November 6, 2014

Water Law in Wisconsin

My colleague, Jenny Zook, has written a great piece on Water Law in Wisconsin for the latest Inside Track from the State Bar of Wisconsin.

Here's the abstract:

The Great Lakes Region, at about 20 percent the world's surface fresh water, stands to play an important role in the world's global water market. Jenny Zook suggests this future demand for water is an opportunity for lawyers to effect policy and help safeguard Wisconsin's natural resource. Here are some resources to get you started.

October 21, 2014

Will Including an Abstract and Table of Contents in your Law Review Article Increase Citations to It?

There is an interesting article on SSRN about whether including an abstract and/or table of contents in your law review article can have an impact on your scholarly influence.

The authors observed that "on average both abstracts and tables of contents associate with large increases in scholarly influence. Compared to articles that use neither document element, articles that include just an abstract are cited on average roughly 50% more, and articles that include just a table of contents roughly 30% more. Including both document elements corresponds to the largest increase in citation, over 70%."

Here is the article:
Should Your Law Review Article Have an Abstract and Table of Contents?
Lee Petherbridge & Christopher A. Cotropia

June 17, 2014

Researching Tribal Law

If you've ever had to research an issue related to Native American law, you know how difficult locating tribal law sources can be. An article that I wrote, which was just published in Law Library Journal may help you track down those elusive tribal law materials.

The article, entitled 'Whatever Tribal Precedent There May Be': The (Un)Availability of Tribal Law, appears in the Spring 2014 issue of Law Library Journal.

The article explores the costs and benefits of publishing tribal law. Part I analyzes why tribal law is not more widely available; part II illustrates the benefits of making tribal law more accessible; and part III describes publication options for tribes. An appendix lists currently available tribal law collections.

March 12, 2014

UW Law School named 3rd Best School for Practical Training

National Jurist recently released their rankings of law schools for best practical training. The UW Law School placed third in the nation, receiving an "A+" for the experience it gives students.

Congrats to all the hard-working faculty and staff here at the law school! It is great to see such a great group of individuals be recognized for their hard work.

To read the full National Jurist article, click here.

March 11, 2014

The newest UW Law School Faculty and Staff Scholarship

Here is the most recent UW Law School Faculty and Staff scholarship from the UW Law School Legal Studies Research Papers series found on SSRN.

*Agricultural Cooperatives and the Law: Obsolete Statutes in a Dynamic Economy by Peter Carstensen, University of Wisconsin Law School

*Jim Jones: A Teacher, a Mentor, and an Inspiration to Law Students by William C. Whitford, University of Wisconsin Law School

*Short-Circuiting Contract Law: The Federal Circuit's Contract Law Jurisprudence and IP Federalism by Shubha Ghosh, University of Wisconsin Law School

*The Implementation of Exhaustion Policies: Lessons from National Experiences by Shubha Ghosh, University of Wisconsin Law School

*Commandeering, Coercion, and the Deep Structure of American Federalism by Andrew B. Coan, University of Wisconsin Law School

December 5, 2013

The newest UW Law School Faculty and Staff Scholarship

Here is the most recent UW Law School Faculty and Staff scholarship from the UW Law School Legal Studies Research Papers series found on SSRN.

Fathers Behind Bars: Rethinking Child Support Policy Toward Low-Income Noncustodial Fathers and Their Families by Tonya L. Brito, University of Wisconsin Law School

On Fallibility and Finality: Why Thinking Like a Qadi Helps Me Understand American Constitutional Law by Asifa Quraishi, University of Wisconsin Law School

Judicial Gatekeeping of Suspect Evidence: Due Process and Evidentiary Rules in the Age of Innocence by Keith A. Findley, University of Wisconsin Law School

No Altars: A Survey of Islamic Family Law in United States by Asifa Quraishi, University of Wisconsin Law School and Najeeba Syeed-Miller, Independent

Fixing Students' Fixed Mindsets: Paving the Way for Meaningful Assessment by Carrie Sperling, University of Wisconsin Law School, Frank J. Remington Center and Susan Shapcott, Arizona State University (ASU)

The Unbearable Lightness of Criminal Procedure by Ion Meyn, University of Wisconsin Law School

March 21, 2013

Ads from Legal Publishers during Wartime

The AALL Spectrum Online has a very interesting article examining advertisements from legal periodicals and bar publications published during the Second World War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War.

"Due to the scale and scope of the conflict, every aspect of civilian life was affected. The American legal system, including legal publishing, was greatly transformed by the conflict."

