Latest Version of BLAW released

Bloomberg has released its latest version of Bloomberg Law (BLAW), featuring, among other things:

  • a redesigned interface for more intuitive navigation
  • enriched search capabilities for faster information retrieval with  less time spent searching and more time for analyzing and applying findings
  • new practice area centers offering specific resources to quickly and easily access primary and secondary sources, news and analysis
  • enhanced collaboration and workflow features building on Bloomberg Law’s [BLAW's] workspace tools to help users research faster, stay organized and share securely

See: Bloomberg Law Releases Latest Evolution of its Web Platform

A Proposed Course of Action for UniversalCitation.org …

Cornell Law School’s Peter W. Martin, Jane M.G. Foster Professor of Law, Emeritus, who has contributed in the past on vendor-neutral citation (see, e.g., 99 Law Lib. J. 329 (2007)), recently wrote:

A Proposed Course of Action for UniversalCitation.org or Some Alternative Non-Commercial Entity

See: UniversalCitation.org

Among other things, Prof. Martin emphasizes right off the bat that:

It is 2011 not the mid-nineties. The environment has changed since the ABA and AALL first came out for public domain citation…

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

Legal Research Methods in a Modern World: A Coursebook

Together with my Stanford Law School colleague George D. Wilson and our friend and Danish legal scholar Henrik Spang-Hanssen, we have just published the third edition of our legal research book, a revision of Legal Research Methods in the U.S. and Europe, 2nd Edition.  But with the inclusion of short but good (in my opinion) chapters on legal research in China and Russia and some other materials, we have changed the title to Legal Research Methods in a Modern World: A Coursebook.

The book, now weighing in at 453 pages (and bargain priced at $ 55.00), is rich with illustrations and peppered with legal research tips.  My contribution is mainly Chapter 5, about legal research methods in the United States, and it is based upon and follows the advanced legal research class that I co-teach here at Stanford.  New to this edition, in addition to other updates, is the inclusion of research exercises that we have found most useful from the class.  I did not include the answers — because I hope to continue to use these exercises — but I would be very happy to share the answers and my thoughts on approaches with other instructors of legal research.

The legal world is certainly getting smaller, and it is our shared belief that this would be handy book for any attorney to have as he or she deals with lawyers from other countries and their legal cultures.

The book should be available from Amazon.com; but if not, or if you want to order copies in mass quantities, the U.S. distributor is International Specialized Book Services.  For other countries, the distributor is Marston Book Services.

We also have a corresponding website here.

Professional Adjunct Instructors Association (PAIA)

Professional Adjunct Instructors Association (PAIA)

http://paiassoc.wordpress.com/

Dr. Allison Friederichs, co-founderDr. C.J. Remmo, co-founder

The site includes a “Resources” page with links to information on teaching, publishing and classroom  assessment.

From the PAIA mission statement:

The Professional Adjunct Instructors Association is a nonprofit organization founded on the principle of recognizing and enhancing the value of the adjunct instructor’s role in higher education.  We believe that many adjunct instructors possess a wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion to offer higher education institutions and their students.  PAIA exists to facilitate the processes by which institutions maximize the potential adjunct instructors bring to higher education.

PAIA is committed to teaching as an art form, care for students, and improving the adjunct-institution relationship.  Our primary focus is to provide adjunct instructors with resources to continually improve teaching and curriculum design skills with a student-oriented focus.  Additionally, PAIA is dedicated to developing strong relationships with colleges and universities to ensure that our professional adjunct members meet the high standards set forth by these institutions.

 

New Legal Bug Tracker Tool: Call for Debugging Help

Our friend — and technologist, author, public domain advocate, currently known for his foundation public.resource.org and as a leader in the Law.gov effort to bring online all primary legal source materials (cases, constitutions, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes) for open public access — Carl Malamud is calling for help to debug the new Law.gov open source NILM (National Inventory of Legal Materials) Legal Bug Tracker tool:

Help us debug the Legal Bug Tracker

Laws of Utah Digitized

RulesNews, the newsletter of the Utah State Division of Administrative Rules, has posted as follows:

Laws of Utah Digitized
[Posted] On December 6, 2010, In Other News, By Ken Hansen

The Utah State Law Library reports that the Laws of Utah have been scanned and are now available online through the Utah State Library’s Pioneer service.  The session laws, from 1851 through 2009, are available thanks to the efforts of the Utah State Library in cooperation with W.S. Hein & Co., Inc.  Read more here.

Congratulations on this signal accomplishment by the State of Utah in open access!

Curious footnote: Legal Research at French Law Firms

Prof. Pierre-Yves Gautier’s book chapter ” The Influence of Scholarly Writing Upon the Courts in Europe” includes this curious endnote:

“It is the author’s understanding that in some of the major law firms in France partners prohibit junior solicitors from doing research mostly on the internet or databases. Research must always start on paper.”

See Pierre -Yves Gautier. The Influence of Scholarly Writing Upon the Courts in Europe in Mary Hiscock and William van Canegem (eds.). The Internationalisation of Law: Legislating ,  Decision-Making, Practice and Education. Edward Elgar, 2010. page 210.

