A Berkeley law journal dumps the Bluebook

The Bluebook “impedes” the editors of the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice’s ability to fulfill its mission to publish innovative, intersectional, and rigorous scholarship according to this announcement. So the editors have replaced it with this six page “practical citation system.” What do you think? — Joe

Elsevier acquires Social Science Research Network

SSRN, the social science and humanities repository, has been acquired by Elsevier. Elsevier plans to leverage its Mendeley technology to enhance SSRN’s repository and online community. Mandeley is a free reference manager and academic social network Elsevier acquired a couple of years ago. Here’s the press release. — Joe

Baker & Hostetler licenses ROSS Intelligence’s AI product for bankruptcy matters

In what is reported to be ROSS Intelligence’s first BigLaw client, Baker & Hostetler has licensed ROSS for use by its Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors’ Rights team. Here’s the joint press release. — Joe

AALL announces new product award

Congratulations to Ravel Law for winning AALL’s New Product Award for its legal analytics service. Ravel FAQ here. — Joe

Candidates for AALL Executive Board announced

And here they are:

Vice President/President-Elect

Kathleen (Katie) Brown
Associate Dean for Library Services
Charlotte School of Law

Femi Cadmus
Edward Cornell Law Librarian &
Associate Dean for Library Services
Cornell University Law Library


Luis Acosta
Law Library of Congress
Chief, Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Division II

Scott D. Bailey
Global Director of Research Services
Squire Patton Boggs LLP

Board Members (pick two)
Beth Adelman
Director of the Law Library &
Vice Dean for Legal Information Services
The University at Buffalo
State University of New York

Katherine M. Lowry, JD
Director of Practice Services
Baker Hostetler LLP

Catherine M. Monte
Chief Knowledge Officer
Fox Rothschild LLP

Jean P. O’Grady
Director of Research & Knowledge Services
DLA Piper

The election will be held September 30 to October 31, and successful candidates will begin their terms of office in July 2017. — Joe

First Amendment issues that arise within the physical space of the public library

Applied First Amendment Jurisprudence for Public Libraries [SSRN] by Marc Lowell discusses “the historic pathway of key [First Amendment] cases that bring the relevant law regarding the physical space of the public library.” Here’s the abstract:

Whether the physical space of a public library is entitled to some degree of special protection under First Amendment jurisprudence is of great import to public library administrators for a variety of reasons that include the development of patron behavior policies, patron interaction and staff training, and reducing the probability of litigation involving the infringement of First Amendment rights of patrons. This paper discusses the legal intersection of First Amendment protections and public library spaces and suggests constructive steps public libraries may take to reduce risks of litigation, legal costs, and exposure to First Amendment hazards with patrons.

Recommended. — Joe

Legal education reformer Robert MacCrate died last week

Professor Nancy Schultz (Chapman Law School) contributed this memorial to Robert MacCrate (July 18, 1921 – April 6, 2016) on Legal Skills Prof Blog. — Joe

Protecting the public from unregulated, non-traditional legal service providers

Legal software publishing companies and legal application developers that serve the public directly beware. A discussion paper from the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services is inviting comments on proposing a regulatory scheme that would impose restrictions on currently unregulated, non-traditional legal service providers. See Issues Paper Concerning Unregulated LSP Entities (March 31, 2016). Is the ABA protecting the “public interest” or attempting to expand its control over competitive threats to the organized bar’s hegemony? — Joe

DocuTicker Shuts Down

DocuTicker, the resource for grey literature published by government agencies, think tanks, etc., announced that it stopped publishing in 2016. Since its launch in June 2004, the site has posted 35,754 items. DocuTricker observed that there are many other web resources that perform the same grey literature service.

