Category Archives: Legal Professionals

News on the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau

A recent article from Madison’s local newspaper, The Isthmus, outlines some significant cuts to the staff and services of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau, particularly in the LRB research and library services department.

For example, the article cites a reduction in the number of “plain language” reviews of laws or court cases from 27 in 2014 to 11 last year. The number of reports produced by the LRB has also fallen in recent years from 22 in 2014, 16 in 2015, 5 in 2016, 1 in 2017, and none so far in 2018.

See the article for more information about the cuts as well as a bit of history of the LRB in Wisconsin.

Steve Barkan honored by Wisconsin Law Journal for Leaders in Law Lifetime Achievement

In yesterday’s post, we were happy to announce Bonnie Shucha as the new Law Library Director of the UW Law School Library, taking over for the retiring Steve Barkan.

On February 15th, the Cover of WI Law JournalWisconsin Law Journal held their annual award ceremony honoring Leaders in Law. In addition to the 23 annual winners, Prof. Barkan was the recipient of  the Wisconsin Law Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award along with Judge John Dimotto. The ceremony was held at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee.

Prof. Barkan is retiring from the UW Law School after 23 years of service. Before joining the UW Law Faculty, Prof. Barkan worked at Marquette Law School, making him the only person who has been a tenured faculty member at both UW and Marquette Law. For more about Steve’s incredible career, check out his profile from the Wisconsin Law Journal’s award issue. 

It goes without saying that the UW Law Library, UW Law School and the legal community in general will miss Prof. Barkan. Thank you for all your dedicated years  of teaching, supervising, overseeing, collaborating and mentoring!

Group photo from UW Law
Prof. Steve Barkan and UW Law Colleagues at the Wisconsin Law Journal Awards Ceremony on February 15th.

Bonnie Shucha named the new UW Law Library Director

Sometimes we get to post really great news. In that vein, it is with great pleasure that I announce that Bonnie Shucha, the creator of WisBlawg, has been appointed the Law School’s Associate Dean for Library and Information Services and Director of the Law Library.  Her appointment, which followed a national search, took effect February 6.
Bonnie Shucha
Ms. Bonnie Shucha

Bonnie joined the Law Library staff in 1999.  She has served as our Reference and Electronic Services Librarian, Head of Reference, Assistant and then Associate Director for Public Services, and most recently Deputy Director.  Her professional accomplishments are extensive, and she has been an active participant in local and national  library activities and associations.  
 
Bonnie is taking over for Steve Barkan, who will be retiring this spring.  Steve, the UW Law School’s Voss–Bascom Professor of Law and Director of the Law Library, joined our Law School faculty in 1995.  He has also held library positions at Marquette Law School, the University of TX at Austin School of Law, the US Supreme Court, and the University of Southern California Law School.
Steve Barkan
Mr. Steve Barkan

Among many other activities, Steve taught Torts I and Torts II for many years.  He is chair of the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners, and he has served on numerous ABA site visits.   He is a co-author/editor of Fundamentals of Legal Research and founding editor of Perspectives.  He will be receiving a Wisconsin Law Journal Leaders in Law Lifetime Achievement Award later this month.
 
Congratulations to Bonnie on her new position and to Steve on his upcoming retirement.

WI Legislature Recently Introduced Two Bills Related to CCAP

CCAP, or the Consolidated Court Automation Program, is the Wisconsin electronic circuit court case management system. Recently, several bills were introduced in the Wisconsin legislature regarding CCAP.

 

Both of these bills, Assembly Bill 723 and Senate Bill 612, list what categories of information should be provided and searchable on CCAP, including:

 

  • County where charges were filed
  • Judge assigned to the case
  • All cases adjudicated by the judge
  • The criminal charge filed
  • Whether the case resulted in a conviction
  • The penalty that was imposed, if any, in the case

 

This is certainly something we’ll be keeping our eyes on in the near future!

Access LLMC Digital Remotely With Your Wisconsin State Law Library Card

LLMC Digital is a searchable archive of historical primary legal sources for Wisconsin, the United States, and other jurisdictions. Wisconsin materials included in LLMC’s collections include historical Wisconsin reports, session laws, and statutes. A large number of secondary sources including federal government periodicals and treatises are also searchable via LLMC.

