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Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns

Do Law Students Understand Jurisdiction, or Do We Just Assume They Do?

One of the biggest gaps in the first year law student’s ability to find a legal answer is the professor’s assumption that the average citizen (or beginning law student) understands the court system and the hierarchy of jurisdiction. Perhaps I am particularly ignorant, or perhaps the paucity of lawyers in my family left me prone to mistakes on this topic. Now that I teach research, I think about the mistakes I made in my first and second year and wonder how many of my students are suffering under similar misapprehensions.

This is a common danger for a teacher; as you . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

My Last Virtual Conference?

From Friday July 17 through Friday July 23 I participated in the second virtual American Association of Law Libraries annual conference. I watched a number of excellent programs on a variety of subjects. What was missing however were the chances to catch up with friends and colleagues in the exhibit halls, the corridors, and the meeting rooms. Also missing were the receptions and happy hours and the chance to see a slice of the convention city. Last year we missed meeting in New Orleans and this year in Cleveland. Right now the plan is to meet in person in Denver . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Using Social Media for Government Research

Government information is ubiquitous in social media platforms. Government agencies at every level (federal, state/province, country, city) share a significant amount of information and data on social media. Some agencies even have several different social media accounts where they disseminate different types of information depending on the nature of the institution or department. Elected officials speaking on behalf of the government or the public office they represent behave no differently. Some of these government officials and lawmakers have had multiple social media accounts, each for the previous elected positions they have occupied. It has become increasingly difficult to differentiate information . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Could You Build a Law Library From Nothing?

I have worked in several law libraries, and I can remember the way each one felt when I first saw them; full of beauty and potential, but completely overwhelming. With each new library I would take a tour while someone knowledgeable about the collection explained where various things could be found, and each time I tried to take it all in, knowing full well that it would be months before I would feel confident that I could find anything. A new collection feels like a massive challenge to learn, and while I’m finally feeling more confident in my current position, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

PRIDE in the Courts: Judge Deborah A. Batts

Let me tell you about someone I met a couple of years ago. Her name was Judge Deborah A. Batts. In 1994, the Honorable Judge Batts became the first openly gay person to be appointed as an Article III federal judge in the United States. She held this position for over 25 years in the Southern District of New York. As part of the library team in my previous position, we commemorated her 25 years of service with a candid interview during the 2019 Pride month with her fellow openly gay judges also at the U.S. Courts for the Second . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

Comments on the New CJC Guidelines on Bulk Access to Court Information

This post is a joint submission to Slaw, contributed by the following authors: Xavier Beauchamp-Tremblay, Pierre-Paul Lemyre, Sarah Sutherland, Ivan Mokanov

The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) recently released a report titled “Guidelines For Canadian Courts – Management of Requests for Bulk Access to Court Information by Commercial Entities”.

Over the years, several parties from different sectors have contacted CanLII or Lexum to obtain bulk access to legal decisions from Canadian courts and tribunals. We never believed we had clear permission to redistribute this content and decide who should be granted or denied bulk access to legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing

2021 Spring Update From Washington, D.C.

Things are getting almost back to normal after the attack on the Capitol building on January 6th. The barricades were slowly coming down, but then a subsequent incident happened when a car crashed into a barrier killing one of the Capitol police officers. There is still some lingering sense of apprehension about what might happen next. The Biden administration is now trying to reverse all the damage done by the previous administration, by issuing executive orders and introducing legislation.

When I moved to the District of Columbia in 2003, I did not realize the full impact of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Keep Your Successes Secret: The Best Workflow Innovations Are the Ones No One Else Needs to Know About

If you discover the secret to success at work, should you tell everyone else? I have always thought the answer was “yes, and see if you can get your breakthrough approved as a conference presentation, too, for your resume.” But this week I’m meditating on the reasons you may want to try some innovations without sharing them, at least at first.

After a year of the pandemic, everyone on my team is dying for a break, or just some balance. We talk about zoom fatigue and burnout in almost every departmental (zoom) meeting. So I assumed that if one of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Post-COVID Library

It’s been over a year since WHO formally declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since that time, our lives—both personal and professional—have changed. With many people working from home and the need to lessen physical contact, law libraries have had to change how they provide library services. Of these changes, which ones are likely to stick around and what are the long-term implications?

Death of the looseleaf?

I know, we’ve been predicting the death of the looseleaf for years. And yet, despite all predictions, looseleafs are still with us. Will COVID-19 be the thing that kills them off?

The value of having . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Tech-Savvy Law Librarians for the New Era

This submission is part of a column swap with the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) bimonthly member magazine, AALL Spectrum. Published six times a year, AALL Spectrum is designed to further professional development and education within the legal information industry. Slaw and the AALL Spectrum board have agreed to hand-select several columns each year as part of this exchange. 

The role of the law librarian continues to evolve in exciting and challenging ways. In the mid-2000’s, we saw many librarians in the law firm and corporate world expand their work beyond traditional legal research to include responding to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Legal Research Without Official Diplomatic Relations: Venezuela, Iran and North Korea

Once a country has been officially declared as sanctioned, trying to locate, evaluate and access reliable sources of information becomes a struggle. Depending on the levels of sanctions enacted, research of all kinds can be severely curtailed or completely cut. This lack of most, if not all official channels of communication has a severe impact when you are trying to secure pivotal materials or sources, either physical or online; accessing websites and evaluating online information; and contacting vendors, universities, experts, research centers based in these countries.

When it comes to legal research, these impediments and challenges are maximized regardless of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Washington Update: Déjà Vu All Over Again

The United States just endured a second impeachment trial. The outcome was foreseen, but the procedure was necessary. On January 6th both branches of Congress convened for a ceremonial act to tally the states’ certified results. This began at 2pm, but when they got to the votes from Arizona, objections were raised by Republican Representatives and Senators. At the same time, a mob spurred on by President Trump to march to the Capitol, began to break into the building. I was watching online and could hardly believe what I was seeing.

The Capitol Police were overwhelmed and violent people . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information