Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Prison Population in the U.S.

According to the press release, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that for the first time since it started to collect data in 1980 the adult prison population in the United States is down, as shown by the numbers for 2009.  Could this be a sign of a step in the right direction?

Although comparatively small, decreases in the probation population (down by 40,079 offenders) and the parole population (down by 5,526 offenders) were the first observed decreases since BJS began annual data collections on these populations in 1980. At yearend 2009, 4,203,967 adults were on probation, and 819,308 were under parole or other post-custody supervision.

While more than half of states reported decreases in admissions to prison, California reported the largest decline (11,122 fewer admissions), which was about four times the decline reported in any other state. The decrease in admissions in California was led by a drop in the number of parole violators returned to prison (down 9,668).

Related Statistical Reports:
Correctional Populations in the United States, 2009
This report presents data on the number of adults under some form of correctional supervision in the United States, including probation, parole, and jail and prison incarceration, at the end of 2009.

Probation and Parole in the United States, 2009
This report presents data on the number of adults under community supervision (parole and probation) at the end of 2009.

Prisoners in 2009
This annual report presents data on the number of prisoners under jurisdiction of federal or state correctional authorities as of the end of 2009.

Superheroes and the Law

If it is impossible to kill Superman or Wolverine, does trying to do so constitute a crime?  How does the Second Amendment apply to superheroes?  Can RICO be used to prosecute the Legion of Doom?  Are mutants a protected class? Who foots the bill when a hero damages property while fighting a villain? What happens legally when a character comes back from the dead?

James Dailey, an intellectual property attorney licensed in Missouri, and Ryan Davidson, an insurance attorney licensed in Indiana, answer these questions and many others in their blog Law and the Multiverse: Superheroes, Supervillains, and the Law.  Their discussion of the hypothetical legal ramifications of superhero comic book characters is thought provoking and required reading for all comic book fans in the legal community.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Federal Justice Statistics 2008

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) published the Federal Justice Statistics - 2008 statistical tables.  They are  now available in PDF or as a spreadsheet.

[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 Services, 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.

The European Library

Recently, I came across a website of the European Library.

[It] is a free service that offers access to the resources of the 48 national libraries of Europe in 35 languages.  Resources can be both digital (books, posters, maps, sound recordings, videos, etc.) and bibliographical. Quality and reliability are guaranteed by the 48 collaborating national libraries of Europe.

Read more about the library and its organization.  You may subscribe to the library's newsletter.  To learn more about the participating libraries, click here. Current library's exhibitions include Reading Europe, A Roma Journey, Napoleonic Wars, Treasures, and Buildings.

Users may browse the entire collection or by subject, or search the collection by subject or material. The advanced as well as simple searches are available.  And, something that I was impressed by, the search screen includes an option for a virtual keyboard that has 28 language keyboards for users to choose from.  The website is very clean and easy to use.

Users may also register, which now allows them to save favorites and session query history, and in the future users will  be able to save selected collections, receive email alerts concerning collections of interest, and receive email alerts concerning subjects of interest.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

FBI Releases Hate Crime Statistics for 2009

The FBI released the 2009 Hate Crime Statistics. The report including the background, collection design, data provided and participation is now available only on the FBI website.  A printable version is also available; however, according to the release, printed copies of the publication are no longer available.

[The statistics indicated that] 6,604 criminal incidents involving 7,789 offenses were reported as a result of bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability.  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Law In Film Collection Additions

Some of the most recent additions to our Law in Film Collection include A River of Waste (2009), a documentary about modern industrial system of meat and poultry production in the U.S. and elsewhere, Copyright Criminals (2010), a documentary about copyright, creativity and technological change in the hip-hop music making industry, Capitalism (2010), a documentary by M. Moore about the history of free-market capitalism in post-Reagan America, and Sin by Silence (2009), a documentary telling the story of Convicted Women Against Abuse.  Don't forget that Pace Law Library patrons may check out movies for up to five days and it is FREE.

Examples and Explanations Available Online

The popular law school study aids, Examples & Explanations, including Contracts, Federal Income Tax, Copyright, Debtor and Creditor, Evidence, Criminal Law, Property, and many others, are available online. Google has digitized the full content of many of the titles from this series. They are available on Google Books and large portions are available for free. Although the online collection does not include the most recent editions, some of the titles are as recent as 2007, 2008, or 2009.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act now in HeinOnline

HeinOnline's recently added Taxation & Economic Reform in America Library now contains more than 140 legislative documents related to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Public Law No. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010). Compiled by William H. Manz, Senior Research Librarian at St. John's Law School, this collection includes all versions of the bill, related bills, congressional hearings, reports and debates, presidential materials, Congressional Budget Office reports, and the full text of the law itself.

The voluminous Reform Act (849 pages in the Statutes at Large) has been criticized for not going far enough in changing the U.S. financial system. Nevertheless, it has imposed new regulations on hedge funds, derivatives, private equity funds, and corporate governance. Large hedge and private equity funds are now required to register with the SEC, bringing them under federal oversight for the first time. Derivatives markets are also brought under federal oversight by the Act. The issue of excessive executive compensation has been addressed by requiring the SEC to establish compensation disclosure rules for annual reports, as well as "clawback" provisions for recovering unjust compensation. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been established and given authority to write new consumer protection rules for banks and other financial firms.