HT to Information Today. — Joe

Policy implications for the Deep Web

In The Deep Web and the Darknet: A Look Inside the Internet’s Massive Black Box [SSRN], Dakota S. Rudesill (OSU Law), James Caverlee (Texas A&M) and Daniel Sui (OSU) write

The reality is that while the Surface Web manifests an often astonishing level of altruism for promoting the common good, and the Deep Web inevitably does to some (unknown) extent as well, the Deep Web and Darknet quite often reveal the darker, more antisocial side of human behavior. The markets for hacking programs, other cybercrime tools, and stolen data, in particular, have continued to grow with no signs of slowing down. There an urgent need for policymakers and the public to better understand the Deep Web and develop a more comprehensive law enforcement, regulatory, and national security response. This focus needs also to take into account the potential positive uses of the Deep Web.

The authors’ paper is a policy brief that “outlines what the Deep Web and Darknet are, how they are accessed, and why we should care about them. For policymakers, the continuing growth of the Deep Web in general and the accelerated expansion of the Darknet in particular pose new policy challenges.” It was published by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program.

From the Policy Implications section:

In particular, we would like to stress that policymakers should pay attention to the following:

  • Socio-cultural forces are involved in the “generation and sustainability” of criminal entities that use the Darknet. For example, some countries do not have functioning or sufficient markets in legal goods, a context in which the Darknet may actually facilitate increased social welfare and economic efficiency. States in such a situation may have little incentive to enforce cybercrime laws, while free-riding on the law enforcement, regulatory, and national security efforts against truly bad actors carried out by other states.
  • The Deep Web and the Darknet are attractive to many because of the prosecution, regulation, and national security surveillance efforts of states in the physical world and Surface Web. Illicit activity is being driven below the electronic thermocline of common search engines and usual investigative techniques, and states must be willing to dive beneath it to gather information and take action.
  • The transnationality of these networks frustrates eradication, regulatory, and prosecution efforts of any one state, creating cooperation, collective action, and law harmonization problems for state actors attempting to work together to counter illicit use of the Internet.
  • Rather than eradication, policymakers must focus systematically on bad actors and bad patterns, while striving to anticipate and favorably shape evolution of the Darknet. At times this effort might, like anti-terrorist efforts globally since 9/11, risk resembling “whack-a-mole” (the takedown of Silk Road represents one pelt). It will only succeed over time if a broader strategy including prevention, detection, and response is developed and followed with broad international participation and support.

— Joe

Reading is fundamental to lawyering according to study of working attorneys

That’s one of conclusions reached by Ann Sinsheimer (Pittsburgh) and David Herring in Lawyers at Work: A Study of the Reading, Writing, and Communication Practices of Legal Professionals, 21 Legal Writing Journal___ (Forthcoming, 2016). Here’s the abstract:

This paper reports the results of a three-year ethnographic study of attorneys in the workplace. The authors applied ethnographic methods to identify how junior associates in law firm settings engaged in reading and writing tasks in their daily practice. The authors were able to identify the types of texts junior associates encountered in the workplace and to isolate the strategies these attorneys used to read and compose texts.

The findings suggest that lawyering is fundamentally about reading. The attorneys observed for this study read constantly, encountering a large variety of texts and engaging in many styles of reading, including close reading and also reading broadly, skimming and scanning texts for information. Their writing processes typically began by reading and rereading the information they used to substantiate their written work. They functioned in stressful environments in which they felt pressed for time and had to juggle multiple tasks.

This paper explores the implications of these findings for a variety of audiences, including legal educators, law firms training junior associates, and those doing research on legal pedagogy. For legal educators, the results of this study can be used to develop classroom exercises and to train new teachers. Notably, legal educators should consider devoting more time to teaching reading skills. Although legal educators often assume that law students possess the necessary reading skills, this study indicates that this assumption is faulty and that instruction in this area is likely a key component in the successful transition to practice. For law firms, this study sheds light on the tasks with which new attorneys struggle and reveals the areas in which new attorneys require the most facility. In terms of legal research, this ethnography provides a model that can be expanded to study these same practice areas and other practice areas at law firms of all sizes throughout the country.

