Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Influenza A (H1N1) Update

WHO (World Health Organization) released a map showing number of laboratory confirmed cases of Influenza as reported to WHO, displaying the total of known (reported) cases and the total of known (reported) deaths. This map is updated as of June 26, 2009. Access the full map.

H.R. 2998 American Clean Energy and Security Act

Monday, June 29, 2009

Contest For Law Students To Win $10,000

Via Legal Blog Watch, Contest Gives Law Students Shot at $10K by Robert J. Ambrogi, read about a contest for law students that gives you the chance to win $10K. All you have to do is to make a video sharing your inspiration for going to law school.

The My Inspiration contest is a repeat of last year's One Less Worry Contest. Sponsored by Access Group, a nonprofit student loan company, the contest's rules are simple: Produce a video of no more than four minutes and upload it to YouTube by July 15, 2009.

From the submitted videos, Access Group will choose 10 finalists. Starting Aug. 3, the public will be invited to vote for a winner from among the 10 finalists. One lucky and/or talented law student will win a $10,000 scholarship for law school. Up to five additional honorable mention scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded by a panel of judges. Winners will be announced by September 1, 2009

See the full post and get yourself some extra cash towards school. Good Luck to all!

Updates to Loislaw

Wolters Kluwer will be making a number of enhancements to Loislaw this summer by improving Find A Case, document delivery capabilities, and the Loislaw homepage.

Find A Case is a Loislaw tool to pull cases by citation. It is similar to Westlaw's Find & Print or Lexis' Get & Print tools. It will be improved so researchers can retrieve multiple citations at once. Find A Case will also be enhanced so individuals can extract citations automatically from an electronic copy of a document, such as a brief or memo, by uploading the document into Find A Case.

The document delivery tools on Loislaw will be improved so researchers can print, email, or save multiple documents simultaneously. Researchers will also be able to print, email, or save search results including Global Cite and Find A Case results. These document delivery options are not currently available on Loislaw.

The Loislaw homepage will be reconfigured so only the content available is displayed. Wolters Kluwer is calling this a Smart Start Page. The Smart Start Page will display only the content available under your agreement. Currently, the Loislaw homepage displays all Loislaw content including content not available under an institution's agreement and thus not available for use.

Wolters Kluwer anticipates releasing all of these tools this coming summer.

In addition, Wolters Kluwer will release a Case Law Widget later this month. The widget is a Internet webtool that Loislaw subscribers can put on their webpage to retrieve cases via the Internet portal. It simply provides an external access point to Loislaw's Find A Case tool. The widget is highly customizable and can be modified to match the Internet portal design.

Update to Energy & Fuel Page at USA.gov

The Energy and Fuel page, at the USA.gov website has been updated by a new link. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) provides information about current and potential energy legislation, energy policy, programs, consumer resources, publications and meetings, and most current news from the press room. The ACEEE was founded in 1980

The ACEEE is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. ACEEE carries out its mission by:
  • Conducting in-depth technical and policy analyses
  • Advising policymakers and program managers
  • Working collaboratively with businesses, government officials, public interest groups, and other organizations
  • Converting conferences and workshops, primarily for energy efficiency professionals
  • Assisting and encouraging the media to cover energy efficiency policy and technology issues
  • Educating businesses and consumers through our reports, books, conference proceedings, media outreach, and Web site

Don't forget you can subscribe to all news from the USA.gov by email or via RSS feed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

2006 United States Code Available Online

The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States based on what is printed in the Statutes at Large. It is divided by broad subjects into 50 titles and published by the Office of law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The USC has been published since 1926 every six (6) years. To stay current, annual cumulative supplements are published in between the years. The GPO Access has the 1994, 2000, and now even the 2006 versions of the United States Code, including the annual supplements. Files are available in ASCII Text from the 1994 edition forward and Portable Document Format (PDF) from the 2006 edition forward.

Project: RaceTracker

A project of the Sunlight Foundation and PPF,

The RaceTracker project on the OpenCongress wiki tracks every election for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and state governor. RaceTracker is a free, open-source, fully-referenced, and non-partisan public resource.

