Saturday, March 31, 2007

Google Maps Now Has Swimming Directions

... or someone with a sense of humor.

Ask Google Maps for driving directions from New York, NY, to Dublin, Ireland, and you will receive painstakingly detailed directions. Step 23 — of 85 — tells you to "Swim across the Atlantic Ocean     3,462 mi." Distances are shown in miles all the way to Dublin. The return trip shows distances in kilometers, requiring you to "Swim across the Atlantic Ocean     5,572 mi."

Google map

This item has been going around the blogs. I saw it on Boing Boing.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Podcasting the Law in Plain English


Nolo is a publisher of law books, legal forms, and legal software for nonlawyers. Although the books are written in plain language, they are thorough enough for a lawyer or law student to use to get a quick overview of an unfamiliar legal topic. The law library has many Nolo books in its self-help collection, which you can borrow with your law library card.

Nolo also provides free information through “Your Legal Companion” pages and Nolo Podcasts, covering a variety of topics in the areas of Business & Human Resources; Patents, Copyright & Art, Wills & Estate Planning; Property & Money; Family Law & Immigration; and Rights & Disputes. Nolo also makes transcripts of its podcasts available.

In the podcasts, authors of Nolo books answer common questions in their areas of expertise. Recent podcasts have included:

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

This Week's Featured Book

To celebrate April Fools' Day, our Featured Book of the Week is Lawyers: Jokes, Quotes, and Anecdotes, edited by Patrick Regan and published by Barnes & Noble.

“Lawyers are everywhere, and it seems you can't make a move - in your family, business, or personal life - without them. Whether you make money with the help of a lawyer or lose it, get convicted or acquitted, you'll find Lawyers: Jokes, Quotes, and Anecdotes soothing relief in a love-hate relationship that baffles just about everybody, including lawyers. This collection of true stories, great jokes, and witty (if sometimes sardonic) quotes will give any client or lawyer a lighthearted perspective on the ins and outs of the legal profession.” - From the Publisher

Lawyers: Jokes, Quotes, and Anecdotes will be available to borrow after Friday, April 6, 2007.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Importance of Proofreading---and Some Tips

The other night I heard a student telling another how she had avoided a proofreading calamity. During class that night, each student had to get up and argue in support of a motion they had previously turned in. The student realized that she had inadvertently left out the word "not," so she covered her error by arguing the other side of the case. Of course, in the real world, you can't just switch sides.

The student's story reminded me of an unemployment case I attended years ago. The woman seeking unemployment benefits was a law student who had been fired for incompetence by her law-firm employer. Although several errors were given as grounds for her firing, the beginning of the firm's lack of confidence in her abilities stemmed from a near-perfect memo she had prepared. Howevere, she had left out the word "not" in the subject line of the memo. Although the remainder of the memo correctly stated the law, the most prominent sentence was wrong because of one little word.

The difficulty of proofreading is that when you try to proofread something on which you have been working for a long time, you sometimes see what you meant to write, instead of what you did write, so you can miss important errors. I try to avoid this problem by not working on the project for a day or two before my final proofreading. Some people proofread in a different font or font size than they have used while writing. Others find that printing the document forproofreading, instead of reading it on the screen, does the trick.

Eric Waltmire recently posted his tip for How to Proofread Perfectly. Eric recommends having your computer read the document to you while you read along. See Eric Waltmire's Blog for details. (Eric is an SIU Law alum.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

New law librarian blog: All-Purpose BiblioBlawg logo

Meg Kribble, a reference librarian at Nova Southeastern University Law Library, has launched the All-Purpose BiblioBlawg. Meg has been a law librarian for about a year and has many interesting ideas. Listen to her give a tour of Second Life for Jim Milles on Check This Out! episode 59 and see her photos on Flickr.

In addition to law, librarianship, and legal research topics, future topics may include felines by the names of Rufus and Emma, second-sock syndrome, politics, Battlestar Galactica, Mac enthusiasm, video links, other amusing or enlightening topics. I can't wait. See Meg's introductory post for more information and subscribe to the All-Purpose Biblioblawg.

