Friday, May 27, 2011

Vermont Law School to Launch Online LL.M.

Vermont Law School will soon launch an online LL.M. program in environmental law in addition to a Master in Environmental Law and Policy degree for non-lawyers. The LL.M. program is designed for attorneys seeking to specialize in the practice of environmental law. See the press release from the school.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tarantino Bird Lawsuit Resolved

In March, screenwriter and director Quentin Tarantino sued neighbor and fellow screenwriter Alan Ball, claiming that Ball's pet macaws emitted "obnoxious, pteradactyl-like screams" from their outdoor aviary, which distracted Tarantino from his writing.

Complaint here.

The summons was never served, and the case has now been dismissed. No details have been released on how the two writers have resolved their differences.

More commentary on Tarantino's battle with the birds' "blood-curdling, pre-historic sounding screams" here:

Lowering the Bar

Hollywood Reporter

New York Times

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bios

The Ohio Supreme Court has launched a web page containing brief biographies of Ohio Supreme Court Justices from 1803 to present. The web page is a joint research project of the court and the Ohio Historical Society. Visitors can sort the biographies by categories including law school attended (many did not complete formal legal training), county of residence, and alphabetically by last name.

Initial coverage by Cleveland Law Library Weblog

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More Free Apps for the Law Student or Lawyer

Legal apps, finding a job, getting a good night's sleep...

1. Benesch Apportunity: Sends an alert every time there is a new job opening at at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff. (Hat tip: Legal Skills Prof Blog)

2. LawStack: Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, and more. (Hat tip: Business Insider)

3. ABA Journal (Hat tip: UCLA Law Library)

4. Library of Congress Virtual Tour

5. Chess Free

6. HowStuffWorks

7. Just Light Flashlight

8. White Noise Lite

9. Daily Yoga

10. Classicly - 23,469 Classic Books to Go

Monday, May 23, 2011

Justice Alito on SCOTUS Misperceptions

Justice Samuel Alito spoke recently at a Law Day gathering of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, discussing misperceptions about the U.S. Supreme Court. According to Justice Alito, it is not extremely important for the court to hear oral argument, Supreme Court clerks do not do all the work, and the Court is not pro-business. See the article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Blogging in the Chinese Legal Community

A recent article in the Harvard International Law Journal analyzes the blogging activity of Chinese judges and public interest lawyers. Professor Anne S. Y. Cheung discusses what this activity says about the power of the Internet and the exercise of free speech in China. According to Cheung, blogging by Chinese judges, often in their real names, is not unusual. More than a third of the judges' blog postings examined by Cheung related to legal research.

Source: Stanford's Robert Crown Law Library Blog

Thursday, May 19, 2011

DNA Sample to Be Required when Arrested for Felony

Beginning July 1 of this year, anyone eighteen or older who is arrested in Ohio for a felony will be required to submit a DNA sample (via saliva swab). The requirement is part of Senate Bill 77, signed into law last year by then-governor Strickland.

Senate Bill 77


Columbus Dispatch

WTOL 11 (Toledo)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CALI Free Law Reporter

CALI has launched The Free Law Reporter (FLR), a searchable electronic case reporter including "nearly every recent appellate and supreme court opinion" in state and federal courts since January 1, 2011. The FLR uses the bulk feed from Public.Resource.Org's Report of Current Opinions (RECOP) discussed here in December. One interesting feature of the FLR is that cases are available for downloading in epub format for compatibility with e-readers. Searching is limited to basic keyword searches, though more advanced search options are in development.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kentucky v. King Decision

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of Kentucky v. King (previously discussed here).

The Court held (8-1, Justice Ginsberg dissenting) that police were permitted to conduct a warrantless search of an apartment when they smelled marijuana, knocked and announced their presence, then heard noises they thought were indicative of drugs being destroyed--that the exigent circumstances rule applied because the police did not violate or threaten to violate the Fourth Amendment.

Opinion here.



The Wall Street Journal Law Blog

The Volokh Conspiracy

Monday, May 16, 2011

CIA Declassified Documents

In its Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room, the CIA recently made accessible the U.S. Government's six oldest classified documents. The documents are from the World War I era and describe how spies concealed information by secret writing. Method #25 from document 6 is dipping a toothpick in common milk and writing between the lines of an ordinary letter. Ironing the letter with a hot flatiron supposedly reveals the concealed writing.