Hein's Taxation and Economic Reform in America Library is a great resource on U.S. tax laws, banking laws, securities laws, and financial reforms passed by Congress as far back as the 1800s. In addition to the recent Dodd-Frank Act, it contains resources on the Great Depression, the Wall Street Crash of 1987, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2008, and 2010 staff reports of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Prof. Nolon on Sustainable Development

Today, November 10, 2010, at 4:00 pm,  Prof. John Nolon, James D. Hopkins Professor of Law at Pace Law School, will present on Sustainable Development Law: Keeping Pace as part of the Hopkins Lecture.  The event will be held at the Judicial Institute at Pace Law School.  For more information, email

Professor John R. Nolon is Counsel to the Land Use Law Center and Director of the Kheel Center on the Resolution of Environmental Interest Disputes.  Prof. Nolon has been Visiting Professor of Environmental Law at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies since 2001.  He served as a consultant to President Clinton's Council on sustainable Development in the mid-1990s and, during that time, studies and wrote about sustainable development in South America as a Fulbright Scholar.  In 2009, he was presented the National Leadership Award for a Planning Advocate by the American Planning Association.  Prof. Nolon's current focus is on sustainable development law and managing climate change through land use practices.  He participates in the Experts meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  He has written a book on climate change and sustainable development law and is redrafting his law school casebook to include chapters on these topics.  

Can't make it here on time?  You can still attend by watching the lecture video in real time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Civil Litigation Management Manual

The Federal Judicial Center (FJC) has recently published the Civil Litigation Management Manual, Second Edition. The entire manual (220 pages) is available online in PDF along with a list of appendices including various sample forms.

This manual provides trial judges a handbook on managing civil cases.  It sets out a wide array of case-management techniques, beginning with early case screening and concluding with steps for streamlining trials and final disposition.  It also discusses a number of special topics, including pro se and high visibility cases, the role of staff, and automated programs that supports case management.  This new edition incorporates statutory and rules changes and contains updated advice on electronic case management, electronic discovery, and ways of containing costs and expediting cases. 

After Gender? Examining International Justice Enterprises

Since 1982, the Pace Law School has hosted a yearly event, the Dyson Distinguished Lecture series.  This year's title is After Gender? Examining International Justice Enterprises. The Pace Law School will welcome Janet Halley, Royall Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and an impressive group of exciting moderators, panelists, and commentators, as they all engage in a series of conversations about international law, sex, gender, and sexuality.

This one-day conference will explore contemporary thinking about gender in international law.  Traditionally, international law's gender analysis focused on women to the exclusion of other sexes.  More recent efforts to understand the complexities of gender in the international arena, including those in international criminal law, the United Nations, and other international organizations, have attempted to move toward a broader understanding of gender identity.  Do these efforts continue to rely on the exclusive centrality of "women" to understand "gender?"  If so, what are the costs to gender-related projects, if any? 

This event is scheduled on November 12, 2010 at 9:30 am and will be held in the Judicial Institute Lecture Hall on the Pace Law School campus. For more information, email

The lecture will be available online in real time here.

2010 Manual on Recurring Problems in Criminal Trials

Federal Judicial Center (FJC), created in 1967, is the education and research agency for the federal courts. On its website it provides information about its publications & videos, international judicial relations, federal judiciary history, and educational programs & materials.  Recently, it has published the sixth edition of the Manual on Recurring Problems in Criminal Trials.

This Manual is not meant to be a comprehensive treatise on criminal law, but rather a basic guide to the law governing many of the procedural matters that arise frequently in criminal trials.  Consequently, it should not be cited as authority in opinions or other materials, nor should the case summaries, which have been updated through August 15, 2009, be considered substitutes for the judicial opinions they reference. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Additions to Our Law in Film Collection

Pace Law Library, in addition to its extensive law collection, also has a not so shabby Law in Film Collection.  The idea is to collect movies with law/legal theme, though occasionally a not so law or legal related movie slips in.  In any instance, you should check it out.  The collection is located on the main floor of the law library, behind the reference desk.  All movies in this collection do circulate, so our patrons can check them out for up to five days.  And although we don't have as extensive variety as for example Netflix does, we do have some great titles and it is free for our patrons.

The following are some of our newest additions:
The Name of the RoseThe Constant GardenerWall StreetPassport to PimlicoCry FreedomEarth;
The Art of the StealPresumed GuiltyCapturing the FriedmansThe Andersonville TrialSimple Justice; Nichts als die Wahreit (After the Truth); Sicko; American Violet; Gran Torino; and many more.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Legal Briefs: Eight local law professors urge legalization of marijuana -- Wash. Post

A group of law faculty from American, Georgetown, George Mason and George Washington universities have come out in support of California's Prop. 19. They argue that "the present policies toward marijuana to be bankrupt, and urge their rethinking."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pace Law School phasing out part-time evening program

The rumors are true.  Dean Michelle Simon sent out a letter to alumni this week confirming that after this fall there will be no more part-time evening program.  Dean Simon writes

There has been, however, a confluence of factors over the years that has caused us to re-evaluate our evening program and nudged us toward the conclusion that under the circumstances, those resources need to be reallocated so that the law school can continue to evolve in non-traditional and flexible ways.  ... While we are sorry to be letting go of a program that has been a touchstone of the Pace Law legal experience, and has resulted in a cohort of such talented, successful, and supportive alumni, we are confident that the benefits far outweigh the losses and will result in your Pace Law degree becoming even more valuable.
I hope this is true, but as a 2003 graduate of the evening program at Pace Law School, I am sorry to see it go.  I understand the decision but don't agree with it.  Evening students participate in so many aspects of law school life, e.g. moot court and law review, and bring unique life experience to the classroom.  Many evening program students I know would not have been able to attend law school were it not for the part-time evening program.  I'll miss the interesting students it brought to the law school.

To other Pace Law alums and current students--what do you think?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Humbach on Sexting and the First Amendment

Sexting - a word that is becoming part of our vocabulary; a behavior most common among teenagers; a growing phenomena.  But what exactly is sexting?  Oxford Dictionary online does not have a readily available definition yet, so I turned to online Wikipedia.

Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones. [Wikipedia]

To learn more, please join Prof. John Humbach and Prof. Bridget Crawford, both from Pace Law School, as they discuss the implications of sexting and the First Amendment in the library's recent podcast titled Humbach on "Sexting" and the First Amendment. Prof. Humbach, in his article, "Sexting" and the First Amendment, writes that "[g]iven the reality of changing social practices, mores, and technology utilization, today's pornography laws are a trap for unwary teens and operate, in effect, to criminalize a large fraction of America's young people."

Article Citation
John Humbach, "Sexting" and the First Amendment, 37 Hastings Const. L. Q. 433 (2010).

To view and listen to more of our podcasts, click here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Uniform Bar Exam?

From the ABA Journal:  ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar adopted a resolution supporting a Uniform Bar Exam to be administered in every state of the United States.

In April, Missouri became the first state to adopt the Uniform Bar Examination, and the National Conference of Bar Examiners reported in June that North Dakota was the second state to do so.

Other jurisdictions considering the idea include Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C.

Even states that adopt the UBE would still continue to conduct their own bar exams, which could include testing on that individual state's law. However, the UBE would allow lawyers to transfer a standard bar exam score between jurisdictions.

One nation, one bar exam.  What do you think?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Completely Legal

Yesterday was primary day here in New York, and I hope that everyone who voted in the primary had a good experience with the new voting system. I got so much ink on my hands from the pen that they gave me to fill in the circles on the paper ballot, that it made a smudge on the ballot. Fortunately, it was not enough of a smudge to be mistaken for an errant vote, and I escaped the polling place in under 10 minutes, having done my civic duty successfully.
I bring this up because, in my quest to find out who prevailed in the local primaries, I remembered that, the online version of our local newspaper, The Journal News, has a legal blog. Completely Legal: Go Behind the Bench to Examine the Courts and Cases in the Lower Hudson Valley is where I learned who will be running in the Westchester County and Family Court judicial elections which will be taking place in November. Completely Legal is written by Journal News reporters, and is a good place to go for updates on some of the notable cases taking place in the Lower Hudson Valley. You can subscribe to Completely Legal via RSS feed or email updates.

Celebrating 40 Years of the Clean Air Act

In honor of its anniversary the U.S. EPA has recently announced that it is celebrating 40 years of its accomplishments under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

"For 40 years the Clean Air Act has protected our health and our environment, saving lives and sparking new innovations to make our economy cleaner and stronger. The common sense application of the act has made it one of the most cost-effective things the American people have done for themselves in the last half century,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Since 1970 we have seen a steady trajectory of less pollution in our communities and greater economic opportunity throughout our nation. We will continue those trends as we face the clean air challenges of the next 40 years, including working to cut greenhouse gases and grow the American clean energy economy. The Clean Air Act proves the naysayers wrong – we can protect our health and environment at the same time we grow our economy."

In the spirit of this celebration here are some resources discussing the history of the Clean Air Act.

Paul G. Rogers, The Clean Air Act of 1970, E.P.A. J., Jan.-Feb. 1990

Roy S. Belden, Clean Air Act 5-10 (2001)

Michael R. Barr, Introduction to the History of the Clean Air Act: History, Perspective and Direction for the Future, in The Clean Air Act Handbook 1, 4-7 (Robert J. Martinaeu, Jr. & David P. Novello eds., 2d ed. 2004)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New and Updated Legal Research Guides from the Library

Legal Research is an important skill that is acquired in law school and perfected over time.  At times, we all are required to do a research in an unfamiliar area.  To get you started and educated on an unfamiliar subject, it is helpful to consult a research guide. The Pace Law Library compiles research guides on various topics and the following are those that have been recently added or updated. Click here to view all 35 research guides compiled by Pace Law Library.

Elder Law Resources
A guide to online resources, including federal and state law, specific issues, journals and newsletter, and more.

Business and Corporate Law Research
Research in the law of corporations and other business entities involved learning not just about corporate law, but also the law of agency, partnerships, limited liability companies, and other business structures.

Legal News
this guide contains a wide variety of RSS feeds from legal blogs and news sites.

Legislative History Research Guide
The legislative history of a law is comprised of the documents created during deliberations leading to the law's enactment.  They are used to determine the legislature's intended purpose and to clarify any ambiguities in the statutory language.

Federal Administrative Decisions and Resources
Guide to federal administrative agencies, including links to decisions and regulations, along with the mission statement of each agency.

New York Legal Research
This guide provides links to primary sources of law and government websites for New York, New York City, and Westchester County.

Guide for Law Review Members
This guide will assist students who serve on the three Pace law review.  It provides a basic overview of cite checking, circulation policies, and interlibrary loan request procedures.

Land Use Law Research
This guide will assist you in researching local land use laws.

Alexander Greenawalt On Radovan Karadzic

Alexander Greenawalt, Associate Professor of Law at Pace University School of Law, regularly contributes to the New York Time microblog: Latets on Radovan Karadzic.  Check out the latest contribution. You may also subscribe to the latest updates via RSS feed.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ohio Lawyer Suspended for Billing More than 24 Hours in a Day

A cautionary tale for all who practice (and who are apparently very busy).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10 Bizarre Last Statements of Death Row Inmates

The introduction to this pages says: "Before being put to death, criminals are given the opportunity to say a few parting words. Some use this opportunity to apologize for their wrongdoings; some try to let their families know they love them; and others use it as a chance to proclaim their innocence. Then, you have the death row inmates who use their last statement to bewilder the public, leaving us saying “Did he really say that?'"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

YouTube Launches Mobile Website

Courtesy of, YouTube, now owned by Google, has launched a new mobile website. It is a new version of the traditional video-sharing YouTube website.

It is designed to offer a better video experience across mobile devices, and deliver better quality videos to viewers, faster. It is built on the HTML5 standard and accessed through the phone's web browser.

Related Readings:

Monday, August 23, 2010

About To Start Law School?

