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Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns

Tips Tuesday: What Is a Regnal Year in British Legislation?

While British legislation is now cited in the format Northern Ireland Act 1998 (UK), s 5, pre-1963 legislation (which is more likely to be referred to in Canadian courts than the newer legislation) is slightly more complicated. 1

Older British legislation is cited using a regnal year, e.g. Statute of Frauds, 1677, 29 Car II, c 3. The regnal year consists of the shortened version of the monarch’s name (in this case Car II for Charles II where “Car” is the shortened version of Carolus, the Latin for Charles) preceded by a number or numbers indicating the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Foreign Domestic Legal Research Requires a Strategy

In my current and previous positions, I have worked closely with numerous researchers searching for any type of legal information from foreign countries or other domestic jurisdictions. Despite their different requests, one thing is a constant: legal research on a foreign/domestic jurisdiction requires a research strategy. Even if you believe that you are “just” looking for a case, piece of legislation, policy, regulation, historical information, etc., once your legal research includes another domestic jurisdiction, you need to spend some extra time thinking about a series of questions which go beyond the “document” you are interested in. Those questions include, not . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

“Open Access & Legal Scholarship” Revisited: Part I

In 2011, the TALL Quarterly published a brief article authored by John Bolan, Public Services Librarian at the Bora Laskin Law Library (University of Toronto). The article addressed the burgeoning open access movement for scholarly literature generally, with a focus on the lack and lag of open access literature within the discipline of law and potential areas of growth in the field. Bolan wrote, “As befits the field of law, there are, however, exceptions to the exceptions that are worth noting.” With more than 10 years since Bolan’s article was published, this post reviews the exceptions highlighted as potential areas . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Considering the Time Element in Law

Law is a unique and important dataset: to a large degree it is a record of governance. It also tends to be conservative, so people can know what is likely to happen in the future based on what has happened in the past. Structurally, it has elements in common with other large text-based collections, such as aggregations of literary works. However, socially it has more in common with other high stakes bodies of information like medical research, with concerns like privacy and direct impact on people’s lives being necessary considerations. These attributes combine to make law as data a strange . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Technology

Make Your Presentations Sing! Six Lessons From the Musical SIX

Why is the average powerpoint presentation painfully dull while the average musical is something theatergoers will pay loads of money to experience? How is it that the musical genre can take a topic like Alexander Hamilton or the six wives of Henry VIII and make textbook history into a memorable hit? Aside from the obvious advantages of singing, dancing, and glitzy costumes, the musical SIX gives us a clearly defined roadmap: we will tell you the stories of the six wives of Henry VIII, in order. This roadmap is repeated a few times during the show, cementing the women’s stories . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education, Legal Information

2022 Year-End Roundup of U.S. and Other Legal Research Information

The U.S. mid-term elections are almost over except for the litigation from sore losers. The new Congress will be more diverse and probably more divisive. The old Congress is working on finishing up business by the end of the year, including funding the government. I’m hoping the new Congress will be able to work better together, but I am not betting on it.

The Law Library of Congress continues to post accurate and timely legal information on a variety of subjects in their In Custudio Legis blog. On November 30th Michael Chalupovitsch, a Foreign Law Specialist at the Law . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Access to Justice and Legal Research Without Law Schools: The Case of Alaska

In the legal community within the United States, Alaska has a unique feature. With a population of over 700,000 people and rich in natural resources, the largest state in the country has no law school. This unique situation poses a number of salient issues and challenges which Alaskans have to deal with on a daily basis. Broadly speaking, not having a law school in Alaska affects access and preservation of the state’s legal history and its current development, accessibility to territorial archives, meaningful inclusion of underrepresented voices, knowledge of indigenous peoples’ legal traditions, navigating a complex legal system, remote communities’ . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Late-Fall U.S. Legal Information Roundup

Our U. S. midterm elections are almost over and it looks like things will be getting back to a new normal in Washington, DC. During this tense and contentious season my colleagues at the Law Library of Congress continued to publish excellent legal research information guides and other information.

On November 16th they announced their Human Rights Day Lecture to be held on December 8th. “This event will feature a panel discussion concerning two foundational legal documents, Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest.”

On November 7 they posted the November top tips In Custodia . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

On Time in Teaching

Timing is one of the hardest parts of teaching. At the very beginning of lesson planning, I sometimes have the fear that I cannot fill the time, but my more common problem is having too much content and too little time. I’ve learned to plan my timing down to five-minute increments, to hold a pause for questions far longer than I would like, and to set expectations and then set a visible timer.

When I write or revise my class plans, I mark the parts of the plan with time limits, rounded to the nearest five minutes. Normally, I think . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education, Legal Information

Are We Simply Keeping Up? Discussing Predictive Searching With New Legal Researchers

“Only by understanding the biases of the media through which we engage with the world can we differentiate between what we intend, and what the machines we’re using intend for us–whether they or their programmers even know it.”[1]

Slaw previously published an excellent post written by Amelia Landenberger, Legal Information Librarian at the Boston University Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries. It outlines a research activity where students are asked to find a pair of black dress shoes online. The exercise reveals the complexity behind a simple research question. Students learn about personal bias, what questions to ask prior to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Fall 2022 Legal Information Update From Washington, DC

I have spent the last five months moving out of Washington DC and back to Milwaukee WI. That’s where I met Simon Fodden many years ago. We later reconnected when he asked me to start blogging for SLAW. These transition moving months have been very chaotic both personally and nationally. The trauma of viewing the insurrection on January 6th continues to linger. Watching the subsequent hearings of the United States Select Committee on the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol has been riveting and eye opening. The videos are available on the Committee’s website. More hearings should . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information