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November 20, 2012

Discussion by Authors of "Lawyers Who Shaped Dane County"

Lawyers Who Shaped Dane County is a new book from the University of Wisconsin Press that tells the story of the legal profession in Dane County, Wisconsin, from the 1850s to the early 1980s. Featuring short biographies of attorneys, judges, and law firms, this book also discusses the training, practice, public roles, work climate, and perspectives of lawyers during more than a century of change. This book is available at the UW Law Library is and currently on our new book shelf.

Authors Paul Humphrey, a Dane County Assistant District Attorney, Tom Ragatz, who practiced law in Madison for 31 years at Foley & Lardner, LLP, and Sally Garbo Wedde, a local writer and editor, will be speaking about the book next week at the Sequoya Public Library in Madison. They will talk about the changes in the practice of law and law firms, the emergence of women lawyers, the UW Law School, the courthouses and the Dane County Bar. Come and hear stories and interesting facts about lawyers over the years.

Event details:
Monday, November 26, 2012
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Sequoya Public Library
4340 Tokay Blvd
Madison, WI 53711

For more information, contact Elena Spagnolie at 608-263-0734

July 30, 2010

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 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.

November 10, 2009

Tips from Law Practice Management Blogs

In her Wisconsin Law Journal column, Jane Pribek has compiled some law practice management tips culled from various legal blogs, including WisBlawg.

She reviews "Firefox 'add-ons' for attorneys" for archiving and citing resources, as well as "miscellaneous money-savers" for directory assistance, marketing, and domain name registration. A very handy list of useful little tools.

October 15, 2009

2009 Unsung Heroes Nominees

Congratulations to this year's nominees for the Unsung Heroes award presented by the Wisconsin Law Journal. The award seeks to recognize the legal professionals whose efforts are essential to helping law firms and courts run efficiently.

Categories include Secretary, Paralegal, Law Librarian, Administrator, Human Resources, IT Specialists, Marketers, and Court Staff.

I'd like to give a special mention to my law library colleague nominees:

  • Jennifer Dedolph, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren SC
  • Diane Duffey, Habush Habush & Rottier, SC
  • Carol Hassler, Wisconsin State Law Library

September 30, 2009

LegalTube, a New Video Matchmaking Site for Lawyers & Clients

Robert Ambrogi over at Law.com's Legal Blogwatch discusses LegalTube, an interesting new video matching site for lawyers and clients:

A new video site wants to play matchmaker for lawyers and clients. The idea behind LegalTube is to help potential clients find the right lawyer by letting them view videos of the lawyers discussing themselves and their areas of practice.

"LegalTube is the only legal directory where finding a lawyer or the answers to your law-related questions is as easy as channel surfing," the site promises. "It's a way to connect attorneys and potential clients by offering 'face time' in the comfort of your living room."...

Although there is not much here yet, it certainly makes sense for lawyer directories to match videos with profiles. Videos let potential clients get a sense of the lawyer in a way that simple text never could. Plenty of lawyers have already discovered this with videos on YouTube. Take those YouTube-style videos and arrange them by city, state and practice area, and you could have something useful for consumers. This site is not there yet, but it might be heading in the right direction.

September 1, 2009

Employers Increasingly Using Social Networks to Screen Job Candidates

"According to a new study conducted by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com, 45 percent of employers questioned are using social networks to screen job candidates," reports the New York Times.

More from the article:

The report showed that Facebook was the most popular online destination for employers to do their online sleuthing, followed by LinkedIn and MySpace. In addition, 7 percent followed job candidates on Twitter....

More than half of the employers who participated in the survey said that provocative photos were the biggest factor contributing to a decision not to hire a potential employee, while 44 percent of employers pinpointed references to drinking and drug use as red flags.

Other warning signs included bad-mouthing of previous employers and colleagues and poor online communication skills.

Source: WTN News

August 19, 2009

Some WI Firms Cancel, Reduce Summer Associate Programs

From the Wisconsin Law Journal:

Though large firms around the country have been cancelling their summer associate programs, the trend had yet to hit in Wisconsin.

Until now.

Milwaukee-based Quarles & Brady LLP confirmed that they have "suspended" their 2010 summer associate program...

Though Quarles is the only firm in the state so far to confirm its cancellation of the 2010 summer program, others have shortened their programs or reduced the number of hires.

Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren SC trimmed its program from 12 to 10 weeks this year, and Godfrey & Kahn SC went from 12 weeks to nine.

August 4, 2009

Unsung Heroes 2009

It's time to nominate your favorite legal support staff for the 2009 Wisconsin Law Journal Unsung Heroes awards. Categories include:

  • Secretary
  • Paralegal
  • Law Librarian
  • Administrator
  • Human Resources
  • IT Specialists
  • Marketers
  • Court Staff

For more information, see the Wisconsin Law Journal website. The nomination form is available there.

The awards ceremony will be held November 13, 2009 at Milwaukee's Italian Conference Center.

July 13, 2009

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.

June 25, 2009

State Bar of Wisconsin: Website Redesign & Twitter Feed

The State Bar of Wisconsin has recently redesigned their website.
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According to the Bar, the "new home page layout now is cleaner, more visually interesting, and easier to read. The new design offers expanded news content, an improved news archive, simplified navigation, and faster access to newly released products and upcoming events, among other changes that improve accessibility."

And did you know that the State Bar as a Twitter feed? I just discovered that today.

Wisconsin Law Journal Reviews Lawyer Directories: Avvo & Justia

Jane Pribek of the Wisconsin Law Journal has written a useful article on the lawyer directories, Justia and Avvo.

From the article:

Justia is led by former FindLaw CEO and co-founder Tim Stanley. It's more than just attorney profiles; the company provides free case law, codes, regulations, legal articles and legal blog databases, as well as community resources.

Avvo is more focused. Its stated purposed is to help people navigate the "complex and confusing legal industry." The Web site indicates it caters to "regular people" and states that "many of the resources available today were developed for people who are already legal industry 'insiders.'"

Some additional soundbytes from the article:

  • "There are other online attorney databases, such as Lawyers.com from the old standby, Martindale-Hubbell. But Avvo and Justia are free, whereas Lawyers.com is not."
  • "What differentiates the services the most is that Avvo provides an attorney's disciplinary history, client ratings on a scale of one-to-10 and reviews."
  • "It took about 15 minutes to complete the Justia profile, and from his perspective, there's been no downside to it."
  • "The most significant value to Justia is the help it offers with search engine optimization, says [attorney Sean M.] Sweeney."
  • "But Sweeney says, unequivocally, that his firm's Web site traffic has increased since he completed his Justia and Avvo profiles."
  • It's the ratings aspect of Avvo that makes it a little dicey"
  • "[Attorney Perlick-Molinari's] advice, especially if you practice in an area where there's high client dissatisfaction, like criminal defense or family law, is to monitor your Avvo rating and reviews often."

June 5, 2009

Reaction to Court-Appointed Attorneys Seeking Higher Pay

Carolyn Elefant over at Law.com's Legal Blog Watch comments on Wisconsin Court-Appointed Lawyers Seeking Higher Pay.

For more info about Assembly Bill 224 regarding the reimbursement rate for private attorneys appointed by the State Public Defender, see the article in the Wisconsin Law Journal.

The public hearing in front of the State Assembly's Committee on Judiciary and Ethics is the furthest that any proposal to raise the rate to $70 per hour has gotten. The in-court hourly rate was originally set at $45 in 1978. Although it rose to $50 per hour during the early 1990s, the state Legislature brought it down to $40 per hour in 1995.

June 3, 2009

WisBar InsideTrack Articles on Diploma Privilege & Managing Bookmarks

The new edition of WisBar InsideTrack is available today and there are several articles that I found particularly interesting.

April 27, 2009

ATL Career Center Offers Firm Profiles and Comparisons

Above the Law has developed a new site called Career Center for researching information about law firms.

In Firm Snapshots, you can view profiles of individual firms, including Compensation, Associate Experience, Billable Hours, Face Time and Vacation Policy, Pro Bono Policy, Partnership Prospects, Benefits, Summer Associate Program, and links to Discussions on Above The Law.

In Firm Comparisons, you can compare different firms on various metrics. Registration is required for comparisons.
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From the ATL blog:

To keep the information in the Career Center accurate and up-to-date, we'll be asking for your help. Please register for full access to the site. If you're a lawyer at a firm included in the Career Center, you'll be asked to answer short survey questions about your firm when you visit. We'll aggregate and update our data each time a new visitor logs in to the site. By providing users with the ability to generate detailed firm reports, both individually and on a comparative basis, the Career Center offers attorneys a new way to navigate the law firm landscape.

