Thursday 28 February 2013

LegalShare (beta) lets lawyers buy and sell legal documents online

One of the new legal technology companies that was represented at the recent LegalTech conference is LegalShare  an online legal document marketplace. It is an online repository of legal documents, including pleadings and memos, contributed by other lawyers and available for purchase on a per document basis. Lawyers can both buy and sell documents. This online tool is meant for solo and small firm lawyers who don’t have access to the vast document databases available to large firm lawyers and who can’t afford to pay for the expensive legal database access that includes access to pleadings and legal forms. According to their website, "LegalShare now has a curated collection of real estate, personal injury, criminal law, L&T, civil rights, and general litigation documents from experienced practitioners." The website also has a note to attorneys that they can "Get paid for work you have already done! If you have legal documents you want to sell, please email us with a writing sample and resume. When you upload a document, you will receive 80% of the proceeds from every purchase."

Case Western to offer MOOC in international criminal law

Case Western Reserve University has announced that, in collaboration with Coursera, they will offer 2 MOOCs starting on May 1, one in International Criminal Law. MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are a recent trend in higher education: free online courses open to anyone. Michael Scharf, associate dean for global legal studies at the CW School of Law, is teaching Introduction to International Criminal Law, is an 8-week course. The course description and syllabus are available on the coursera website.

HeinOnline: Congressional Documents webinar

This week HeinOnline offered an excellent webinar called "The Top 3 Things You Should Know When Researching in HeinOnline's U.S. Congressional Documents". If you were unable to attend the webinar "live", video is now available at Hein's Help and Training Center. The webinar explains how to navigate HeinOnline's U.S. Congressional Documents collection, which includes both historic early Congressional documents as well as the Congressional Record, Vols. 1-155 (1873-2009). Their finding tools include a helpful "Congressional Record Daily to Bound Locator", which is demonstrated in the webinar.

Friday 22 February 2013

Friday Fun: Courtroom Movies

From the Bloomberg Law video library comes this mashup of scenes from 29 courtroom dramas and comedies called Courtroom Movies: Hollywood's Most Hackneyed Genre. Proving that "every movie trial has the very same tired elements".

Tuesday 19 February 2013

New law app by a law librarian

Ruth Bird, who is currently  law librarian at the Bodlein Law Library, Oxford University, has announced the creation of a new law app that she has helped design. "Lawsauce" is a useful resource for law students as well as for lawyers in practice. The app provides quite extensive coverage of many jurisdictions, and includes many free sites, Francophone sites, subscription sites and quite a number of foreign language locations, though most are in English. Ruth says that "It is a work in progress and we will add data on a regular basis... I welcome any feedback." The app is available in the iTunes Store for iPhones and at GooglePlay for android; cost is $4.99.

Friday 15 February 2013

All the Yellow Books in one online subscription!

The Barco Law Library has purchased a one-year subscription to the Leadership Library database, a powerful employment research tool. The database includes 14 Leadership Directories’ Yellow Books:
 1. Congressional yellow book
 2. Federal yellow book
3. State yellow book
 4. Corporate yellow book
 5. News media yellow book
 6. Municipal yellow book
 7. Federal regional yellow book
 8. Judicial yellow book
 9. Financial yellow book
 10. Associations yellow book
 11. Law firms yellow book
 12. Government affairs yellow book
 13. Foreign representatives in the U.S. yellow book
 14. Nonprofit sector yellow book
 The database allows searching and browsing within individual directories or across all 14 directories using single or multiple criteria, such as name, job title, industry, and geographical location. It contains contact information for federal and state courts, law firms, federal, state and local government, non-profits, and corporations. It's available to all current Pitt Law students, faculty, and staff, at Law building computers or via the wireless network. Bookmark the link and note that it is also available via the Barco Law Library databases page  and through the ULS online catalog PittCAT. You should browse around in it for a while to see how it works since it is an unfamiliar interface and has a bit of a learning curve; but it has tons of great information. 

