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July 30, 2010

Zimmerman's Legal Research Guide - and Blog

Zimmerman's Legal Research Guide is a tremendous resource for discovering the best resources in specific areas of law. I often use the online encyclopedia when I'm presented with a research question on an unfamiliar topic.

Zimmerman's guide is well known among the law librarian community - and rightly so. With addition of a new Zimmerman's blog, we can keep up to date with new additions.

The author is Andrew Zimmerman, a librarian with many years of research experience in large law firms. He created the guide after visiting a senior law librarian at her office. "In the middle of our conversation she opened a drawer and pointed to a black ring binder stuffed with paper. This was her 'black book.' She said the binder held twenty-odd years of her accumulated wisdom." He soon started his own black book, shared it with his library staff, and eventually put it up on the web.

Zimmerman emphasizes that the guide is still a work-in-progress and welcomes suggestions, additions, comments or criticisms. See the about page for contact information.

I've corresponded with Andy over the years and had the pleasure to meet him in person this month at the Blogger's Get Together at AALL in Denver. He is genuinely nice guy and very approachable.

Hat tip to Laura Orr of the Oregon Legal Research Guide about the new blog

CALI Conference to be Held at Marquette in 2011

Looks like the 2011 Conference for Law School Computing (CALI Conference) will be held at Marquette Law School next summer. I can't wait to attend!

From John Mayer posted to the Teknoids list:

Just got back from a visit to the amazing new building that Marquette has built for their law school. I am delighted to announce that the 2011 Conference for Law School Computing - the 21st Annual "CALI Conference" will be held at Marquette on Thursday-Saturday, June 23-25. 2011.

We are planning a special track that focuses specifically on electronic casebooks/course materials and the Ignite Plenary that was so well received at the 2010 conference will be back.

We have our sights set on a nearby hotel, but haven't signed the contract just yet, so follow CALI on Twitter (@CALIorg), friend us on FaceBook or visit the conference website at www.cali.org/conference for more info in the future. You can view videos from most of the 2010 conference sessions right now at that location.

July 29, 2010

Atty General Advises that Personal Email Exception to Public Records Law be Narrowly Applied

Wisconsin Attorney General Van Hollen recently issued a memorandum addressing the practical impact of the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court case, Schill v. Wisconsin Rapids School District. In Schill, the Court held that the Public Records Law (Wis. Stat. 19.31-19.39) does not require the disclosure of the contents of purely personal e-mails sent or received on government e-mail accounts.

Van Hollen advises public records custodians to be mindful that it is "the public policy of this state that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them."

Therefore, he feels that the "purely personal e-mail" exception should be narrowly applied, and emphasized that if there is "any aspect of the e-mail that may shed light on governmental functions and responsibilities, the relevant content must be released as any other record would be released under the Public Records Law."

See the press release and full memo for more. See also the Appleton Post Crescent for reaction to the memo.

Source: The Wheeler Report

July 27, 2010

Copyright Office Declares Mobile Jailbreaking and Video Remixing Are Legal

From PC Magazine:

The Copyright Office within the LOC on Monday ruled that jailbreaking a smartphone - particularly Apple's iPhone - is permissible under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) fair use provisions.

From Search Engine Watch:

[The Copyright Office also] granted an exemption for people remixing videos on YouTube, declaring it is not a violation of DMCA if they use excerpts from DVDs for the purpose of criticism or comment.

Read the decisions for more information.

Federal Register Online Redesign

In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the Federal Register launched a new online edition this week.

From the press release:

Federal Register 2.0 features a new layout that organizes the content by topics similar to a newspaper Web site. The site displays individual sections for Money, Environment, World, Science and Technology, Business and Industry, and Health and Public Welfare.

The Web site has improved search and navigation tools to guide readers to the most popular topics and relevant documents. Users can submit comments and stay connected through social media.

July 26, 2010

UW Law School Faculty & Staff Tapped for State Legislative Committees

UW-Madison experts, including several Law School faculty and staff, have been appointed to 12 special committees the Wisconsin Legislature created to study emerging state issues and make recommendations for the 2011-12 legislative session.