Summer is coming to an end and school year is about to start. The fall semester at Pace Law School starts next week when we welcome the incoming class of first year law students. Students often wonder what the experience will be like, how can they succeed, how can they survive?

Perhaps the following materials will be of assistance (all available at Pace Law Library):

Ruta K. Stropus & Charlotte D. Taylor, Bridging the Gap Between College and Law School: Strategies for Success (2d ed. 2009).

Gary A. Munneke, How to Succeed in Law School (4th ed. 2008).

Nancy B. Rapoport and Jeffrey D. Van Niel, Law School Survival Manual: From LSAT to Bar Exam (2010).

When it will be time to prepare for final exams in the end of the first semester, the library also has the following materials:
  • Strategies and Tactics by Walton and Emanuel
  • Strategies and Tactics by Finz
  • Questions and Answers Series
  • Examples and Explanations Series
  • Hornbooks, Nutshells, and Understanding Series
For more assistance and additional materials, you can also view Guide to First-Year Law Students compiled by Cynthia Pittson, the Head of Reference.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Does music hurt your ears?

A few weeks ago I posted an entry on the topic of music, and whether or not listening to music helps you to study. This morning I read a story in the New York Times about the effect that today's music technology is having on our hearing. In Room For Debate: Why Teenagers Can't Hear You the effect of high rates of use of portable music devices on hearing is discussed.

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week found that one in five American teenagers now has some hearing loss. This is a 30 percent increase from just 15 years ago.

If you are playing your iPod loudly enough that I can hear it as I walk through the stacks.... you should probably turn the volume down.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Customary International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Database

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced the creation and launch of a new database, the Customary IHL database, to mark the 12 August anniversary of Geneva Conventions.

Developed in association with the British Red Cross, the database is designed to be used as a legal reference international and non-international armed conflicts, including by courts, tribunals and international organizations. As one of the principal sources of international humanitarian law, customary law enhances the legal protection of victims of armed conflict.

Customary international humanitarian law is a set of unwritten rules derived from a general, or common, practice which is regarded as law. It is the basic standard of conduct in armed conflict accepted by the world community and is universally applicable. In contract to treaty law, it is not necessary for a State to formally accept a rule of custom in order to be bound by it, as long as the overall State practice on which the rule is based is widespread, representative and virtually uniform.

The new customary international humanitarian law database features 50 percent more content than the original study .... Divided into two parts, the first includes 161 rules which the original study assessed to be of customary nature. The second part contains the practice on which the conclusions in part one are based. The database offers practitioners and academics easy access to the rules of customary international humanitarian law identified in the ICRC study and gives the, the opportunity to investigate underlying practice by means of three search parameters: subject matter, type of practice, and country.

Rules can be viewed by chapter or rule, and practice can be viewed by chapter, rule, or country. Basic as well as advanced searches are both available. Among the listed sources of law are: Treaties, Other Instruments, Military Manuals, National legislation, National case-law, Other national practice, United Nations, Other international organizations, International conferences, International and Mixed Judicial and Quasi-judicial bodies, International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, and others.

Free E-Books at

Writing the last post about Lending Library by the Internet Archives inspired me to write about For those who own or plan on owning digital e-readers, the project might be of interest. It offers over 28,000 digitized books that are free to download and keep. Books are available in variety of formats to satisfy the various e-readers' requirements.

Users may browse books by titles, authors, genres, or languages. Users may also view the most popular titles or the recommended titles. RSS feeds to all new titles, new titles sorted by category, new titles sorted by language, or site news are available.

And where did all these books come from?

Many of the etexts are from the November, 2003 Project Gutenberg DVD, which contains the entire Project Gutenberg archives except for the Human Genome Project and audio eBooks, due to size limitations, and the Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks, due to copyright. As of July 2004 most current PG texts are available here, usually within the week of release. There are also public domain and creative commons works from many other sources.

Donations are welcome and for more information about the project, the site, or new titles, you may subscribe to any of the RSS feeds, or to twitter account or you may email to Matthew McClintock who maintains the website.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Digital Lending Library By Internet Archives

I have always been a fan of the Internet Archives, or as many call it (including me) the Wayback Machine. I use it to see what websites looked like years ago or to locate a website that has been taken down. The Internet Archive periodically takes snapshots of the web and archives it; a pretty neat concept. Users can browse through over 150 billion websites that have been archived since 1996. The Internet Archives work on many projects including the Bookmobile, Scanning Services, Archive-It, or the already mentioned Wayback Machine. One of the newest initiatives is the Digital Lending Library.

Checking out digital versions of books that are automatically returned after two weeks is as easy as logging onto the Internet Archive's Open Library Site, announced digital librarian and Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle. By integrating this new service, more than seventy thousand current books - best sellers and popular titles - are borrowable by patrons of libraries that subscribe to's Digital Library Reserve. Additionally, many other books that are not commercially available but are still of interest to library patrons are available to be borrowed from from participating libraries using the same digital technology.

Currently, is making available:
  • More than one million digital versions of older books are now available for free download in a variety of formats.
  • Over 70,000 current digital books to those with a library card from many of the over 11,000 libraries that subscribe to the OverDrive service.
  • Genealogical books from the Boston Public Library.
  • How-to and technical book collection via the Internet Archive
  • Marine life reference materials from the Marine Biological Laboratory and Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
  • Spanish texts from Universidad Francisco Marroguin in Guatemala.

Good Bye To Google Wave

The big buzz over Google Wave is officially over. Google has announced that it has ended support for its Google Wave collaborative communication tool for lack of users. Google Wave, only a little over one year old, brought a new way of collaboration - collaboration and communication in real time. Even though Google Wave has gained some true loyal users and supporters, it is not enough for Google to continue to support it. See related stories.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Does Listening to Music Help You Study?