You can find:

  • Candidates for each seat and their status
  • Campaign contribution information
  • District maps, past election results, and more

Check out the RaceTracker Project wiki and find out how you can participate. The home page features current hot topics, such as 2010 elections, 2009 stimulus bill, 2008 bank bailout bill, 111th Congress, members of Congress who twitter, members of Congress under investigation, members of Congress posting schedules online, and many other topics.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More To Legal Writing

Carrie W. Teitcher, from Brooklyn Law School, published an article titled Legal Writing Beyond Memos and Briefs: An Annotated Bibliography that is available on SSRN. There is more to legal writing than just memos and briefs. Legal professionals often need to draft affidavits, contracts, e-mails, jury instructions and verdict forms, letters, motions, discovery demands, or pleadings. This is an annotated bibliography of legal writing sources. They are organized by subject. And many in the legal profession will find it helpful.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nixon Library Update

From the White House Press Room. Nixon Library will open additional tapes and materials. The collection opened yesterday (June 23, 2009) at National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, Maryland 20740 and at Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum,18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard, Yorba Linda, California 92886.

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, one of 12 Presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, will be opening approximately 154 hours of Nixon White House tape recordings and approximately 30,000 pages of textual materials from the Nixon Presidency.

More Effective Keyword Searches

Law Technology News has advice on crafting more effective keyword searches for electronic data discovery. Several federal judges have noted the need for lawyers to consult expert guidance, and in previous blog posts we've written about the need think about your search terms.

The author identifies the following as key to successful keyword searches:

  1. start with the request for production;
  2. seek input from key players;
  3. look at what you've got and the tools you'll use;
  4. communicate and collaborate;
  5. incorporate misspellings, variants, synonyms;
  6. filter and de-duplicate first;
  7. test, test, test!;
  8. review the hits;
  9. tweak the queries and retest; and
  10. check the discards.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Honking Your Car Horn ≠ Free Speech

The Seattle Times reports on a Washington State woman who challenged a noise ordinance that prohibited prolonged honking of a car horn on First Amendment grounds, and lost. The defendant argued that the ordinance was "vague, overbroad and interfered with her right to free speech." She had been charged with violating the noise ordinance for parking in front of a neighbor's house and leaning on the horn for 10 minutes at 6:00 AM, leaving, and coming back an hour later to do it again.

The Washington Court of Appeals held that
Horn honking which is done to annoy or harass others is not speech.

The case is State v. Immelt, No. 60991-2-I (Wash. Ct. App. 2009).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Law Firms' Duty to Supervise Pro Bono Attorneys

NY State Supreme Court Justice Ellen Gesmer voided a stipulation in a divorce case where the client was represented pro bono by a former Skadden Arps associate working for a non-profit legal group that represents women in family law and immigration cases. The NYLJ story says that

[i]n granting a woman's bid to void a settlement stipulation because her pro bono divorce attorney made serious errors and was inadequately supervised, a state judge has cautioned law firms and volunteer groups that in taking on pro bono cases, they should ensure that counsel "receive appropriate support and supervision, so that they can provide pro bono clients with the same careful legal representation that they provide to paying clients."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Guide to International Legal Research

The Pace Law Library published another resource guide. Check out our newest addition, International Legal Research Guide. This is a guide to international public and private law, with an emphasis on international public law. This guide presents print, digital, subscription and free online resources to international legal research. It is organized by the type of resource.

Also, take a minute to view the full list of Pace Law Library Guides published so far via LibGuides.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Layoff Tracker

Law Schucks has a Layoff Tracker that tracks law firm layoffs since January 2008. They analyze this data in a variety of ways, chronologically (by month, calendar year, rolling 12 month) and by firm. As of June 14, 2009, over

12,542 people have been laid off by major law firms (4,874 lawyers / 7,668 staff) since January 1, 2008
10,550 (3,944 / 6,606) people have been laid off from law firms in calendar 2009
308 (63 / 245) have been laid off in June

Monday, June 15, 2009

Most Dangerous Search Terms

CNN.com reports the risks of some terms when searching on the Internet. In an article titled What are the most dangerous search terms on the Internet, based on a report by McAfee, you can find out what words, used as search terms on the Internet, pose a higher risk of acquiring virus or other malware on your computer.
If you like to search for "music lyrics" or "free" things, you are engaging in risky cyber behavior. And "free music downloads" puts 20 percent of Web surfers in harm's way of malicious software, known as "malware."

