Thursday, March 31, 2005

Opening Your Own Law Practice

If you are considering opening your own law practice when you graduate, you will need to think about many things that have probably not been covered in your law school classes. To start and keep a successful law practice, you need to know more than the substantive law and how to use Westlaw and LexisNexis. For example, you also need to know about running a small business, including business plans, marketing plans, and budgets. Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog has excellent Advice to a Law Student About Opening a Law Practice.

Even if you don't plan to open your own practice, you will need to know how to work well with people in order to be a good attorney. As Jim points out, "once you get your license, you will have much to learn from court staff, other lawyers, judges, and even from your clients." Read Mom's Advice About Starting a Law Practice, which links to an Oklahoma Bar Association Management Assistance Program article, "Everything I Need To Know About Practicing Law I Learned From My Mom," also by Jim Calloway. Much of this article focuses on communicating with clients. I especially enjoyed the hypothetical dialog between the client trying to explain what he needs in his own way and the impatient attorney who keeps interrupting.

Thanks to Carolyn Elefant of My Shingle for pointing me to Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Blogs: What Can They Do for Lawyers?

Washington Lawyer has a great in-depth article on legal blogs in its April issue. Sarah Kellogg discusses blogs in general, what blawgs (law-related blogs) have to offer their readers, and the reasons that more and more lawyers are blogging. She interviews some of the pre-eminent legal bloggers, and the list of legal blogs at the end of the article is a good starting place for someone who hasn't read many blawgs.

I recommend this article to anyone interested in blawgs — regardless of your level of expertise.


New Blawg Recommendation: Between Lawyers

Between Lawyers is "a new blog on the issues raised when technology, culture and the law intersect." Click on the links below to see how each of the five lawyer-bloggers introduced Between Lawyers on their individual blogs.

Between Lawyers promises to be a very interesting blog. The current topic of discussion is stereotypes and hatred of lawyers, and whether blogs can help change the public's perception of the profession. Read Marty Schwimmer's post, First Thing, Let's Kill All The Lawyers and Denise Howell's response. See also Public Perceptions of Lawyers , a report from the American Bar Association.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Matthew Homann at the [non]billable hour linked to this news release on Why Do We Overcommit?. The article discusses a study by two business-school professors on why people overcommit their time and money. Many of the authors' conclusions could also explain why we procrastinate, a bad habit for law students and lawyers alike, so I quote from the news release here:

Research by two business-school professors reveals that people over-commit because we expect to have more time in the future than we have in the present. Of course, when tomorrow turns into today, we discover that we are too busy to do everything we promised.

. . .

The authors suspect that's because every day's a little different: The nature of time fools us and we "forget" about how things fill our days.

. . .

Zauberman and Lynch continue, "People are consistently surprised to be so busy today. Lacking knowledge of what specific tasks will compete for their time in the future, they act as if new demands will not inevitably arise that are as pressing as those faced today."

In short, the future is ideal: The fridge is stocked, the weather clear, the train runs on schedule and meetings end on time. Today, well, stuff happens.

. . .

Can people learn to predict future time demands more in line with reality? The authors observe, "It is difficult to learn from feedback that time will not be more abundant in the future. Specific activities vary from day to day, so [people] do not learn from feedback that, in aggregate, total demands are similar."

Gal Zauberman and John G. Lynch Jr., Resource Slack and Propensity to Discount Delayed Investments of Time Versus Money, 134 Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 23-37 (Feb. 2005) <>.

Whatever your reason for procrastinating, break it now. You will not have more time in the future — in fact, you will have less. In addition to regular demands on your time, which would keep you as busy as you are today, you will have to deal with everything that you put off today. Plus, those professors who started the semester slowly to make sure you understood the material will have to accelerate their pace to cover everything; you will get new clients and new cases; and other pressing demands will arise. Save yourself some stress and do it now.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Resources for Litigators and Litigators-in-Training

The past couple of weeks I have read about a number of great new sites for litigators. Here they are, in no particular order, along with a couple of my "old" favorites.

The Ten Minute Mentor — sponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers Association and the Texas Bar CLE. This collection of over 100 free instructional video presentations by experienced lawyers includes: Negotiation Techniques for the New Attorney, What to Expect at Your First Criminal Plea, Tips for Conducting an Effective Voir Dire, and Perspectives from the Bench. There are also videos on topics not directly related to litigation.

