Friday, July 31, 2009

Casemaker v. Fastcase

Law Technology News compares two low cost legal research services, Casemaker and Fastcase. These services are offered as member benefits by state and local bar associations. The author concludes that coverage is more or less the same, but that the Fastcase search interface is easier to use and more intuitive than that offered by Casemaker.

The NJ bar association offers Fastcase to its members, while Connecticut offers Casemaker. The NY bar association offers Loislaw.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New on LLRX: The Government Domain - Congressional Documents on FDSys: the Basics

On July 27, 2009 Peggy Garvin published an article on titled The Government Domain - Congressional Documents on FDsys: the Basics. Peggy Garvin of Garvin Information Consulting is author of The United States Government Internet Manual 2006-2007 (Bernan Press) and Real World Research Skills (TheCapitol.Net).

The U.S. federal government’s content shop, the Government Printing Office (GPO), is rolling out a new website for the government documents stream that it manages. The Federal Digital System (FDsys) is to replace GPO’s fifteen-year-old GPO Access website by the end of this year. GPO is moving content to FDsys gradually, collection by collection, with congressional documents leading the pack. GPO refers to the current system as a public beta version.

Congressional documents collections currently (as of 26 July 2009) available through FDsys are listed below. The capitalized acronym for each document collection is the “collection code” used in advanced FDsys command line searching, described later.

Read the full article to learn more about the search options, including tips for a Boolean search and basic syntax, about the search results and the future of the FDsys.

New on LLRX: 5 Things Lawyers Should Know About Social Media

On July 11, 2009 Nicole L. Black published an article on titled Five Things Lawyers Should Know About Social Media. Nicole Black is an attorney in Rochester, New York and the founder of lawtechTalk, a company that educates businesses about emerging legal technologies and Internet and Web 2.0 technologies.

[S]ocial media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect in the online world to form relationships for personal, political and business use. Businesses also refer to social media as user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM). — Source, Wikipedia.

Five Things To Know:
  1. Social media is useless without goals
  2. Different social media sites serve different purposes
  3. 'Social media' is a misnomer
  4. People want to hire other people, not businesses
  5. Lawyers cannot afford to be left out of the loop

Read the full article to get the full scoop. And let us know your thoughts.

New on LLRX: Blackberry Apps for Lawyers

On June 30, 2009 Nicole L. Black published an article on titled Blackberry Apps for Lawyers. Nicole Black is an attorney in Rochester, New York and the founder of lawtechTalk, a company that educates businesses about emerging legal technologies and Internet and Web 2.0 technologies. As she writes it took some time to conduct the research.

First, there is a number of apps consisting of databases of federal and state laws, which allow lawyers to carry relevant laws and rules in their pockets in an easily accessible format.

From the developer “The Law Pod,” lawyers can purchase the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence and the U.S. Constitution.

And much more, check out the full article for more applications that might be useful to you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Crawford on Taxation, Pregnancy, and Privacy

From the Legal Theory Blog:

Prof. Bridget J. Crawford (Pace University School of Law) has posted Taxation, Pregnancy and Privacy (William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This Article frames a discussion of surrogacy within the context of existing income tax laws. A surrogate receives money for carrying and bearing a child. This payment is income by any definition, even if the surrogacy contract recites that it is a “reimbursement.” Cases and rulings on the income tax consequences of the sale of blood and human breast-milk, as well as analogies to situations in which people are paid to wear advertising on their bodies, support the conclusion that a surrogate recognizes taxable income, although the IRS has never stated so. For tax purposes, the reproductive labor of surrogacy is work. The federal government should take steps to increase tax compliance. The Article considers, and then rebuts, privacy-based objections to a surrogacy tax. Disclosure of income from surrogacy is a reasonable consequence of the freedom to engage in that activity.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Caselaw On Free Movement Of Goods

Via EU Law Blog, the Commission of European Communities has published a collection of case law of the Court of Justice on the free movement of goods. It is a guide to the application of Treaty provisions governing free movement of goods (Articles 28-30 EC). It is in PDF format and does not contain much of commentary.

