Friday, February 27, 2009

Plan to Grade New York City's Restaurants

A Stir Over Plan to Grade New York City's Restaurants, an article in New York Times that discusses the proposed plan for New York City restaurants to display the grade they receive from health inspectors. A plan that has been in effect for nearly a decade in Los Angeles is making its way to New York City. The results of random health and safety inspections in New York City restaurants will be posted in a form of a blue A, a green B, or a yellow C for customers to see. So far the plan raises mixed feelings among restaurant owners; however customers seem to be in favor of this grading system, which is a part of the food-safety program commissioned by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. This plan, also supported by the New York City Mayor Michale R. Bloomberg, is expected to be in effect in July 2010.

Any thoughts? Share your opinion, we'd like to know it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Biking While Intoxicated?!

Law is Cool strikes with yet another interesting post; this time it is about biking under the influence of alcohol. The blog has previously mentioned DUIs while driving a wheelchair and a lawn mower. This time, the authors mention DUI charge when riding a bike.
Apparently, in Ohio and also in Florida, one can be charged with riding the bike under the influence. See the full post with the accompanying video here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

U.S. Court of Appeals For The 1st Circuit Implements RSS

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit announced the implementation of RSS feed on their official website. The audio recordings of the court's oral arguments and electronic versions of the court's opinions are now available via RSS (Real Simple Syndication).

Until now, electronic versions of the court's opinions were available only through e-mail with an opinion attached. We will soon be phasing out this method and strongly encourage current subscribers to convert to RSS, which will allow you to search, sort, and filter information.

Please click here to read the full announcement of the court and to learn how to set up your RSS reader that collects the information for you. Standard web browsers, such are FireFox, Safari, Opera, or Internet Explorer have RSS readers embedded within, or you can set up other readers such as Google Reader. Once you have your reader set up, add the URL for desired RSS feed to your reader which will automatically deliver the information without cluttering your email inbox.

This is the RSS feed URL for the U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit opinions:

The site also offers news updates under What's New.

Disclosure of Calories on Menus Law Upheld

As posted by Suites & Sentences blog, "the calorie police have won another one!"

On Tuesday, February 17, 2009, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld New York City's law requiring some restaurants to pose calorie information on their menus. The law covers about 10 percent of the restaurants in New York City, notably such chains as McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

More information is available on Health News, Associated Press, Consumer Law and Policy Blog, Law.Com, and more.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Prof. Crawford Cited on Legal Blog Watch

Robert J. Ambrogi is citing Pace Law School Professor Bridget J. Crawford in his blog titled When Law Schools Ignore Naughty Profs on the Legal Blog Watch.

"Do you know a faculty member who propositions students?" asks Bridget J. Crawford, a Pace Law School professor, at Pace Law School professor, at Feminist Law Professors blog. "If you’ve spent any time in academia, my guess is that the answer is 'Yes.' Does that faculty member think he (or she) is propositioning students? My guess is the answer is, 'Probably not.'"

Loislaw vs. Westlaw vs. Lexis

Above the Law posted this month, law firms as well as other businesses are coping with the difficult economic environment and are looking into cutting their costs without having to fire associates. One way to cut back on cost is to look at monthly bills for legal research databases. Some firms use Lexis, some use Westlaw, and some use both. The subscription packages wary from firm to firm. The one thing that doesn't wary are the multiple hidden costs within both of these databases. Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell decided to cut back on their legal research cost by embracing Loislaw for non-billable research.

Thanks to the faltering economy, we are now required to use Loislaw instead of Lexis or Westlaw for certain things. Unlike its more expensive counterparts, Loislaw has one "low, all-inclusive flat rate, with no hidden charges for printing, copying, downloading, or hyperlinking to primary law or analytic materials outside the scope of a current subscription."

All non-billable legal research involving case law, statutes or regulations at both the state and federal level should first be performed using Loislaw. Loislaw should also be used for billable research where appropriate, resulting in a much lower cost to the client. If additional research is required on Lexis or Westlaw that research must be billed to a client/matter. [Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell Memo]

See the firm's full memo here.

This makes me wonder, will the use of Loislaw become a trend in more law firms? And if so, will law school education, particularly legal research courses often taught by law librarians, need to adjust and possibly add Loislaw to the curriculum? What are your thoughts? Any comments?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Jury Instruction Note

As posted on the (new) legal writer and titled A word on jury instruction, the author points out an interesting fact about jury instructions.
The mere fact that certain language has been used by a judge in rendering an opinion is not of itself sufficient to justify the use of the same language by a trial court in its instruction to the jury. News Leader Co. v. Kocen, 173 Va. 95, 3 S.E.2d 385 (1939).

Check out the full post right here.

See Where the Economic Bailout Money is Going allows the American taxpayer to see how the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is being spent. The website promises that
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be carried out with full transparency and accountability . . . This is your money. You have a right to know where it's going and how it's being spent. Learn what steps we're taking to ensure you can track our progress every step of the way.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lincoln Celebrated 200th Birthday

On February 12, 2009, it was 200 years since Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was born. The dedicated a website to this bicentennial celebration as well as Lincoln's life and legacy.

