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July 22, 2009

Using LinkedIn and Twitter for Corporate Intelligence

3 Geeks and a Law Blog has a good post on using LinkedIn for competitive intelligence.

An earlier post describes how Twitter can be use as well.

July 16, 2009

New Journal: International Free and Open Source Software Law Review

From the Press Release:

London, 13 July 2009.

Today sees the launch of a prestigious new legal Journal which aims to bring the highest standards to bear in analysis and comment on all aspects of Free and Open Source software.

The 'International Free and Open Source Software Law Review' (IFOSSLR) is a peer reviewed biannual journal for high-level analysis and debate about Free and Open Source Software legal issues and is published by an independent Editorial Committee....

In concord with the aims of the Free and Open Source Software movement, IFOSSLR will be available printed and on-line under a licence allowing it to be freely reproduced by individuals and organisations, commercial and non-commercial alike, provided that the content and authorship of the articles is respected.

The first issue is now available on the Internet to be read and downloaded without charge at www.ifosslr.org. Paper copies can also be ordered via the website.

Source: Boing Boing

July 15, 2009

UW Law Enrollments Up for Fall

From the Wisconsin State Journal:

Applications at the UW-Madison Law School were up by about 5.5 percent this year, and more students than anticipated said they plan to enroll in the fall, said Mike Hall, assistant dean for admissions.

The increases could be a reflection of the difficult job market, Hall said.

Law school officials were aiming for a class of about 240 students, but nearly 300 admitted applicants have said they intend to start classes in the fall.

"Typically we are somewhat over-enrolled, but not as over-enrolled," as this year, Hall said.
Between now and August, Hall expects that some of the students who have committed to UW-Madison will change their minds.

About 2,950 people applied to the law school, compared to 2,797 in 2008 and 2,633 in 2007.

July 14, 2009

Community Immigration Law Center - A New Clinic in Madison

There is a new Community Immigration Law Center (CILC) in Madison. Although the Center does not represent clients, it does offer the following services:

  • Brief consultations on basic legal immigration issues provided twice a month for three hours on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Case assessment and legal advice provided by our volunteer immigration lawyers.
  • Assistance with immigration forms and fillings.

The Center is open to the public the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month.
Hours: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
First come, first served. No appointments needed.

Contact information:
Community Immigration Law Center
C/O Christ Presbyterian Church
944 East Gorham Street
Madison, WI 53703
Tel: (608) 257-4845
Fax: (608) 257-4490
Email: jeanrene@tds.net

Access to Justice Commission Formed: New WI Supreme Court Rule 14

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has created Chapter 14 of the Supreme Court Rules, establishing the Access to Justice Commission.

The Wisconsin Lawyer has a copy of the full order. From the Creation and Purpose section (SCR 14.02):

(1) In order to aid the courts in improving the administration of justice by supporting civil legal services to those who cannot afford them, the State bar shall create an Access to Justice Commission.
(2) The mission of the Commission is to develop and encourage means of expanding access to the civil justice system for unrepresented low income Wisconsin residents.

An earlier article from the State Bar has more information about the Commission.

Thanks to my colleague, Jenny Zook for sharing this with me.

July 13, 2009

Appellate Briefs Now Available in CCAP

"Attorneys and the public can also freely access appellate briefs online" reports the Wisconsin Law Journal in an article on status of the new electronic filing system for Wisconsin's appellate courts.

While [Wisconsin Supreme Court Clerk of Court David R.] Schanker conceded that the new rules are designed to be more "user-friendly" for judges, he noted that attorneys and the public can also freely access appellate briefs online.

"If the lawyer is registered in the system, he or she can go in and look at briefs and other documents," Schanker said.

Attorneys who aren't registered and the general public can access briefs through the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Access (WSCCA) Web site (http://www.wicourts.gov/) .

A commenter to the WLJ article, quotes from an article Schanker wrote in the State Bar Appellate Practice newsletter (republished in InsideTrack):

Text Search of E-Filed Briefs.

