Friday, May 22, 2009

FantasyLaw leagues now forming!

Heather Waltman, Interibrary Loan & Reference Librarian

In the Winter 2009 issue of The Green Bag (see this blog's post of May 1st), the development of a new online diversion called FantasyLaw was announced. Modeled on the fantasy leagues so popular with baseball, bass fishing, and poker fans, FantasyLaw will allow participants to build dream teams of federal legislators, chosen for their perceived ability to score well on a set of performance criteria, selected and compiled by an impartial Administrator.

Details have yet to be worked out, but an official website has already been created, though it's not yet active. FantasyLaw will open to the public in late 2009, so you have plenty of time to form a league and start thinking about your draft picks before the season opens on January 2010.

A similar experiment called Fantasy Congress (now defunct) was created a few years ago, complete with political baseball cards (or at least that was the goal). It's great to see the idea resurrected, and, if anyone can pull it off, it's the folks at The Green Bag. So don't waste any more time; call up your favorite political junkies and jump into the preseason fun. For full details, check out the full article. Play ball!

Advice for Summer Associates re: email

Heather Waltman, Interlibrary Loan & Reference Librarian

As the summer begins, you may enjoy this very brief article that appeared in the June 30, 2003 issue of the New Yorker. It's a humorous look at the Summer Associate Season in New York, "that debauched perennial perkfest for rising 3Ls at Harvard and Fordham and Yale." The experiences recounted in the article may differ from yours, but they're useful in demonstrating what not to do on the job. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

GovFresh, a new Web 2.0 source for access to official U.S. government information

From the Government Documents department...

On May 1st, two web professionals based in San Francisco launched a new site called GovFresh, a live feed of official news from the U.S. Government; information is aggregated from Twitter, YouTube, RSS, Facebook, and Flickr and made accessible in one place. You can currently track feeds from the White House, the Supreme Court, the House and Senate, the Office of Law Revision Counsel, the Library of Congress, all branches of the military, four national labs, eight federal departments, six agencies, and the Democratic and Republican National Committees. As the site develops, additional feeds will be added.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Paper explores "The Next Generation of Legal Citations"


The Next Generation of Legal Citations: A Survey of Internet Citations in the Opinions of the Washington Supreme Court and Washington Appellate Courts, 1999-2005, 9 J. App. Prac. & Process 387 (2007)

As more legal research is conducted online, it is reasonable to conclude that there will be a corresponding increase in citations to the Internet by judges in their opinions. With the widespread public use of the Internet to access information along with the constant changes and impermanence of websites, citing to the Internet should be an issue of increasing concern to the legal community across the country. This paper surveys the types of Internet sources the Washington state Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices are citing. It discusses the interrelated issues of link rot and the impermanence of web pages, citation format, authentication and preservation of online electronic legal information.

Several options available for retrieval of full text including HeinOnline, accessible via the Library tab in Stanley

Hat tip: Law Librarian Blog

Law Library of Congress launches new website on the U.S. Constitution

From the Government Documents department...

The Law Library of Congress has just launched a new website with links to resources about the United States Constitution. The site combines various items from the Law Library of Congress in one centralized location.

The website includes sections on Constitutional Interpretation, Executive Privilege, Military Tribunals, Presidential Inherent Powers, Presidential Signing Statements, Second Amendment, State Secrets Privilege, War Powers, War Powers Resolution, and Additional Constitutional Resources.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Are women judges different?

By Heather Waltman, Interlibrary Loan & Reference Librarian
Now that U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter has announced his retirement, many are speculating that President Obama will appoint a woman to fill his vacancy. Some who support this choice argue that women bring a unique approach to jurisprudence. In a recent Newsweek article, Dahlia Lithwick sums up the argument, first asserted by psychologist Carol Gilligan in 1982:

"...female moral reasoning differs from that of males. Men...prefer their law with rigid rules, clear lines and neutral principles; women prefer to look at the totality of the circumstances and favor... an ethic of care over an ethic of rights."

This will surely be a topic of lively debate as President Obama weighs his options for the new appointment. If you'd like to explore the idea further, take a look at the 2008 award-winning paper titled, Untangling the Causal Effects of Sex on Judging. It suggests that women judges do in fact bring something different to the bench. An extensive bibliography identifies additional sources.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Best Legal Writing of 2008...and more!

By Heather Waltman, Interlibrary Loan & Reference Librarian
The Green Bag is an entertaining journal of law (responsible for the production and distribution of Supreme Court Justice bobbleheads) that publishes insightful, funny, and provocative legal writing. Every year since 2006, The Green Bag has produced an annual compendium called An Almanac of Useful and Entertaining Tidbits for Lawyers for the Year to Come and Reader of Exemplary Legal Writing from the Year Just Passed. Each volume contains a selection of the best (according to a board of advisors) legal opinions, books, articles and essays of the prior year, supplemented by original writing 0n the law. The Almanac is truly a unique creation whose medley of factoids, commentaries, photographs, illustrations, and other oddities makes for a fascinating read.

The library has all volumes (2006-2009) of the Almanac in hard copy, available for check-out, on the third floor of the library at K184 .G742. Visit The Green Bag website to read about the Almanac. While you're there, check out the rest of their interesting and entertaining offerings. The library also subscribes to the journal in print (available at K7 .R43).