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Scotusblog Supreme Court Challenge

Bloomberg Law and SCOTUSblog have announced the "Supreme Court Challenge", a contest for law students that places teams of law students in a head-to-head competition to test both their collective knowledge of the Supreme Court and their ability to analyze legal decisions. Law student teams will use materials from Bloomberg Law and SCOTUSblog to predict the outcome of 6 merit cases and 6 petitions for certiorari to be heard by the Supreme Court as well as how each Justice will vote on the cases. The student teams compete against each other and also the SCOTUSblog Expert Team.

The prizes? First prize is a minimum of $3,500, with an additional $1,500 awarded if your team also beats the experts at SCOTUSblog. Second prize is $1,500 with an additional $1,000 if they beat the SCOTUSblog team. Third prize is $1,000, with an additional $500 if they beat the SCOTUSblog team.
Competition Rules and Registration information (must register by Feb. 28) are available on the SCOTUScompetition website. 

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Presentation on The Future of Govt. Info. and the Digital FDLP

James Jacobs, a gov docs librarian at Stanford, recently gave a talk at the University of Washington titled "Gone Today, Here Tomorrow: The Future of Government Information and the Digital FDLP" (that's Federal Depositories Library Program). In the talk he discusses the historical ideals underlying the FDLP and how those ideals have been under under fire from both within and without the library community (did you know that the National Archives and Records Administration has contracted with the commercial company to preserve census information?). He argues that applying FDLP's historical ideals to today's new information metaphors is the best chance at access to and long-term preservation and assurance of free government information. He also talks about some of the digital collection strategies that he has found to be successful and provides ideas for future successful preservation.
The talk and slides are available on the Free Government Information website

HeinOnline Webinars

HeinOnline has announced the first in their 2013 webinar series will take place on Wednesday, February 27 at 2:00 p.m. EST. The topic of the first webinar is "Top 3 Things You Should Know When Researching in HeinOnline's U.S. Congressional Documents" which will cover: 1. Using the Daily to Bound Locator Tool to quickly pull up a page from the Daily edition in the Bound edition and vice versa. 2. Using the Congressional Hearings Quick Finder to locate a hearing from Covington & Burling's prestigious collection. 3. Searching for a bill in the History of Bills and Resolutions in the Daily and Bound Volumes. The webinar will be lead by their excellent presenter Marcie Baranich. The webinar is free but you need to register online to participate.

Monday 11 February 2013

Barco joins the PALMPrint project

The Barco Law Library has joined Preserving America's Legal Materials in Print (PALMPrint), a collaborative pilot project aimed at developing a shared, circulating collection of primary, U.S. legal materials in print. Librarians across the country are working on the issue of the retention of and persistent access to print materials in an increasingly digital world. A number of different print archiving projects are currently underway, and include both centralized and distributed models. The PALMPrint project is led by 2 library organizations: NELLCO (New England Law Library Consortium, of which we are a member) and LIPA (the Legal Information Preservation Alliance. They hope it will serve as a model for a collaborative solution to print retention, allowing libraries to make different decisions about library space at the local level. In this way, libraries can continue to be responsive to the changing needs of their users secure in the knowledge that primary print materials are within reach, and under the stewardship of the collaborative. More information is available in the PALMPrint online overview.

Friday 8 February 2013

WS Hein is moving... but not far.

The Wm. S. Hein Co., provider of HeinOnline and many legal publications, has announced that they are moving. They have been located on Main St. in downtown Buffalo for many years, and are staying in the Buffalo area but moving to the leafy suburbs - Getzville, NY, specifically. They explain that "With the company's strong shift to digital media over the past decade, our need for more advanced support has led us to a facility that allows for a stronger technological infrastructure to support our ever-growing database, HeinOnline."
WS Hein before and after move.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Updated PA Courts website

The Supreme Court has just launched a redesigned the PA Courts website with greater functionality and even a Twitter account link.
Hat tip: Joel Fishman