Twelve Ways Technology Can Make You a Better Trial Lawyer — Although he admits that gadgets will not make you a better trial lawyer, Dave Swanner does use technology to help him in his practice. In this guest post to Notes from the (Legal) Underground, he shares his recommendations for software that can help you manage your cases, prepare for trial, present evidence, and increase your efficiency. He also tells how you can use listservs, internet research and weblogs to stay up-to-date on the law, trial techniques and tips, investigation and research, technology, productivity news and thinking, practice management advice, marketing advice, and (of course) gadgets. And let me join Tom Mighell at Inter Alia in recommending that you also use weblogs for tips on Internet legal research.

The Illinois Trial Practice Weblog — Evan Schaeffer shares tips and techniques for trial lawyers, appearing for the plaintiff or defense, on dozens of litigation-related topics.

South Carolina Trial Law Blog — Although this blog has only been up and running for a few weeks, David Swanner has already accumulated a nice collection of posts on practice management, technology and trial techniques.

Trial Advocacy Blog — The Temple University Law Library created this blog as a forum to provide information and discussion on trial advocacy.

Trial Ad Notes — This blog presents news and resources relating to trial advocacy, with a focus on Washington State, to support the students and faculty of the University of Washington's Trial Advocacy program.

For more blawgs on litigation, go to Litigation in the Legal Subjects & Areas subdirectory of the directory.

Tips from Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog, The Illinois Trial Practice Weblog, and Robert Ambrogi's LawSites.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

More on Advance Directives

Edison Ellenberger at the E-LawLibrary Weblog has posted a good list of resources and articles on Advance Directives such as living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care. I have added some of his suggested links to our Research Tip on The Right to Make Decisions About Medical Care.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

New Law Librarian at SIU

Cornelius Pereira joined the Southern Illinois University School of Law Library professional staff on March 17, 2005, as Acquisitions/Catalog Librarian and Assistant Professor. Neil holds an M.S.L.I.S. degree from the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Additionally, he earned a Masters of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Illinois State University and an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Bombay, India. Neil comes to SIU from Murray State University, where he served as a cataloger.

Please help us welcome Neil to SIU. We have invited Neil to introduce himself here, and he will begin posting soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Research Tip: The Right to Make Decisions About Medical Care

Living wills have been a hot topic at the reference desk lately. Illinois has three statutes that protect the rights of individuals to control decisions relating to their own medical care, including decisions to decline treatment or to direct that it be withdrawn, even if death will result.

The Illinois Living Will Act, 755 ILCS 35/, allows an adult of sound mind to sign a document directing that if he or she "is suffering from a terminal condition, then death delaying procedures shall not be utilized for the prolongation of his life." The Act defines a "death delaying procedure" and specifically provides: "Nutrition and hydration shall not be withdrawn or withheld from a qualified patient if the withdrawal or withholding would result in death solely from dehydration or starvation rather than from the existing terminal condition." 755 ILCS 35/2(d). The Act includes a form of living will that may be used, at 755 ILCS 35/3(e).

The Powers of Attorney for Health Care Law, 755 ILCS 45/Art. IV, allows an individual to delegate the power to be informed about and to make decisions regarding his or her personal care and medical treatment, including the right to decline medical treatment or to direct that it be withdrawn, to a trusted agent, whose power to make personal and health care decisions for the individual will be effective to the same extent as though made by the individual. "Health care" is defined to mean "any care, treatment, service or procedure to maintain, diagnose, treat or provide for the patient's physical or mental health or personal care." 755 ILCS 45/4-4(b). The Powers of Attorney for Health Care Law includes a short form power of attorney for health care that may be used, at 755 ILCS 45/4-10(a), but allows for the use of other forms of power of attorney for health care.

The Health Care Surrogate Act, 755 ILCS 40/, applies to patients who lack decisional capacity and who have no known applicable living will or power of attorney for health care. The Act "is intended to define the circumstances under which private decisions by patients with decisional capacity and by surrogate decision makers on behalf of patients lacking decisional capacity to make medical treatment decisions or to terminate life-sustaining treatment may be made without judicial involvement of any kind."

