Category Archives: Legal Publications

UW Law Library Celebrates 35th Anniversary as US Government Documents Depository

This month, the UW Law Library celebrates its 35th anniversary as a Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Selective Depository.

As a Selective Depository, the Law Library receives certain classes of federal government documents free of cost and makes them available to the university and law school communities and to the general public.  The Law Library also houses some documents for the UW Madison General Library System which serves as a Regional Depository.

Our Documents Assistant, Margaret Booth, has created a lovely display entitled “Documents Through the Decades” showcasing the history of our 35 years in the FDLP and some interesting documents of various media types.  There are even a few floppy disks – remember those?

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There are also some giveaways, including brochures, pocket constitutions, bookmarks, notepads, and pencils.

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Which Legal Articles Generate the Most Attention on SSRN?

Professor Mathias Siems of Durham Law School in the UK has recently conducted an interesting analysis of which legal articles generate the most attention on SSRN.  His article is entitled, Legal Research in Search of Attention: A Quantitative Assessment.

From the abstract:
Based on a sample of 1107 papers of SSRN’s Legal Scholarship Network, this article finds that a short title, a top-20 university affiliation, US authorship, and writing about topics of corporate law and international law have a positive effect on downloads and/or abstract views.

It doesn’t appear in the abstract of this article, but the author also suggests that pairing an attention getting shorter title with a longer more explanatory abstract may increase readership.

Siems does caution against  using “the findings of this article . .  as telling SSRN users ‘how to increase their SSRN downloads,'” however.  They may be other, unexamined variables at play.

New Edition of Wisconsin Guide to Citation Now Available

The Wisconsin State Bar has recently published a newly updated edition of the Wisconsin Guide to Citation.

The new eighth edition reflects recent changes made to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, now in its 20th edition. New developments discussed in this edition of the Wisconsin Guide include:

  • A new section on how to cite uniform acts, model codes, sentencing guidelines, and standards
  • New sections discussing how to cite blog and social media posts
  • Update to guidelines for citing sources on the Internet
  • Update regarding how to cite legal dictionaries
  • New examples showing how to cite various sources with different pincites

I’d like to thank Attorney-Editor Rita Knauss for offering me and my Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin colleagues the opportunity to comment and make suggestions for the new edition.

More information about the Guide, including information about how to order it, is available on the State Bar of Wisconsin website.

Recent UW Law School Faculty & Staff Scholarship

Here is the latest faculty and staff scholarship from the University of Wisconsin Law School Legal Studies Research Papers series found on SSRN.

The University of Wisconsin Law School Legal Studies journal contains abstracts and papers from this institution focused on this area of scholarly research. To access all the papers in this series, please use the following URL: http://www.ssrn.com/link/u-wisconsin-legal-studies.html

Legal Information & Technology SSRN eJournal Offers Law Library Scholarship

Happy Birthday to the Legal Information & Technology eJournal which just concluded its fifth year.  This SSRN eJournal, curated by Randy Diamond and Lee Peoples, provides a platform for the dissemination of law library scholarship.

Beginning this year, the journal, which has heretofore been sponsored by  the Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries and the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries, will be self-sustaining.

I subscribe to this journal and frequently find many interesting and useful articles.  Institutional and individual subscription information is available at http://www.ssrn.com/en/index.cfm/subscribe/.  Note that many university departments and other institutions have purchased site subscriptions covering all various eJournals.

Here’s a sampling of some of the articles in the upcoming issue of the Legal Information & Technology eJournal:

“White Slavery in the Northwoods” describes major WI & MI 19th cen. sex trafficking scandal


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I’m pleased to share that my article, White Slavery in the Northwoods: Early U.S. Anti-Sex Trafficking and its Continuing Relevance to Trafficking Reform, has been accepted for publication in the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law.  It will appear in a special issue in 2016 but it’s available now on SSRN.

This article is rather special to me as the subject and research have been of enduring interest to me for many years.  In fact, the topic is an extension of my very first article (my undergrad history thesis) on the history of prostitution in Eau Claire.

This new article explains how the lumber and mining camps of Northern Wisconsin and Michigan became the center of a major sex trafficking (aka “white slavery”) scandal in the late nineteenth-century.  It’s got virgins and villains, armed guards and attack dogs, yellow journalism, lies and political finger pointing, an amazingly strong heroine, and, of course, plenty of sex scandal.

It’s a truly fascinating story – one that could be, and in fact has, been the subject of an award-winning Hollywood screen play.  But it also has enduring impact as many of the strategies that these nineteenth century anti-traffickers originated to achieve law reform are still used today – strategies that were as dubious then as they are now.

Here’s the abstract:

This article provides a unique and comprehensive analysis of the first U.S. anti-sex trafficking movement and its continuing impact on trafficking reform today. It explores the significant, yet little known campaign against the trade of young, white women, a practice called “white slavery,” which emerged in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and Michigan in the 1880s. It examines the strategies developed by these late nineteenth-century activists, specifically the use of exaggeration and sensationalism, and demonstrates how trafficking reformers are still using these techniques today despite their dubious authority and effectiveness.

Part I will consider why the Northwoods became a focal point for white slavery in the nineteenth-century, specifically exploring the impact of the economic, demographic, and social changes occurring in the region at that time, as well as the role of the burgeoning mass media. It will also examine the escalating nature of the Northwoods white slavery allegations and the public outcry that they caused. Next, it will study the strategies developed by anti-trafficking activists, specifically the use of exaggeration and sensationalism to garner support. Finally, it will investigate Wisconsin’s and Michigan’s responses to white slavery and consider why this nineteenth-century campaign failed to generate the level of national law reform achieved by later anti-trafficking movements.

Part II will attempt to glean some truth about the existence and extent of prostitution and sex trafficking in the Northwoods in the nineteenth-century, specifically acknowledging that many historians now believe that white slavery was a myth. It will conclude with a demonstration of how the exaggeration and sensationalism strategies developed by nineteenth-century anti-trafficking activists are still being used today and an inquiry into whether or not such techniques encourage effective law reform.

An earlier version of White Slavery in the Northwoods was awarded the 2014 Morris L. Cohen (Law) Student Essay Competition from the American Association of Law Libraries Legal History and Rare Books Special Interest Section.

I’d love to hear your comments on the article.  You can find my email address on my profile page.

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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.

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

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.

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.