If you are a recruiting director at a featured firm, please take a few minutes (if you have not done so already) to review the content of your firm profile for accuracy. If you have any corrections or updates, or general feedback about the Career Center, please email them to careercenter@abovethelaw.com. Our goal is to present data that is dynamic, continually updated, and accurate, differentiating our Career Center from other outlets.

April 24, 2009

The Legal Workshop Aggregates, Simplifies Law Review Articles

The Legal Workshop is a new, free, online magazine featuring articles based on legal scholarship published in the print editions of seven participating law reviews: Stanford Law Review, New York University Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Georgetown Law Journal, Northwestern Law Review, and University of Chicago Law Review.

According to a press release, it will include "short, plain-English articles about legal issues and ideas, written by an author whose related, full-length work of scholarship is forthcoming in one of the participating law reviews." The website states that it "features "op-ed" versions of the articles published by the member journals. These concise and lively pieces are written for a generalist audience..."

The magazine is uses a blog-like layout. The reader can browse articles by topic, journal and date.

April 6, 2009

Civil Justice in Wisconsin: A Fact Book, with Commentary

Civil Justice in Wisconsin: A Fact Book, with Commentary is the title of a new report authored by Marc Galanter and Susan Steingass of the University of Wisconsin Law School.

"This report presents the basic facts about our civil courts and litigation in them and examines some of the persistent myths about these topics." It considers the following:

  • How Many Civil Cases Were Filed in Wisconsin Trial Courts?
  • What Were These Cases About?
  • How Many of These Were Torts, Including Medical Malpractice and Product Liability Claims?
  • How Many of These Cases Went to Trial?
  • When They Did Go to Trial, What Were the Results?
  • Is Wisconsin "Overlawyered"?
  • Is Wisconsin's Legal Environment Bad for Business?

From the conclusion:

In many ways, Wisconsin is very much like its neighbors and like the rest of the nation. Overall, resort to the courts is increasing, but most of this increase is in the family and contract areas. Tort filings are decreasing relative to population and in absolute numbers. The portion of cases that reach trial, especially jury trial, is decreasing. When cases do get to trial, median awards are mostly lower than in the recent past.

If we look further to see how Wisconsin is distinctive, we find that even with the limitations of the data, Wisconsin has a modest amount of litigation in comparison with our neighbors and the rest of the nation. Most non-family civil cases are filed by businesses against individual defendants; where individuals sue businesses, the awards are comparatively modest. This relatively low resort to the courts is reflected in a lawyer population that is relatively small and slow growing.

For reactions to the report, see The Capital Times article, "UW report: WMC claims of excessive litigation in state are bogus."

NYT Editorial: With the Downturn, It's Time to Rethink the Legal Profession

The New York Times has an interesting editorial on the economic downturn and its implications for the legal profession - and they aren't all bad, according to the author.

The downturn will probably rein in [first year] salaries at the high end. Top firms are already under pressure to lower the $160,000 starting salary; one industry-watcher says it could fall as low as $100,000. And fewer firms will feel the need to pay the top salary.

Lower pay should mean that associates will not need to work the grueling hours many have been forced to. And it will mean less pressure to go into private practice for law graduates who would rather do something else.

Clients are also likely to benefit -- and consumers, since legal fees are built into the cost of almost everything. Even before the downturn, big-firm clients, led by the Association of Corporate Counsel, were pushing to phase out the billable hour -- which can go as high as $1,000. Tight corporate budgets will give clients more leverage to push to pay by the project or for successful outcomes.

If the downturn is prolonged, law schools will need to keep tuition and other costs in check so students do not graduate with unmanageable debt....Law schools may also become more serious about curriculum reform....

The past few decades of prosperity made a lot of lawyers wealthy, but they were not always good for the profession. Law school deans, bar association leaders and firm managers should follow Rahm Emanuel's advice about never allowing a crisis to go to waste and start planning for what comes next.

April 2, 2009

Cost Effective CLEs

Jane Pribek of the Wisconsin Law Journal offers some advice for Cost-effective Ways to Meet CLE Requirements.

See for example, programs offered by the Wisconsin State Law Library, Marquette University Law School and the American Bar Association. Other CLE providers are mentioned in the article.

