* You are viewing the archive for September, 2011

PACER Increases Electronic Access Fees

Accessing federal court cases via the federal court’s online document system, called PACER for Public Access to Court Electronic Records, is going to cost you a couple more pretty pennies.  Two pennies per page, to be exact; the new fee is 10 cents per page, up from 8 cents.  Some good news for penny-pinching researchers, however, is the fact that users who incur less than $15 in charges in any quarterly cycle will not be charged a fee – that is up to 150 pages free per quarter!  You can’t beat free, and as they say, a penny saved … Continue Reading

Shoe Suits

Today the Federal Trade Commission put its foot down on unsubstantiated claims that toning shoes strengthen and tone muscles:

Reebok to Pay $25 Million in Customer Refunds To Settle FTC Charges of Deceptive Advertising

There’s further trouble for toning shoes with a class action suit brewing against New Balance for similar reasons, and a lawsuit against Sketchers Shape-Ups where a customer claims wearing the shoes caused hip fractures.

As the saying goes, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  So we’re not cancelling our gym memberships just yet.

But sometimes news-worthy lawsuits make us library-folk kick up our heels and … Continue Reading

Highlighting new books at the Law Library, part 2

This week’s installment of the new books series features a guide to appellate brief writing.  Moot court participants and second-semester 1L students will likely find the information contained in this book extremely applicable for their brief-writing and oral argument preparations.

A Practical Guide to Appellate Advocacy
By Mary Beth Beazley
Law Study Skills Collection KF251 .B41 2010

A Practical Guide to Appellate Advocacy by Mary Beth Beazley is a student-focused guide to writing appellate briefs.  The text offers direction for every step of the writing process, from pre-writing planning and what to do when facing a blank page, to drafting an argument, … Continue Reading

American Law Reports: a.k.a ALR, a.k.a. “Already Done Legal Research”

American Law Reports (ALR) is an attorney written, multi-series publication with objective, in-depth analysis of your specific legal issue, together with a complete list of cases – in every available jurisdiction – that discusses that issue.

Quickly get up to speed in an unfamiliar area of law – every article delivers an impartial, in-depth analysis of your specific legal issue
Locate relevant caselaw in one easy step – at the end of every ALR article, you’ll find an exhaustive, comprehensive list of cases that discuss the topic; cases are organized by state, so you can pinpoint local authority fast. 
Determine which cases are … Continue Reading

Blogging for Law Students

Many lawyers maintain blogs for marketing purposes – to share their expertise and build their practices.  But is blogging useful for law students? A recent article titled To Blog or Not: That is the Question in the American Bar Association’s Student Lawyer magazine explored this question.  The article featured the story of Simon Borys, whose blog Simon Says: The Blog of Simon Borys, has logged 40,000 hits in the first year.  Whether the blog will help or hurt, or simply be a non-issue, as Borys searches for a job next year is yet to be seen.  Another law … Continue Reading

Happy Birthday, Bilbo Baggins!

74 years ago today, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was first published.

We wondered if we might be able to find some Tolkien references in the courts. 

Well, as it says in The Hobbit, “there is nothing like looking, if you want to find something.” (Tolkien must have been a librarian at heart!) So off to Westlaw we went… 

Not suprisingly, we found a case with Tolkien Enterprises alledging tradmark infringement of the name “Hobbit”  (Saul Zaentz Co. v. Wozniak Travel, Inc.).

We also spotted a couple chuckle-worthy Tolkien references in decisions.

Medical Assur. Co., Inc. v. Hellman begins:
“Dr. Mark Weinberger maintained a prosperous ear, nose, and throat practice (commonly called … Continue Reading

Highlighting new books at the Law Library, part 1

For the next few weeks we will be highlighting new books at the Law Library which may prove useful to you.  Today’s focus is on a superb guide to legal composition. 

Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review
By Eugene Volokh
New York, NY: Foundation Press, 2010
Law Study Skills Collection KF250 .V65 2010

Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review by Eugene Volokh is written for law students doing scholarly writing, and provides detailed instructions for every aspect of the writing process.  Major sections in the … Continue Reading

Court Case Asks if “Big Brother” Is Spelled GPS

In November, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in United States v. Jones, No. 10-1259, characterized by Adam Liptak in a New York Times* article as the most important Fourth Amendment case in a decade.  In fact, judges have been asking is George Orwell’s 1984 here!  Do changes in technology that can track our every move require changes to existing Fourth Amendment privacy doctrine?  At issue, which the lower courts are divided on, is whether police need a warrant to attach a Global Positioning System (GPS) device to a suspect’s car. 

*Initially published on Saturday, September 10, but … Continue Reading

Scalia and Kagan are doing it – how about you?

In a recent C-SPAN interview, Justice Elena Kagan mentioned that she uses a Kindle to read briefs.  Justice Antonin Scalia has stated that he uses an iPad for the same purpose.  It’s not only Supreme Court justices who are using tablets, however; lawyers are also increasingly using e-readers and iPads in their legal practice.  An Arizona Republic article from July profiles two Phoenix attorneys who are employing iPads to better communicate with clients, and discusses how attorneys are utilizing tablets during court appearances.  Attorney Josh Barrett has even published a blog titled Tablet Legal, which discusses “use … Continue Reading

The West Digest System

One of the most often asked questions this time of year is about digests and how to use them. The digest system is designed by West Publishing. West organizes the law into over 400 subjects and assigns those subjects “topic numbers.” Within those topics are subtopics which West has assigned key numbers. It is organized like an outline, with points and sub-points. It is no more complicated than that other than how many key numbers the editors manage to include! The idea is that once you have a topic number and a key number you can access another west digest … Continue Reading