E-filed briefs will now be available to the public through the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Case Access (WSCCA) case search. In the past, users were able to view the opinions in disposed-of cases on WSCCA, but users will now be able to view briefs as they are filed.

In addition, the new "Document Search" feature (on the right side of the banner at the top of the screen) allows users to enter a word or phrase and search the entire database of e-filed briefs. The search will retrieve a list of all briefs containing the word or phrase, and each brief can be viewed and searched.

Wow - somehow I'd missed this in the e-filing announcements. I see now that there is indeed a new "Document Search" link at the top of the WSCCA CCAP page. Here's a screen shot of the search page:
And here is one showing the search results:

Briefs filed on or after July 1, 2009 are available in CCAP in text-searchable format. And don't forget that older briefs (filed from November 1992 onward) are available on our University of Wisconsin Law Library web site in scanned form.

Updated Guide to the Preservation of Federal Judges' Papers

From the U.S. Courts Newsroom:

A recent publication discusses the importance of federal judges' papers as a documentary record of their careers and the work of the federal courts.

A Guide to the Preservation of Federal Judges' Papers was first published in 1996 and has proved to be one of the most frequently requested publications from the Federal Judicial Center's History Office. Many judicial biographies and court histories rely on the collections of judicial papers that federal judges donate to research libraries and archives. From these scholarly works come the educational materials that contribute to public understanding of the federal judiciary. This guide is designed to help judges when they are considering the historical value of their chambers papers and selecting a repository for donation of their personal records.

RIP George Coburn of The Wheeler Report

Today's Wheeler Report shares the sad news that George Coburn, "master of this website for more than 10 years lost a three-month struggle with cancer on Saturday. He posted his last news release on Friday, June 26."

From the notice:

His one editorial comment in the 17 years he worked with Wheeler News Service and Wheeler Reports was so subtle no one ever noticed.

George believed everyone should have their say on almost anything, but he refused to contribute to the delinquency of never-ending attack releases.

So, he put "Campaigns, Elections and Politics" at the bottom of the daily listing on the website, giving them their say, but denying them the prominence and credibility they sought. His legacy will remain.

July 10, 2009

Challenge to 'Diploma Privilege' Reinstated by U.S. Court of Appeals

From the State Bar of Wisconsin News:

A challenge to Wisconsin's diploma privilege has been remanded to federal district court following the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in Wiesmueller v. Kosobucki, 08-2527...

In its opinion, the court of appeals said that the district court's dismissal of the action left it in "an evidentiary vacuum." The plaintiffs had been appealing that order issued.

The court indicated that the plaintiffs should build the evidentiary record before the diploma privilege's effect on interstate commerce can be assessed.

"[S]uppose - a supposition not only consistent with but actually suggested by the scanty record that the plaintiffs were not allowed to amplify - that Wisconsin law is no greater part of the curriculum of the Marquette and Madison law schools than it is of the law schools of Harvard, Yale, Columbus, Virginia, the University of Texas, Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Northern Illinois (which happens to be within a stone's throw of Wisconsin, as are the three law schools in Minneapolis)," the court wrote.

"That would suggest that the diploma privilege creates an arbitrary distinction between graduates of the two Wisconsin law schools and graduates of other accredited law schools. And it is a distinction that burdens interstate commerce," the court concluded....

If the diploma privilege is invalidated, the court noted that "unequal treatment can be eliminated without conferring any benefit on the plaintiff that challenged it." Accordingly, the court said Wisconsin may only require all applicants take the bar exam....

However, the court offered that Wisconsin might also choose "to require all applicants (or perhaps all applicants who had not practiced for a period of time in another state) to take a continuous legal education course in Wisconsin law in lieu of a bar exam."