March 31, 2009

Wisconsin Law Journal's Best of 2009

In a reader's poll, the Wisconsin Law Journal has announced the winners of its first "Best of" Wisconsin's Legal Community. The full list of winners appears on their website.

March 17, 2009

Partner Cuts on the Rise

From the ABA Journal:

Few U.S. law firms are acknowledging partner cuts, but they are happening and could gather steam if firm leaders foresee a long recession.

Consultants tell the Daily Journal that partner terminations are on the upswing and, if the downturn continues, they will likely be made in a proportion that is at least half that of associate layoffs...

Tony Williams of London-based Jomati Consultants told the publication that firms are likely considering partner cuts to preserve associate-to-partner ratios. A firm that has laid off 10 percent of its associates will consider cutting at least 5 percent of its partners--and probably more, he said.

Source: Out of the Jungle

February 17, 2009

Statement Opposing Taxation of Legal Services

State Bar of Wisconsin President, Diane S. Diel, has issued a statement opposing the potential taxation of legal services.

Source: The Wheeler Report

January 29, 2009

Why Social Networking is Important to Legal Professionals

Have you been hearing the buzz about social networking but aren't sure if it's worth your time and effort to check it out? What is social networking? What possible use could it be to a legal professional, you ask?

Practicing Law in the 21st Century has written a good post which asks Can Lawyers Afford to Ignore Social Media? Their answer - definitely not. From the post:

People of all ages are increasingly relying on the Internet and mobile-based tools to share, discuss, and disseminate information.

Lawyers cannot afford to be left out of the loop. Attorneys who successfully leverage social media tools to communicate, collaborate and network have a distinct advantage over those who don't.

The post describes the experience of one Dallas attorney "who received a crash course in the power of social media when a letter that was critical of him was widely circulated and discussed online." Take a look at the full story and then ask yourself if you still think you can ignore social networking. There's a lot of talking going on on social networks and some of it might be about you, your firm, or your clients.

As Practicing Law notes,

It is not necessary for each and every lawyer in a firm to learn the ins and outs of social media. But at least one person, or group of persons, depending on the size the firm, should be familiar with emerging Web 2.0 technologies and the ways in which those technologies can help and harm their bottom line. Other lawyers in the firm likewise should be receptive and listen to their recommendations regarding social media.

Source: Social Media Law Student

December 29, 2008

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.

November 17, 2008

Wisconsin Law Journal Names Unsung Heroes

I'm very honored to have been selected as one of the winners of the Wisconsin Law Journal's Unsung Heroes award. The awards were presented at a luncheon at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee last Friday.

The award I received was in the Law Library staff category. WLJ also recognized award winners in seven other categories - Court Staff, Human Resources, Information Technology, Law Firm Administrators, Legal Secretaries, Paralegals, and Additional Unsung Heroes.

For more photos of the event, see the WLJ Flickr page.

September 30, 2008

Nominated as WLJ Unsung Hero

I'm very honored to share that I've been nominated for a Wisconsin Law Journal's 2008 Unsung Heroes award. The program recognizes outstanding work by "behind the scenes" personnel in the Wisconsin legal community.

The other two nominees in the Law Library Staff category are Diane L. Duffey of Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C. and Jane B. Moberg of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. I'm definitely in good company. Other categories include Secretary, Paralegal, Administrator, Human Resources, IT Specialists, Marketers, and Court Staff. See the press release for the full list of nominees.

A celebration luncheon will be held November 14 at Milwaukee's Italian Community Center. For registration and directions to the luncheon site, see the WLJ website.

This year's honorees will be featured in the Unsung Heroes issue of the Wisconsin Law Journal, to be published November 17, 2008.

September 2, 2008

ABA Survey Show Attorneys Prefer Low-Tech, Free Services

The ABA Journal reports some interesting findings from the latest annual Legal Technology Survey Report. In general, the survey indicates that lawyers are slow to adopt cutting-edge technology.

For all the hype--at conferences, on the Internet, and in this publication and others--about how Web 2.0 technologies are changing the way lawyers practice, the bulk of the profession is only now on the verge of beginning to use those tools in their daily professional lives...

If the history of technology in the legal profession is any guide, most lawyers will eventually understand the utility of today's latest technology as well as any of today's college students do. And they'll come to that understanding about the same time as those college students make partner.