A new research report by U.S.-based antivirus software company McAfee has identified the most dangerous Internet search words that place users on pages with a higher likelihood of cyber attacks. The study examined 2,600 popular keywords on five major search engines -- Google, Yahoo, Live, AOL and Ask -- and analyzed 413,000 Web pages.

Friday, June 12, 2009

WTO Declares 2009 Influenza Pandemic

In the statement to the press on June 11, 2009, World Health Organization (WHO) announced its decision to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6.

In late April, WHO announced the emergence of a novel influenza A virus. This particular H1N1 strain has not circulated previously in humans. The virus is entirely new. The virus is contagious, spreading easily from one person to another, and from one country to another. As of today, nearly 30,000 confirmed cases have been reported in 74 countries. On the basis of available evidence, and these expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met. The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic.

A reminder, the following sites provide up to date information about the swine flu.

Pace Environmental Law Review Announces Shift to Peer Review

As of August 1, 2009, Pace Environmental Law Review (PELR) will use a new Peer Review process to select articles for publication. Submissions will be reviewed internally and then forwarded to a select group of Peer Reviewers – academics, practitioners, and experts in the field, including members of Pace Law School’s world-renowned environmental law faculty. The Peer Review process will offer new and distinctive opportunities to foster continued debate and reflection upon some of the most pressing topics within the field of environmental law. Articles selected for publication will benefit from:
  • Expedited editorial processing of 8 to 10 weeks from acceptance
  • Single-article hard copy publication
  • Inclusion in a bound volume distributed to PELR’s wide-ranging list of subscribers
  • All articles submitted to PELR must be original scholarship and not previously published.
Established in 1982, PELR was one of the first scholarly environmental law journals. We invite authors to submit articles either via ExpressO or directly in either MSWord or PDF format to the PELR Development & Acquisitions Editor at pelracq@law.pace.edu.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Legal Research Skills Tested On Bar Exam?

A thought provoking post at Legal Blog Watch by Carolyn Elefant Should Bar Exams Test Legal Research Skills?, is a reaction post to Joe Hodnicki post on Law Librarian Blog Should (When Will) Legal Research Skills Be Tested on bar Exam? It is obviously an involved topic, but I will try to briefly sum it up. Both sides seem to agree that strong legal research skills are important. But they disagree on the testability of legal research skills. The first question seems to be: Are legal research skills 'testable'?

One argument states that legal research skills would be hard to test because lawyers often have access to different kind of resources (electronic vs. print). Other argument says legal research skills could be easily tested because it is about the theoretical approach and knowledge of available resources rather than about having access to them. Well, what do you all think? Are legal research skills testable? And if so, should they be tested on bar exam?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CIA Launches New Website

The Central Intelligence Agency launched a new website, titled The World Factbook. It provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities. The Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map.
A completely redesigned look presenting a cleaner look, improved navigation, and a host of added features. Check it out yourself.

New Blogs From the U.S. Government

For those who read blogs or for those who would like to start. The U.S. Government website has a section dedicated to government related blogs. Currently there are 50 blogs listed. The list offers blogs related to topics such are U.S. Marines, Coast Guards, Centers for disease control and prevention, congressional budget, energy savers, future digital systems, grants, Greenversations, minorities, National parks, Smithsonian Institution, White House, and many others. The latest additions are:

You can subscribe to receive any U.S. Government website updates either via email or via RSS feed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Internet Sites for Attorneys & Other Legal Professionals

An article published in Richmond Journal of Law and Technology about helpful Internet sites for attorneys and other legal professionals is worth while reading. Access full article.

This listing of Internet sites for legal, factual, and other research presents a variety of sources for attorneys, law students, law librarians, and others who use the Web. Initially developed for an Advanced Legal Research course and a continuing education session for legal assistants and paralegals, the listing includes sites for primary authorities, both federal and state, as well as URLs for other types of information such as names of possible expert witnesses and biographical and background information about individuals.