Check out the entire government website with related information and other links right here.

Lincoln was first inaugurated in 1861, and was re-elected in 1864. He served throughout the Civil War, working to end slavery and to put the country back together after the war. President Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, and died April 15, 1865.

Library of Congress also celebrated the Lincoln's 200th Birthday anniversary by creating and publishing a research guide titled Lincoln and the Law. It has three parts, each featuring numerous resources, links, and related information:
  • Lincoln the Lawyer
  • Habeas Corpus and the War Powers of the President
  • The Assassination: Trials
Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Why pay for access to Pacer??

Pacer, Public Access to Court Electronic Records, is a database that provides access to federal court records at a fairly low cost. This article in the New York Times describes the efforts of a non-profit group,, to download documents from Pacer during a free trial period and then make those documents available for free to the public. According to the article, one man, Aaron Swartz, managed to download about 20% of the database during the free trial period!

The Pace Law Library has a subscription to Pacer, and Pace Law students and faculty who need federal court documents for their scholarship can contact the reference staff for assistance in locating relevant documents on Pacer. Many of the documents listed in the dockets on Pacer can be downloaded in PDF format. Although we are not allowed to distribute our Pacer password, we can do searches for our patrons, and download the documents they need from the relevant docket.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

U.S. Financial Crisis: American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan 2009 launched the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan 2009 website. This website informs and allows public to follow recent developments of the recovery plan. It provides some basic information under its Frequently Asked Questions section; however people can also submit their questions, comments, and concerns via e-mail or strike a live chat conversation with a government representative.

The full text of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is available on the Thomas web site. This Act lays out a new plan to address this financial crisis. It was passed by the House of Representatives on January 28, 2009, and by the Senate on February 10, 2009. The Act proposes unemployment and welfare expansion, tax cuts, and investment in infrastructure, healthcare, education, and energy.

Some of the goals of the Act are to:
  • Create 3 to 4 million jobs over the next two years.
  • Computerize every citizen's medical records in five years.
  • Double renewable energy generating capacity over three years.
  • Provide healthcare coverage for nearly 8.5 million Americans.
  • Enhance the security of 90 major ports.
  • Increase food stamp benefits for over 30 million Americans.

New Kindle by Amazon

As reported by New York Times, the new Amazon's Kindle is lighter, brighter and chattier. Kindle, an electronic reader or an e-book reader, was launched in the United States in November 2007. The newest version of this e-book reader is said to be simpler and more intuitive.

The Kindle 2 is thinner (thinner than an iPhone, to give you some idea), has a crisper black-and-white display, turns pages much more quickly and should hold its battery charge for about 25 percent longer than the previous version. New features include text-to-speech and the ability to transfer content to other devices (such as mobile phones and other Kindles). It’s the same price as the outgoing model ($359) and will be shipped Feb. 24.

What do you think? Do you have any experience using kindle? Do you still prefer paper books? Share your comments and feedback!

Searchable Database of Obama Speeches

askSam offers a free searchable database of Barack Obama's speeches, 2002-2009
Search the full text transcripts of more than 200 speeches by United States President and former Senator, Barack Obama. Search keywords and phrases, search by speech title, speech date, or speech location in more than 200 Obama speeches.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

As posted on BeSpecific, in January 2009, president Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which supersedes the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., 550 U.S. 618 (2007).

Ledbetter had required a compensation discrimination charge to be filed within 180 days of a discriminatory pay-setting decision (or 300 days in jurisdictions that have a local or state law prohibiting the same form of compensation discrimination). The Act restores the pre-Ledbetter position of the EEOC that each paycheck that delivers discriminatory compensation is a wrong actionable under the federal EEO statutes, regardless of when the discrimination began. As noted in the Act, it recognizes the “reality of wage discrimination” and restores “bedrock principles of American law.”

Dockets and Public Records Available on Courtport offers a public records portal that includes legal dockets, a blog, and discussion forums. It offers free accounts to anyone with an academic email address. You can sign up here--be sure to use your .edu email account. Courtport incorporates Legal Dockets Online.

Comparison of House and Senate Bailout Bills

The Senate Finance Committee website has a side-by-side comparison of the notable differences in the House and Senate bailout bills available here. Among the significant differences are:
  • Senate bill includes an AMT patch for 2009
  • Senate bill includes an above-the-line deduction for interest expenses and sales taxes paid on the purchase of a new car
  • House bill includes DOE grant for renewable energy projects
  • Senate bill includes a plan to require repayment of large bonuses by institutions that received TARP funds
  • House bill includes extension of Medicaid to unemployed not eligible for COBRA

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Are the Scientific and Forensic Methods Used in Crime Labs Outdated?

A recent article in the New York Times, titled Science Found Wanting in Nation's Crime Labs, suggests that scientific practices used in crime labs and by police force are outdated and not as reliable as originally thought. National Academy of Sciences is working on a report that is expected to be released this month.