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The survey... shows that websites and e-mail newsletters are still the digital way that most at­torneys stay current with the news. A small minority reports reading blogs; but actually creating a blog is something the geeky lawyer down the hall--or, more likely, across town--is into.

Also interesting is that according to the attorneys surveyed, free online legal research services are being used more often than fee-based services. This reverses the finding from five years ago.

July 21, 2008

Nominate Legal Support Staff for 2008 Unsung Heroes Award

Once again, it's time to nominate your favorite legal support staff for the Wisconsin Law Journal's Unsung Heroes award.

From the Web site:

Lawyers in Wisconsin do terrific work. But where would they be without the members of their support staff who, behind the scenes, quietly make it all happen?

In the fast-paced, demanding legal profession, it takes a team of hard-working, dedicated individuals to get the job done. Everyone does their part in ensuring the firm's success -- and the success of its clients. That's why the Wisconsin Law Journal is honored to host its third-annual event for our "Unsung Heroes" of the state's legal community.

Please join us on November 14 at Milwaukee's Italian Community Center as we host the "Unsung Heroes" whose efforts are essential to helping law firms and courts run efficiently.

We'll recognize several categories, including: Secretary, Paralegal, Law Librarian, Administrator, Human Resources, IT Specialists, Marketers, and Court Staff. Registration: 11:30 a.m. Lunch: noon Award presentation to follow lunch

June 26, 2008

Wisconsin Diploma Privilege Suit Granted Class Action Status

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb granted class action status to a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's policy of allowing in-state law graduates to become lawyers without passing the bar exam.

Anyone who applies to practice law in Wisconsin within 30 days of graduating from a law school outside the state can join the lawsuit.

Wisconsin allows graduates from its two law schools to become lawyers immediately if they meet certain requirements. It's the last state in the nation with the so-called diploma privilege.

Source: Madison.com

June 4, 2008

Legal Services Ad Promises Pettifogging - Provided "They Are Roundly Paid for It"

The Legal Antiquarian gave me a good laugh today with this legal services ad from 1822:
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Talk about truth in advertising!

What's pettifogging you may ask? Merriam Webster defines it as "a lawyer whose methods are petty, underhanded, or disreputable."

Ad appeared in the Indianapolis Gazette from March 22 to May 17, 1822.

May 19, 2008

Twitter and the Legal Profession

There has been a lot of discussion lately about Twitter and its applications for the legal profession. Twitter is a free micro-blog service in which people answer the question "What are you doing?" in 140 characters or less.

Although many have questioned whether such a tool could have any practical application at all, for better or worse, some enterprising individuals have indeed applied it in legal settings. Here's a sample of some of the ways in which Twitter is being used:

  • Networking with clients & colleagues From Real Lawyers Have Blogs:
    You can benefit from Twitter in three ways, that I see today. First, a way to socially network with people, some of which networking may lead to work, speaking engagements, and the like. Two, a means to amplify your message, i.e., spreading what you what you may be blogging, writing, or speaking on. Three, if you blog, you are going to get news from other bloggers whose content you may want to reference in your blog or work.

    For more on using Twitter as a marketing & communications tool, check out Steve Matthews' Law Firm Web Strategy.

  • Live Coverage from the Courtroom - From journalists:
    From the ABA Journal:
    Reporter Ron Sylvester is covering the trial of defendant Theodore Burnett [accused in the contract killing of a pregnant 14-year-old girl] for the Wichita Eagle, but he's also submitting updates to Twitter, described as "a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?"

  • Live Coverage from the Courtroom - From Jurors:
    From Proof & Hearsay
    Matthew Wheeler, a blogger who got called for jury duty, was red-faced when his site got more hits than normal earlier this week.

    Wheeler was breaking the monotony of jury service by Twitter posting with interesting observations such as: "Public wi-fi in the courthouse kinda blows. Actually, it really blows."

    Well, he was selected for the pool of potential jurors who will hear the first lead paint injury case to go to trial. It's the mother of all trials, at least in terms of its six weeks estimated length.

    "Still sitting for jury duty crap. Hating it immensely. Plz don't pick me. Plz don't pick me," Wheeler wrote just before 4 p.m. on Monday.


    If you're interested in the uses of Twitter in the courtroom, I highly recommend Anne Reed's Deliberations.

March 6, 2008

80% of Legal Professionals Suffer from Information Overload, But You Don't Have to be One of Them

A new study by LexisNexis reveals that 70% of American white collar workers suffer from information overload. That number rises to 80% among legal professionals.

