“It’s always interesting to see how a lawyer’s oral argument marries up to their briefing, and for me, it helps give greater context to the points,” wrote Jason Wilson at The Annotated Oral Argument: Tucker v. Thomas (#SCOTX). Check out his example of annotating an oral argument conducted before the Supreme Court of Texas. (NB: the annotation links to open source texts of court opinions and statutory code sections.) He adds, “If y’all like these annotated arguments, I can start posting more here or on Annotations.”
I think Jason is onto something here. While I have little need for Lone Star State annotated oral arguments here in the Buckeye State, I think e-publishing high court annotated oral arguments by an editorial staff that actually knows something (and links to open or opened resources) is a great idea. Hell, that’s why I buy Jones McClure’s annotated federal codes instead of … well, you know.
I would be very interested in annotated US Supreme Court oral arguments, ditto for the Supreme Court of Ohio, if produced by a reliable publisher like Jones McClure. At the SCOTUS level, who might that be? Hint — who is the sponsor of SCOTUSblog and the publisher of USLW?
Hat tip to Legal Research Plus for calling attention to this interesting NBER working paper:
Searching for Physical and Digital Media: The Evolution of Platforms for Finding Books by Michael R. Baye, Babur De los Santos, Matthijs R. Wildenbeest
NBER Working Paper No. 19519; Issued in October 2013
Abstract: This paper provides a data-driven overview of the different online platforms that consumers use to search for books and booksellers, and documents how the use of these platforms is shifting over time. Our data suggest that, as a result of digitization, consumers are increasingly conducting searches for books at retailer sites and closed systems (e.g., the Kindle and Nook) rather than at general search engines (e.g., Google or Bing). We also highlight a number of challenges that will make it difficult for researchers to accurately measure internet-based search behavior in the years to come. Finally, we highlight a number of open agenda items related to the pricing of books and other digital media, as well as consumer search behavior.
At Noon, Central Time, today, Rich Leiter and the gang will be hosting the PLL-SIS Executive Board at Law Librarian Conversations to discuss the new normal in law firm libraries. Topics include a proposed name change for PLL-SIS. Jean O’Grady, chair of the PLL Board, provides more information about the topics to be discussed including for example the success of the annual PLL Summit, on Dewey B Strategic. Sounds like a very interesting program. — Joe
Hat tip to Peter Martin for calling my attention to Citing Legally: Occasional observations about the citation of legal authorities by lawyers and judges. The blog is a byproduct of this year’s revision of Introduction to Basic Legal Citation (online edition hosted by LII) and the forthcoming revision of The Bluebook. Launched yesterday, Citing Legally’s first post is titled Statutes – Citation norms that reinforce copyright claims. Highly recommended. — Joe
I want to thank all the readers of old LLB for making our last month on the Law Professor Blogs Network such a smash hit. Not counting our We’re Moving post, Mark and I published only 2 posts on old LLB in September (because I forgot that I had scheduled them) while traffic reached record-breaking heights — 59,947 page views with 57,395 visits as measured by SiteMeter.
Wait a minute, that’s virtually a 1 to 1 ratio of views per visits. Ditto for August. Normally old LLB’s ratio was 1.4 page views per visit as logged by SiteMeter. I need to amend my early statement:
Thank you robots for making the last two months so special for old LLB.
Typically about 50% of traffic to a web destination is generated by robots. The above 1:1.4 stat for old LLB included such robot traffic. Then there are botnets designed to mess with web traffic stats. See Christopher Steward and Suzanne Vranica’s Phony Web Traffic Tricks Digital Ads (WSJ).
In the case of old LLB’s August-September traffic increase, I think another acknowledgement must be sent out into the uncensored blogosphere:
Thanks Blog Emperor Caron for your tech crew’s “robust testing” before launching the Law Professor Blogs Network’s make-over in August.
Initially I thought googlebot was hitting “LPBN 2.0” just because of the implementation of the redesign generally. Perhaps not. No chance that robots hit old LLB during its last two months so frequently because of the sloppy implementation of robo-ads on Network blogs, right?
I don’t know about current Network authors but I’m thinking this is “bad for business”. As illustrated by LLB’s SiteMeter stats, below, some but not all Network blogs have experienced a similar — purely coincidental, right? — traffic pattern change starting in August. Oops.
And then there is the traffic log for one of two SiteMeters for Blog Emperor Caron’s own blog. Over one million page views in September and 2 million page views since August as of last evening. See the below screen capture. — Joe
ALA’s Virtual Town Hall on eBooks will explore emerging subjects in the eBook lending arena, including digital preservation, reader accessibility, self-publisher engagement, and libraries as publishers. It will take place from 11 a.m. to noon Central time on Wednesday, October 23, 2013.
