Friday, January 30, 2015

Google Book Scanning Project begins at the Moritz Law Library

Did you know that Ohio State is among a select group of “Big 10” and other major research universities participating with Google in a major book scanning project that first launched nearly a decade ago?   The Google Books Library Project is the largest project of its kind ever undertaken to digitize printed materials in academic research libraries.  OSU began pulling and sending books from campus libraries two years ago and now it’s the Law Library’s turn to participate.  Out-of-copyright books in the public domain (published pre-1923) have been identified for the project.   Books will be unavailable to patrons for a period of about eight weeks, while they are in transit and being scanned at a facility out-of-state.  If you have a question or need an item right away, please contact the Circulation staff who can assist with locating a copy through interlibrary loan.
Digital copies of the scanned books eventually will be made available to users through a digital archive known as the HathiTrust that currently stores some 10.6 million volumes.  The Ohio State University Moritz Law Library will be credited as the source of the original for all scanned items.  For further information on the Google Books Library Project involving OSU and other universities that are part of the CIC (Committee on Institutional Cooperation) consortium, go to:


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fugitives from Justice! The Shipwreck King of Ohio!

The idea of fugitives seems old fashioned to me: I can't fathom committing a crime and somehow hiding out to avoid prosecution. It just seems like a lot of work. And also, U.S. Marshals on the hunt for a guy on the lam? That sounds like a TV show to me rather than a modern-day reality. So how intriguing is it that Columbus is home to its very own fugitive from justice, Tommy Thompson the Shipwreck King of Ohio?

Well, he is a fugitive no more. Mr. Thompson raised $55 million in equity and debt financing in an effort to salvage gold from a sunken ship. Investors did not see the return they thought they would and have filed suit. When he disappeared after skipping out on a warrant, he became a fugitive. For some time, he's been living in a Hilton in Florida.

Mr. Thompson's latest case (a criminal complaint for failure to appear) was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida. Check out Bloomberg Law's docket (case 9-mj-080499-DLB) for more information.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Feathered Profs - A List of Law Professors Who Use Twitter

We've written here fairly extensively about Twitter, and it's no wonder. Twitter presents a fascinating opportunity for librarians to learn new systems for organizing data. Hashtags are really just like the subject headings in a library catalog and can give a person insight into collective consciousness.

Now you have at your fingertips a resource for learning about the collective consciousness of faculty. The Faculty Lounge has an informal, mostly accurate census of law faculty around the country who are on Twitter.

Not on the list yet is our newest professor tweeting: Ric Simmons! Follow him @4thAmdBlog to read the latest on search and seizure law.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Exhibits on Civil Rights: Online and Nearby

In continuing recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, here are several exhibitions which might be of interest:

  • Also at the Library of Congress website is Voices of Civil Rights, a solely online exhibition focusing on oral histories of individuals of the Civil Rights Movement.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Silk Road and Search and Seizure

Professor Ric Simmons recently posted on his new blog about Fourth Amendment issues related to the Silk Road. The Silk Road is part of the dark web/deep web/dark Internet---that part of the Internet that isn’t searched by Google. Though many used the Silk Road purely to avoid prying eyes, others use it to conduct illegal transactions without prying eyes. The person who ran the site, Ross Ulbricht, is currently on trial, and one of the pre-trial issues, which Professor Simmons addresses, is whether an illegal hack is an illegal search. For more information, check out Professor Simmons's blog Search and Seizure, "exploring the reach and the limits of the Fourth Amendment in the modern world."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Library Exhibit Features Congressman William McCulloch's Career and Legislative Accomplishments

The career and legislative accomplishments of Congressman William M. McCulloch (R-Piqua), who represented Ohio’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives (1947-1973), are currently featured in a new library exhibit curated by Jeffrey Thomas, Archivist of the University Libraries’ Ohio Congressional Archives. The exhibit includes facsimile reproductions of papers, correspondence, photos and other items included in the Archives’ collection of McCulloch’s papers. An alumnus of the OSU College of Law (Class of 1925), McCulloch had a distinguished career as a lawyer, politician and member of Congress during a turbulent era. He is receiving renewed attention today for playing a pivotal role in ensuring passage of key civil rights legislation during the 1960’s, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and later legislation to end housing discrimination. The exhibit highlights McCulloch’s legislative accomplishments, service on crime commissions and work on constitutional amendments, and includes awards as well as letters of commendation from Congressional leaders at the time of his retirement.

