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May 29, 2012

Checklist for Filing Appellate Briefs in Wisconsin

According to the latest InsideTrack, the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin has created an Appellate Brief Filing Checklist outlining requirements to help lawyers during the brief-writing process.

The first part is a checklist with boxes permitting practitioners literally to check off the items as they are included in a brief, and the second part is an accompanying outline to explain the checklist.

Hat tip to my colleague, Bill Ebbott.

May 21, 2012

UW Madison Unveils New Library Catalog

Today, the UW Madison libraries are releasing a new Library Catalog. It has been available for beta testing for some time, but today marks it's official debut.

Here are some highlights:

  • intuitive interface for fast discovery
  • powerful limits and narrowing for all searches
  • seamless portal to all UW System libraries
  • easy access to your account information
  • mobile friendly

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The new catalog really is a great improvement over its predecessor, MadCat. It is more visually sleek and much more intuitive. I especially like the faceting that allows you easily narrow down your search. The new catalog was designed in house.

For more information about the new catalog, see the development blog called Moving Forward.

MadCat, the prior catalog, will continue to be available for those who prefer to use it. There is a link to it on the top right of the new catalog.

May 16, 2012

Study Reports that Westlaw Classic is Significantly Less Expensive than WestlawNext

Emily Marcum of Lightfoot of Franklin & White, LLC recently conducted a study comparing the pricing models of WestlawNext v Westlaw Classic.

Although the full study is not available, the abstract from SSRN appears below:

WestlawNext and Classic were each used exclusively in transactional mode for eight days. Cost to the client was assessed using a discount off retail model. Classic was found to be 51.6% cheaper. This difference was so stark that the experiment was terminated early and only two days of each platform in hourly mode was completed.

It's very unfortunate that the full study isn't available. Eye raising findings such as these deserve some closer investigation.

WI Sup Ct Recommends No Change to Rule Allowing Citation of Unpublished Appeals Court Opinions

From WisBar's InsideTrack:

A state rule of appellate procedure that allows attorneys to cite unpublished Wisconsin Court of Appeals opinions as persuasive authority will continue unchanged, the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently concluded....

Under Wis. Stat. section 809.23(3)(b), only unpublished opinions issued on or after July 1, 2009, which are authored by a member of a three-judge panel or by a single judge under section 752.31(2), may be cited....

Because an unpublished opinion cited for its persuasive value is not precedent, it is not considered binding, and a court need not distinguish or otherwise discuss an unpublished opinion. No party has a duty to research or cite unpublished opinions under the rule....

But according to the Hon. Richard Brown, chief judge for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, more unpublished opinions are being cited, at least in District II. He estimates that one in every 20 appellate briefs contains citation and discussion of unpublished decisions, which is a lot considering the number of cases handled by appeals court judges annually.

"Not only that, when reading the circuit court record in our cases, we see that unpublished opinions are being cited to the trial courts," Chief Judge Brown said. "Whether an unpublished opinion is 'persuasive' is literally a case-by-case determination."

May 3, 2012

Database of Law School Employment Statistics

Law School Transparency is a legal education policy organization. Their mission is to improve consumer information concerning the value of legal education and to usher in consumer-oriented reforms to the current law school model.

They have recently released a graphical database of employment statistics for all ABA-accredited schools, including Wisconsin.