Many very interesting ads are reprinted in the article. I think that my favorite is the one from Shepards pondering "Were the Pilgrims Communists?"

February 13, 2013

Thomson Reuters Sells Law School Publishing Division

By Kris Turner, Reference and Technology Services Librarian

Thomson Reuters has officially gotten out of print publishing for law schools. On Friday, February 2nd, the publishing wing of the legal research giant was sold to Eureka Growth Capital, a private equity firm located in Philadelphia. It seems that paper publishing is not something that Thomson Reuters will be involved with in the future, at least for legal research. According to spokesman John Shaughnessy, "It's a segment of the market that, longer-term, we didn't see as within the core of our legal research offerings...", suggesting that Thomson Reuters will be focusing solely on electronic content in the near future.

Westlaw Next and other e-resources that Thomson Reuters provides will continue to be available to legal researchers. The publishing wing, which was sold for an undisclosed sum, will continue to publish various textbooks and study guides, but will now go under the name "West Academic Publishing". Thomson's legal business, of which the publishing was only a small part, will continue with sales of software and online databases.

For more information, see Eureka Growth Capital's press release or read the brief articles covering the sale in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal or Wall Street Journal Blog.

June 1, 2012

UW Law School Profs Appearing in The Most-Cited Law Review Articles of All Time

Two law librarians, Fred R. Shapiro from Yale and Michelle Pearse from Harvard, have recently compiled a list of The Most-Cited Law Review Articles of All Time.

The article updates two well-known earlier studies dated 1985 and 1996. Using databases such as HeinOnline and Web of Science, the study lists the 100 most-cited legal articles of all time, the 100 most-cited articles of the last twenty years, and some additional rankings.

Three articles in the top 100 of all time list were written by UW Law School professors:

  • #15 with 1465 citations, Stewart Macaulay, Non-Contractual Relations in Business: A Preliminary Study, 28 Am. Soc. Rev. 55 (1963).

  • #37 with 906 citations, Marc Galanter, Why the "Haves" Come Out Ahead: Speculations on the Limits of Legal Change, 9 Law & Soc'y Rev. 95 (1974).

  • #75 with 718 citations Marc Galanter, Reading the Landscape of Disputes: What We Know and Don't Know (And Think We Know) About Our Allegedly Contentious and Litigious Society, 31 UCLA L. Rev. 4 (1983).

August 5, 2011

Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals

If you're considering writing an article for a legal publication, check out Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals.

This guide, compiled by librarians from the University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law, contains information about submitting articles to law reviews and journals, including the methods for submitting an article, any special formatting requirements, how to contact them to request an expedited review, and how to contact them to withdraw an article from consideration. It covers 202 law reviews. The document was fully updated in July 2011.
Update 8/9/11: A librarian at John Marshall Law School has also developed a Submission Guide for Online Law Review Supplements. This document contains information about submitting essays and articles to general online law review supplements. It will be updated on an annual basis and as law schools create new online law review supplements.

If you're at the submission stage, you may wish to use an online law review submission service which allows you to submit your manuscript to your choice of law journals simply by uploading the electronic file.

ExpressO, a fee based service from bePress, is well known and accepted by 750+ law school reviews. Many institutions, including the UW Law School, have an account through which faculty and staff can submit articles.

YIJUN Institute of International Law offers a free submission service called LexOpus. The system allows an author to submit a work to a number of author-selected law journals. An author may also, or instead, invite offers from any journal by choosing to indicate the work as open to offers.

Note that there are a number of law reviews which accept submission with ExpressO but not with LexOpus. See the list of LexOpus participating law reviews.

June 16, 2011

Law Journal Rankings

Would you like to know which are the top law journals in a specific area of law? Want to submit your article for publication to a law journal?

Then check out the Law Journals Submissions and Ranking database from Washington & Lee School of Law.* With this deceptively powerful resource, you can retrieve a list of journals in a specific area and/or country ranked by various factors, including impact factor, number of citations from journal articles or cases, currency factor, cost, or a combination of these factors.

You can also include contact information for the editors of each journal if you wish, and download it all into a spreadsheet.

* Although Current Law Journal Content from Washington & Lee has ceased updates, I've been told that the law journal ranking database will continue to be updated.

Current Law Journal Content Has Ceased Updates

I was disappointed to learn that Current Law Journal Content, from Washington and Lee Law School, ceased to be updated in May 2011. CLJC was a free service through which you could search and subscribe to current tables of contents from over a thousand law journals.

Compiling Lists of Most Cited Law Review Articles

Last week, a faculty member asked me to compile a list of the 100 most cited law review articles in Constitutional law. It turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be, so I thought I'd share how I did it.

