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).