The Health Care Surrogate Act sets the following priorities among qualified "surrogate decision makers," which are defined at 755 ILCS 40/10: "(1) the patient's guardian of the person; (2) the patient's spouse; (3) any adult son or daughter of the patient; (4) either parent of the patient; (5) any adult brother or sister of the patient; (6) any adult grandchild of the patient; (7) a close friend of the patient; (8) the patient's guardian of the estate." 755 ILCS 40/25(a). "A surrogate decision maker shall make decisions for the patient conforming as closely as possible to what the patient would have done or intended under the circumstances . . . . If the adult patient's wishes are unknown and remain unknown after reasonable efforts to discern them or if the patient is a minor, the decision shall be made on the basis of the patient's best interests as determined by the surrogate decision maker." 755 ILCS 40/20(b)(1).

SIU's Self-Help Legal Center has an information packet on How to Protect Your Assets and Your Wishes for Medical Treatment by Having a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Property in Illinois and a forms supplement that includes a forms guide as well as forms for:

  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care;

  • Durable Power of Attorney for Property;

  • Resignation of an Agent; and

  • Notice of Revocation of a Durable Power of Attorney.

Illinois Legal Aid Online has information on these topics in:

For more information, go to these websites:

Within the SIU Law Library, researchers can find forms for living wills and powers of attorney for health care in the following Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education ("IICLE") publications and IICLE SmartBooks:

  • Guardianship for Disabled Adults, Advance Directives, and Mental Health Law 2004 Edition, on reserve at KFI1306 .A53 2004;

  • Advising Elderly Clients and Their Families 2000 Edition, updated 2003, on reserve at KFI1291.A3 A38 2000;

  • Starting Points: The Fundamentals of Practice in Illinois 2005 Edition, on reserve at KFI1280 .S72 2005 (living will form only).

IICLE SmartBooks are available to SIU Campus Users through the Law Library's Subscription Electronic Resources page.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Law School and the Real World

There are those who say that law school teaches the theory but not the practical skills of being a lawyer. Some law school classes are obvious exceptions - e.g., in Lawyering Skills you learn and improve your legal research and writing skills, and you get a chance to try client interviewing and oral advocacy. In clinics, you may meet with real clients and appear in court under the supervision of a licensed, practicing attorney. There are also other classes in which the focus is on skills rather than theory. And, of course, you will need the background of the substantive law classes, even if they seem merely theoretical to you right now.

But what about all those day-to-day rules and policies that may sometimes seem more annoying than educational? Are they teaching you anything practical that you will need to know when you start practicing law? According to Kristen David Adams, co-author of The Practice of Law School: Getting In and Making the Most of Your Law School Education, many of the seeemingly rigid requirements of law school are imposed by the faculty for the purpose of teaching students the discipline they will need to be competent attorneys. For example, the penalty you will pay in law school for being late or unprepared for class, or for turning in a paper late, is small compared to the penalty you would pay if you showed up late or unprepared for court, or tried to file a document with the court even a minute late.

First year students, who will be participating in their first oral arguments over the next couple of weeks, can take comfort in the fact that all those hours they have spent being questioned by professors in class have prepared them to think on their feet, a skill they will need for oral argument and many other situations in the practice of law. Read about the other hidden educational benefits of law school at All You Really Need to Know You Learned in Law School.

Thanks to The E-LawLibrary Weblog for the link.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Supreme Court and the Internet

Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor and Supreme Court correspondent for Slate, has an interesting analysis at The American Lawyer on the ways that the Internet has changed news reporting about the Supreme Court and, to a lesser extent, how the Supreme Court does business.

In short, the Web has changed Court reporting quite significantly, and changed the way the Court does business almost not at all. Which suggests that–as it did with radio and television before–the Court might largely ignore a whole new medium that could shine some light on its mysterious ways.

Read the entire article: High Court Ethereality. Thanks to for the tip. You may also want to check out the blogs that Ms. Lithwick mentions in her article, Scotusblog and How Appealing, to see how blogs provide very current coverage of Supreme Court proceedings and decisions, as well as links to many relevant documents.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Format Neutral

Most of the law librarians I know try to be format-neutral. By that I mean that we try to help people find the information they need in whatever format it exists — print, LexisNexis or Westlaw, web, etc. We also try to teach students to use as many formats as possible so that they will always be able to find the information they need, but that's a matter for a different posting. Today I want to tell you about the best example of format neutrality that I have witnessed.

A week or two ago, as I arrived at the reference desk to start my shift, another reference librarian was helping a university professor from another department. The professor had come to the law library looking for a very old English statute (1600s, I think). The only information he had was the name of the statute and a date, neither of which is very helpful if you are trying to use a print index to statutes that old. And, not surprisingly, none of our usual electronic databases had anything that old.