For further information on the William M. McCulloch Papers in the Ohio Congressional Archives, go to:  A brief biography of McCulloch is also available here. As part of the College’s series of events recognizing the 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, author Todd S. Purdum will be speaking in Saxbe Auditorium on Thursday, January 22nd at 12 noon, discussing McCulloch’s role and his book, An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

We Won! But It's Not Worth Jeopardizing Your Bar Admissions Over!

Revelry after Monday night's national football championship got a bit out of hand. Police used tear gas and/or pepper spray to control the crowd of rowdy students. I skimmed the photos, and I am pleased to report I did not spot a single law student in the bunch.

I did wonder, however, how many of those on the streets and causing property damage aspire to be law students. With this in mind, I posed a question to our bar exam expert, Katherine Kelly: If the person who tweeted about the torn down Ohio Stadium goal post (or actually helped take it down) was a law student and they were caught, could that affect their bar admission? (Because as you all know as future lawyers, there are differences between committing a crime, getting caught committing a crime, and gleefully taking credit for a crime by posting evidence of the crime on social media that will last forever.)

Here's Professor Kelly's response:

"Absolutely. That person would have to report it on the C&F application and it would not bode well. It negatively impacts at least three of the “essential eligibility requirements for the practice of law:”
  • Able to conduct oneself with respect for and in accordance with the law…
  • Ability to avoid acts that exhibit disregard for the health, safety, and welfare of others.
  • Ability to conduct oneself professionally and in a manner that engenders respect for the law and the profession.
It’s one thing to do something like this when you are 18 but if you are a law student, it hurts your present moral character and fitness. The person would have to explain to the Admissions Committee interviewers why that exercise in bad judgment is not indicative of who he/she is today."

So keep in mind the rigorous standards for bar admission and use good judgment. If you're confident you will surmount those hurdles, but you're a bit worried about the exam itself, stop by the law library or the law library website to see our wealth of bar exam resources to make the process easier.

The 66 - Who has the Ear of the Supreme Court?

When I was in law school, we had an attorney come speak who'd accomplished what was touted as a wildly rare feat: he'd argued TWO cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. To emphasize how rare this is, we were told the Court receives around 10,000 petitions for a writ of certiorari per year and only a fraction of those are granted and heard (less than 100). I was duly impressed, but it turns out I was not doing my due diligence. I didn't ask the right questions when given statistics designed to wow.

Turns out for some attorneys, their petitions are reliably granted by the Court. So, it is quite possible the attorney I heard didn't have a mere 75/10,000 chance of being heard. Instead, his odds were likely  much better. Reuters news service did a little research and produced The Echo Chamber, which concluded that in the last nine years, "66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the Supreme Court succeeded at getting their clients’ appeals heard at a remarkable rate. Their appeals were at least six times more likely to be accepted by the court than were all others filed by private lawyers during that period." Additionally, "[o]f the 66 top lawyers, 63 are white. Only eight are women."

For more on the report, check out the Amicus podcast from

Monday, January 12, 2015

Match-Up: TBDBITL v. Oregon's Marching Band

Slate has prepared an extraordinary mash-up of performances by the Duck's marching band and TBDBITL in the interest of assessing who would win the national title if band performance was key. For more on copyright issues and marching bands, check out our previous post. Go Bucks!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Skiplagged - What on Earth is its Creator being Sued for?

We've written here before about how to get a cheap flight, and if you were lucky enough to score tickets to the national college football championship, you may be scratching your head on how to afford a flight to Dallas. Plane tickets from CMH are running around $600.

Skiplagged to the rescue? The service basically works like this: Let's say a flight to Chicago from Columbus is $279, but a flight to Madison, Wisconsin, with a layover in Chicago is $259. Skiplagged tells you so you can purchase the ticket to Madison and simply "miss" your connection to Madison and save $20. Genius entrepreneurship or something illegal?

Well, you've been in law school for at least four months now or up to two years and four months. If you wanted to sue, what would you sue for? (Because you know someone wants to sue the creator.) I puzzled over it for a while; then I did what any good lawyer should do: Look it up.

