, which deal with the citation and precedential weight of unpublished and memorandum opinions. Solomon writes:

“The 2003 amendment was seemingly designed to make the law more readily available by prohibiting the issuance of unpublished opinions in civil cases and and authorizing memorandum opinions in place of unpublished opinions. Despite this intention, the 2003 amendment has failed to make the law in civil cases more readily available because the newly created memorandum opinions are only available electronically via Westlaw, Lexis, and the court websites, even though these opinions are designated for publication. Also, the 2008 amendment has now made memorandum opinions issued in civil cases since 2003 fully precedential. As a result, to completely research binding law in civil cases, Texas attorneys must now have access to Westlaw or Lexis because the court websites lack sophisticated search engines necessary to conduct competent legal research.”

“The amendment is flawed because it makes memorandum opinions precedential even though those opinions are only readily available on Westlaw and Lexis. This has occurred in an era when only 60% of attorneys use fee-based online research services (i.e., Westlaw or Lexis) for state case law research.”

Solomon makes a number of recommendations, including “making all opinions readily available on a sophisticated, widely available, and unified website for the Texas courts of appeals.”

As it goes in the state song of Texas, “boldest and grandest, withstanding ev’ry test,” so an accessible, complete website for the courts in Texas seems only right.

(originally posted on Legal Research Plus)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Free Law Review Article Submission System: LexOpus

LexOpus (http://lexopus.wlu.edu) is a recently launched service at Washington and Lee Law School offering free online submissions to law journals. The service has two facets:

1) An author can make an article available to all interested law journals, inviting journals to make offers. Journals are able to limit by subject matter the articles that they see as open to offers.

2) An author can make offers to law journals in an author-specified journal list, LexOpus making on behalf of the author a short-term exclusive offer to each law journal in sequence. For non-peer-reviewed journals 'short term' is one week. Author offers continue past each journal's exclusive period, on a non-exclusive basis, until rejected by the journal or withdrawn by the author, but any journal with an exclusive period always has acceptance priority.

An author can make a work 'open to offers' as well as submit to specific journals, or can do one or the other. As the system does permit uploading of revisions authors might make working papers open to offers and then, if no acceptable offers have been received, when the finished work is available submit that version to specific law journals.

Works can be suppressed from public view if the author so desires. (hat tip to law librarian blog)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July Law Library Hours


Independence Day

Friday, July 3 - Closed

Oklahoma Bar Exam Preparation

Saturday, July 11, Noon-7pm

Saturday, July 18, Noon-7pm

End of Summer Term

Friday-Sunday, July 31-August 2, Closed

You can always check the current schedule here

Monday, June 29, 2009

CRS Report Finds Sotomayor Characteristically Follows Stare Decisis

CRS Report R40649 by Anna C. Henning and Kenneth R. Thomas, provides an analysis of selected opinions authored by Judge Sotomayor during her tenure as a judge on the Second Circuit.

In the Summary of the Report:

Perhaps the most consistent characteristic of Judge Sotomayor’s approach as an appellate judge has been an adherence to the doctrine of stare decisis, i.e., the upholding of past judicial precedents. Other characteristics appear to include what many would describe as a careful application of particular facts at issue in a case and a dislike for situations in which the court
might be seen as oversteping its judicial role.

Hat Tip to Law Librarian Blog

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Reference Wing Reopening

The carpeting of the Reference Wing has been completed. Although we are still in the process of returning the volumes to the shelves, the Wing is now available for use.

You may also access the primary Computer Law through the Reference Wing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reference Wing Closed

The Reference Wing will close in the afternoon on Tuesday, June 23 and will remain closed through Friday, June 26 while new carpet is installed. If you need access to materials usually available in the Reference Wing, please see a Reference Librarian. The Reference Librarians will try to assist you in accessing materials via electronic resources.

The computer labs located in the Reference Wing will also be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, June 24 & 25. The Computer Lab in Sarkey's Law Center will be accessible during this time.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Law Students Can Win Prize Money

If you are the creative type consider entering the "My Inspiration" contest. To win you must make a video of what inspired you to go to law school. Don't wait, the deadline is July 15, 2009.

Good luck!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pardon Our Progress - Construction in Gold Star

If you have been in the Gold Star Building this past week, you have probably noticed the activity. We are preparing the Reference Wing for new carpet and a new faculty office is being built in the North Wing of the Second Floor. Also, the Circulation Area is being extended into the Periodicals Wing. We ask that you please be patient as we try to quickly complete these projects. If you need a quiet place to study, we recommend the Wings on the Lower Level and the Third Floor.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Google Squared and Wolfram Alpha

On June 3, 2009, Google announced a new feature Google Squared, "an experimental search tool that collects facts from the web and presents them in an organized collection, similar to a spreadsheet." While recognizing that the tool could be useful, Google acknowledged, "This technology is by no means perfect."

Dan Giancaterino, Internet Librarian, at Jenkins Law Library, in an amusingly titled post, Google Squared Needs a Bit More Time in the Easy Bake Oven, also finds that Google Squared has some issues. Giancaterino suggests that Wolfram/Alpha "has some advantages" stemming, in part, from the fact that Wolfram Alpha is the result of a more substantial (lengthier) development process.

Wolfram Alpha, described as a "computational knowledge engine", does not simply return a list of results based on a query, but attempts to compute an answer based on the user's input. According to the Wall Street Journal, like Google Squared, reviews of Wolfram Alpha have been "mixed."

EFF Launches Terms of Service Monitoring

Terms-Of-Service (TOS) are the foundation of a user's relationship with social networking sites, online communities, and other electronic businesses and organizations. However, most people only show interest in these terms when an issue arises. For example, in February 2009, Facebook was forced to rescind a change in its terms of service when a report that Facebook was asserting control of uploaded content sparked angry responses from users and consumer advocacy groups. Now Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched TOSBack, a service designed to assist users understand website TOS polices and monitor how these polices change over time. TOSBack currently reports changes to 58 "organizations" including Google, YouTube, and Twitter.

Hat tip to Law Librarian Blog

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ebooks available via Google?

According to the New York Times, Google recently announced that it plans to launch an ebook service by the end of 2009. The Google service would not require a reading device like Amazon's Kindle. Users, instead of downloading books, will buy online access to to the books. For more see articles in the New York Times and on NPR.