Perhaps some  of our readers in France or those with experience in Parisian firms could confirm this. If true, I wonder if cost or research methodology is the primary motivation for restricting online resources?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Un-Legislative History

Wikipedia is often a boon for quick legal research about well-publicized matters.  It’s a great way to find where a statute is codified, or the background of a famous case.  When it comes to legislative history, though, sometimes Wikipedia’s a bust.  For anyone looking for a good example of why one must follow up with proper research into legislative history, please see Wikipedia’s entry on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which passed in July 2010.  As of Nov. 16, 2010, Wikipedia has the following to say about the changes implemented by Title XI of Dodd-Frank:

“The Federal Reserve Act is amended to change the New York Federal Reserve President to a Presidential appointment, with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

In support of this assertion, Wikipedia cites and links to the Enrolled Final Version of HR 4173, available on the LOC’s Thomas page.  Unfortunately, Wikipedia gets it wrong:  The version of the bill that passed Congress removed that language (which had been proposed by the Senate but rejected by the House).  The Senate’s proposal in this regard was snipped on June 17, 2010, weeks before the final bill passed.  Legislative history research–including review of committee meeting transcripts–coupled with news and secondary source coverage bore out the truth.

We always offer cautions when it comes to Wikipedia, and now there’s a handy example to which we can refer.

UPDATE:  Thanks to our helpful reader, Wikipedia has been policed. . .while its lesson remains!

Law.Gov Report Contest

From our great friend Carl Malamud:

Public.Resource.Org is pleased to announce the Law.Gov Report contest. A series of 15 workshops were conducted that resulted in a strong consensus on 10 core principles. Those workshops also produced a huge amount of material to work with including presentations by many of the leading lights in the field.

We’ve put a great deal of thought into how to do the report on this process that has been requested by members of Congress, the Courts, and the Administration and have concluded that we should take a page from the playbook of the founding fathers, which is to get a consensus on some high-level concepts (in their case the Constitution, in our case the Law.Gov principles) and then allow many people to all explain what those concepts mean (in their case, The Federalist Papers, in our case this contest being announced today).

The Law.Gov Report is a contest. We will accept submissions as a written essay or as a video essay.  The topic is really quite simple: What Does Law.Gov mean? You can write about one of the principles, or all of the principles, or any other take on the topic.

For the video essays, there is a tremendous amount of high-resolution footage available you can draw with talks by luminaries such as Vint Cerf, Larry Lessig, John Podesta, and many others. We have released final mixes of the first 27 talks and the remaining high-res footage will be available by mid-November.

If you submit an essay, please keep a couple of points in mind. First, you must attach a liberal license to your work or we will not accept it. That means at a minimum a Creative Commons license that allows derivative works with attribution, and we’d prefer if you simply used CC-Zero or Public Domain. You must also submit your work in a form that we can use for republication. In the case of a written essay, you can submit in PDF, but we’d also like revisable form text such as HTML or a word processing format. For your video, this needs to be high-resolution (you should shoot for at least NTSC size and at least several megabits per second on the encoding) and a relatively open codec (H.264/MP4, MP2, WebM).

The winning written essay will receive a prize of $5,000. The winning video essay will also receive a prize of $5,000. Submissions are due before Memorial Day (May 31). Winners will be announced the day after Labor Day at a prize ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Memorial Day deadline was set so that students can consider making this a class project. We hope that professors in law schools, i-schools, journalism schools, and any other discipline will let their students know about this contest and offer them credit in their classes for preparing a submission.

Public.Resource.Org has put $10,000 into the Law.Gov Report Prize Fund. If others wish to contribute prizes such as books, conference tickets, lunch with a justice, or other items of educational value, please contact us.

If you have questions about the contest, please ask them on this list or contact Carl Malamud at Public.Resource.Org. (You can find his email address on the about page.)

Here are a few resources for you to work with:

1. The Law.Gov videos on YouTube

2. The Law.Gov videos on the Internet Archive

3. Directory of final footage

4. Miscellaneous additional law.gov materials

“Search the USCprelim” from the U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Law Revision Counsel

The U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Law Revision Counsel (OLRC) has posted a new “Search the USCprelim” webpage that permits searches on what will eventually be a “posting of the next online version of the United States Code [USC].”

USCprelim is described as follows:
USCprelim: Pilot Project to Update Certain Titles Faster
Starting in 2010, the OLRC began a pilot project, called the USCprelim, to update certain titles of the U.S. Code on the website throughout the year as laws affecting those titles are enacted, rather than waiting until the end of the congressional session. Although these titles are also prepared from the same database used to prepare all other versions of the Code, they are posted to the website as a preliminary release, before all editorial notes have been added and before all work has been thoroughly reviewed. Thus, it should be expected that the preliminary release will be subject to further revision before it is released again as a final version. Nevertheless, the preliminary release should be useful to those seeking a more current version of the law. As with other online versions of the Code, the U.S. Code classification tables should be consulted for the latest laws affecting the Code. The first title being updated in this project is title 26, containing the Internal Revenue Code.

As indicated above, at present, searches on USCprelim are limited to Title 26 (the Internal Revenue Code).

A sample search “estate AND gift AND tax” brought up 221 hyper-linked results.