My fellow librarian didn't miss a beat. After unsuccessfully attempting to look up the statute in the print sources without a citation – the professor insisted that he shouldn't need one – the librarian turned to the web. Of course, a Google search did not retrieve the statute itself — only something very famous from that century is likely to be on the web. But it did retrieve a paper that cited to the statute, thus making it possible to find the statute in a very old volume in our rare book room.

The moral of the story is that when you are doing legal research, you need to stay flexible. The better you are at using a variety of formats, the better will be your chances of success.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Research Tip: IICLE publications and SmartBooks

Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) handbooks, course materials, and QuickGuides are some of the most popular practice aids in the law library. They include thorough narratives of the law; references to relevant cases, statutes, and regulations; forms and checklists; and practical advice from Illinois attorneys. They are kept current with frequent updates. We keep print IICLEs (pronounced "icicles") covering a wide variety of topics on reserve. To find a specific IICLE title, check the library catalog or the printed lists at the reserve desk.

The IICLE SmartBooks electronic subscription includes all IICLE current practice handbooks, QuickGuides, Flash Points, and select course materials and out-of-print editions. All forms sold separately on CD plus many forms not available anywhere else are also included in a SmartBooks subscription. IICLE SmartBooks and other electronic subscription resources are available from the law library's home page by clicking on Subscription Electronic Resources or using the Research Starting Points jump menu.

The researcher has two options for accessing IICLE SmartBooks, Keyword Search or Browse Publications. To search SmartBooks, enter a keyword or phrase in the "Search for" box and click on the Submit button. You can choose to search all practice areas together or select one of nine areas from the drop-down menu. Put a check in the box to "Search only content with forms available for download."

The default search is for a section that includes all the search terms. Smartbooks recognizes "quotation marks" as requiring that the enclosed terms be searched as a phrase. Searching for a hyphenated search-term will retrieve the term both as a hyphenated word and as a two-word phrase. You can require or exclude a term with a plus (+) or minus (-) sign, respectively.

Click on the Advanced button to customize proximity of search terms (same line, sentence, paragraph, or page), word forms (exact match, plural and possessives, or any word form), and the importance of ranking factors (word order and proximity, database and document frequency, and position in text). Smartbooks also accepts some very sophisticated searches, which are described under Search Tips in the Help section and in a downloadable User Guide.

Once you have run a search, the results page will give you a checkbox option to "Search these answers" to narrow your search. Results are displayed by section, with the best matches first. The publication title and chapter title of the source are listed below the section. Click on the hyperlinked section to view the section content.

From the section display, hyperlinks allow you to browse the entire publication or chapter, download the chapter and/or its supplement in PDF, or browse the sections before and after the current section. If forms are available, there will be links to download a specific form in the section or to see a list of forms available for download in the handbook. Clicking on the link to a form will open an RTF version of the form, which can be edited with most word processing programs.

To Browse Publications, choose a publication title from the drop-down "Select a title to browse" menu. The list of chapters in the publication will appear. Click on a chapter title for a list of sections within that chapter. Click on a section to review the contents. From the section display, you can browse the entire publication or chapter, download the chapter and/or its supplement in PDF, browse the sections before and after the current section, and download available forms. When forms are available, there are links to "Click here for the online list of forms available for download in this handbook" at the top of the list of chapters, the list of sections, and the individual section.

Although you must be using a computer on the SIU campus network, or have your own subscription, to search and view the full contents of SmartBooks, you may search or browse the outlines of the publications without a subscription. Note that this method will not allow you to view the contents of the sections.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Pathfinder on Blawgs

Complementing Law Dawg Blawg's own guide to "Finding Blawgs on Any Legal Subject," Lynn Lenart of the University of Akron School of Law Library has produced "Law Weblogs--Blawgs: A Pathfinder" . It is designed to "provide a starting point for law students and law faculty interested in identifying blogs they wish to monitor" and " to provide basic information for those interested in starting their own weblog." In addition to providing basic information about blawgs, it also lists blogs in the following categories: general legal, law student & law faculty, and legal research. The pathfinder then describes and links to a variety of software to monitor blogs, blog search engines and directories, and free blog hosting sites.

SOURCE: beSpacific

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Checklist for Evaluating Medical Resources on the Internet

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has produced a short list of ten "questions you should consider as you look for health information online. Answering these questions when you visit a new site will help you evaluate the information you find." This guide is especially useful given the growth in the number of such sites and the increased reliance on them for basic health and medical information.