H/T to Legal Skills Prof Blog. — Joe


Rosenthal for Congress: Fastcase co-founder seeking New York’s 10th Congressional District seat

Bob Ambrogi has the story. Here is Phil Rosenthal’s campaign website. — Joe

SCOTUS Style Manual available for purchase

In Supreme Court’s Style Manual is Private No More, Tony Mauro reports that the US Supreme Court Style Guide, 2013 ed. can be purchased through Amazon without Court approval because a court aficionado named Jack Metzler is making it available for sale under his own imprint. Metzler reportedly photocopied the 200+ page long manual in the Supreme Court’s law library. The style manual “could be an important resource for brief-writing advocates as well as judges and clerks of other courts seeking to match the sometimes quirky style rules of the nation’s highest court,” writes Mauro. — Joe

How much does a law review article cost?

About some of the conclusions reached in his article, Citations, Justifications, and the Troubled State of Legal Scholarship: An Empirical Study [SSRN], co-authored by Dean Amy Mashburn (Florida), Jeffrey Harrison (Florida) stated in his The Cost of Scholarship (and Peeps) blog post that law profs produce an estimated 8,000 law review articles per year at an aggregate cost of about $240,000,000 annually. That’s approximately $30,000 per law review. Harrison adds in his blog post:

I read that the average student graduates with $140k in debt. That is about 4.5 articles or, if all scholarship money were devoted to reducing student debt, 1700 students a year could graduate without debt. Personally, I am not that comfortable writing 4.5 articles and making the case that they are worth the same as asking a 24 year old to start his or her life with 140K in debt.

Here’s the abstract to Citations, Justifications, and the Troubled State of Legal Scholarship: An Empirical Study:

Recent pedagogical, economic and technological changes require law schools to reevaluate their resource allocations. Although typically viewed in terms of curricular changes, it is important also to focus on the very significant investment in legal scholarship and its impact. Typically this has been determined by some version of citation counting with little regard for what it means to be cited. This Article discusses why this is a deeply flawed measure of impact. Much of that discussion is based on an empirical study the authors conducted. The investigation found that citation by other authors is highly influenced by the rank of the review in which a work is published and the school from which the author graduated. Courts, on the other hand, are less sensitive to these markers of institutional authority. Perhaps more importantly, when the purpose of the citation is examined, a very small handful of those citing a work do so for anything related to the ideas, reasoning, methodology, or conclusions found in the cited work. This is slightly less true for judicial citation compared to citations by other authors. Given the level of current investment in legal scholarship and findings that reliance on it is far lower than citation counts would suggest, the authors offer a number of recommendations designed to increase accountability of legal scholars and the utility of what they produce.

H/T to ATL’s Stats Of The Week: Law Review Sticker Shock. — Joe

Who owns public law? Casemaker files answer and counterclaim in Fastcase dispute over publishing rights to Georgia law

Bob Ambrogi reports that Casemaker had a change of heart and is now preparing to fight Fastcase over the publishing rights to the Georgia Administrative Rules and Regulations. Casemaker, as you may recall, claims to be the only authorized distributor of Georgia Administrative Rules and Regulations by virtue of its contract with the State of Georgia. Fastcase claims that a private publisher cannot create its own exclusive rights in non-editorial, non-enhanced public law by contract with the government.

For details about this latest development, including the text of Casemaker’s answer to Fastcase’s complaint, see Bob Ambrogi’s So Much for Casemaker Saying It Will Not Fight Fastcase Lawsuit. — Joe

Open-source v. proprietary system of citation: brief history of Bluebook wars at HLS

The Harvard Law Record published an opinion piece, The Blue Wars: A Report from the Front, by Carl Malamud about the ongoing dispute the Harvard Law Review Association is having with Malamud because of his activities in co-creating and hosting the open-source Baby Blue’s Manual of Legal Citation on Public.Resource.Org. See our earlier post, Is a uniform system of citation an open-source feature of our legal system’s infrastructure? Malamud’s Harvard Law Record article details the history of this dispute. Lawsuit forthcoming?  — Joe

Top ten largest US law firms

According the Law360’s 400, here is the US headcount ranking:

  1. Jones Day
  2. Greenberg Traurig
  3. Morgan Lewis
  4. Sidley Austin
  5. Latham & Watkins
  6. Kirkland & Ellis
  7. Skadden
  8. DLA Piper
  9. Reed Smith
  10. K&L Gates

H/T to Joe Patrice’s ATL post, What’s The Biggest Law Firm In The Country? — Joe

Cognitive computing at ROSS (now) and Thomson Reuters Legal (forthcoming)

“When you pair the computer with the human, you get something way better than either the human or the computer. If you look at it from that formula, humans will always be on the winning side.” — Andrew Arruda, CEO and co-founder of ROSS.

Ed Sohn, Senior Director at Thomson Reuters Legal Managed Services (formerly Pangea3), reviews recent developments in cognitive computing at Thomson Reuters and ROSS in alt.legal: Can Computers Beat Humans At Law? (Above the Law, March 23, 2016). One snip from the very interesting blog post is displayed above. — Joe

Open access law review articles attract more attention earlier and endure longer than their non-OA counterparts

What is the scholarly impact of providing open access to law reviews? In The Open Access Advantage for American Law Reviews, Edison 2015-03A (2015) [SSRN], James Donovan (Kentucky), Carol Watson (Georgia) and Caroline Osborne (Washington & Lee) provide the answer.

In answer to law faculty questions about how participation in an open access repository will affect the works’ impact, the present research offers a definitive reply. When looking at citation by other law reviews to all the author’s work, the averaged increase in citations in flagship journals is 53%. In general, half of these cites will be dispensed in the first six years after the article’s publication. OA articles will attract more attention earlier in the lifecycle of the publication, and endure longer on the intellectual stage.

For authors, the message is clear: The open access advantage is real, sizable, and consistent. The minimal effort to upload an article onto an OA platform such as SSRN or a school’s repository pays rich dividends in the currency of subsequent citations in law reviews and court decisions.

Here’s the abstract to this very informative article:

Open access legal scholarship generates a prolific discussion, but few empirical details have been available to describe the scholarly impact of providing unrestricted access to law review articles. The present project fills this gap with specific findings on what authors and institutions can expect.

Articles available in open access formats enjoy an advantage in citation by subsequent law review works of 53%. For every two citations an article would otherwise receive, it can expect a third when made freely available on the Internet. This benefit is not uniformly spread through the law school tiers. Higher tier journals experience a lower OA advantage (11.4%) due to the attention such prestigious works routinely receive regardless of the format. When focusing on the availability of new scholarship, as compared to creating retrospective collections, the aggregated advantage rises to 60.2%. While the first tier advantage rises to 16.8%, the mid-tiers skyrocket to 89.7%. The fourth tier OA advantage comes in at 81.2%.

Citations of legal articles by courts is similarly impacted by OA availability. While the 15-year aggregate advantage is a mere 9.5%, new scholarship is 41.4% more likely to be cited by a court decision if it is available in open access format.

Recommended. — Joe

Reader analytics firm informs ebook publishers of reading behavior by specific titles

In Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read, New York Times, March 14, 2016, Alexandra Alter and Karl Russell report that Jellybooks, a reader analytics company, is providing statistical analysis of ebook reading behavior to seven unidentified trade publishers.

Here is how it works: the company gives free e-books to a group of readers, often before publication. Rather than asking readers to write a review, it tells them to click on a link embedded in the e-book that will upload all the information that the device has recorded. The information shows Jellybooks when people read and for how long, how far they get in a book and how quickly they read, among other details. It resembles how Amazon and Apple, by looking at data stored in e-reading devices and apps, can see how often books are opened and how far into a book readers get.

Alter and Russell also report that “[f]or the most part, the publishers who are working with Jellybooks are not using the data to radically reshape books to make them more enticing, though they might do that eventually. But some are using the findings to shape their marketing plans.”

reader analytics graphic

Click to enlarge above image to view an example of Jellybooks’ reader analytics. — Joe