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December 30, 2008

Researching Layoff Data

In her Wisconsin Law Journal blog, Bev Butula offers tips for researching layoff information. One of the databases she mentions is JWT Inside's Layoff Report Database.

The researcher can search by week or keyword. The weekly report lists the various companies, locations, affected workforce, news source, and date of the layoffs for that particular week.

Refinement by industry, metropolitan area (includes Canada), headcount, or date range is available. These results first provide a list of the company, date, and industry. Selection of a particular company will then take the user to the news story. It appears that the database goes back to the late 1990's.

To give you a flavor for what's included, see the screenshot below of a search I did for layoffs in the Madison area in the last year.layoffs.jpg

Bev also suggests the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Mass Layoff Statistics site.

The main webpage provides instant statistics on the right hand side of page (with an RSS feed). The page also offers links to the various databases to query and tables. Like many BLS tools, these databases are very dynamic and provide an extensive amount of information.

December 29, 2008

Monitor State of Wisconsin Administrative Rulemaking Process

Updated: 7/22/2013

I've recently been made aware of the State of Wisconsin Administrative Rules Home Page.

Wisconsin state agencies value your involvement in agency decision-making and have created this website to make it easy for you to monitor and participate in their rulemaking.

At this site, you can:

  • Search for rules
  • View the status of current rulemaking
  • View documents associated with rulemaking
  • Subscribe to receive notification of rulemaking

For more about the rulemaking process and how to view documents, monitor rules, and make comments, see the FAQ page.

Per the Wisconsin Legislative Council's Administrative Rules Procedures Manual, agencies are required to electronically submit, for inclusion in the state's administrative rules web site, "all publicly available materials regarding rules that are submitted to DOA, the Rules Clearinghouse, the Chief Clerks, LRB, legislative standing committees, and JCRAR.

This includes scope statements, submissions to the Rules Clearinghouse of proposed rules and accompanying materials (such as fiscal estimates and economic impact analyses), reports of the SBRRB, notices regarding hearings, final proposed rules and reports to the Legislature that are sent to the Chief Clerks for referral to standing committees, emergency rule-making orders, requests for extensions for emergency rules, modifications to proposed rules, withdrawals or recalling of proposed rules, and final rules that are submitted to LRB for publication."

2011 Executive Order #50 requires that these materials also be submitted to the Governor's Office of Regulatory Compliance

Madison Magazine's 2009 Top Lawyers

Madison Magazine ranks the city's top lawyers in their January issue.

Madison Magazine's 2009 Top Lawyers peer survey reveals who the legal eagles in our community would turn to if they needed some advice. With more than 2,300 Dane County lawyers in thirty-eight specialties, we wanted to know: who can you turn to in a time of need?

Want to read the full story? Looks like you'll have to pick it up in print.

Legal Ramifications of Twitter Use

An article in Law.com's Legal Technology section offers some thoughts on the legal ramifications of Twitter use.

Lawyers caution... that Twitter carries a number of legal risks. Users posting tweets from corporate networks could expose company secrets. These conversations, lawyers note, are legally binding and subject to the legal rules of electronic discovery, which means tweets could be subpoenaed in a lawsuit.

Twitter also raises invasion of privacy and defamation issues. Trademark violations could also be alleged if Twitter users appear to have a relationship with a company or product when one does not exist or post tweets to dilute a trademarked name.

Twitter could also trigger more workplace retaliation and wrongful termination claims, whereby users will claim that they were retaliated against or fired over protected information they tweeted, such as being harassed at work or disclosing a safety violation.

WI Supreme Court Takes Step Toward Creation of Legal Aid Organization

Wisconsin's Supreme Court has taken the first step toward creating a nonprofit organization to provide more legal help for the poor, reports JS Online. "This month, the court voted 6-0, with Justice David Prosser abstaining, to direct its staff to work with the State Bar of Wisconsin and other officials on a draft order authorizing the nonprofit group."

State Bar wrote in its petition:

About 80% of (Wisconsin) households with a legal need go without (it). .?.?. Legal service providers in Wisconsin report that for every eligible client they serve, they must turn away another client, simply for lack of funds.

There is no consensus on the court at this time over how that corporation might work, who would serve on its board and who would pay for it.

December 22, 2008

Recent UW Law School Faculty Scholarship

Here's the latest scholarship from the University of Wisconsin Law School Legal Studies Research Paper Series via SSRN.

December 17, 2008

Comparision of Legislative Resources on GPO Access v. Other Government and Commercial Sites

GPO Access has recently conducted a comparison of legislative resources available in its collection with those in other government websites and commercial databases such as Westlaw, LexisNexis and HeinOnline.

The report concludes that "one of the primary advantages of GPO Access is the number of online legislative resources it provides to the public." The comparison reveals that it offers almost twice as many sources as any other government website or commercial database.

However, "in terms of scope of the legislative resources it provides, GPO Access is behind the other Web sites evaluated. Many of the other sites either contain historical content on their service or link to external sites with historical information, whereas GPO Access possesses current information that generally begins in the mid-1990s."

The two charts which accompany the report may be useful finding tools for locating legislative sources. The charts list several important sources along with the dates of coverage for various websites and databases.

This is the fifth such report that GPO has conducted. Earlier reports are available on the Federal Bulletin Board at GPO Access.

Source: Virtual Library Cat's Eye View

December 16, 2008

Australian Court Serves Documents via Facebook

An Australian court has ordered that a default judgement could be served on defendants by notification on Facebook. The courts already allow service by email and text message.

