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!
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
This month, the Bartell Theatre is featuring a new play about the first female lawyer in Wisconsin. “Lavinia” debuts March 19-21 in Madison before moving on to Janesville, Wausau, and Superior.
From the State Bar of Wisconsin announcement:
In 1879, Lavinia Goodell made history by becoming the first female lawyer admitted to the bar in Wisconsin. To celebrate her accomplishments and the impact on the legal profession and gender equality movement, four cities will host the production or reading of Lavinia, written by Madison playwright Betty Diamond.
The play explores the challenges Goodell faced including a Wisconsin Supreme Court convinced that women belonged in their traditional roles. It also honors the support she received from the Rock County bar, which had admitted her in 1874, and John Cassoday who introduced the legislation that prohibited gender-based discrimination in bar admissions.
Madison performances include a talk-back after the show with UW Law School Professor Linda Greene.
Update 3/4/15: Today’s Inside Track has good article about the play with more background on Goodell’s struggle for admittance to the bar as well as some comments from Chief Justice Abrahamson.
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.
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
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.
It’s time to nominate your favorite legal support staff for the 2010 Wisconsin Law Journal Unsung Heroes awards. Categories include:
* Legal Secretary
* 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.