Thursday, November 30, 2006

NYU Publishes New Guide to Foreign & International Citations

The N.Y.U. Journal of International Law and Politics has published the first edition of its Guide to Foreign and International Legal Citation (2006) (PDF-256 pgs). According to the foreword, the Guide is "mainly comprised of foreign and international legal citations relying on the source jurisdiction’s internal citation system rather than an externally imposed standardized form." It is arranged alphabetically by jurisdiction, followed by citation guides for international organizations and related tribunals (e.g., UN, EU, WTO), international and regional tribunals (e.g., ICJ), and treaties.

The authors believe that the Guide will serve multiple purposes:
  • First, the Guide provides persons intending to submit legal materials to a
    foreign jurisdiction or international forum the ability to cite such
    materials according to the jurisdiction’s or forum’s own standards.
  • Second, and perhaps more usefully, the Guide will allow persons
    unfamiliar with foreign and international citation standards (but wanting to
    study or apply foreign or international legal material or using such standards
    in their own work) the ability to understand and interpret the import of such
    standards in that jurisdiction’s or forum’s own terms.
  • Third, on a more prudential level, with this information, scholars, judges,
    and practicing lawyers faced with such standards will be able to more easily
    identify and locate the source from the source jurisdiction according to its
    own, more familiar citation norms.
  • Finally, in achieving these goals, the Guide aims to respect the idiosyncrasies among academic citation traditions among different jurisdictions.

SOURCE: beSpacific

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Difference Between Official and Unannotated Statutory Codes


Some researchers assume that official and unannotated codes are the same thing. They are not the same, and they are used for different purposes. To eliminate any confusion, I will first explain the difference between official and unannotated codes, and then discuss when each should be used.

An official code is one that is published by the government or at its direction. Unofficial codes are sometimes called commercial codes, and they are published by commercial publishers without government direction.

Annotated codes are simply codes that have annotations—references to related judicial decisions, administrative materials, and secondary authorities—in addition to the text of the statutes. Unannotated codes have just the text of the statutes, usually with brief notes indicating when each section was added or amended.

All versions of the same jurisdiction's statutory code, whether official or unofficial, annotated or unannotated, use the same numbering scheme. You can use the same citation to look up a statute in any current code, even though the code abbreviation and date parenthetical are different. That is why you don't need parallel citations for statutes.

Although most official codes are unannotated and most unofficial codes are annotated, that is not always the case. Some of you have already used an unofficial unannotated code on Westlaw. For Illinois, the database IL-ST-ANN is the annotated code and IL-ST is the unannotated code. They are both unofficial.

The advantage of using an unannotated code is that it is much smaller. When you search an unannotated code online, you are only searching the statute, so you don't get false search results where your terms appear only in the annotations and not in the text of the statute.

The importance of official codes is that many publishers, including most law school journals and law reviews, require you to cite to the official code if the statute has been around long enough to have been incorporated into the official code. Since all the codes for a jurisdiction are numbered the same, you can do all your research in an unofficial code and use the official code for your final citation check—to be sure that your cited statutes are included in the unannotated code and to get the date for the parenthetical.

See also Printing Just the Statute and Searching Just the Text of Statutes.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sam Is Law Dog of the Week

dog photo

This week's SIU Law Dog is Sam, who belongs to Rick Cutler and Kim Dulin, a friend of the SIU law library. Sam lives with Lexi and some cats, at whom he only barks. Click on Sam's photo to see his"Law Dog of the Week" page.

To see photos of all previous Law Dogs of the Week, visit our Gallery of SIU Law Dogs, which you can find under Related Links in the sidebar. See our Call for Photos for instructions on submitting your SIU Law Dog photo.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse

photo of Supreme Court building showing maxim - Equal Justice Under Law

The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse at Washington University Law provides access to documents and information about civil rights cases via its free website. The Clearinghouse focuses on cases seeking change (injunctive relief), rather than cases seeking money damages.