Read more from the Sydney Morning Herald: "Australian courts are regarded as being amongst the most technologically advanced in the world, and this innovation goes to further that claim."

Cory Doctorow over at Boing Boing doesn't think much of the idea: "It's like serving notice on me by sticking a post-it on a toilet wall on which someone has written "Cory wuz heer" and declaring it legal.
Update: Here's more from the Telegraph (UK) - thanks to my colleague, Nancy Paul for the tip.

December 12, 2008

Monitor Twitter Posts via Email

A few months ago I posted about how you can search people's Twitter posts for certain keywords and track future posts with a RSS feed.

Now I've learned of a new service called Twilert which allows you to receive such alerts via email. The the advanced options available in the following image.twirlert.jpg

Now why would you, as a legal professional, care about what people are Twittering about? For the same reason that you should care what they are blogging about: image monitoring; competitive intelligence; return on investment monitoring, and much more. See my earlier post on Google Alerts for additional reasons.

Source: MakeUseOf.com

December 5, 2008

Download Audio Books from Your Public Library - Now to Your iPod

Courtesy of the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium, library patrons can download digital audio books to their mp3 players or burn the files to an audio CD. And just recently announced, the books are now available for iPods and iPhones. Previously, the system only worked with Microsoft-based mp3 players.

This example shows the variety of formats now available:
The audio books are available via the Overdrive Media Console. To download to your iPod or iPhone, you must have OverDrive Media Console v3.0 (or newer) for Windows or OverDrive Media Console v1.0 (or newer) for Mac installed on your computer.

A library card and PIN number are needed to "check-out" audio books. Some music and video recordings are also available.

For instructions on how to download and play materials, see:

Source: Check It Out from the Madison Public Library

December 4, 2008

Monitor Web Content with Google Alerts - Now with Email and RSS Alerts

Google Alerts allow you to enter search terms and receive notification whenever it finds new content matching those terms.

You can specify if you would like to search news, blog, web, video, or group content or all of the above. You choose whether you want it to alert you as-it-happens, once-a-day or once-a-week. You can receive your results via email or now though RSS.

Law Practice Magazine offers these ideas on how lawyers can make use of Google Alerts:

  • First and foremost, enter your own name as a keyword, so you know what the world is saying about you.
  • Likewise, enter your firm name, as well as the names of your partners, so you can help everyone keep track of news related to the firm (and its reputation).
  • Monitor news about legislation, regulations and the like in particular practice areas and business sectors.
  • Keep a weather eye on what competing law firms are doing.
  • Watch out for leaks about highly proprietary data of significant clients. You would be surprised at how often proprietary data shows up in blogs--just ask Steve Jobs at Apple, whose R&D beans were spilled left and right not long ago.
  • If your clients sell a well-known product, watch what is being said about it--and perhaps watch for knockoffs.
  • Keep up with other developments relevant to your firm by entering the appropriate terms, such as "electronic evidence," "legal marketing forums" or the like.
  • Gauge your return on investment for marketing activities--for example, if you send out a press release or host a national seminar, enter identifying terms for it and see how often it appears in blogs and on the Internet generally.
  • Enter terms that might yield "surprise" information relevant to that pending litigation your firm is handling.
  • Are there experts in your area of law who are always worth reading? Plug in their names, too.
  • Sometimes it's places that you want to monitor. If you have an office in Peru, news from there may be instructive.

Wisconsin Court System Website Survey

If you ever use their website, The Wisconsin Court System wants your feedback. They are currently conducting a survey "to ensure it is useful for our customers." Don't worry - it's a very short survey.

ALR Comes Back to Lexis

After almost a year's absence, the American Law Reports are now available again on Lexis.

Here's the announcement from my Lexis rep:

The following publications are again accessible on Lexis.com via the Legal menu > expand Secondary Legal sources:
  • ALR (American Law Reports)
  • Witkin Library
  • State Jurisprudences for Florida, New York, Ohio and Texas
  • American Jurisprudence 2d (Am Jur 2d) will continue to be available through lexis.com

December 3, 2008

Blogs Increasingly Popular Among Law Firms

Blogging continues to increase in popularity among large law firms according to LexBlog's, Kevin O'Keefe. His November 2008 State of the AmLaw 200 Blogosphere reveals the following:

Growth highlights:

  • Over 35% of AmLaw 200 law firms have blogs.
  • 12% of AmLaw 200 law firms have more than one blog.
  • 32% growth in last 8 months in the number of AmLaw 200 law firms publishing blogs.
  • 39% growth in last 8 months in total number of blogs being published by AmLaw 200 law firms (some firms have more than one blog).

And in the numbers:

  • 72 of the 2008 AmLaw 200 firms were blogging.
  • Those 72 firms were responsible for a total of 159 blogs.
  • 122 of the 159 blogs were firm branded; the remaining 37 blogs were not branded. 'Firm branded' blogs are those where the firm's name and/or logo are prominently displayed, indicating that the blog is more a product of the firm than of the individual author writing it.

See the full results, including a list of law firms with blogs or lawyers blogging at Real Lawyers Have Blogs.

Free Access to English Reports, 1220-1873

Free access to the English Reports from 1220-1873 is now available from the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII).

The English Reports database contains 124,882 cases and the full text of the Reports are searchable. Users are then provided with the original image of a case when it appears in the search results, sorted in likely order of relevance (date ranking may also be used). The cases are may also be browsed by year or alphabetically.

December 1, 2008

UW Law School Mock Trial Team Featured in Cap Times

The Capital Times has a nice article on the UW Law School's Mock Trial team. The team finished second-place at a tournament in Los Angeles last month.