Congratulations, Meg!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ragsdale Is Law Cat of the Week

cat photo

This week's SIU Law Cat is Ragsdale, who belongs to Carla Chatham, who works in the law library. Ragsdale lives with Bonnie & Clyde, Mini, and Chief. Click on the photo to see more images of Ragsdale.

To see photos of all previous Law Dogs and Cats of the Week, visit our Gallery of SIU Law Dogs and Cats, which you can find under "Related Links" in the sidebar. See Submitting Your SIU Law Dog and Cat Photos for instructions.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Featured Book of the Week

Flying Solo: A Survival Guide for the Solo and Small Firm Lawyer, edited by K. William Gibson and published by the ABA is this week's featured book.

“Newly revised and completely updated, the fourth edition of this comprehensive guide includes practical information gathered from a wide range of contributors, including successful solo practitioners, law firm consultants, state and local bar practice management advisors, and law school professors. All the contributors share tips and advice that can be easily implemented in your solo or small-firm practice. This classic ABA book first walks you through a step-by-step analysis of the decision to start a solo practice, including choosing a practice focus. It then provides tools to help you with financial issues including banking and billing; operations issues such as staffing and office location and design decisions; technology for the small law office; and marketing and client relations. What's more, the final section on quality of life issues puts it all into perspective. Whether you're thinking of going solo, new to the solo life, or a seasoned practitioner, Flying Solo provides time-tested answers to real-life questions.” - Book Description

“Bill Gibson offers a blueprint formula for building a successful personal injury practice. Loaded with valuable tips, strategies, ideas and solutions, this book is a 'must-have' for solo practitioners and small personal injury firms. You'll turn to it time and again for Gibson's helpful guidance, as well as for his 'ready-to-use' letters, worksheets and forms. I wish it had been available when I started my practice.” – Philip H. Corboy, Corboy & Demetrio Chicago, IL

Flying Solo will be available to borrow after Friday, March 30, 2007 and is on display on top of the first shelves to the left of the Rare Book Room.

Justia Tracks Regulations logo

Just last month I posted an item about the free tools for lawyers and other legal researchers that Justia had been adding to its site, and now they have added another.

Justia Regulation Tracker allows you to search, browse, and track Federal Register documents. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of all documents from a specific federal agency or refine the feed's focus to a particular type of document, such as rules, administrative orders, notices, proposed rules, executive orders, and proclamations. You can also run a search and subscribe to a feed of regulatory documents containing your search terms.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

ABA Litigation Podcast


The American Bar Association's Section of Litigation has a podcast of "practical tips, tactics, and interviews with today's leading trial attorneys." Each biweekly episode is less than ten minutes long—a very easy way to pick up some practical tips.

Download episodes of the Litigation Podcast: Tips & Tactics for the Practicing Trial Lawyer or subscribe via iTunes or a newsreader or podcatcher. For example:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Appellate Practice Tip of the Week: "Clearly"

The North Dakota Supreme Court posts an "Appellate Practice Tip of the Week" on its website, along with other helpful information for attorneys and members of the public. This week's Appellate Practice Tip is:

The word "clearly" is no substitute for authority or logic.

There are also tips specific to the record, stays, briefs, the appendix, mootness, oral argument, petitions for rehearing, and the Administrative Agencies Practice Act. Some other Appellate Practice Tips to consider as you finalize your brief:

  • Never use many words when a few will do. A longer brief is not necessarily a better brief.
  • Make sure cases and statutes are cited correctly. Make sure cases cited are still good law.
  • At the end of your brief, state clearly and concisely what specific action you are seeking from the appellate court.
  • "Always use your computer's spell check, and never trust it." —Steve Wilbers, Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Proofread. Then proofread again.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Miller Cats Are Law Cats of the Week

cat photo

This week's SIU Law Cats are Verona, KiKi, and Jasmine, who belong to Jane Miller's family. Jane works in the law library. When she sent me this photo in December, they only had three watch cats. We will feature the newest Miller cat in a few weeks.