For each category of case, the goal is a close-to-comprehensive catalog of cases in which plaintiffs have been awarded or have negotiated policy or operational change. The categories include:

  • Prison and Jail Conditions,
  • Election/Voting Rights,
  • Juvenile Institutions,
  • Mental Health and Mental Retardation Facilities,
  • Immigration,
  • Nursing Home Conditions,
  • Child Welfare,
  • Police Practices,
  • Public Housing,
  • School Desegregation,
  • and others.

The site currently has at least partial information, including a litigation summary, for 1009 cases; 6088 dockets, complaints, filings, settlements, court orders, and other documents; and citations to 3852 opinions. There are also case studies of individual litigations, written by law students, and other articles.

The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse is searchable by case name; case type, issue, and cause of action; docket number; court or jurisdiction; facility name; or name of attorney, monitor, or judge.

See Margo Schlanger and Denise Lieberman, Using Court Records for Research, Teaching, and Policymaking: The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, 75 UMKC L. Rev. 153 (2006) for more information about the Clearinghouse.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New Lessons and Game from CALI

CALI logo

CALI has released many new lessons and a game in the past couple of months. Most of the lessons are about remedies and family-law topics. There is also a lesson in the legal writing category for those of you who are ready to "move beyond the basics" in legal writing.

Punctuation and Grammar: Advanced covers the correct use of colons, hyphens and dashes, passive voice, parallelism, and placement of modifiers. If you are not yet ready for advanced punctuation and grammar, you may want to start with Punctuation and Grammar Basics for Law Students, which "reviews the most common writing errors students make and explains the basic rules that will help you avoid mistakes." Both lessons were written by Wayne Schiess, Director of Legal Writing, University of Texas School of Law.

CALI logo

The Supreme Court Justice Game has two levels. At the first level, players match the names of the nine Justices to their likenesses in the portrait. At the second level, you must choose which of three short quotations from Supreme Court decisions was not written by each Justice.

Disclosure: As a member of the CALI editorial board, I may be slightly biased. Check out these lessons and the game for yourself; I think you will agree with my recommendation.

Celebrating Thanksgiving with the Original Proclamation

On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation declaring Thursday, November 26, 1789, be set aside as a day of public thanksgiving by the people of the United States. You can see an image of Washington's original letter which contained this first Thanksgiving Proclamation (and read a transcription of this proclamation) by visiting the Papers of George Washington project website maintained by the University of Virginia's Alderman Library.

Thanks to Ernster the Virtual Library Cat of Hofstra's Deane Law Library for pointing the way.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Compliance Resource for Small Businesses logo bills itself as the "Official Business Link to the U.S. Government." The website is managed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in partnership with 21 other federal agencies, and is intended to provide a single access point to government services and information to help businesses comply with federal regulations. has a search engine for compliance information from all federal agencies. Users can also browse or search by industry or business topic. The Business Resource Library has links to federal, state, and local government information on business topics. The home page also has sections for Federal Forms, Compliance Contacts, State Compliance Resources, SBA National Ombudsman, and other SBA resources.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dottie Is Law Dog of the Week

dog photo

This week's SIU Law Dog is Dottie, who belongs to Linda Colón, a first-year law student at SIU. Click on Dottie's photo to see her "Law Dog of the Week" page.

To see photos of all previous Law Dogs of the Week, visit our Gallery of SIU Law Dogs, which you can find under Related Links in the sidebar. See our Call for Photos for instructions on submitting your SIU Law Dog photo.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

New Tools for Finding Blawgs

blawg logo

Friday, an upgraded and redesigned Blawg was unveiled. It has been moved to a faster, more stable platform and can now be found at Blawg's calculations for determining "Most Popular Legal Blogs" have been refined, and each category in the directory is now automatically sorted by popularity.