SOURCE: Inter Alia

Problems with Full-Text Email Subscriptions

Twice in the past couple of weeks, Bloglet has had problems sending out the full-text version of Law Dawg Blawg to email subscribers. I have adjusted the settings and hope this will solve the problem. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Dawg Blawg Site-ing: Legal Ethics Forum

Two law professors and a legal ethics lecturer have recently launched the Legal Ethics Forum, a blog focused on legal ethics and the legal profession. A sampling of the topics of recent postings include: issues presented by discovery that a juror in a civil trial was the girl friend of one of the plaintiff's lawyers; complaints by law firm partners about Generation Y associates; and a review of recent cases showing that estate planning practice continues to be source for allegations of malpractice against large firms.

SOURCE: Robert Ambrogi's Lawsites

Library Misbehavior Leads to Lawyer's Suspension

"The Hawaii Supreme Court has suspended a Honolulu attorney from practicing law for six months as a penalty for tearing out pages from documents at the U-S District Court library." See the full story.

Magazine Issue Focuses on Military Law

The January/February 2005 issue of GP/Solo, from the ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section, features many articles focusing on issues relevant to military law in today's environment. Examples include "Preparing Clients for Deployment," "Lawyers and the Call-up," "America's Wounded Warriors," and "Military Family Law: Thirteen Common Questions."

SOURCE: Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog by way of the Dane Co Legal Resource Center Blawg.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Update and Warning on Free Credit Reports

CALL DON'T CLICK: Why it's smarter to order federally mandated free credit reports via telephone, not the Internet

On Monday, we told you how you can order free credit reports from the three nationwide consumer reporting companies. Yesterday BeSpacific reported on a World Privacy Forum report recommending that consumers call the toll free number (877-322-8228) instead of ordering their free credit reports online.

The World Privacy Forum study revealed a number of problems with the free credit report website, including:

  • Only four sites were able to link to the official free credit report site: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. All other sites attempting to link were blocked, requiring users to copy and paste or type in the URL. (The block was lifted Monday after the World Privacy Forum and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse complained to the FTC.)

  • At least 50 imposter web sites, using close misspellings of the official site's URL,, were active and luring unsuspecting consumers to questionable sites. At the time of the report, at least 96 imposter web address domains had been registered.

  • Even using the legitimate sites to obtain free credit reports may result in exposure to unwanted marketing, spam and related privacy intrusions, because of a variety of features and differing privacy policies at the main site and the three credit bureau sites.

Get the full report: CALL DON'T CLICK: Why it's smarter to order federally mandated free credit reports via telephone, not the Internet.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Firefox Security Update - Version 1.0.1

Mozilla Foundation released Firefox version 1.0.1 on February 24, 2005, to deal with some security issues in version 1.0. For more information on the fixes, read the announcement and release notes. The release notes also have information on uninstalling, downloading and installing Firefox.

I learned about this security update from the blog. Mr. Kennedy had been unable to get version 1.0 to update with version 1.0.1, so I uninstalled version 1.0 and two previous versions that were still installed on my laptop, then downloaded and installed version 1.0.1. I did not have any problems. At the reference desk, I tried downloading and installing version 1.0.1 without first uninstalling version 1.0, and I did not have any problems.

If you go the uninstall/reinstall route, you may want to export your booksmarks first using Firefox's Bookmark manager.

Research Tip: HowStuffWorks

I just love How Stuff Works. At the HowStuffWorks website, you can "Learn How [almost] Everything Works!" The topics are not limited to the "Stuff" you might expect, like Computer Stuff, Auto Stuff, Electronics Stuff and Science Stuff, which are indeed four of the categories you can browse. There is also Home Stuff like "How Home Thermostats Work," Health Stuff like "How Your Immune System Works," Money Stuff like "How Poker Works" and "How Credit Reports Work," Travel Stuff like "How Exchange Rates Work," and People Stuff like " How Lawsuits Work" and "How Tipping Works."

Web researchers may find the following articles in the Computer Stuff category helpful:

Each topical category has subcategories and a browseable category library. You can search the entire site or browse the Table of Contents. There is also has a web sampler labeled Stuffo, a feature called called "Have You Seen This?" with links to news items and other websites, a children's magazine called How Stuff Works Express, a Question of the Day, a Fact of the Day and a Quote of the Day. To subscribe to the RSS feed for HowStuffWorks! articles, go to RSS at HowStuffWorks!