Timothy L. Coggins, Legal, Factual and Other Internet Sites for Attorneys and Legal Professionals, XV RICH. J.L. & TECH. 13 (2009), http://law.richmond.edu/jolt/v15i4/article13.pdf

ACLU Report on U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

Report of the American Civil Liberties Union on the Nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Access the full report.

In accordance with ACLU Policy 519, this report summarizes the civil liberties and civil rights record of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who was nominated by President Obama on May 26, 2009, to replace Justice David Souter as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

JD Supra Introduced Law Centers

For those who don't know of JDSupra, take a moment to read one of our previous posts, JD Supra & Facebook. JDSupra recently introduced its Law Centers. All the donated documents are now organized into four categories by topics and areas of interest: Business Law Centers, Personal Law Centers, Government Law Centers, and Law Practice Centers.

Each section features news first, which is followed by three main sections: News and Analysis, All Documents, and Contributors. One can easily see what is new in the area of research, what new documents have been shared and posted, and who contributed them.

If you are a twitterer, the Business Law and Personal Law Centers have their own Twitter Feed that you can follow.

Monday, June 8, 2009

2006 Federal Justice Statistics

Bureau of Justice Statistics released the 2006 federal justice statistics. It describes criminal case processing in the federal justice system, including arrest and booking through sentencing and corrections.
These statistical tables present the number of suspects arrested and booked by the U.S. Marshals Service, suspects in matters investigated and prosecuted by U.S. attorneys, defendants adjudicated and sentenced in U.S. district court, and characteristics of federal prisoners and offenders under federal supervision.

Data are from the Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP), which collects comprehensive information describing suspects and defendants processed in the federal criminal justice system, and annual data on workload, activities, and outcomes associated with federal criminal cases.

It is available in printable PDF format or as an Excel Spreadsheet.

U.S. Government Channel on YouTube

The U.S. Government has its own official YouTube channel. This channel links you directly to videos across government. The U.S. Government joined YouTube channel on March 22, 2007, so far has 2,737 subscribers, and was viewed 90, 679 times. Not bad! You can subscribe too!

Sonia Sotomayor's Commencement Speech at Pace Law School (2003)

We previously posted the video of Judge Sotomayor's commencement speech at Pace Law School graduation, May 18, 2003. That video is available here (Part 1) and here (Part 2). Now we have the transcript of the speech available here, as well as the Honorary Degree Citation conferring the Doctor of Laws degree on Judge Sotomayor.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Firefox Add-Ons For Reaserch

Via WisBlawg.com, in a post titled Firefox Add-ons for Research, Communication, Current Awareness, Privacy & More, Bonnie Shucha compiled a nice table featuring some useful Firefox Add-ons. Add-ons are extensions that add new functionality or complete change appearance of a browser. Firefox is well known for releasing add-ons.

Courtesy of Wikipedia,
A browser extension is a computer program that extends the functionality of a web browser in some way. Depending on the browser, the term may be distinct from similar terms such as plug-in or add-on. Mozilla Firefox was designed with the idea of being a small and simple web browser, delegating more advanced functions to Mozilla extensions.

Click here to view the full table featuring 59 Firefox add-ons, including Zotero, Jureeka!, Book Bruno, Fire FTP, Picnic, Delicious Bookmark, TinyURLCreator, ColorZilla, Meebo, Westlaw Citation Search, LexisNexis Citation Search, Wolfram Alpha, PrintPDF, and many others.

Feel free to share your comments and experiences with any of these add-ons, and please feel free to suggest additional ones.

Technology in Courtroom

Via New Orleans Metro Real Time News, Paul Purpura in an article titled Video Coming to Gretna Courtroom reports that the 24th Judicial District's 16 courtrooms are being equipped with $1.1 million in audio-visual equipment such as television displays, control monitors and digital video disc players to speed up trials and reduce overtime costs.
The article reads,
The way juries and judges view evidence during trials in the Jefferson Parish Courthouse is about to change, and lawyers and jurists will have to change with it.The system includes wall-mounted, 62-inch plasma televisions to display photographic, transcript or even physical evidence such as pistols for juries.