People who have seen it say it is a sweeping critique of many forensic methods that the police and prosecutors rely on, including fingerprinting, firearms identification and analysis of bite marks, blood spatter, hair and handwriting.

The report suggests that poorly trained technicians then exaggerate forensic methods in court. The report is not binding but it is expected to be highly influential. Some speculate it will give the needed ammunition to defense lawyers. Some believe it might help to make forensic evidence and scientific methods more reliable to decrease the amount of wrongfully convicted.
Read the whole story and feel free to share your comments.

Friday, February 6, 2009 2.0 Tools

Yes! The US Government goes Web 2.0. The US Government has a blog, twitter account, RSS feeds, e-mail subscriptions, tutorials, videos, and even web chat.
Check out the complete list of 2.0 tools and the Government-Wide 2.0 tools HERE and Stay Informed!

Let us know what you think!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Google Earth Has Ocean Now

Via official Google Blog, the Google Earth has expanded their world to include the ocean. Read the full text of the post right here. Enjoy and let us know what you think!

... [S]tarting today we have a much more detailed bathymetric map (the ocean floor), so you can actually drop below the surface and explore the nooks and crannies of the seafloor in 3D. While you're there you can explore thousands of data points including videos and images of ocean life, details on the best surf spots, logs of real ocean expeditions, and much more.

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg is Hospitalized for Pancreatic Cancer

As reported by many newspapers and blogs, the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is currently hospitalized at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York after undergoing a surgical procedure for early-stage pancreatic cancer.

Justice Ginsburg will likely remain in the hospital approximately 7-10 days. Justice Ginsburg had no symptoms prior to the incidental discovery of the lesion during a routine annual check-up in late January at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. A Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) Scan revealed a small tumor, approximately 1 cm across, in the center of the pancreas. [U.S. Supreme Court Press Release]

Other Sources:

New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
Above the Law Blog
Suits & Sentences Blog

African American History Month

The Library of Congress, in celebration of the African American History Month, published an excellent online bibliography including a historical overview, legislative branch documents, executive branch documents, and web resources.

National African American History Month in February celebrates the contributions that African Americans have made to American history in their struggles for freedom and equality and deepens our understanding of our Nation's history.

Plain English Forms from

Judges, clerks, and staff from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts teamed up to rewrite a number of civil and criminal forms in Plain English. The 56 forms include complaints, summonses, warrants, juror information cards, appearance bonds and many others.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What Does It Take To Become a Top Lawyer?

Shai Littlejohn, a general counsel for the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission in Washington, wrote a special to the National Law Journal, titled Self-marketing is key. In this piece she argues that just having the law degree does not take you to the dream job, and most definitely does not guarantee an opportunity in the law field, let alone in any other field. As she states, "navigating the [legal] profession is far more complicated than the bar itself."

recommends for all the young attorneys out there to think of themselves as three parts lawyers and one part marketing agent. It is important to be able to sell yourself. Shai calls it 'personal brand' and recommends to establish and cultivate one. As we all know, good job gives good results, but excellent job gives excellent results. As Shai points out, if you want to be offered the top jobs that are given to only the top attorneys, you must become the top attorney.

The question is: What does it take to be the top attorney?

The article presents few very helpful suggestions, among which Shai talks about the idea of involvement. Get involved, be on call, be available, don't consider your work just work but think of it as a service to your employers as well as to your clients.

Take a minute and read this inspiring article.

Be the top attorney and get the top jobs, if that is your dream!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Check Out Academic Earth

Featuring Academic Earth, thousands of video lectures from the world's top scholars. The video lectures are organized by subjects, among which are the following: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, English, Entrepreneurship, History, law, Mathematics, Medicine, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, and Religion.
The following are the participating Universities: Berkley, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. The site provides an alphabetical list of participating instructors. The website also allows users to perform advanced search.

Check it out yourself and let us know your feedback.

Interesting Bestsellers In Our Library Collection

American Bar Association (ABA) recently featured two interesting legal professional bestsellers. Pace Law Library has both of them in its collection. They both are ABA publications.
  • William Drennan. Advocacy Words: A Thesaurus (2005). - an excellent tool to give you the advocacy terms and legal professional terminology. Pace Call Number: K50 .D74 2005
  • William Drennan. Lay Words for Lawyers: Analogies and Key Words to Advance Your Case and Communication with Clients (2008). As one of the reviews states, "this books provides verbal 'ammunition' for the legal practitioner. Pace Call Number: KF156 .D74 2008
Check it out yourself and let us know what you think.

Obama Signed Pay Equity Law

Via Reuters, President B. Obama signed the long-awaiting bill (H.R. 11) amending Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and covering pay discrimination based on gender, race, national origin, religion, age, and disabilities.
Signing this bill today is to send a clear message: that making our economy work means making sure it works for everybody, that there are no second-class citizens in our workplaces, said the Democratic president.

The Bill passed the House (Yeas - Nays Vote of 250-177) and in Senate (Yeas - Nays Vote of 61-36) and on January 29, 2009, when signed by the president, it became Public Law No.: 111-002. See more details here, at the Library of Congress Thomas and GPO Access.