Other findings for legal professionals include:

  • 90% of legal professionals agree that not being able to access the right information at the right time is a huge time-waster
  • 70% say they spend a lot of time sifting through irrelevant information.
  • Nearly 50% say that research takes up so much of their time that they occasionally omit billing clients for this work.

This survey has generated some comment around the blawgosphere.

  • Robert Ambrogi considers the effect of blogs:
    Yes, blogs can add to information overload, but they can also alleviate it by helping lawyers monitor and sift what is important in their fields. Like technology of all sorts, blogs can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you use them.

  • Jason the Content Librarian suggests that law librarians can help lawyers cope:
    Law librarians are ideally suited to help individuals and organizations deal with information overload. Training attorneys in personal information management, participating in knowledge management programs, and participating on intranet teams are natural roles for librarians. These areas can greatly alleviate information overload and influence the bottom line of their firms.

    I wholeheartedly agree with both Robert and Jason. Technology is both a blessing and a curse for information overload. In recent years, the growth of new Web content has been practically exponential. A 2007 estimate put the size of the Web at 15 to 30 billion pages. The blogosphere alone is estimated at 70 million blogs. Taken as a whole, that's enough to overwhelm anyone.

    But, fortunately, technology also gives us the tools to selectively choose which information we receive. Through RSS, you can subscribe to only those sources which interest you, be they blogs, newspapers, court documents, SEC filings, etc. With tools such as FeedRinse, you can even limit your RSS feeds further by filtering by keyword. Or if RSS isn't for you, you can have RSS feeds delivered via email with tools like RSSFWD.

    While, yes, the amount of available information is indeed staggering, it need not be overwhelming if you're smart about locating it. Librarians know this - and like Jason said, we can work with you to develop smarter information gathering techniques. Just ask us.

    So, am I suffering from information overload? No way. Bring it on - the more the better.

January 30, 2008

Diploma Privilege Lawsuit Reinstated

A lawsuit questioning Wisconsin's diploma privilege was reinstated on Tuesday by the Seventh Circuit, reports JS Online.

From the article:

U.S. District Judge John Shabaz dismissed the lawsuit last year. The rule exempting University of Wisconsin and Marquette University law graduates from taking the exam does not violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, he said.

But the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled Tuesday that Shabaz erred when he did not rule first on whether to certify the case as a class-action lawsuit. The court sent the case back to Shabaz for additional proceedings.

January 29, 2008

Historical Photos - Wisconsin Law

Have you seen the collection of photos that the Library of Congress has recently posted to Flickr? There are some pretty amazing photos, including a series of color photos from WWII era.

It got me curious about whether there were any interesting Wisconsin photos. I didn't find much from the Library of Congress collection, but then I remember that the Wisconsin Historical Society also maintains a large online photo collection. Here are a couple that caught my eye.




The State's First All-Woman Law Firm, 1945
Eight-foot Tall Lawyer, 1944

The Law Office, 1894


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Update 1/31/08: Robert Ambrogi over at Legal Blog Watch was intrigued by the photo of Clifford Thompson, the eight-foot tall lawyer and did a bit of research.

September 25, 2007

A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar Documentary Now on DVD

Earlier this year, I reported on the lawyer documentary, A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar... which was showing at several film festivals. Now, it's been released on DVD and is available for purchase on Amazon and soon to be available for check out at the UW Law Library.

Here's the NYT review as it appears on Amazon:

Writer-director Eric Chaikin's feature-length documentary A Lawyer Walks Into A Bar. . . offers a witty, seriocomic look at myriad aspects of the American legal process and judicial system. It hones in on six individuals, all prospective attorneys at the time of the film's production, and follows them through trials and travails as they approach and take the formidable bar. Chaikin then uses the subjects' stories as springboards to broader digressions on U.S. litigation. The film features a myriad of celebrity guest appearances, from both well-respected attorneys and entertainers. Participants include: attorneys Alan Dershowitz, Mark Lanier and Joe Jamail; comics Eddie Griffin and Michael Ian Black; TV commentators John Stossel and Nancy Grace, and many others.

Source: Robert Ambrogi's LawSites
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Update 9/26/07: The DVD is not currently available on Amazon, but you can still order through the A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar web site. Thanks to Charles Martin for the heads up.