Each courtroom will have five monitors, including annotation monitors, which, for instance, will allow a witness to use a finger to mark on a photograph appearing on a monitor where he stood when he saw a crime. After the jury sees it, that image can be printed out by a clerk and filed into the case record, Murphy said.

Read the full article, it is worth it. What about all you attorneys out there, would you like to have technologically equipped courtrooms, so you don't have to make multiple copies of all evidence for the jury? Would you like to present evidence digitally? Share your comments.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Free Case Law From U.S. Supreme Court?

Via Robert Ambrogi's Law Sites, let's look at the history of U.S. Supreme Court Case reporting. As mentioned on Ambrogi's blog in a post titled Free Case Law - and a history lesson, many websites offering free case law date it back to 1754, which is even before the existence of the actual U.S. Supreme Court itself.

Ambrogi writes,
Law.com this week published my article, Get Your Free Case Law on the Web. No sooner did it appear than I received an e-mail from a reader questioning how several of the sites discussed in the article could claim to have U.S. Supreme Court cases from before there was a Supreme Court. In fact, they claimed to have Supreme Court cases dating back to 1754 -- even before the American Revolution.

And the answer is ... courtesy of Wikipedia.
None of the decisions appearing in the first volume and most of the second volume of United States Reports are actually decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Instead, they are decisions from various Pennsylvania courts, dating from the colonial period and the first decade after Independence. Alexander Dallas, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania lawyer and journalist, had been in the business of reporting these cases for newspapers and periodicals. He subsequently began compiling his case reports in a bound volume, which he called “Reports of cases ruled and adjudged in the courts of Pennsylvania, before and since the Revolution”. This would come to be known as the first volume of "Dallas Reports."

Take a look at the entire post; worth while reading.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Roundtable Discussion with Vice President Biden

Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will host a roundtable discussion on the 2009 Recovery Act with Gov. David Paterson and business leaders from across the country this morning, Tuesday, June 2, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm at Pace's NYC campus. The discussion can be viewed via webcast. You will need to sign in with your Pace Portal username and password.

Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman writes:

Nearly 40 students from the Lubin School of Business will have a firsthand glimpse of some of the best business minds in the country as they discuss how the Obama Administration will implement the Recovery Act and jumpstart the economy. Biden's choice of pace as the location for this important event is recognition of our success in education the next generation of business and professional leaders. It is also a testament to our ongoing effirts to establush Pace as a center for discussion and debate on major policy issues of our time.

More on the topic:
Daily News

Don't Be Texting From the Witness Stand

With a little bit of a delay, via Law.Com Legal Technology blog, texting from the witness stand does not pay off. In an article titled Mistrial Declared Over Executive's Texting From the Witness Stand, Alana Roberts reports,

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Scott Silverman declared a mistrial in a civil fraud case Wednesday after being informed a witness on the stand in his courtroom had engaged in text-messaging while the judge spoke with attorneys during a sidebar conference. The dispute is over the sale of condo tower in North Miami Beach.

A trial rule prohibits a witness on a stand to communicate with anyone about his/her testimony during the trial. In this case, the witness, namely Sky Development chief operating officer Gavin Sussman, texted while on the witness stand when the judge and attorneys were in conference. After judge Silverman confirmed Mr. Sussman's behavior, he said:

Let me be really frank about this, I never had this happen before. This is completely outrageous, absolutely outrageous.

Judge Silverman continued:

You are communicating about the case and the subject matter of the case with a witness who is currently under oath and before the jury. Texting in this manner is no different than being wired and having someone talk in your ear. It was a fraud on the justice system. This case in my view is an intentional interference with the judicial process, and an act like that infringes on the ability of the court and the judicial system to operate fairly and impartially.

Judge Silverman declared a mistrial and suggested a careful review of what behavior is and what is not permitted in a courtroom with respect to mobile phones.

Monday, June 1, 2009

International Commercial Law Guide

Pace Law Library has compiled another research guide, this time it is International Commercial Law. This research guide is to assist students with research in the areas of International Commercial Law, International Trade, International Commercial Arbitration, and Foreign Domestic Commercial Law. This guide was originally created to assist Pace Law School students attendeding an International Trade summer externship; however anyone with the need to research the mentioned subjects might find this guide useful.