Via Barco 2.0

Friday, May 13, 2011

National Jukebox

For your summer listening, the Library of Congress has created the National Jukebox, a collection of historical sound recordings freely available to the public. The collection consists of recordings issued on record labels now owned by Sony Music Entertainment including the Victor Talking Machine Company (later RCA Victor). The initial recordings are from 1901-1925 and include genres such as classical, blues, ragtime/jazz, traditional/country, and religious. Sony granted the Library a license to stream the recordings from the LOC website. While the music is not downloadable, users can create playlists for web listening.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dachshund Puppy Vindicated in Lawsuit

When a grocery-store customer heard the bark of a dog, she ran through the store and eventually attempted to climb onto a freezer to escape. But the customer, who admitted to an extreme terror of all dogs, had to laugh when she finally saw what the dog was: a four-pound dachshund puppy belonging to the store manager.

Nonetheless, the customer sued the store, arguing that the store was not kept in a safe condition and that shoppers should have been warned of the presence of the dog. The jury awarded plaintiff $130,000.

The Mississippi Court of Appeals reversed, ruling that the presence of a four-month-old puppy did not create a dangerous condition in the store.

Court of Appeals opinion: Penny Pinchers v. Outlaw


The Volokh Conspiracy

Lowering the Bar

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New iPad Blog for Lawyers

Former Texas litigator Tom Mighell has created a blog called "iPad4Lawyers" that discusses apps and tips relevant to attorneys. The blog is a companion to his book recently published by the ABA. While his discussion is geared toward the practice of law, some posts have relevance to an academic setting as well. Recent posts include Better File Management with Dropbox, "Forgetting" Wireless Networks, and Best Practices for Presenting on an iPad.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More Public Access to Court Opinions

The U.S. Government Printing Office and the Federal Judiciary are beginning a one-year pilot program to allow the public greater access to opinions in Federal courts. The program will start with 12 courts, and may eventually include as many as 42. Opinions will be available (and searchable) through the GPO's Federal Digital System.

News Release from the GPO here.

Hat tip: 3 Geeks and a Law Blog

Monday, May 09, 2011

Update on Rutgers Cyberbullying Case

In an agreement with prosecutors, one of the defendants in the Rutgers cyberbullying case has entered a pre-trial intervention program that could eventually lead to the dismissal of her two counts of invasion of privacy. Among the conditions of the program are that she testify against her co-defendant, the victim's roommate who allegedly set up the surreptitious webcast. Other conditions include 300 hours of community service and counseling for cyberbullying. See coverage from Above the Law and the Newark Star-Ledger.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Law Fashion

With exams ending and summer jobs, internships, and volunteer positions starting, it may be time to discard jeans and t-shirts for more professional attire.

The Lean and Mean Litigation Blog discusses the "uniform" of the courtroom.

Corporette is a blog about fashion for women lawyers and other professionals. Here is the Suit of the Week for this week.

Lawyerist, Women Lawyer Leaders, and BNET also offer advice.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Monty's Catalog Entry

Several weeks ago, we wrote about Yale Law Library's therapy dog, Monty. He now has an official catalog entry (easily findable by doing a title search for "Monty").
Here also is a photo and slightly more updated story.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Justice Scalia: New name for people from Wyoming

The Supreme Court issued its opinion in the case of Montana v. Wyoming yesterday. Dealing with the Yellowstone River Compact, the Court decided by a vote of 7-1 (with Justice Kagan being recused) that Montana failed to state a claim for breach of the compact by Wyoming.

But some of the press surrounding the case is devoted to the dissent by Justice Scalia, particularly his new name for people from Wyoming. Declaring that they "deserve better" than the "dictionary-approved" name of Wyomingites, Justice Scalia calls them Wyomans.

Opinion here.

Oral Argument Audio



Odd Clauses Watch

Monday, May 02, 2011

Tips for Bad Brief Writing

New York City judge Gerald Lebovits' article, Writing Bad Briefs: How to Lose a Case in 100 Pages or More, is available on SSRN. He provides 10 rules for how not to impress the court including: Make It Personal, Bury the Bad Stuff, and You're a Lawyer, Not an Editor.

Via C-M Law Library Blog