In the Hein Online Law Journal Library, go to the advanced search. In the search for box, enter a percent sign. This will allow you to retrieve all results without having to choose a particular keyword. Next, select a subject (area of law) or leave it at all subjects if you want a general ranking. Then scroll down a bit to the sort by pull down box and change it to Number of Times cited. Run the search.

In the search results page, change the number of results returned from 25 to 100. That's it - a quick and easy way to compile the most cited law review articles.

A caveat - Note that it only counts citations to other sources available in Hein Online, so it's not a true measure, especially for more interdisciplinary articles which may have been cited by non legal journals.

Since the faculty member for whom I compiled the list is a Zotero user, I went one step further and created the list as a library that he could access in Zotero. This was very easy to do by capturing the cites into my Zotero account, creating a group for the cites and then sharing it with him so he could access it in his Zotero account.

February 14, 2011

Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals

If you're considering submitting a law related article for publication, see Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals, recently available via SSRN. It was prepared by Allen Rostron and Nancy Levit, both from University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law.

The guide contains information about submitting articles to law reviews and journals, including the methods for submitting an article, any special formatting requirements, how to contact them to request an expedited review, and how to contact them to withdraw an article from consideration. It covers 202 law reviews and was fully updated in February 2011.

The first chart contains information about each journal's preferences about methods for submitting articles (e.g., e-mail, ExpressO or regular mail), as well as special formatting requirements and how to request an expedited review.

The second chart contains rankings information from U.S. News and World Report as well as data from Washington & Lee's law review website.

January 28, 2010

Marquette Law Review Available Online from Vol 1 to Present

From Bev Butula's Wisconsin Law Journal blog:

The Marquette Law Review, in full text, is available online from its inception in 1916. The researcher is able to browse by volume or conduct a keyword search. There is a nice summary of the database available on the Marquette Faculty Blog.

There is also an RSS option for researchers to be notified of "newly published" articles "tailored to your interests."

November 3, 2009

Jotwell Highlights Best New Legal Scholarship

Jotwell is a new online law journal from "leading academics and practitioners providing short reviews of recent scholarship related to the law that the reviewer likes and thinks deserves a wide audience."

Jotwell, short for The Journal of Things We Like (Lots), is housed on a set of inter-linked blogs on the following subjects:

You can view each section individually or view them all on the Jotwell main page. If you wish to subscribe by RSS or email to specific subject sections or to all Jotwell posts.

Jotwell is sponsored by the University of Miami School of Law. As you can see below, UW Law School's Allison Christians is one of the editors for the Tax section.jotwell.jpg

October 27, 2009

Latest UW Law School Faculty Scholarship

Here's the latest batch of faculty scholarship from the UW Law School Legal Studies Research Paper Series via SSRN.

September 30, 2009

2009-2010 Blue Book

The 2009-2010 State of Wisconsin Blue Book is now available on the Legislative Reference Bureau website.

Past editions of the Blue Book (1995-2008) are also available on the LRB sites. Older editions (1853-2004) have been digitized and made available by University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.

From the UWDCC site:

The State of Wisconsin Blue Book remains the primary one-volume reference source about the state, documenting the organization of the state's three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial).

Typically, each volume includes extensive description and statistics on virtually all aspects of life in Wisconsin, including major sections on the state's population, geography, history, election data, educational resources, social services, finance, agriculture, industry, transportation system, etc. Various useful lists are also provided, such as of statewide associations, news media, local governmental units, post offices, political parties, etc.

September 3, 2009

New Bibliography of Wisconsin State Documents Available

Barbara Fritschel, law librarian for the U.S. Courts Library for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, has compiled a new guide entitled, "State Documents Bibliography: Wisconsin". The guide is part of a larger series of state guides published by Hein & Co. Inc.

The guide lists selected materials produced by or about the State of Wisconsin that are useful when doing in law related research. The last such guide produced for Wisconsin was Janet Oberla's "An Introduction to Wisconsin State Documents and Law Related Materials" published in 1987.

The new guide is available at a cost of $30. For more information, see this brochure from the publisher.

August 5, 2009

Search Wisconsin Lawyer Archives Back to 1997

From Heidi Yelk's Tech Tip in Brief in the latest WSLL @ Your Service:

In case you missed it (as I did),, the State Bar of Wisconsin's website, now provides full text searching of Wisconsin Lawyer issues dating back to 1997. This can be a quick way to locate full text feature articles as well as news and case notes. To find it, click on the Wisconsin Lawyer tab under the Research Tools module.
You're not alone, Heidi. I'd missed that too. It's great to be able to search Wisconsin Lawyer content now!

