Category Archives: Legal Professionals

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!

Position Annoucement: Reference and Technology Services Librarian

The University of Wisconsin Law School Library invites applications for the position of Reference and Technology Librarian. The Reference and Technology Librarian will be responsible for promoting and implementing technology that will support faculty, students and staff at the University of Wisconsin Law School in their research and scholarship as well as thorough legal research and reference assistance.

The full position description and questions about the application process can be found at: http://jobs.hr.wisc.edu/cw/en-us/job/494295/reference-and-technology-law-librarian

To ensure consideration, applications must be received by March 12, 2017. Contact Kris Turner with any questions about the position.

Florida 1st State to Mandate Technology CLE for Lawyers

The Florida Supreme Court has approved a rule requiring state lawyers to take technology-related CLE courses.

From Ambrogi’s LawSites:

The rule change, ordered by the Supreme Court of Florida on Thursday, added a requirement that Florida lawyers must complete three hours of CLE every three years “in approved technology programs.” The rule raises the state’s minimum credit hours from 30 to 33 to accommodate the tech requirement.

For more information, see the ABA Journal.

Predicting Bar Exam Success Using LSAT Scores and Law School Performance

A team from Texas Tech University School of Law has recently released a very interesting study entitled, Will I Pass the Bar Exam?: Predicting Student Success Using LSAT Scores and Law School Performance.

Here’s the abstract:

Texas Tech University School of Law has undertaken a statistical analysis of its recent alumni, comparing their performance in law school with their success on the Texas bar exam. The authors conclude that LSAT predicts bar exam success while undergraduate GPA does not. The study also replicates findings in previous literature that both 1L and final law school GPA predict bar exam success.

Going beyond existing literature, this study also conducted more specific analysis of how student performance in specific courses can predict success on affiliated subcomponents of the bar exam; the Article identifies which courses have significant impact on bar exam performance and which do not.

Additionally, the Article reports a completely new analysis of whether student participation in curricular student engagement activities (such as journal, clinic, and advocacy competitions) predicts bar exam success.

Read more details at the Law School Academic Support Blog

Hein Online adds an email delivery option

 

Good news for all you Hein-heads out there (I am certainly one of them). Hein Online recently added a great new feature to their interface where you can email a link to a Hein PDF…and anybody can access it, whether they are authenticated by Hein or not.

Granted the link will expire after 7 days (if the user isn’t authenticated…if they are it will never expire), but that is still more than enough time to share research or a great article with a colleague or student that may not know how to access Hein or not have access at all.

For full directions on how to email these PDFs straight from your Hein search, check out Hein’s blog post. Happy Hein-ing!

Another Female Wisconsin Legal Pioneer Featured this Women’s History Month

The history of Wisconsin first female lawyers is represented well this Women’s History Month.

This weekend, the Bartell Theatre in Madison is featuring a play about Lavinia Goodell, the first female lawyer in Wisconsin.  I posted about that a few weeks ago.

Today, I call your attention to an article about another of Wisconsin’s female legal pioneers, Kate Kane.  Kane was a fierce advocate for the rights of women and the poor and wasn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers to be heard.  Like Goodell, she faced severe discrimination in her legal practice.

kate_kane

In fact, she became so frustrated with her treatment in the courtroom that in 1883 she threw a glass of water right in the face of a Milwaukee judge.  “Judge Mallory has been trying to drive me out of this court; he has continually insulted and misused me, but I bore it.  Today, I wanted to insult Judge Mallory just where he had insulted me – in open court.”

And insult him she did.  The judge was furious and Kane was hauled off to jail for contempt of court.  “I shall stay here for ten years before I pay that fine,” Kane declared defiantly.  The story made national news and Kane was driven out of practice and forced to relocate to Chicago.

The article is entitled “Citizen Kane: The Everyday Ordeals and Self-Fashioned Citizenship of Wisconsin’s ‘Lady Lawyer'” and is available in the February 2015 issue of the Law and History Review.