HowStuffWorks is a free website, supported by a number of ads. Between the ads and the graphics, pages sometimes load very slowly. If you prefer faster browsing and no advertising, you can subscribe to an ad-free version for $12 per year.

Attorneys' Inadequate Research Leads to Court Lecture

Two Pennsylvania lawyers are probably regretting the "less than exemplary research [and] analysis" they did in support of their motion to dismiss an employment discrimination complaint. According to U.S. District Judge Pratter, the motion to dismiss filed in Spirk v. Centennial School District suffered from numerous flaws. The Court held that defendants' arguments relied on a U.S. District Court case that had been overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court, ignored the plain meaning of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and missed or ignored the Supreme Court's discussion of "the independent concepts of state liability and municipal liability."

Read the full article: Judge Lectures Lawyers on Research for Motion.

My Shingle - Blog Recommendation for Solos and Small Law Firms

If you are thinking of going solo or starting your own firm when you graduate, or if you are already a solo practitioner or in a small firm, you should read MyShingle, a blog for solos and small law firms. MyShingle focuses on a variety of topics important to solo attorneys and and small firms. But any lawyer or law student can benefit from her review of professional responsibility issues and legal ethics cases. Recent posts include:

Carolyn Elefant, who writes MyShingle, is also the author of the recent article, When Lawyers Make Mistakes. MyShingle is also an affiliate of the BLOG Network.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Laptop Use in the Classroom

Ann Althouse, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School has a popular Law Professor blawg called Althouse, in which she writes about "Politics and the aversion to politics, law and law school, high and low culture, and the way things look from Madison, Wisconsin." Wednesday she started this debate about the pros and cons of laptop use in the classroom.

Thanks to BarclayBlog for pointing me this posting.

CALI Lessons in the Computer Lab

It has become impractical to keep all of the CALI lessons loaded on the law library’s lab computers. We recommend that you use the lessons on the CALI website. If the lesson you need is not on the CALI website, you can borrow a CALI CD from the reserve desk to do the lesson in the computer lab. If you have not previously registered at the CALI site, you will need an authorization code to register and use the CALI web lessons. The authorization code is available from the reference librarians.

New Disability Rights Law Page on Law Library Website

We have added a new topical page on Disability Rights Law to the SIU Law Library's website. The library compiles and annotates pages of web resources to assist researchers in finding quality legal research sources. To see the current list of topical pages, click on Topical Legal Web Sites in the upper right corner of the library's home page. SIU School of Law faculty and students are welcome to recommend links for inclusion on an existing page or suggest topics for new pages.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Famous Trials Web Site

To support the seminar in famous trials that he teaches at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Prof. Doug Linder has developed the Famous Trials Web Site, which he claims is "the Web’s largest and most visited collection of original essays, images, and primary documents pertaining to great trials." This fascinating resource begins with the Trial of Socrates (399 B.C.), continues through the Salem Witchcraft Trials (1692), the Amistad Trials (1839–40), the Three Trials of Oscar Wilde (1895), and the Black Sox Trial (1921), and ends with the LAPD Officers’ (King Beating) (1992) and O.J. Simpson (1995) trials, nearly forty in all.

Linder indicates that as the site has developed over the years, he has come to "see my principal audience as high school, college, and law school instructors and students." While there are unique items for each trial, he provides a trial commentary and chronology for each, as well as excerpted trial transcripts ("I’ve tried to present some of the most important and compelling testimony, and leave out materials that are less significant. . . ."), appellate decisions, links to images, related links, and a bibliography.

SOURCE: Law Librarian Blog

Spam Filter Nearly Nets Sanctions for Lawyer

Technology Alert: "A plaintiffs’ attorney . . . who missed a court date because his firm’s spam blocking software automatically sidetracked the court’s e-mail notice, has narrowly escaped being sanctioned for failing to appear at the scheduled status conference." Fortunately the court "accepted the explanation and concluded that sanctions, which could have included dismissal of the case, were not warranted." See here for full story.

SOURCE: Inter Alia

Guide to Removing Personal Data from Websites & Subscription Services

Online Data Brokers: How Consumers Can Opt Out of Directory Assistance and Non-public Information, a recently updated guide from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, provides background on how consumers can remove their personal data from websites and subscription services and offers a chart that describes "the specific procedure required by 17 free and fee-based websites and services which aggregate and provide access to a range of personal data."

SOURCE: beSpacific