This guide is intended to provide an insight into past developments and new challenges from a legal practitioner's point of view in an area that is fundamental to European Integration.

The present version is more detailed. It reflects the working experience of the Commission service responsible for the application of Articles 28-30 EC and provides a picture of the trade barriers that were and still are encountered in practice.

It is intended more as a workbook highlighting questions that have emerged in the course of the practical application of Articles 28-30 EC and providing answers.

The guide reflects the law and case-law as it stood on 1 April 2009. Community legislation and judgments of the Court can be found in Eurlex. Judgments issued since 17 June 1997 are also available on the webpage of the Court of Justice.

Is Lawn Mower a Motor Vehicle? Should Stealing It Be Considered Motor Vehicle Theft?

Via, Greg Bluestein wrote an article, titled Is Lawn Mower a Motor Vehicle? Man's Felony Theft Sentence Could Ride on the Answer, that discusses a Georgia Supreme Court Case of a man who is appealing his 10-year sentence. Frank Lloyd Harris stole a lawn mower from a local Home Depot and was convicted of felony motor vehicle theft. Harris was a repeat offender, and was therefore sentenced to 10 years in prison.

His attorneys urged the trial judge and later the Georgia Court of Appeals to throw out the charge on grounds that a riding mower is not considered a motor vehicle by state law. But both courts were unconvinced.

Michael McCarthy, a public defender, pressed the case before Georgia's top court. He told the justices that while Harris should still be charged with theft, he shouldn't be punished as if he had stolen a car.

A riding lawnmower is many things -- an efficient grass cutter, a modern mechanical marvel -- but McCarthy said it's not a motor vehicle under state law.

Lawyers said the case is likely to set a precedent in Georgia. It comes as other courts around the country grapple with similar concerns about whether riding lawnmowers and similar devices should be classified as vehicles.

And what do you think? Should Lawn Mower be considered a motor vehicle? We look forward to your comments.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New on LLRX - Green Files: Green Resources and Sites On The Internet

Published on July 17, 2009 and compiled by Marcus P. Zillman, the Green Files: Green Resources and Sites On the Internet is a list of resources allowing you find the latest green resources and sites freely available online. The list is in alphabetical order and periodically updated on the author's blog.

Green Files is a comprehensive listing of green resources and sites on the Internet. The below list of sources is taken from my Subject Tracer™ Information Blog titled Green Files and is constantly updated with Subject Tracer™ bots at the following URL:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New International Free and Open Source SoftwareLaw Review

Andrew Katz of the new International Free and Open Source Software Law Review says, "OK, so it's not going to appear in airport bookstalls any time soon, but we think that the launch of the Review is a pretty big step forward for openness, and a sign that (1) free and open source software is moving into the mainstream; and (2) even lawyers can adopt a collaborative model and create something both free as in freedom, and as in beer."[boingboing]

The site describes this law review as:

The International Free and Open Source Software Law Review (IFOSS L. Rev.) is a collaborative legal publication aiming to increase knowledge and understanding among lawyers about Free and Open Source Software issues. Topics covered include copyright, licence implementation, license interpretation, software patents, open standards, case law and statutory changes.

Read more about the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009 Trafficking In Persons Report

The Department of State is required by law to submit each year to the U.S. Congress a report on foreign governments’ efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. This is the ninth annual TIP Report; it seeks to increase global awareness of the human trafficking phenomenon by shedding new light on various facets of the problem and highlighting shared and individual efforts of the international community, and to encourage foreign governments to take effective action against all forms of trafficking in persons.

Access the full report.

Looking For Something To Do This Weekend? Try National Parks!