Working at the Law Library, I meet a lot of students who spend time in the library, wearing their earbuds. I don't know what they are listening to, nor do I ask. But sometimes, I hear music in the stacks. A few stray notes will escape the earbuds and drift down the quite aisles of books.... Have you ever wondered whether listening to music while studying really helps people to learn? A recent study reported in the Daily Mail indicates that listening to music does not enhance a student's ability to concentrate.

Background music - a staple of students cramming for exams the world over - interferes with concentration, research shows.
Students who listened to their tunes while trying to memorise a list of letters fared worse than those who worked in silence, the British study found.
Even songs from their favourite bands proved more of a hindrance than a help.
Researchers from the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, tasked 25 students with memorising lists of consonants.
Some were shown the letters while sitting in silence, others while listening to music by their favourite bands or by groups they had a strong aversion to.
Listening to music - including tunes that they liked - hampered their recall, the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology reports.
This shows that listening to music, regardless of one's opinion to it, impairs the ability to memorise information in a set order, said researcher Dr Nick Perham.
The students were also tested while listening to a voice simply repeating the number three over and over again and while listening to a voice saying random numbers - something known as a changing-state sound.
Although the random numbers proved a distraction, the repetition of the number three didn't.
This suggests that it is not peace and quiet that is important when studying - but lack of change in any background noise.

What do you think? Does listening to music help you study? Does the information in this article give you any insights into music and other noises, and the impacts they can have on your ability to concentrate?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A New Way To Search For UK Law:

Today the UK's Ministry of Justice launched, The Official Home of Revised Enacted UK Legislation 1267- Present. According to the web site's FAQ sheet, is "the official place of publication for newly enacted legislation. The aim is to publish legislation on simultaneously or at least within 24 hours of its publication in printed form." brings together data that, until today, had to be searched via two separate websites. Those websites, Office of Public Sector Information, and the Statute Law Database, will be shut down when the transfer of data to is complete. The creation of is part of a broader movement toward transparency in government in the UK.
According to a National Archives press release:

Containing a massive 6.5 million PDF documents, the new website shows both the original version of any piece of UK legislation covering all jurisdictions (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and details of any amendments, so that those accessing it can see how laws have evolved. A simple web search will quickly find key legislation like the Consumer Credit Act and the Data Protection Act, and special features include an interactive browse facility and timeline.

Mr Morley [Acting CEO of The National Archives] continued: 'By using the latest technology and opening up the raw data underpinning, The National Archives has given global access to the nation's "operating system". I'm proud to say this website is the only example of its kind in the world. It provides access to an invaluable and historical resource for anyone wanting to know what the law actually says.'

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Federal Register Launches Web 2.0 Beta Site

The Federal Register used the occasion of it's 75th anniversary to launch a new Web 2.0 beta site this week. The new website is designed to make the information in the Federal Register more easily accessible to the public. The site is organized in 6 major categories: money, world, business and industry, environment, science and technology, and health and public welfare.

Visitors to the new Federal Register site should be aware that it is not the official legal edition of the Federal Register. However, each document posted on the new website includes a link to the corresponding official Federal Register PDF file on The new Federal Register's Legal Status and Disclaimer page contains the following explanation:

This site displays a prototype of a “Web 2.0” version of the daily Federal Register. It is not an official legal edition of the Federal Register, and does not replace the official print version or the official electronic version on GPO’s Federal Digital System (

The articles posted on this site are XML renditions of published Federal Register documents. Each document posted on the site includes a link to the corresponding official PDF file on This prototype edition of the daily Federal Register on will remain an unofficial informational resource until the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register (ACFR) issues a regulation granting it official legal status. For complete information about, and access to, our official publications and services, go to the website.

The OFR/GPO partnership is committed to presenting accurate and reliable regulatory information on with the objective of establishing the XML-based Federal Register as an ACFR-sanctioned publication in the future. While every effort has been made to ensure that the material on is accurately displayed, consistent with the official SGML-based PDF version on, those relying on it for legal research should verify their results against an official edition of the Federal Register. Until the ACFR grants it official status, the XML rendition of the daily Federal Register on does not provide legal notice to the public or judicial notice to the courts

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


JusticeUpdated is a blog available on the website. The stated purpose of the blog is "to keep those interested in ICL and ‘universal jurisdiction’ up-to-date by providing summary information about new developments in these fields." JusticeUpdated began in March 2010, and has proven to be a good resource if you are looking to keep current with recent, notable cases. In addition to covering international courts, the blog reports cases from domestic courts which would be of interest their readers.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New York Appeals

Albany Law School has launched a new publication entitled New York Appeals. Published by the Albany Law Review, New York Appeals will provide an annual roundup of notable issues confronted by the New York Court of Appeals, and practitioners in the New York State. According to their website:

Specifically, New York Appeals will be comprised of law review style articles covering topics ranging from recent high-profile decisions by the Court of Appeals and conflicts among the various departments in the appellate division to a variety of other issues facing practitioners in New York appellate practice. By publishing this issue, the Law Review hopes to create a useful resource for courts, practitioners, and academics concerning New York appellate practice, an area that has statewide—often nationwide—significance.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alexander Greenawalt On Radovan Karadzic

Alexander Greenawalt, Associate Professor of Law at Pace University School of Law, regularly contributes to the New York Times microblog: Latest on Radovan Karadzic. Check out the latest posts! View the microblog or subscribe directly to the latest updates via RSS feed.