To see photos of all previous Law Dogs and Cats of the Week, visit our Gallery of SIU Law Dogs and Cats, which you can find under "Related Links" in the sidebar. See Submitting Your SIU Law Dog and Cat Photos for instructions.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

More Moot Court Congratulations

gold star

Congratulations to the two SIU teams who competed in the McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition at the University of Minnesota March 1–3.

The 3L team of Nate Bailey, Marty Offutt, and Erica Stanmar made the "sweet 16" seeded tenth but was narrowly defeated by the team that went on to win the competition. Nate, Marty, and Erica had fifth best brief out of 40, and Marty Offutt was ranked third best oralist.

The 2L team of Brady Barke, Natalie Gregory, and Jason Leonard went 2 and 1 on oral argument scores in the preliminary rounds. Natalie Gregory was ranked fifth best oralist.

Friday, March 16, 2007

This Week's Featured Book

Inheritance Law and the Evolving Family by Ralph C. Brashier and published by Temple University Press is this week's Featured Book.

“Nontraditional families are today an important part of American family life. Yet when a loved one dies, our inheritance laws are often stingy even towards survivors in the nuclear family. With humor, enthusiasm, and a bit of righteous outrage, Ralph C. Brashier explores how probate laws ignore gender roles and marital contributions of the spouse, often to the detriment of the surviving widow; how probate laws pretend that unmarried couples—particularly gay and lesbian ones—do not exist; how probate laws allow a parent to disinherit even the neediest child; and how probate laws for nonmarital children, adopted children, and children born of surrogacy or other forms of assisted reproductive technology are in flux or simply don't exist. A thoughtful examination of the current state of probate law and the inability of legislators to recognize and provide for the broad range of families in America today, this book will be read by those with an interest in the relationship between families and the law across a wide range of academic disciplines.” - Book Description

“This is an enlightening survey of American inheritance laws. Brashier outlines how our laws differ in troubling ways from common features of inheritance laws in other countries and also notes how our laws have largely not yet adapted to unmarried partner relationships. He makes sensible recommendations about how our laws should be changed.” - J. Thomas Oldham, John H. Freeman Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center

Inheritance Law and the Evolving Family is on display on top of the first shelves to the left of the Rare Book Room and will be available to borrow after Friday, March 23, 2007.

Research Guides on Administrative Regulations


You can find more Research Guides, Research Tips, and other resources through the SIU Law Library website.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mind-Mapping Articles

mind map of Lawyering Skills research plan

I recently wrote a column on mind mapping for Law Library Journal. I received some nice feedback from other librarians, as well as references to two additional articles:

Click on the map above to see the mind maps I used for our 2006 Lawyering Skills classes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Audio Research Guide on Practice Aids


We have added an audio research guide on practice aids to the SIU Law Library website. Listen to Introduction to Practice Aids. Duration of audio: ~10.5 minutes. Outline with links and Transcript of the recording.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Congratulations, Moot Court Competitors

gold star

Congratulations to the two SIU Law teams who competed in the Midwest Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association, in Chicago last weekend.

Joe Roark and Nick Williams, who teamed with Jamie McCarthy in the preliminary rounds, made it to the final round, and the team's brief placed third. Joe Roark was named best oralist in the competition.

Jennifer Kelly, Greg Odom, and Sarah Ward advanced to the semi-final round before being defeated by the winning team.

Well done, students!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Break the Procrastination Habit


Do you procrastinate? Would you like to stop? Check out “Avoiding Procrastination,” a recent podcast episode of David Maister's Career Development series. This 15-minute audio recording is full of suggestions for controlling procrastination—a challenge for many professionals—and getting things done. As Prof. Maister explains, “A completed assignment that is adequate is better than the ‘best thing you've ever done’ that exists only in your head.” You can download this podcast and listen to it on your MP3 player or on your computer.