I went to Bloomberg Law (you should have received a username and password when you started law school; we can help you with access if you need it), and I ran a docket search. I did not search by the party name "Skiplagged." Instead, I looked up the name of the website's creator, Aktarer Zaman, and used that has my party name to search by reasoning that he likely has an unusual name and hasn't been sued all that often before. The guy is 22-years-old for Pete's sake.
 Low and behold, there's just one cause of action filed:
And helpfully, you can download and read the complaint!
But wait! What's the COA? You have two options for finding out: read this blog post carefully or do a quick look-up on Bloomberg to see for yourself.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Getting to Know Your Friendly Franklin County Law Library

The Moritz Law Library may be lovely and its librarians oh-so-helpful, but you have additional resources for those times you are downtown doing legal research. One library in particular is in an extraordinary new space, has plenty of room, and can provide meeting space for attorneys and county employees on official business: the Franklin County Law Library.

Check out a great video of what the FCLL has to offer.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

One Last Wacky Legal News Story, and It's not set in Florida!

Florida is my home state, and I know it has a reputation for producing strange news stories. So it's nice when another state brings a wacky news story, and this time---apologies---it's Ohio (from Deadline Hollywood):
Cincinnati-area man named Jason Best thought he could make some money re-selling tickets to The Interview when he heard it was playing at the Esquire Theater in Clifton, Ohio, the only location in the region carrying the controversial film after its release was reinstated early last week. Best spent $650 on 50 tickets, $13 each plus service fees, according to Cincinnati TV station WCPO.
But Sony enabled viewers to download the movie online for less than the cost of a movie ticket, and now Mr. Best wants his money back. Is he an enterprising capitalist or ruthless scalper? Can he sue for his money back? Does it depend on whether what he did (or attempted) was a crime?

Helpfully, the Cleveland Law Library includes in it's "Frequently Asked Questions," "Is ticket scalping illegal?" The answer? It depends. Check this law firm blog post for more detailed info (and if you want to know the current state of the law in Columbus, do the research.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The 12 Awesome Law Blogs of 2014

Law blogs (blawgs) are a great way to get real-world insights into a practice area and stay current. If you're still trying to figure out an area in which you'd like to practice, read through Above the Law's collection of The 12 Awesome Law Blogs of 2014. The cover energy law, privacy law, advertising, and---believe it or not---cruise ship law. See, there are a number of ways to succeed as an attorney. Find the valuable thing everyone prizes and be the absolute best at it or find your own specialty niche and be the best at it. And being "the best" is relative, so why not give yourself a better shot at excelling by being only one of a handful of supremely knowledgeable attorneys in a field? What's more, you'll have more success as an attorney if you're doing something you truly love.

Love horses? Become an equine law expert. Love football? Become an agent. Love the beach or skiing? Find your niche in tourism law. Your career options are only as limited as your imagination. Focus on networking and building a solid legal reputation and you won't necessarily have to limit yourself to any old job that's posted.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Paseo Returns!

Paseo is an extraordinary restaurant in Seattle; they have the best Cuban sandwiches, two locations, and a line around the block at all times. Honestly, I've waited in line for 30 minutes just to place an order and wait another 30 for my food. It's that good.

Tragedy struck when the place shut down overnight. Rumors swirled about bankruptcy, employee mistreatment, and the mysterious owner, Lorenzo Lorenzo. Yes---his first and last names are identical. No---he is not a bond villain. The place was cash-only and would shut down over the winter. The sudden permanent closure left Seattlites bereft. They actually lit candles at the restaurant in mourning.

But a holiday miracle has occurred! Lawyers are saving the day. Well, kind of. As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, the restaurant (including its recipes) were put up for auction, and one man purchased the business. Paseo returns. Hurray for bankruptcy judges.

Here's the more interesting twist: "Lorenzo filed an objection to the inclusion of the recipes in the sale of the Paseo name and assets — asserting in court documents that he was “the developer and owner of all the recipes for the marinades, salsas, mayos and beans that were used.”" In other words, he claimed copyright or trade secret rights to the very thing that makes Paseo great. But the judge ruled correctly finding copyright law does not apply to recipes and the bar for something being a trade secret is quite high. The recipes were part of the sale.

Your mouth may be watering at this point, and you are perhaps shaking your fist at me for telling you about the most extraordinary sandwich on earth that is thousands of miles from Ohio. You're in luck. When Paseo first shut down, The Seattle Times posted a recipe for the Paseo pork sandwich. If you like slow-roasted pork, garlic mayo, and caramelized onions, make this sandwich a part of your New Year's resolutions.