Update: See the response from Marquette Law School Dean Joseph D. Kearney. Here's an excerpt:

While Marquette is not a party to this case (the defendants are the members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and its Board of Bar Examiners), I expect that on remand (and any subsequent appeal) the diploma privilege will pass constitutional muster. This is the beginning of my seventh year as dean and thirteenth as a member of the faculty at Marquette; throughout this time Marquette Law School has sought to ensure--because of the diploma privilege--that our students are especially introduced to the law and legal profession of Wisconsin. Certainly I expect that it is not the case (to quote a "supposition" posed by the Seventh Circuit) "that Wisconsin law is no greater part of the curriculum of the Marquette and Madison law schools than it is of the law schools of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Virginia, the University of Texas, Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Northern Illinois." Id. at 9. Indeed, I know it not to be the case at Marquette, and I expect that a similar thing is true at the University of Wisconsin. To be sure, it will take a while to demonstrate all this through the litigation system, but Marquette will provide the Attorney General's office any support that it requires in marshaling evidence.

Amazon's Kindle to Sell PLI Law Books

Wall Street Journal reports that Practising Law Institute is offering many of its titles via the Kindle.

From the article:

A nonprofit group that provides continuing education for lawyers is making its books available for sale on Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle, underscoring the widening appeal of the digital reader.

The discounts off print prices for digital works from the Practising Law Institute will be much smaller than those typical of Kindle best-sellers [only a 20% discount from the print edition]....

"There are a lot of practical reasons to believe that the digital market may well be more profitable for publishers of legal, medical and educational texts," said Andrew Frank, a vice president at market-research firm Gartner Inc. "Since these texts are reference material, the ability to index them and set up bookmarks, which you can do easily with the Kindle, will save time and money for users."...

The PLI said 67 of its 90 titles are now available in the Kindle format.

Thanks to my colleague, Jenny Zook, for alerting me to this article

July 9, 2009

Bill Could Mean Big Changes for CCAP Access

Wisconsin Assembly Bill 340, introduced yesterday, could mean some big changes for CCAP. The bill would limit what information is made accessible and when, and it would require many users to register and pay an annual fee.

From the LRB analysis section of the bill:

The information on CCAP is available for free on an Internet Web site. The Web site has no limitations on who has access to the information, although information in certain types of cases is not available to the public. CCAP allows a user to search for all civil and criminal cases in which a person or entity, who is the subject of the search, has been a party...

Under this bill, the director of state courts may only provide case information on CCAP after a court does one of the following: 1) makes a finding that a person is guilty of a criminal charge; 2) makes a finding that a person is liable in a civil matter; 3) orders a person to be evicted; or 4) issues a restraining order or an injunction against a person.

The bill allows free access to CCAP to Wisconsin judges or other court officials, law enforcement personnel, attorneys, and accredited journalists. The bill allows access to CCAP information to any other person who pays a $10 annual fee and registers his or her name and address with the director of state courts. The bill requires the director of state courts to keep a registry and log of each user who pays the annual fee that records the searches each user performs. Under the bill, if a user searches for a person's name on CCAP and subsequently denies the person employment, housing, or another public accommodation, the user must inform the person that he or she searched for the person's record on CCAP. A user who fails to do so may be fined $1,000.

Under the bill, upon the written request of a person whose case information is currently available on CCAP, the director of state courts must remove any information relating to a case that did not result in a finding of criminal guilt or civil liability, an order of eviction, or the issuance of a restraining order against the person.

UW Madison Expands Agreement with Google Books

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has expanded its agreement with Google to digitize books from UW-Madison's collection and make them available online.

From a press release issued this morning:

The expanded partnership, completed on July 8, 2009, enables the university to broaden public access to its collection in new ways, made possible by the settlement Google signed with a broad class of authors and publishers last year.

"Our original project with Google was undertaken in the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea--UW's commitment to making useful information and knowledge available beyond the confines of the university," says Ken Frazier, director of Libraries. "Now, our new agreement will promote equitable access to knowledge even further, by giving every student in the U.S. access to the same books, whether they're on campus or not."...

Through Google's pending settlement with authors and publishers and the new agreement with UW-Madison, readers and researchers will be able to preview portions of UW-Madison's in-copyright and out-of-print books for free and buy online access to the full texts of such books.

In addition, universities, colleges, and public libraries throughout the U.S. will be able to offer their students and patrons access to UW-Madison's rich collections through institutional subscriptions to the books contained in the institutional subscription database. Every public and university library in the U.S. will be able to receive one free public access license to provide free, full-text online viewing of millions of out-of-print books at designated computers in each of their buildings.