Firefox For Your iPhone

Firefox announced that Firefox Home, a free application, is now available for download on your iPhone or iPod touch.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Conflict of Laws in a Federation: The Nigerian Experience

The Foreign, Comparative & International Law (FCIL) SIS invites you to attend a 2010 Annual Meeting event:

FCIL-SIS Executive Committee Presents

Conflict of Laws in a Federation: The Nigerian Experience

This year's presenter is Ufuoma Lamikanra, recipient of the 2010 FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians. She is the Readers' Services Librarian at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of Lagos in Nigeria. In her presentation, she will provide an overview of the country's legal system, its legal institutions and publications as well as an examination of the challenges posed by legal pluralism in Nigeria. In addition to a brief survey of Nigeria's legal history, and the influences of English, Islamic, and customary law on the legal system, Ms. Lamikanra will discuss the hierarchy of courts, sources of law, legal publishing, and law librarianship in Nigeria. She will also be sharing tips for librarians interested in acquiring Nigerian legal material

Where: CCC-Room 109
When: Monday, July 12, 2010
Time: 12:00PM to 1:15PM

This event is open to the entire AALL community. Please join us in welcoming Ufuoma Lamikanra to Denver this summer and we hope to see you at the event!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Changes in the 19th Edition of the Bluebook

This chart, based on the preface, details the changes in the new edition of the Bluebook. Click on the image for the full-size PDF.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lawyer2Lawyer Discusses BP Oil Spill

One of the worst environmental disasters of recent years, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is the topic of discussion in the latest podcast by Lawyer2Lawyer.

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill is considered one of the worst environmental disasters in recent years, with gallons of oils seeping into the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. Attorney and co-host, Bob Ambrogi welcomes Attorney Rhon E. Jones, Environmental Section Head at Beasley Allen, Crow, Methvin, Ports & Miles, and P.C. and Professor Robert Force, Director of Maritime Law Center at Tulane University Law School, to discuss the latest on this devastating spill. They look at the environmental legal issues and concerns surrounding the spill, maritime law, and touch upon the launching of a criminal investigation.

2010 ABA Legal Technology Survey ... cont.

To follow up on our previous post, the next two volumes: Litigation and Courtroom Technology (vol. III) and Web and Communication Technology (vol. IV) of the 2010 ABA Legal Technology Survey are now also available at the American Bar Association (ABA) website.

Some of the highlight of the survey include:

Courtroom Connectivity - Respondents report using their PDAs/smartphones/BlackBerrys in the courtroom to check for new e-mail (64%, compared with 52% in the 2009 survey), followed by sending e-mail (60%, compared with 49% in the 2009 survey), and calendaring (46%, compared with 39% in the 2009 survey).

Virtual Lawyering - When asked whether they have a virtual law office/virtual law practice (i.e., do not typically meet with clients in person, and primarily interact with clients using Internet-based software and other electronic communications software), fourteen percent of respondents responded affirmatively.

Net Note Taking - Twenty-two percent of respondents report the availability of research notebook software such as Evernote, OneNote, or Circus Ponies Notebook at their firms. Among the brand names mentioned, respondents most often listed Microsoft OneNote (62%).

Saving Surprise - Nearly all respondents (98%) report that they generally save incoming e-mail related to cases or client matters. When asked how they save such e-mails, fifty-eight percent of respondents reported saving incoming e-mail to folders in an e-mail program; however a staggering 49% continue to print out hard copies.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

2010 ABA Legal Technology Survey

The ABA has recently released the 2010 Legal Technology Survey.

[It] is an annual project of the ABA's Legal Technology Resources Center (LTRC); the premier provider of information on technology and its use by the legal profession. The report comes in PDF format in six separate volumes.

The first two volumes, Technology Basics (Vol 1.) and Law Office Technology (Vol. 2), are available for purchase.

Google Patent Search

Google Patent search has been around since 2006, but one of the latest Google blog posts writes that this database has been recently updated with more information.

[W]e wanted to make it easier for people to understand the world of inventions, whether they were browsing curious patents or researching serious engineering.

That's why we're proud to announce that the USPTO and Google are making this data available for free at This includes all granted patents and trademarks, and published applications - with both full text and images. In the future we will be making more data available including file histories and related data.

Google Patents is in beta version, includes over 7 million patents, and includes advanced search option. You can read more about Google patents here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Metadata Ethics Opinions by ABA

The attorneys' professional responsibility to keep certain information confidential is nothing new but what if confidential, privileged, or otherwise sensitive information is inadvertently revealed via electronic file transfer because that information happened to be part of the document's metadata? American Bar Association (ABA) has recently tackled such situation and created a comparative chart displaying the attorneys' responsibility regarding metadata and ethics in various jurisdictions around the U.S.

Metadata is loosely defined as "data about data." More specifically, the term refers to the embedded stratum of data in electronics file that may include such information as who authored a document, when it was created, what software was used, any comments embedded within the content, and even a record of changes made to the document.

While metadata is often harmless, it can potentially include sensitive, confidential, or privileged information. As such, it presents a serious concern for attorneys charged with maintaining confidentiality - both their own and their clients. Professional responsibility committees at several bar associations around the country have weighed in on attorneys' ethical responsibilities regarding metadata, but there is no clear consensus on the major metadata issues.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Writing Bad Briefs: How to Lose a Case in 100 Pages or More

This month's NYSBA Journal includes a tongue-in-cheek article by Judge Gerald Lebovits on writing bad briefs. An excerpt:
Miscite your authorities. Get the volume of the reporter right, but forget page numbers. Close enough is good enough, unless your goal is to lose by winning. If a decision is longer than one page, never give the pinpoint citation. Your goal is to make it so difficult for the judge to find any morsel of accuracy that the judge will turn to your adversary’s brief.

Judge Lebovits includes a list of several articles on good legal writing.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

George Washington returns overdue book 221 years late

The library at Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate in Virginia, replaced a copy of a book borrowed in October 5, 1789 by George Washington from the New York Library Society. The book in question was an influential book on international law, The Law of Nations by Emer de Vattel. Washington borrowed the book six months after being sworn in as the first President of the United States under the new Constitution.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

FEMA's New Website for Smartphones

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has recently announced the launch of new website specially designed for smartphones, available at

Smartphones are becoming more prevalent, affordable, reliable and more viable to locate and obtain information and assistance. This service will provide yet another avenue for the sharing of important information that is so critical to ensuring the public is prepared for emergencies. As we've seen in recent cases, often times after a disaster, mobile devices become a crucial lifeline to provide information to survivors. ~ FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Alexander Greenawalt On Radovan Karadzic

Alexander Greenawalt, Associate Professor of Law at Pace University School of Law, regularly contributes to the New York Times microblog: Latest on Radovan Kradzic. Check out the latest posts! View the microblog here or subscribe directly to updates via RSS feed.