The Wisconsin State Law Library has recently announced that with your Wisconsin State Law Library card, you can now log into LLMC Digital from outside the library.

Wisconsin State Law Library cardholders also have off-site access to HeinOnline, the Index to Legal Periodicals and Books, and Legal Trac.

The Free Law Project’s CourtListener.com Contains Every Free PACER Opinion

The Free Law Project has recently announced that in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor and Georgia State University, they have collected every free written order and opinion that is currently available in PACER.

New opinions will be downloaded every night (!) to keep the collection up-to-date.

Currently, the collection contains about 3.4 million orders and opinions from cases dating back to 1960. All of the documents are available for search, and the Free Law Project has also partnered with the Internet Archive to upload a copy of every opinion as well (the Internet Archive is a non-profit whose mission is to permanently store digital content).

Read more about this exciting new initiative here.

Welcome to Emma Babler, UW Law Library’s newest librarian!

The UW Law Library is pleased to announce our newest law librarian: Emma Babler. Emma will be our new Reference and Technology Librarian, where she will be tasked with assisting students, staff, and anyone who asks a question! Emma comes to us from the UNLV Law Library but received both her MLS and JD from the University of Wisconsin.

Welcome, Emma! We’re excited to be working with you!

A stopgap measure for eliminating Supreme Court Link Rot

 

Link Rot is a pervasive problem in the legal community – so much so that Supreme Court opinions are sometimes riddled with cites to websites that no longer exist, which undermines the entire concept of a citation.

Many in the legal academic world are aware of Perma.CC, which is a long-term solution to link rot. Perma.CC allows authors and judges and anyone to preserve the websites they are citing by archiving the page, therefore preserving it as they were citing it.

However, Perma.CC is still in the process of being adopted, and some cites may fall through the cracks. So in the meantime, the University of California Berkeley Law School Library has created a citation program that catches the websites that are cited in Supreme Court opinions and archives them as soon as possible. With this program serving as a stop-gap and the growing adoption of Perma.CC and other web archiving programs, link rot will become extinct, or at least endangered!

Kudos to the UC Berkeley School of Law Library for a great tool.  Be sure to check out their site and review the data from cases and citations!

SEC Adopts Final Rules to Require Hyperlinks to Exhibits in Filings

This post was authored by Jenny Zook, Reference and Instructional Services Librarian at the UW Law School Library.

SEC has adopted a final rule requiring public companies to include hyperlinks in their exhibit index, making it easier for investors to locate previously filed exhibits. According to the SEC, there was overwhelming support for this final rule. Previous to the new rule, to locate a filing, investors had to find the exhibit index to a registrants SEC filings, which, more often than not, was incorporated by reference. Embedding a link directly to the filing is a common sense amendment to the disclosure rules that will speed up the process for investors.

For more information on the SEC ruling see Reuters: SEC adopts rules requiring hyperlinks for corporate exhibits.

For other resources and more information, also see Practical Law: SEC Adopts Final Rules to Require Hyperlinks to Exhibit in Filings

Making case law accessible to all

There have been some very exciting advances in the fight to make court documents more freely accessible to everyone. As many legal researchers and law librarians are aware, many legal materials can be relatively rare or sheltered behind a paywall. Movements are afoot to change this, at least in part, and there has been progress over the past several months.

Harvard’s Case Law Access Project, which involves scanning scanning in Harvard’s entire collection of case law books, recently scanned it’s last volume. That may sound blase, but that means that nearly 44,000 volumes with roughly 40 million pages of case law have been digitized. This case law will be made freely available to anyone who needs to review it.

In addition to finishing their scanning, Harvard also recommended providing bulk digital data of future case law to make it easier to add to the currently scanned collection.  The director of Cornell’s LII and a Professor of Law from Indiana University also testified on behalf of the continued digitally accessible case law.

Lastly, and potentially most exciting, was the announcement by the Internet Archive of their desire to store PACER records from Federal Courts and make them freely available.  While it remains to be seen if this proposal will come to fruition, it is another indication of legal material becoming more easily available to anybody. For now, many PACER documents can be found via RECAP, a free website that is co-run by the Internet Archive and Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy.

As you search for case law and other legal materials, imagine how that process may become easier as it all migrates to the open web!