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 Paper copies can also be ordered via the website.

Source: Boing Boing

June 8, 2009

LexOpus, a Free Online Law Review Submission Service

Washington and Lee Law School has launched a free online law review submission service called LexOpus.

From the About page:

The system allows an author to submit a work to a sequence of author-selected law journals. An author may also, or instead, invite offers from any journal by choosing to indicate the work as open to offers....

An author is free to simply upload a work to make it available for general viewing. There is no obligation to make the work available to journals.

According to W&L's John Doyle:

LexOpus is not intended to be directly competitive with Expresso, as by design it will not simultaneously submit works to multiple journals. Instead, an author selects an ordered list of journals and the system makes the work available to each journal serially on a short-term exclusive basis. One of the main aims of LexOpus is to discourage what I see as the socially wasteful practice of simultaneous submissions....

Most law journals I've heard from seem happy to use LexOpus, or at least to try it out. The big question is whether or not authors will be motivated to use this system. On that, time will tell.

June 3, 2009

Fundamentals of Legal Research, 9th ed. Now Available

This morning I had the pleasure of reviewing the recently published, Fundamentals of Legal Research, 9th edition. This edition is of particular interest to me since it was edited by our UW Law Library director, Steve Barkan. Many members of our library staff, including myself, contributed to the publication. I authored two chapters and an appendix.

Although this edition retains many of the features that have been popular through the years, it has also been substantially revised to reflect changes in the resources and methods of research.

May 11, 2009

WisBar InsideTrack and Finding Journal Articles on the Net

A new edition of WisBar's InsideTrack was published last week. Highlights include:

This issue also features my last column in InsideTrack, Finding journal articles on the Internet. I've decided to step down due to increased responsibilities in the coming months. Bev Butula of Davis & Kuelthau will contribute legal research articles in the future.

April 27, 2009

Black's Law Dictionary for iPhone/iTouch

Earlier this month, West launched Black's Law Dictionary for the iPhone/iPod Touch. The cost? A hefty $49.99, although that is still less than the print edition.

This digital version of Black's 8th edition offers audio pronunciations of selected legal terms.

Thomson Reuters said in a statement that lawyers and law students can expect more apps from West soon.

April 14, 2009

Wisconsin Property Assessors Manual Available Online

The complete Wisconsin Property Assessors Manual is now available online.

The manual aids assessors in the interpretation of statutes related to classifying and valuing property, describes the property assessment cycle and deadlines, and defines the responsibilities of public servants charged with carrying out property valuation. The manual is developed and maintained by the Department of Revenue, Bureau of Assessment Practices per WI Stats. 73.03(2a) and is updated on an annual basis.

See Bev Butula's post on the Wisconsin Law Journal blog for some notes on searching.

February 5, 2009

Law Review Print Subscriptions Declining - What Does It Mean?

A recent study by Ross E. Davies, editor in chief of The Green Bag and a professor of law at George Mason University reveals that print subscriptions to law reviews are declining dramatically.

Davies compared the subscription numbers for the flagship law reviews of 15 top tier law schools and found that all of them "have seen significant drops - most in the range of half to two-thirds - in their print circulations."

The author wonders whether this drop "might be connected to a drop in influence or status" or if it is simply because more journals are now available online. I suspect both. It's true that libraries, at least, are canceling print subscriptions to journals that are available to them electronically. But there have also been some indications that the influence of law reviews may also be declining.

For example, a 2005 study on the judicial citation of student notes revealed that:

the average note published in 1980 has been cited 3.5 more times than the average note published in 2000. This decline appears to correlate to a similar decline in the judicial citation of professional legal scholarship. Of course, if the number of opinions declined at the same rate, we would expect a decline in citations, but it is almost certain that the number of opinions has, in fact, increased over the period studied.

See also When Rendering Decisions, Judges Are Finding Law Reviews Irrelevant (New York Times) which suggests that availability of blogs in which "law professors analyze legal developments with skill and flair almost immediately after they happen" may be contributing to the shift in influence.

Source: Slaw

February 4, 2009

New State Bar E-Newsletter, WisBar InsideTrack - Will Contribute Legal Research Tips

This morning the State Bar of Wisconsin distributed its first issue of a new electronic newsletter called WisBar InsideTrack. The newsletter, which will be published twice a month on the first and third Wednesdays, is available to State Bar members.