Digital repository for Pace Law School law reviews

Pace Law Review, Pace Environmental Law Review and Pace International Law Review are now available via the Pace University digital repository hosted by Bepress. The full-text of all issues, beginning with volume 1, issue 1, is available as searchable PDF files.

The law reviews were formerly available in the series format in the Pace Digital Commons, but have been migrated to the more appropriate journal format. Each issue includes the editorial board. Currently there are 1,634 articles in 173 issues comprising 79 volumes.

This project was managed by Cynthia Pittson, Head of Reference Services at Pace Law Library and Adjunct Professor of Law.

Pace Law Review was established in 1980, and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Over the years it has published transcripts of speeches and lectures by current and former Supreme Court Justices, including Warren E. Burger, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Harry A. Blackmun.

Pace Environmental Law Review was established in 1983. The most recent issue is devoted to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

Pace International Law Review was established in 1989. It devoted an early issue to discussion of the establishment of an international criminal court, and publishes frequent articles on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG).

Articles from all three law reviews were downloaded over 50,000 times between May 2009 and April 2010 in the old series format.

Your Cheat Sheet for Local Rule Motion Practice - Part One: Southern District of New York

New from LLRX, a guide to motion practice in the Southern District of New York.

You know the Federal Rules backwards and forwards, but its compliance with the local rules that really makes a civil litigator look like a pro to colleagues and clients, and leaves the opposition in the dust. In this ongoing LLRX series, the editorial team of SmartRules will give you the tools to navigate motion practice in these busy federal courts with ease and grace. We've outlined the key provisions and highlighted the pitfalls. Here's what you really need to know about motion practice in the Southern District of New York.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2009 Legislative Scorecards Available

The American Library Association (ALA) released the 2009 Legislative Scorecards.

The Legislative Scorecard outlines votes and support of legislation that is important to and has an impact on the library community. Use this scorecard as a tool to gauge your elected officials' support of library related legislation.

The House and Senate Legislative Scorecards are both available in PDF format.

Google Translate Adds 5 More Languages

I don't believe that one should rely one hundred percent on an automatic online translation software because it is incapable of translating a concept. However, such service can be very useful at times. Google Translate is an example of such service; it now offers translation from and to 57 languages, including the latest addition of Armenian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Georgian, and Urdu languages. And although I would not blindly rely on its translation of legal documents or any other important documents per se, it does help to get at least an idea about what a document, paragraph, or a website is about.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The U.S. Courts Website Redesigned

The United States Courts website is redesigned. Today's announcement introduces new enhancements and highlight the primary goal of the website.

The site has been redesigned to make it more attractive, accessible, and useful to its diverse audience of users. The improvements further the website's mission of increasing public interest, awareness, and understanding of the federal court system and its functions, and to serve as a source for disseminating Federal Judiciary information to the public.

The website is a primary source of information on the structure, function, and operations of the federal courts. It plays an important role in how the Judiciary communicates to the public, with useful and timely information for students, news media, attorneys, academics, government officials, associations, and others - both in the United States and worldwide.

Among the objectives of the redesign are a more dynamic website that can integrate emerging web technologies, such as RSS, podcasts, and multimedia.

The website features email delivery services, multimedia services including video, podcasts, photos, YouTube channel, widgets, and read-aloud services.

Happy Birthday YouTube

Today, YouTube celebrates its 5th birthday. To celebrate its birthday, YouTube launched a special channel filled with five year timeline videos. Happy birthday!

Pace Law Library's Summer Hours

Although it only is middle of May, the Spring semester is over and the library's summer hours are in effect. Between May 15 and August 19, the library is open as follows, except for scheduled closings:

Monday - Thursday: 9:00 AM - 10:30 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 Am - 7:00 PM

Be sure to check our website for any closings and/or feel free to call the library's circulation desk at 914-422-4272.

Friday, May 14, 2010

N.Y. State Senate Passes Bill on Workplace Bullying

From the Senate press release:

New York State Senator Thomas P. Morahan, Chairman of the Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities today secured Senate passage of his landmark legislation (S.1823-B) which establishes a civil cause of action for employees who are subjected to an abusive work environment.
Mistreatment of employees in the workplace is a serious issue, but too often, workers have no recourse when they are subject to an abusive work environment,” said Senate Republican Leader Dean G. Skelos. “Senator Morahan’s legislation will help employees who have been harmed, physically, mentally or financially, and will encourage employers to do more to prevent and respond to this problem.

The text of S.1823-B is available here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Microsoft Office on the Web

Just in case last week's NY Times article Revamped Microsoft Office Will Be Free On the Web slipped by you. According to the article, the latest version, talked about for a really long time, will include the usual Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint, but this version will be available online for free allowing users to store documents on the Web. It is scheduled to be available in June of this year.

Users of the new version of Office will be able to share and work on the same documents and presentations over the Internet rather than e-mailing files back and forth to each other.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Additions to

Among the most recent additions on, are the following research guides:

Compiled by Andrew Zimmerman and Trevor Rosen.

Although this guide focuses on websites that help you determine whether a lawyer is currently licensed to practice in a particular state, there are many other kinds of state-specific lawyer-related online databases -- lawyer finders, lawyer referral services, bar member directories, disciplinary rolls, etc. Many of these resources can be found by following the links posted at

Compiled by Ken Strutin.