Blawg's front page also has an option to Search the Blawgosphere, a Featured Feed, a Featured Podcast, and a list of Recently Added Blogs, to which you can subscribe. To learn about features and functions that are still in the pipeline, visit the Blawg blog or subscribe to its feed.

blawgsearch logo

Wednesday, Robert Ambrogi's LawSites had news that Justia would be introducing BlawgSearch, a search engine for legal blogs. BlawgSearch currently indexes about 1,000 blawgs, with an emphasis on academic and technology blawgs according to Ambrogi.

The BlawgSearch directory is arranged by category and jurisdiction, each of which has its own feed to which you can subscribe. The front page also lists the Most Popular Blawgs and Recent Blawg Posts, highlights a Featured Blawger, and displays clouds of recent search terms and blawg post tags.

See also Finding Blawgs on Any Legal Topic.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Constitution Finder

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat at Hofstra's Dean Law Library blog, reminds us of the Constitution Finder, a database maintained by the University of Richmond School of Law that "offers constitutions, charters, amendments, and other related documents. Nations of the world are linked to their constitutional text posted somewhere on the Internet." An easy to use pull-down menu provides links to, as Ernster reminds us, "English translations of over 200 countries' constitutions. . . . Each links to that nation's current constitution in both English and the native language, and in many cases to historical constitutions and other related documents from official government web sites."

So a tip of the Law Dawg's hat to Ernster the Virtual Library Cat for a great research suggestion.

New Research Guide for the Law of Switzerland

A new guide to the "Swiss Legal System and Research" by Gregory M. Bovey (Ph.D.. Univ. of Lausanne, and LL.M. in International Legal Studies, NYU), an attorney at Schellenberg Wittmer in Geneva, is available on GlobaLex, a research portal focused on international, comparative, and foreign law research that is produced through the Hauser Global Law School Program at NYU School of Law.

SOURCE: Barclay Blog

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Legalese in the Age of IM

Roger W. Hughes is a partner in the Harlingen, Texas, law firm of Adams & Graham, L.L.P., and board certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He claims that he has had his sense of humor surgically removed, but apparently the procedure was not successful.

Mr. Hughes has an article in the summer 2006 issue of The Appellate Advocate: State Bar of Texas Appellate Section Report in which he predicts that appellate briefs and opinions will soon be written using IM acronyms.

For example, an appellate lawyer might argue that the trial court's decision, if adopted, would OFG (open the flood gates) to more litigation. The Court might agree and reverse WOE (without explanation), issuing an opinion short enough to be sent directly to cell phones.

Read Legalese in the Age of IM (Instant Messaging) to learn more appellate acronyms, such as ASSA, 2SL, and Aff'd EDNSU.

Thanks to LexLibris for the link.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Holiday Humor from the LawTunes

Merry Lexmas From The Lawtunes

Lawrence Savell, of LawTunes fame, has released his third CD of original "allegedly-humorous" law-related rock-and-roll holiday songs, "Merry Lexmas From The LawTunes." His two previous CDs were "The Lawyer's Holiday Humor Album" and "Legal Holidaze." The CDs can be purchased individually or as part of the LawTunes Holiday Trio at

The 15 tracks on "Merry Lexmas From The Lawtunes" include: "Another Billable Christmas," "Santa's Headhunter's Calling," "Livin' Life In Six Minutes," "Merry Lexmas, Baby," "I Got A Footnote In My Stocking," "Ridin' On A Red-Eye With Santa On Christmas Eve," "Hey, Santa, I Appeal," "We're All Just Elves," "So If Your Client's Name Is Santa," "Billable Christmas Blues," "Merry Lexmas Time," "You Don't Wanna Cross Santa," "Down the Halls of Nussbaum, Hanley" (parody of "Deck The Halls"), "The Twelve Days of Lexmas" (parody of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"), and "Billin' On Christmas Eve."