Law school appointees include:

  • Criminal Justice Funding and Strategies: Ben Kempinen
  • Judicial Discipline and Recusal: David Schultz
  • Records Access of Circuit Court Documents: Keith Findley & Lahny Silva
  • Spousal Maintenance Awards in Divorce Proceedings: Marsha Mansfield

From: UW Madison News Hat tip to Bill Ebbott

July 21, 2010

2010 Wisconsin Law Journal Unsung Heroes Awards Accepting Nominations

It's time to nominate your favorite legal support staff for the 2010 Wisconsin Law Journal Unsung Heroes awards. Categories include:

* Legal Secretary
* Paralegal
* Law Librarian
* Firm Administrator
* Human Resources
* IT Specialists
* Legal Marketing
* Court Clerk
* Court Reporter
* Lifetime Achievement

Download and mail the PDF nomination form or complete it online. Nominations will be accepted until September 3, 2010.

See the Wisconsin Law Journal website for more information.

July 19, 2010

Judge Rejects "People's Court" Testimony

From The New York Law Journal via Law.com:

Last April, a judicial hearing officer relied on a woman's "sworn testimony" from an appearance on "The People's Court" to determine that the woman had not lived with her recently deceased mother and therefore did not have succession rights to her apartment.

In an order released this week, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Francois A. Rivera threw out the hearing officer's findings, holding that the "People's Court" testimony was not, in fact, testimony. "'The People's Court' is not a court, body, agency, public servant or other person authorized by law to conduct a proceeding and to administer the oath or cause it to be administered," Rivera wrote in Kahn v. New York Department of Housing, 15020/09.

Read the full article for more.

Government Employees' Personal E-mails Are Not Public Records

Are government employees' personal e-mails considered public records? No, according to an opinion by the Wisconsin Supreme Court last Friday.

From Schill v. Wisconsin Rapids School District:

In the present case, the court is asked to decide whether the contents of government employees' personal e-mails (that is, e-mails not related to government business) should be released to the public in keeping with the purpose and policy of the Sunshine Laws that the public be fully informed about the affairs of government and the official acts of government officers and employees....

[We] conclude that while government business is to be kept open, the contents of employees' personal e-mails are not a part of government business. Personal e-mails are therefore not always records within the meaning of Wis. Stat. 19.32(2) simply because they are sent and received on government e-mail and computer systems.

July 16, 2010

WI Supreme Court Petition Aims to Extend Diploma Privilege to Out-of-state Grads

From the State Bar of Wisconsin News:

A petition filed on Sept. 25 with the Wisconsin Supreme Court aims to extend the "diploma privilege" to graduates of all ABA-approved law schools or abolish it entirely. Petitioner Steven Levine, a past State Bar of Wisconsin president, and 70 other State Bar members seek to amend SCR 40.03, which exempts from a bar examination requirement those graduates of an ABA-accredited law school whose curriculum includes the specific study of Wisconsin law.
Read the full article for more.

The Supreme Court has scheduled a public hearing and open administrative conference on the petition for 9:30 a.m. on September 30, 2010.

Free Amazon Shipping for College Students

Amazon is offering a free one year membership to Amazon Prime for college students ($79 value - must have a valid .edu email address).

Amazon Prime membership gives you free 2-day shipping on millions of items - including textbooks! I just successfully signed up as a a law student - I know where I'll be ordering my books this fall.

For more information, see the Amazon Student help page.

Source: Freebies4Mom

President Obama Names UW Law School Professor Victoria Nourse to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

On Wednesday, President Obama nominated UW-Madison Law School professor Victoria Nourse to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

From the White House Press Release:

Professor Victoria F. Nourse is the Burrus-Bascom Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin School of Law, where she joined the faculty in 1993. A prolific scholar with wide-ranging interests, Professor Nourse has written extensively on criminal law, legislation, constitutional history and the separation of powers. She is also well-known for her role assisting then-Senator Joseph Biden in drafting the landmark Violence Against Women Act, part of the Biden-Hatch Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 .

Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin Educational Institute

On Friday, October 8th, 2010, the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin will host a day-long educational institute at the newly remodeled Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The theme for the conference is The Strength of Change and LLAW is very pleased to have Professor Robert C. Berring, Walter Perry Johnson Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley, as the keynote speaker.