Via, Which national parks will waive their fee this weekend?, some national parks will waive their fee this weekend. As stated on the official government website,

The NPS (National Park Service) will allow visitors free entry during three weekends this summer to encourage Americans to visit national parks such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Rocky Mountain National Park. The fee waivers — on June 20-21, July 18-19, and August 15-16, 2009 — will apply to more than 100 national parks across the country that usually charge entrance fees. Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

For those in New York state, the following 7 national parks participate in this fee waiver this coming weekend:
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
Saratoga National Historical Park
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

Have some fun this weekend! And don't forget you can subscribe to all updates via email or via RSS feed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Legal Issues for Virtual Law Firms

Via Legal Blog Watch, in a post titled More Legal Issues When Working in the Cloud, some interesting issues are raised privacy, authentication of documents, electronic discovery, and security issues are raised. Virtual law firms that are moving towards cloud computing will have to face these issues in their practice. The blog post is based on an article from New York Law Journal titled Cloud Computing Brings New Legal Challenges.

Given the explosive growth of cloud computing, it should be no surprise that it presents numerous legal issues for businesses. Two of the most significant are privacy concerns and the implications of cloud computing for pretrial discovery.

As with other forms of "outsourcing," businesses' duties to protect private or confidential data do not end with their transfer of the data to third-party vendors for storage or processing. A recent report from the World Privacy Forum, "Cloud Computing and Privacy," highlights a number of important privacy issues raised by cloud computing that corporate users of cloud computing should keep in mind. [Access the report]

The New York Law Journal article concludes with:

As cloud computing becomes more understood and more widely utilized, counsel will focus on both privacy and discovery issues to a greater extent than they are doing so currently, which will lead to negotiated resolution of issues and, on occasion, litigation and court decisions.

As with many issues of technology, counsel will need to understand not just the legal precedent concerning cloud servers, but also the particular facts concerning their business' use of cloud servers, the type of data that is stored in the cloud, and the location and document retention practices of the service provider.

Share your thoughts?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Google Accounts On Twitter

For those of you out there who twitter, here is a list of Google accounts on twitter. Via Google blog post. Some of them are: Google, Blogger, Calendar, News, Reader, YouTube, ScetchUp, GoogleMaps, GoogleCode, GoogleData, googletalk, googlejobs, etc.

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read each others' updates, known as tweets. (via

Friday, July 10, 2009

Building Law Library After 30 Years of War

The Foreign, Comparative & International Law (FCIL) SIS invites you to attend an Annual Meeting event …

FCIL-SIS Executive Committee Presents

The Past, Present, and Future of the Law Library and Librarianship in Afghanistan: The Challenges and Rewards of Building a Library After 30 Years of War

Please join the recipient of the 2009 FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians, Mr. Ahmadullah Masoud (Independent National Legal Training Center (INLTC) Law Library, Kabul, Afghanistan), Andrea Muto (USAID), Blair Kaufmann (Director, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School; Advisor, Afghanistan Rule of Law Project), and Lucie Olejnikova (Pace Law Library) for a discussion of the legal system of Afghanistan and the process of building a new law library after thirty years of war.

When: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 (4:15-5:15 PM)
Where: Renaissance-Room 5

Read the full announcement.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

FBI Releases 2008 Bank Crime Statistics

In the July 6, 2009 press release, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2008 Bank Crime Statistics release,
between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008, there were 6,700 robberies of financial institutions, as well as 121 burglaries and 28 larcenies reported. This represents 6,849 reported violations of the Federal Bank Robbery and Incidental Crimes Statute.

These statistics were recorded as of April 23, 2009. Note that not all bank crimes are reported to the FBI, and therefore the report is not a complete statistical compilation of all bank crimes that occurred in the United States.

FBI Issues 2008 Mortgage Fraud Report

In the July 7, 2009 press release, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2008 Mortgage Fraud Report,
mortgage fraud Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) referred to law enforcement increased 36 percent to 63,713 during fiscal year (FY) 2008, compared to 46,717 reports in FY 2007. While the total dollar loss attributed to mortgage fraud is unknown, financial institutions reported losses of at least $1.4 billion, an increase of 83.4 percent from FY 2007.

Pace Law School Commencement Addresses by Legal Luminaries

Over the years, a number of distinguished judges and other legal scholars have delivered commencement speeches at Pace Law School graduations. I previously posted a link to Judge Sonia Sotomayor's commencement speech to the graduates of the class of 2003.