Savell's songs are part of an "effort to make people think a little differently about lawyers, and show that attorneys are not necessarily humorless, boring, or incapable of self-deprecation (success on at least the last item is guaranteed)." Learn more about the LawTunes, listen to sound clips, and order the CDs at

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Zelda Is Law Dog of the Week

dog photo

This week's SIU Law Dog is Zelda, who belongs to Adam and Maribeth Ahne. Adam is a first-year law student at SIU. Zelda is shown here in her skunk outfit for Halloween. Click on Zelda's photo to see her "Law Dog of the Week" page.

To see photos of all previous Law Dogs of the Week, visit our Gallery of SIU Law Dogs, which you can find under Related Links in the sidebar. See our Call for Photos for instructions on submitting your SIU Law Dog photo.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Congratulations to Student Authors

gold star

Congratulations to SIU 3L students W. Kyle Simonton, James D. Stivers, and Sameer S. Vohra, each of whom had commentaries published in the September 2006 issue of the Journal of Legal Medicine. W. Wylie Blair, SIU Law class of 2005, also had a paper published.

Current issues of the Journal are available on reserve in the law library and on Westlaw.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Research Tip: Printing Just the Statute


When you retrieve a statute on Westlaw or LexisNexis, you get not only the statute, but also all the annotations added by the company. The annotations are helpful for expanding your research, but they can add many pages to your print job. Follow the instructions below to print a statute without the annotations.

On Westlaw, to print just the statute itself you must limit the display before you go to the print options. In the lower right corner, click on Tools and select Limit Display by Fields. To print a statute without annotations, click in the box to the left of Substantive-Doc and then click on the OK button at the bottom of the screen.

On LexisNexis, you can either customize the document view and then print, or go into print and then customize the view. To customize the document view before printing, click on Custom in the upper left corner. To print a statute without annotations, clear all the checkboxes except the box for the Unanno segment and click on the OK button. If you go into the LexisNexis print options first, choose Custom from the Document View drop-down menu and select the segments to be printed.

See also Searching Just the Text of Statutes.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mocha Is Law Dog of the Week

dog photo

This week's SIU Law Dog is Mocha, who belongs to Kelly Bapst, a first-year law student at SIU. Mocha is a 6-year-old cocker spaniel/poodle mix. She loves going on walks, chasing squirrels, and going for car rides. Click on Mocha's photo to see her "Law Dog of the Week" page.

To see photos of all previous Law Dogs of the Week, visit our Gallery of SIU Law Dogs, which you can find under Related Links in the sidebar. See our Call for Photos for instructions on submitting your SIU Law Dog photo.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Vote Tuesday

ballot box

The Southern Illinoisan had a Voter's Guide with sample ballots in this morning's paper. We have posted it on the bulletin board in the law library for your reference. More sample ballots are also supposed to be available on The Southern's Election 2006 web page, but they are not there yet.

You can also find voter information at:

If you are on the SIUC campus network, you can also access the Southern Illinoisan and other news sources in the NewsBank InfoWeb.

The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law

book cover

Mark Herrmann, The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law (ABA 2006).

This slim volume of blunt, but humorous, advice for new law firm associates is right on target. The curmudgeon's advice covers assignments that a new associate is likely to receive, including research, writing, defending depositions, and arguing an appeal, as well as everyday matters such as billing, etiquette, what to expect from an assistant, and how to treat a client.

I recommend this book for anyone about to begin work at a law firm as an associate or summer associate, and for any second- or third-year law student. The cover price seems high, but it is worth it to have this information before you begin employment with a firm you want to impress. The price is discounted for members of the ABA's section of litigation or law student division.

You can see the table of contents and read chapter one at the ABA website, and the Law Blog is running a series of excerpts this week:

You can check out The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law in the law library at KF300 .H47 2006.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Law Professors' Research Resources

One of the best reasons to read blogs by law professors and attorneys is to learn about resources that they use and recommend. The Law Librarian Blog has compiled an excellent list of Research Resources Identified by Law Professor Blogs Network Editors. Check the list for your field of interest. There is something for almost everyone.