Join us to discuss current issues affecting law librarianship and legal research and to discover how to prepare for what the future holds. This is an excellent opportunity to hear nationally based speakers close to home. Please see the LLAW website for further information.

July 8, 2010

Foundations in Wisconsin Online

From Bev Butula's Wisconsin Law Journal blog:

The Milwaukee Public Library announced today that they now provide an online version of "Foundations in Wisconsin." Many attorneys who work with nonprofits are very familiar with this directory published by Marquette University. Information available includes details on officers and directors of the foundation, number and amounts of grants, application information, limitations, and the purpose of the foundation. The database is only available at City of Milwaukee Libraries, there is no remote access.

However, firms can also obtain an online version directly from Marquette University's Funding Information Center. Their website clearly lists pricing for the online or standard print version. The Funding Information Center also provides some additional resources that may be useful. The Center's staff has compiled some great research guides that may be of assistance when conducting this type of research.

There are lots of other databases available from the Milwaukee Public Library, many of which may be accessed remotely with a library card.

Books UnBound Library Now Complete

According to the Wisconsin State Bar, the Books UnBound electronic library is now complete. See the full list of titles.

The Books UnBound product launched in April, but not all of the titles were available yet. They have since all been loaded, tested and are ready to go.

July 7, 2010

WI Sec of State Hosts Digital Archive of Municipal Records

The Wisconsin Office of the Secretary of State maintains a digital archive of state municipal records - some more than 100 years old.

Records from Wisconsin's towns, villages, cities and counties include incorporation papers, charters, annexations, corporate boundaries, maps and litigation correspondence.

For example, see this 1921 map of the Original City of Madison with Subsequent Annexations.

Source: Found in Wisconsin

WisBlawg Twitter Feed

I've created a Twitter feed for WisBlawg. All WisBlawg blog posts will appear there as well as some additional shorter tweets.

Fastcase iPad App Coming Soon

Earlier this year, Fastcase released a free iPhone app which was named 2010 New Product of the Year by the American Association of Law Libraries.

Now, Fastcase is set to release an app for iPad also. According to Bob Ambrogi, once Apple gives the OK, the app will launch. Check out the iPad screen shots over at Ambrogi's LawSites.

This is great news for Wisconsin State Bar members since you have access to Fastcase as a free benefit of membership.

Moble Apps for Lawyers, Metadata & Redaction

There are a couple of noteworthy legal tech-related articles in this month's WisBar InsideTrack.

The first is part 2 of a series on avoiding ethical pitfalls with electronic documents by Nerino Petro and Bryan Sims.

In part 1, the authors discuss hidden information within an electronic document, known as metadata, and how it can expose lawyers to liability when it comes to confidentiality issues. Part 2 focuses on what you need to know about electronic redaction and the steps necessary to ensure confidential information remains confidential.

The second noteworthy article is on mobile apps for lawyers by Bev Butula, manager of library services at Davis & Kuelthau. This article focuses on a few apps created for the legal community.

July 6, 2010

Acts and Joint Resolutions of the 2009 -10 WI Legislative Session

Research Bulletin 2010-1 from the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau provides an overview of the acts and joint resolutions of the 2009 -2010 Wisconsin Legislative Session. Legislation is organized by topic with acts described under the appropriate subject heading or headings.

A History of WI Constitutional Amendments in Compliance (or Not) with the Separate Amendment Rule

Informational Memorandum 10?3 from the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau analyzes all of the constitutional amendments submitted to the electorate since the constitution was ratified in 1848 and highlights those that may not comply with the separate amendment rule, based on a literal reading of Section 1.

Search Documents Citing Case or Article in Google Scholar

Google Scholar has a feature that allows you to view documents that cite to your case or article. This is somewhat akin to Shepards, although without the status indicators and comprehensiveness.

Recently, Google has beefed up the "cited by" feature by allowing you not only view the citing cases and articles, but also do a full text search of them. It can also be used to limit the results to citations from specific jurisdictions (via the dropdown on search pages or the advanced search page).

In your initial search results, click on the "Cited by ---" link below the item.

This will open a new search window at the top in which you can do a full text search of the documents citing that case or article.

Source and images: 3 Geeks and a Law Blog