Content will include everything from "practice management tips to timely insight into legislative, court, and other legal developments, as well as the latest State Bar products and services designed to help you improve your practice. Through an alliance with West, each issue of InsideTrack also delivers select jury verdicts, bench decisions, settlements, and arbitration awards."

I'm pleased to share that I've been asked to be a regular contributor to InsideTrack for the Legal Research category. I'll be writing a short article for every other issue. My first article, entitled The Many Faces of Google, describes a few of the search engine's more specialized tools and how attorneys can use them. They include:

  • Google Alerts
  • Google News
  • Google Blog Search
  • Google Scholar
  • Google Books
  • Google U.S. Government Search

August 14, 2008

Legal Research in Wisconsin, 2nd Ed Now Available

I was very pleased to share that Legal Research in Wisconsin, 2nd edition is finally available. The authors are Ted Potter (main author), Jane Colwin, Mary Koshollek, and UW Law Library's own Bill Ebbott and Sunil Rao.

Here's the abstract from Hein:

This new edition continues to offer a comprehensive reference tool about legal research in Wisconsin. It revises and updates chapters and also expands them to include electronic tools and other new sources. Basic research tools are discussed with an eye toward showing their best uses in locating useful information. It remains a guide for attorneys, judges, paralegals, law librarians, students and others needing ready access to information contained in Wisconsin legal materials.
The cost of the volume is $57.50.

July 17, 2008

HeinOnline Features Article Citator

I was doing some research in HeinOnline this afternoon and was surprised to find that they now have an article citator. When viewing an article, there is a link to "Articles That Cite This Article" at the very top. Nice.
According to the HeinOnline Weblog, this feature was added in May.

June 24, 2008

NYT Examines SSRN & Scholarly Rankings

Earlier this month, the New York Times ran an interesting article about how SSRN rankings have affected legal academia.

Social Science Research Network [is] an increasingly influential site that now offers nearly 150,000 full-text documents for downloading... the texts include penses, abstracts, informal arguments, outlines, rough drafts and working papers, up to the finished products you might find in academic journals. So far, more than 550,000 users have registered to download documents.

And with a precision common to the digital age, its rankings of downloads can be sliced and diced in many ways with only a click: most downloads over all or most downloads in the last 12 months, either by article, by author or by institution.

The network was not created to be a Top 40 list for academics, said Michael C. Jensen, its chairman and one of its founders, but it has turned out that way.

May 16, 2008

Harvard Law Faculty Votes for 'Open Access' to Scholarly Articles

Earlier this month, the Harvard Law School faculty unanimously voted to make each faculty member's scholarly articles available online for free, making HLS the first law school to commit to a mandatory open access policy.

From the press release:

Under the new policy, HLS will make articles authored by faculty members available in an online repository, whose contents would be searchable and available to other services such as Google Scholar. Authors can also legally distribute the articles on their own websites, and educators here and elsewhere can freely provide the articles to students, so long as the materials are not used for profit.

Thanks to my UW Madison colleague, Dorothea Salo (of Caveat Lector fame) for the tip.

November 8, 2007

Wisconsin Law Journal Site Has New Look, New Features

About a week ago, the Wisconsin Law Journal unveiled a new Web site. Besides a sleek new look, WLJ has introduced some sweet new features including several new blogs and a handful of RSS feeds.

In his introductory post, Managing Editor, Tony Anderson explains:

New features will include a variety of blogs touching on a range of topics relating to the practice of law and our courts. Readers will be able to comment directly on blog postings and stories, making our site a place to discuss the issues that are important to you. We also have added a daily update of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court calendar.

Bar associations and other non-profit groups are invited to visit our community calendar and post your upcoming events. And subscribers will be able to sign up for our daily e-mail news service - WLJ Today.

In addition to our Web site and daily e-mail updates, we will continue to provide our weekly legal newspaper with all the features you've trusted and relied upon for the past 25 years. Content that is more than seven days old will be limited to print or online subscribers only.

August 8, 2007

ABA Journal Has New Look and New Features

The ABA Journal has recently redesigned their web site. According to a post in the ABA TechShow blog, there are three main features:

Law News Now: "The latest legal news stories, hand selected by our lawyer-journalists. It's updated continuously every business day."

The Blawg Directory: "More than 1,000 blogs written by lawyers who are experts in their practice areas, with more being added daily...You can sort the directory by subject, who writes the blog (partners, associates, judges, law professors, etc.), or by the state or court they blog about."

The Magazine: ABA Journal issues "back through 2005; issues from previous years will be posted soon."

Very nicely done. I took a closer look at the Blawg Directory and found a number of blogs that I hadn't seen before - including seven new law library blogs which I added to my list.