Study Finds Consumers Trust Online Opinions - More Reason that You Should be Monitoring What People Say about You

From The Consumerist:

A global Nielsen survey reports the cool yet frightening revelation that people trust opinions they find on the internet more than those from newspapers, TV, radio and magazines. The only category that trumps online rumblings is "recommendations from people known."

So what does this mean? The implication for consumer sales is obvious, but is this finding applicable to legal professionals? Yes, I think so.

The things that people are saying about you and your clients on the web could have a big impact on your public image and theirs. That's why it's very important to monitor what's being said. See my earlier posts for tips on setting up alerts to notify you when you or your clients are discussed via Twitter, Web pages, and blogs.

Here's the full breakdown of the Nielsen survey as it appears in AdWeek

Source: Twitter @ding0036

July 8, 2009

More on FreeCourtDockets - Who are we and why are we giving away Pacer dockets for free?

In response to numerous questions, FreeCourtDockets answers the question "Who are we and why are we giving away Pacer dockets for free?"

From an email that I received yesterday:

FreeCourtDockets is maintained by Courtport, LLC. We feel federal court dockets, like other public records should be free and freely available via the Internet. While others fight with the government on this issue, we are trying a faster route using an ad-supported model.

We can't do this without your help. As you are probably aware Google ads do not generate a lot of revenue, and the ads can be ugly and less than useful sometimes. We are seeking reputable, quality advertisers and sponsors to help pay our pacer bills. We also accept donations--no amount is too big or too small. If you are interested in advertising, sponsoring or donating, or know someone who might be, please contact us.

As I suspected, this explains the extreme amount of ads. But, I can live with the ads when the content is free.

Google to Develop Operating System

From the New York Times:

In a direct challenge to Microsoft, Google announced late Tuesday that it is developing an operating system for PCs that is tied to its Chrome Web browser.

Thanks to my colleague, Howard Nash, for passing this on.

July 7, 2009

Registration Open for Free AALL Unconference, Lawberry Camp

"The AALL 2009 Annual Meeting Theme is 'Innovate.' In that spirit, there will be an "unconference" for the first time ever this year prior to the Annual Meeting. Attendees will have the chance to explore ideas and discuss issues with fellow law librarians in an informal setting. We're calling it 'Lawberry Camp.' " [from website]

The unconference is the brain child of AALL Computing Services Special Interest Section members Sarah Glassmeyer and Jason Eiseman.

Here's more info about it from an email to AALL SIS members:

WHO: You. Yes, you. It doesn't matter if what type of librarian you are, how long you've been a librarian, if your management or not, or what type of library you work in (or if you're employed at all!). If you are coming to AALL, you are the right person to attend Lawberry Camp.

WHAT: Lawberry Camp, an unconference before AALL. What's an "unconference?" An unconference is a participant driven meeting. There are no planned presentations and the topics of discussion will be decided on by attendees on that day. Facilitators are present to keep the conversation flowing.

WHERE: WCC-Room 144 C

WHEN: Saturday, July 25 3pm - 6pm

WHY: Because you have something to share. Because you want to hear what others have to say. Because you want to meet with other law librarians in an informal setting. Because you have nothing to do the Saturday afternoon before AALL starts.

HOW: More information and registration can be found at http://lawberrycamp.com Attendance is limited to 50 people, so don't delay!

Coming Soon? Ad-Supported Kindle Books Free with Purchase of Print Ed

I saw this item on Twitter this morning:

Amazon.com has filed for a number of patents that hint at ad-supported books for its Kindle e-reader--more specifically, a free or discounted ad-supported e-book for customers who buy the physical version.

Read more at cnet news

July 6, 2009

Nolo's Law Dictionary Free for iPhone

Nolo has developed a free legal dictionary for the iPhone. Nolo's Plain English Law Dictionary "contains nearly 4000 legal terms defined in everyday, understandable language," according to the iTunes descriptions.

