October 21, 2014

Will Including an Abstract and Table of Contents in your Law Review Article Increase Citations to It?

There is an interesting article on SSRN about whether including an abstract and/or table of contents in your law review article can have an impact on your scholarly influence.

The authors observed that "on average both abstracts and tables of contents associate with large increases in scholarly influence. Compared to articles that use neither document element, articles that include just an abstract are cited on average roughly 50% more, and articles that include just a table of contents roughly 30% more. Including both document elements corresponds to the largest increase in citation, over 70%."

Here is the article:
Should Your Law Review Article Have an Abstract and Table of Contents?
Lee Petherbridge & Christopher A. Cotropia

September 19, 2014

WI Voters to Consider Constitutional Amendment relating to Transportation Fund

On November 4th, Wisconsin voters will decide whether to adopt a constitutional amendment relating to a transportation fund and a department of transportation.

From the Brief prepared by the Legislative Reference Bureau:

Currently, the revenues generated by use of the state transportation system may be deposited into any fund as provided by law. This proposed constitutional amendment, proposed to the 2011 legislature on first consideration, requires that such revenues be deposited into a transportation fund, and requires the legislature to create such a fund and a department of transportation.

Why is this amendment being proposed? Here's an excerpt from the Attorney General's Explanatory Statement as it appears in the LRB Brief:


At times, the Legislature has transferred moneys initially deposited into the transportation fund to programs with non-transportation-related purposes. Such transfers have typically been to general revenue funds, which are used for state programs such as education, health care, and shared revenue. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has suggested that these transfers are permissible under current law.

In essence, the proposed amendment would change the Wisconsin Constitution to require that revenues generated by specified uses of the state transportation system be deposited into a transportation fund and expended only for transportation-related purposes.

September 3, 2014

The US Code gets a slight reorganization


Starting on September 1st, the US Code added a new Title. Sections concerning the voting and elections that were previously found in titles 2 and 42 are now being moved to a new Title 52. The idea behind the addition is to both simplify the existing sections of 2 and 42 and make a more coherent Title that pertains only to voting and elections.

For online versions of the code, you can now cite Title 52. For print editions, the change will take effect with the publication of supplement II of the 2012 edition.

For more background on the change and resources to check on during the transition, visit the USC webpage that discusses the update in more depth.

June 26, 2014

New features on Congress.Gov

As Thomas.gov continues to evolve into Congress.Gov, more features are being added. Recently, In Custodia Legis, the Law Library of Congress Blog, announced some of most recent bells and whistles that were added:

*You can now search for presidential nominations back to 1981.

*Congress.Gov also allows you to create an account so you can save customized searches and other bookmarks on the site.

*Possibly most importantly, the About Section has been expanded to be more user-friendly and transparent.

Check out Congress.Gov here and read the original In Custodia Legis post on the updates here. Happy Searching!

June 25, 2014

Article: Is Confidentiality Really Forever -- Even If the Client Dies or Ceases to Exist?

A recent article available on SSRN examines the question, "Is Confidentiality Really Forever -- Even If the Client Dies or Ceases to Exist?"

Here's the abstract:

The law firm of Lizzie Borden's lead attorney continues to maintain her client files in a confidential manner. In contrast, the trove of notes kept by another attorney on the defense team were discovered by his grandson, who willed the client materials to the local Massachusetts historical society, making them generally accessible some 100 years after the murder trial.

Which is the right result? Does client confidentiality live forever? What if the client is an entity rather than an individual? Should there be some point in time -- 50 or 100 years -- when this right to confidentiality expires? Who will enforce the privilege once all the participants are dead? These questions have important implications for attorneys, law firms, and corporate entities. But they are also questions of importance to librarians whose libraries might be given papers that were protected by the attorney-client privilege, represented work product, or were the subject of an attorney's ethical obligation to protect the confidentiality of client matters.

This short essay raises these questions and considers the legal, policy, and practical issues involved. Several approaches are outlined and briefly evaluated.


June 23, 2014

Visually Trace Progress of Federal Bills & Resolutions with Legislative Explorer

Legislative Explorer is a new tool to visually trace the progress bills and resolutions as they move through Congress. This tool help researchers observe large scale patterns and trends in congressional lawmaking without advanced methodological training.

At first view, it's a little confusing, but this tutorial explains its value:

Free Copyright Course for Educators & Librarians

Want to brush up on your copyright? Coursera is offering a free web course on Copyright for Educators & Librarians. The course is taught by faculty members from Duke University, Emory University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Here's the course description:

Fear and uncertainty about copyright law often plagues educators and sometimes prevents creative teaching. This course is a professional development opportunity designed to provide a basic introduction to US copyright law and to empower teachers and librarians at all grade levels. Course participants will discover that the law is designed to help educators and librarians.

Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.

Thanks to my colleague, Mary Jo Koranda, for the tip.

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