The Wisconsin Department of Justice has recently launched an archive of formal Attorney General opinions. The opinions, in PDF, are available from the first bound volume of opinions in 1912 to the present.
Note that the bound opinion volumes were published between 1912 and 1994. From 1900-1912, opinions were printed in the Biennial report of the Attorney General of the State of Wisconsin. Since 1994, individual opinions have been made available on the DOJ website.
Kudos to Amy Thornton, senior librarian, DOJ Division of Legal Services for making this collection available.
For the last fifteen years, the University of Wisconsin Law Library has encouraged research and learning through our National Library Week celebration. Over the years, we’ve organized numerous events, including trivia and research contests, displays, book giveaways, and reading recommendations. But the most popular and long lived of all our National Library Week events has been our “celebrity” READ posters featuring UW Law School faculty and staff.
Since we unveiled our first READ poster in 2006, over twenty Law School faculty and staff have been featured, each holding a book that has sparked their interest or that has had an influence in their lives. Book subjects have varied broadly, ranging from contract law to Muslim jurisprudence, from science fiction to shoes, and from mathematical proofs to metaphysical motorcycle journeys.
In commemoration of our ten years of UW Law School faculty and staff READ posters, we’ve put together a photo book featuring all seventeen posters. See Deputy Director, Bonnie Shucha if you’d like to view or order a copy.
All of our “celebrity” posters are permanently on display throughout the UW Law Library. You can also see them in our Pinterest READ Posters collection.
It’s National Library Week! Check out this year’s celebrations at the University of Wisconsin Law Library.
Monday – Law Student Book Giveaway
Watch out – free books for law students! They go pretty quickly but there may be a few good ones left.
Tuesday – Law Library Open House for Faculty and Staff
Yesterday, we welcomed about seventy Law School faculty and staff to our first NLW Open House. This amazing cake from Lane’s Bakery really set the theme. How many of these classic books have you read?
Wednesday – Trivia Contest for Law Students
Tonight Head of Reference and Trivia Master, Kris Turner will put our law students to the test. We’ll see how they fare against our Law Library team.
Thursday – READ Posters
Tomorrow is a great day for a Make-Your-Own READ poster at the Law Library. Grab your favorite book and say cheese! Stop by the Circulation Desk anytime this week to have your photo taken.
While you’re here, check out our latest faculty READ poster. This year’s “celebrity” is Professor Larry Church – five time winner of the UW Law School Teacher of the Year Award. For our previous posters, see our Pinterest READ Posters collection.
Friday – Bluebooking Tips for the Write-on and Beyond
We’ll round out the week with our ever popular Bluebooking workshop for law students preparing to write-on to one of the UW Law School’s three journals – the Wisconsin Law Review, the Wisconsin International Law Journal, and the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society.
But Wait, There’s More! – What Are Our Faculty & Staff Reading?
Looking for some great book recommendations? See our LibGuide of titles recommended by UW Law School faculty and staff.
Are you one of the 550,000+ people who have registered for Public Service Loan Forgiveness? This is the federal program that forgives the remaining balance on qualifying student loans after 10 years of payments while working full-time for a qualifying public service employer.
If so, you’ll likely want to read the article in yesterday’s New York Times which reports that “thousands of approval letters that have been sent by the administrator, FedLoan Servicing, are not binding and can be rescinded at any time,” per the Department of Education.
From the article:
Four borrowers and the American Bar Association have filed a suit in United States District Court in Washington against the department.
The plaintiffs held jobs that they initially were told qualified them for debt forgiveness, only to later have that decision reversed — with no evident way to appeal, they say. The suit seeks to have their eligibility for the forgiveness program restored….
The idea that approvals can be reversed at any time, with no explanation, is chilling for borrowers. Mr. Rudert [an attorney at a non profit legal aid group and one of the plaintiffs], who graduated from law school owing nearly $135,000 on student loans, said he would have picked a different employer if he had known that his work… would not qualify.
Although no explanation was given for the denial, it appears that the questions generally center around whether certain nonprofit organizations qualify as public service employers.
Hat tip to my colleague, Kris Turner, for alerting me to this story.
This post was authored by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian at the UW Law Library.
Coming in 2018, all those aspiring to go to law school will be able to access online LSAT test prep for free!
In partnership with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) creator of LSAT, the Khan Academy will bring unprecedented access to the testing portion of the law school admissions process.
Salman Khan, who founded the Khan Academy in 2006, says the partnership is meant to level the playing field to law school access for those who cannot afford the hundreds and even thousands of dollars it costs for professional test prep.
The planned test prep will work in graduated stages: testing basic knowledge to gauge a person’s strengths and weaknesses, suggesting practice options with quizzes, and full-blown practice exams. Students will receive feedback at every stage along the way. Solutions and videos will be offered to help explain items and concepts a student is having problems with.
The graphic below is from the Khan Academy’s Official SAT Practice page. It is illustrative of what the LSAT test prep landing page might look like:
The Khan Academy partnered with the College Board to become the official preparation for SAT in 2015. The goal is the same. Access to free SAT test prep levels the playing field to college access for those who cannot afford expensive professional test prep. More than 3 million students have used the SAT program so far.
The idea of providing opportunity to everyone by putting testing materials online is at the core of the Khan Academy’s mission. What’s the next frontier? Bar exam prep? Salman Khan said, in a recent interview with the online ABA Journal, “We would absolutely be open to conversations with people who administer those exams.”
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!
The following blog post was written by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian at the University of Wisconsin Law School Library
CourtListener is a powerful new free legal research website sponsored by the non-profit Free Law Project. The Court Listener platform is composed of four searchable databases containing judicial opinions, an audio collection of oral arguments, judge profiles, and documents from the Federal PACER system. The repository’s numbers are impressive and growing daily.
- Almost 4 million legal opinions from federal and state courts.
- Real-time coverage of oral arguments from SCOTUS and 11 of the 13 Federal Judicial Circuits.
- A database of over 8500 judge profiles.
- 2.4 million plus PACER documents.
The search engine is easy to use and offers an “Advanced Search” option to refine searches in a number of ways including citation, judge, and docket number. Case law searches are powered by their CiteGeist Relevancy Engine to provide the most relevant and important cases at the top of the results. CourtListener downloads opinions from many jurisdictions on an ongoing basis thereby allowing users to set up alerts using customized search and citation feeds. RSS feeds may also be set up by jurisdiction.
The oral arguments database is also continually updated, making it the biggest such collection on the Internet. At present, CourtListener provides oral arguments to over 1500 cases originating from the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. A count of available oral arguments from SCOTUS and 11 of the 13 Federal Judicial Circuits totals over 19,000. The judge profile search now also links up to the oral arguments database meaning when you look up the profile page for a judge, you may see a list of oral argument recordings for cases that judge has heard.
What really makes CourtListener special is the free access to PACER documents it provides through the RECAP Archive. Users of the PACER system can contribute to the building of the archive by downloading the RECAP Extensions for Firefox and Chrome. As you browse PACER, the RECAP extension automatically uploads docket files and PACER-downloaded PDFs to the Internet Archive for others to download later. The net effect is kind of like paying it forward, allowing the documents (and legal benefits) to flow to everyone. This newfound access to PACER documents is truly groundbreaking.
CourtListener joins a growing list of other free legal research sites as Google Scholar, FindLaw, Justia, Ravel Law, and Casetext. You owe it to yourself to take the newest of these for a test drive. CourtListener rightly joins the UW Law Library’s list of free legal resources available on our Databases and Electronic Resources page.
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
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.