I discovered recently while writing an article about podcasts. David Maister is an author, speaker, consultant, and former Harvard Business School professor. His podcast is designed as a Business Masterclass. Each masterclass is a series of short podcast episodes dealing with various professional business topics. The series currently available on the site include Career Development; Strategy in Professional Businesses; Managing Professionals: Attitudes, Skills and Behaviors; and Marketing Professional Services. The site also has a blog, called “Passion, People and Principles,” and other materials for business professionals.

Related items:

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bobby Is Law Cat of the Week

cat photo

This week's SIU Law Cat is Bobby, who belongs to Nate and Sharon Bailey and lives with Chipper, a previous SIU Law Dog of the Week. Bobby was rescued as a newborn kitten, along with his brother Murphy, and is named after Bobby Cox of the Atlanta Braves. Click on the photo here to see more pictures of Bobby.

To see photos of all previous Law Dogs and Cats of the Week, visit our Gallery of SIU Law Dogs and Cats, which you can find under "Related Links" in the sidebar. See Submitting Your SIU Law Dog and Cat Photos for instructions.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Featured Book of the Week

This week’s Featured Book is Law & Internet Cultures by Kathy Bowrey and published by Cambridge University Press.

Law & Internet Cultures raises the profile of socio-political questions about the global technology and information market. It is a close study of communication flows, networks, nodes, biopolitics and the fragmentations of power. It brings to life the role played by personalities, corporate interactions, industry compromises and the regulatory incompetencies affecting the technological world we all live in….This book is for readers interested in intellectual property law, information technology, cultural studies, globalisation and mass communications.” - Book Description

“It is a fascinating and enjoyable read, which has the hallmarks of a book which can be read in one sitting, although to write this risks undermining its scholarship and complexity, because it is a book which should be read closely, one which will reward return readings. … a fascinating book. It is an important one also, because of the way it engages deeply with Internet law, and the ways in which law shapes, and is understood and used by, Internet communities.” - Legal Studies

Law & Internet Cultures is on display on top of the first shelves to the left of the Rare Book Room and will be available to borrow after Friday, March 16, 2007.

SIU Law Journal Executive Board

Congratulations to the recently elected 2007–08 executive committee of the Southern Illinois University Law Journal:

  • Editor in Chief — Amber Jeralds
  • Managing Editor — John Persell
  • Survey Editor — Jessie Mahr

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Rose Is Law Dog of the Week

dog photo

This week's SIU Law Dog is Rose, an Olde English Bulldogge, who belongs to Jennifer Walsh, a 2L. Jennifer got Rose for Christmas. She is 9 months and just adorable. Click on the photo here to see more of Rose.

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

Friday, March 02, 2007

Announcing the SIU Law Library Featured Book

Each week the Law Library will showcase a book from our library to highlight our vast collection of print resources. The Featured Book is on display on top of the first shelves to the left of the Rare Book Room.

Our first Featured Book is The Lincoln Family Album by Mark E. Neely Jr. and Harold Holzer and published by the Southern Illinois University Press.

The Lincoln Family Album offers a rare and revealing glimpse into the private life of Abraham Lincoln and the first family. Showcasing original and previously unpublished photographs collected and preserved by Mary Todd Lincoln and four generations of descendants, the volume includes pictures displayed in a family album when the Lincolns lived in the White House…” - Book Description

“Neely and Holzer supply a sprightly and incisive commentary that sometimes softens the melancholy of this archive of an extinguished family.” - The Illinois Historical Journal

“[T]here occasionally comes a book which … drives home the point of the sacrifices all Americans mad during the great conflict. The Lincoln Family Album is one of those volumes. The reader cannot help but be drawn by the book’s text and striking use of photos to develop the great trauma suffered by the first family of the United States.” – The Civil War News

The Lincoln Family Album will be available to borrow after Friday, March 9, 2007.