Over the past few months, the Library has been working to add all content from all three Pace law reviews to the Pace Digital Commons. During the course of this project, we discovered reprints of the transcripts of two other speeches. First, the Honorable Warren Burger's address to the class of 1983. Justice Burger served as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1969 to 1986.

Second, Governor Mario M. Cuomo's address to the class of 1989. Governor Cuomo served as governor of New York from 1983 to 1994.

Open Book New York

This website, from the New York State Comptroller, is an
effort to promote more openness in government and give taxpayers better access to the financial workings of government.

Taxpayers can track federal stimulus spending, state agency and local government spending, and state contracts. Click the picture below to see a chart showing how the stimulus money is being spent in New York.

Governor Paterson's Rationale for Appointment

Depending on how you look at it, there either is or isn't a lot going on up in Albany right now. This morning I heard an interview on the radio (WOR 710am) where Governor Paterson gave his rationale for appointing Richard Ravitch as Lieutenant Governor. The podcast and a summary of this interview are available at the website.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Prof. Humbach on Free Will

Pace University School of Law Professor, John A. Humbach, has posted an article titled Free Will Ideology: Experiments, Evolution and Virtue Ethics on SSRN. Prof. Humbach's article has been featured on Legal Theory Blog under a title Humbach on Free Will.

Free will could never have evolved in a world of ordinary biological forces. There is, moreover, substantial experimental evidence against it. This evidentiary situation is a serious moral concern because free will ideology plays a key role in justifying punishment in criminal law. People draw a sharp distinction between the suffering of innocents and suffering that is deserved. As a basis for criminal punishment, the very concept of just deserts usually presupposes that wrongdoers have a choice in what they do. The essay proceeds from the assumption that hurting people is presumptively wrong and therefore requires justification. If this assumption is true, then the factual dubiousness of free will presents a serious problem for current penal practices. Because the evidence makes free will unlikely and the logic of evolution makes it impossible, an important underpinning of the criminal law appears to fail. A variant of free will, so-called compatibilism, does not solve or avoid the problem of justification. It seems on the contrary to be merely a repackaging of an ancient form of virtue-ethics under which people are deemed to deserve to suffer because they are what they are.

Google Developing PC Operating System

Google announced that it is developing the Google Chrome Operating System, an open source operating system targeted initially at netbooks.
Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

Are you already using Google Chrome as a browser? What do you think of it?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Griffin On the Wrong Person Defense

Pace University School of Law Professor, Lissa Griffin, has posted an article titled Avoiding Wrongful Convictions: Re-Examining the 'Wrong-Person' Defense (Seton Hall Law Review, Vol. 39, 2009) on SSRN. Prof. Griffin's article has been featured on Legal Theory Blog under a title Griffin On the Wrong Person Defense.

This article reviews the history of the right to present a defense and closely examines the United State Supreme Court's modern analysis of that right. Part III. analyzes the emergence of the right to present a defense that a third party committed the crime and concludes with a discussion of the Supreme Court's recent decision in South Carolina v. Holmes. Part IV. then describes the current restrictive implementation of the wrong-person defense by the lower courts. Part V argues that the constitutional right to present a wrong-person defense is being insufficiently protected under the current, arbitrary standards, and prescribes a constitutional analysis of the defense that is consistent with the Supreme Court's jurisprudence, more reflective of what the lower courts actually are doing, and that it likely to produce more reliable results.

Nolo's Law Dictionary for iPhone

Via, Nolo has developed a free law dictionary for iPhones. It is available via iTunes and according to the iTunes description,

[i]t contains nearly 4000 legal terms defined in everyday, understandable language.

The dictionary is further described,

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.

Read the full description.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pace Law Library Weekend Hours

Pace Law Library will be closed on Friday July, 3, 2009 and on Saturday July 4, 2009.


The library will resume its regular hours on Sunday July 5, 2009. Check the library regular hours on Pace Law Library Facebook page or on the Pace Law Library's website.

Have a great weekend!