This is a collection of select legal scholarship and media studies that illuminates the extent of the phenomenon and whether it needs to be addressed and how. It should be noted that there is a large body of news articles, short-term scholarship, books and other media concerning this topic that is not covered in this survey.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Recently Added Research Guides

Pace Law Library uses LibGuides to create its legal research guides. Check out the home page and browse among our 28 legal research guides.

The following are the most recent additions:

Includes federal, state, and international primary and secondary sources, in print and online, with a a particular focus on special populations and topical issues.

Guide to statutes, regulations, treatises, and other sources of securities law.

Information and resources about the Supreme Court appointment process and specific information about the recent nominees.

Sources of law, commentaries, and other secondary sources on genocide.

New Addition to Skype

In a move that escalates its rivalry with the major telecommunication companies, Skype which makes its money from people using the services on a pay as you go basis to call landlines or mobiles, has expanded its subscription packages from 40 countries to 170.

The new monthly packages now also include calls to mobile phones, as well as landlines, and offer savings of up to 60 percent compared to its pay as you go rate.

I have been using Skype for as long as I can remember. Calling computer to computer is free. Calling landlines or mobile phones is often very convenient and ends up being much cheaper than using a cell phone, regular phone, or calling cards. Video option is available. Skype application for iPhone or iPod is available. Voicemail services are available. Recording audio/video software or add-on is available. Chat option is available. Sending text messages or SMS to a mobile phone service is also available. It is intuitive, easy to use, and not costly at all. Check for more information.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The 19th Edition of Bluebook Is On The Horizon

The 19th edition of the Bluebook is scheduled to be released in May 2010, according to HeinOnline, and available for purchase from HeinOnline for $32.00.

The online version of Bluebook, available for $25.00 subscription fee, states the following on its order page:

Please be aware that we will be releasing the Nineteenth edition of the Bluebook by June 1.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Summer Access To Lexis, Loislaw, and Westlaw

Summer is approaching, so don't forget to register your Lexis and Westlaw passwords for summer access.

LexisNexis Summer Access
Students may register for LexisNexis Summer Access by requesting access to LexisNexis using their Law School Educational ID from June 1 to August 1, 2010 for academic purposes. Academic purposes include, but are not limited to:
  • Class preparation and assignments
  • Summer school or course work
  • Research associated with moot court, law review, or law journal
  • Research associated with pursuing a grant or scholarship
  • Service as a paid or unpaid research assistant to a professor
  • An internship, externship or clinic position for school credit or graduation requirement
  • Research skill improvement, such as improving research efficiency and sharpening your area of law research skills as you prepare for practice
  • Study for the Bar Exam
  • NEW: Research skill improvement for education purposes. You can take any Lexis Interactive Tutorials to prepare for your summer or fall employment
Please note:

'Academic purposes' do not include research conducted for a law firm, corporation, or other entity (other than a professor or law school) that is paying the student to conduct research, or that is passing along the cost of research to a third party. These are deemed 'commercial purposes.'

Loislaw provides one low, all inclusive flat rate; no hidden charges for hyperlinking, downloading or printing; free training; and 24/7 technical support. Loislaw does not pose any summer access restrictions on students.

If you are not graduating this summer, click here to get the authorization code, so you can register for an account with Loislaw, if you have not already done so. The code is listed on TWEN, under Law Library on Twen - Passwords.

If you are graduating and will no longer be a student, Loislaw is also available for free through the New York State Bar Association website if you are a member.

Westlaw Summer Access
Extend your Westlaw password for the summer. Current students may use the Westlaw password for the following purposes:
  • Summer law school classes
  • Law review or journal work
  • Project for a professor
  • Moot Court
  • Unpaid, nonprofit public interest internship/externship pro bono work required for graduation

Please note:

Graduating students may extend their Westlaw password for the summer for the purpose of preparing for the July bar exam. Passwords may NOT be used for research for law firms, government agencies, corporations or other purposes unrelated to law school coursework. Students graduating this academic year are not eligible. Even if student does not qualify to extend his/her Westlaw password, the password may still be used 2 hours a month in June and July.

Free and Low Cost Resources
The Pace Law Library also has a guide to free and low cost resources: Free and Low Cost Resources for Legal Research, compiled by Cynthia Pittson.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Podcast: Prof. Berger On The Creeping Codification of the New Lex Mercatoria and

The Pace Law Library and the Institute of International Commercial Law at Pace are proud to present another podcast. Damon Schwartz, Pace Law School and Vis Moot alum interviewed Dr. Klaus Peter Berger, a Professor of Law at the Center for Transnational Law (CENTRAL) at the University of Cologne, in Germany, about his new publication The Creeping Codification of The New Lex Mercatoria and his latest project - a free research and codification platform for transnational law

Enjoy this 26 minute long conversation about transnational and international commercial law. The podcast is available at the Pace Law Library Podcasts blog.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Video feeds from the House floor

The U.S. House of Representatives offers streaming video feeds of the House Floor Proceedings dating back to the beginning of the 111th Congress. The video archive is searchable by keyword and by date.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New On LLRX - The Government Domain: New & Free Regulations Trackers

Published on April 21, 2010, the new addition to the titled The Government Domain: New & Free Regulations Trackers, by Peggy Garvin, highlights few online resources that make the federal legislative information available in new ways. Those include the following:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Library of Congress Acquires Twitter Archive

A press release from April 14, 2010, announced that the Library of Congress acquired the entire archives of Twitter tweets.

Have you ever sent out a “tweet” on the popular Twitter social media service? Congratulations: Your 140 characters or less will now be housed in the Library of Congress.That’s right. Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions.

The Archives include, for example, the first ever tweet, President's Obama tweet about winning the 2008 presidential elections, and many more.

[I]f you're looking for a place where important historical and other information in digital form should be preserved for the long haul, we're [the Library of Congress] are it!