Here's more about the app from iTunes:

"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."

Black's Law Dictionary is also available for the iPhone, but with a hefty $49.99 price tag.

Patent Searching at Milwaukee Public Library

From Now @ MPL:

Milwaukee Public Library is an official Patent and Trademark Depository Library. A Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) is a library designated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to receive and house copies of U.S. patents and patent and trademark materials, to make them freely available to the public, and to actively disseminate patent and trademark information.

Once a month, a librarian from the Business and Technology Department presents a free workshop on how to conduct a patent search. Please call 414-286-3051 if you have any questions.

For additional resources including the Patent and Trademark Department's searchable database, peruse the links in the Patents & Trademarks category on the Milwaukee Public Library home page under Recommended Links.

July 1, 2009

Jureeka! Makes it Easy to Link to Cases & Statutes in E-Filed Appellate Briefs

Beginning today, July 1, 2009, Wisconsin attorneys must electronically file a copy of all appellate briefs, no-merit reports, petitions for review, and responses. For more on these requirements, see Mandatory appellate e-filing begins July 1, 2009 in InsideTrack from the State Bar of Wisconsin.

One thing that the article doesn't mention is that attorneys may include links to cases or statutes cited in their briefs, as long as the source is free. For the full rule, see page five of the Supreme Court Rules regarding electronic filing of documents per the Wisconsin's Court Systems eFiling page. It reads:

Electronic briefs may be enhanced with internal links (such as a table of contents with links to locations in the brief) or external links (links to websites containing the text of cases or statutes cited in the brief). External links in an electronic brief shall not require a password for access to the case or statute. No enhancement to an electronic brief shall alter the text of the brief.

If you'd like to add such links to your briefs but aren't sure how to find them, I recommend giving Jureeka! a try.

A few months ago I blogged about Jureeka!, noting that it is a Firefox add-on that looks for legal citations in ordinary web pages and turns them into hyperlinks that lead to a free version of the cited source. Pretty handy for web-based research.

But Jureeka! also installs a toolbar in Firefox which allows you to search for source material by legal citation. See the screen shot below.
After you enter in your citation and click "Find by citation" you'll be directed to a page that offers you a link to your desired document, if it is available.

Once you reach the desired website with your source, simply copy the URL at the top and paste into your brief.

Jureeka! is great for quickly locating links to statutes, case law, regulations, federal court rules, international law sources, and more. It has a success rate of around 92%.

For more about this neat tool, including a list of citation types included, see the Jureeka! blog.

Thanks to my colleague, Lynne Gehrke, for helping me recognize this new use for Jureeka!

WI State Law Library Creates Foreclosure Tutorial

The Wisconsin State Law Library has created a tutorial on foreclosure.

From WSLL @ Your Service:

With the current economic situation, many people have been forced to deal with the issue of home foreclosure and are looking for information. In response, the State Law Library has created an online tutorial, Help! I'm Facing Foreclosure. The page includes a brief (under 3 minutes) video directing people to sources of information and assistance, and links to the websites of relevant agencies and organizations. Attorneys and librarians alike may find this to be a useful resource for their clients and library patrons.

More on Badgerlink Changes - Additional EBSCO Content

A few weeks ago, I shared the news that ProQuest content would no longer be accessible via Badgerlink. But there is also some good news...beginning today, July 1st, EBSCO content is being expanded to nearly double what was previously available. [What is Badgerlink?]

The expanded EBSCO package includes:

  • an upgrade to the Premier versions of Academic Search and Business Source;
  • a major newspaper collection (Newspaper Source Plus);
  • the leading reader's advisory service (NoveList and NoveList K-8);
  • all three versions of Book Collection: Nonfiction;
  • two new health databases (Consumer Health Complete and Alt Health Watch);
  • two new education products (Education Research Complete and Educational Administration Abstracts);
  • high school level science and history resources (Science Reference Center and History Reference Center);
  • an auto repair database (Auto Repair Reference Center).
  • a pair of literary/humanities collections (Literary Reference Center and Humanities International Complete)

Source: TechBits and Channel Weekly