- Barbara Stripling, ALA president;
- Maureen Sullivan, ALA immediate past president;
- Keith Michael Fiels, ALA executive director;
- Sari Feldman, executive director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and DCWG cochair;
- Robert Wolven, associate university librarian of Columbia University and DCWG cochair;
- Alan S. Inouye, director of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy.
Illinois is just one state in a long line that has imposed sales tax collection on out-of-state retailers when there are in-state affiliates that refer sales to that out-of-state retailer via links on the in-state affiliate’s web site. These laws are pretty much aimed at Amazon and any other large retailer that use the same arrangements. The Illinois General Assembly passed its own “Amazon tax” in 2011. It was challenged by the Performance Marketing Association, Inc. Unlike the result in other challenges in other states, the PMA won at trial with the decision affirmed by the Illinois Supreme Court in a 6-1 opinion released last Friday.
The PMA argued that the tax collection requirement was discriminatory and as such was a violation of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) (47 U.S.C. § 151 note (2000). The provision which limits the collection of discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce as prohibited reads:
“(A) any tax imposed by a State or political subdivision thereof on electronic commerce that—
* * *
(iii) imposes an obligation to collect or pay tax on a different person or entity than in the case of transactions involving similar property, goods, services, or information accomplished through other means.” 47 U.S.C. § 151 note.
The distinction the Court draws comes from the fact that tax collecting requirements are not imposed on out-of-state retailers who enter into advertising campaigns with Illinois publishers and broadcasters. The PMA argued that the taxing requirement comes into effect simply through a link on a web site which can be international in scope. The Court agreed with this:
Under paragraph 3 of the definition section of the Use Tax Act, retailers who enter into contracts with Illinois publishers and broadcasters for advertising “disseminated primarily to consumers located in this State,” i.e., locally, are obligated to collect use tax. But Internet advertising is different. As the parties’ joint stipulation of facts states: “The home page and other publicly-available pages of any Internet website can be accessed from a computer, or other digital device, located anywhere in the world that is connected to the Internet via wire or radio signal. Thus, information appearing on a webpage is available and disseminated worldwide.” (Emphasis added.) Illinois law does not presently require out-of-state retailers who enter into performance marketing contracts for “offline” print or broadcast advertising which is disseminated nationally, or internationally, to collect Illinois use tax. However, under the Act, out-of-state retailers who enter into such contracts with Illinois Internet affiliates for the publication of online marketing—which is inherently national or international in scope and disseminated to a national or international audience—are required to collect Illinois use tax. In this way, by singling out retailers with Internet performance marketing arrangements for use tax collection, the Act imposes discriminatory taxes within the meaning of the ITFA.
The case is Performance Marketing Association, Inc. v. Brian Hamer, Directory of Revenue 2103 IL 114496.
Starting at slide 11, Bess Reynolds, Technical Services Manager, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, addresses pain points, budgetary concerns and the failure of vendors to develop library management tools, issues all law libraries, large and small in the private and public sectors, face in acquiring and maintaining today’s digital resources. From her Oct. 4, 2013 presentation at LLNE’s Fall Meeting, “Acquiring and Maintaining Resources for the New Collection” [complete stack below], pain points include:
- Substituting digital formats for print without proper notice;
- Digital versions of print serials that circulated to many may come with a prohibitively high single user price tag; and
- Creating proprietary platforms for eBooks thwarting single silo for discovery
With respect to vendors failing to develop library management tools, Bess notes that busy lawyers don’t have time to register themselves on web sites, manage their passwords and learn new platforms. Internal IT department restrictions designed to protect an institution’s network results in attorneys and librarians not able to install applications or vendor plug-ins. And, of course, any new vendor software scheme requires extensive in-house testing.
It is “important for publishers to hear directly from their customers” because official AALL vendor relations dogma maintains that “we don’t all have the same needs and perspectives.” I believe Bess Reynolds’ presentation underscores that working law librarians are grappling with the same issues regardless of their institutional setting when it comes to acquiring and maintaining resources for the new normal in collection development. — Joe
During this year’s Open Access Week, Oct. 21-27, CALI is hosting a free 30 minute webinar about open access. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, October 22 at 12 Noon Eastern with an encore performance on Friday, October 25 at 3 pm Eastern. Registration details at this CALI Spotlight Blog post. — Joe
It’s an old story on Salary.com, covering jobs that are evolving or going extinct. Librarian was the first in the slide show and the verdict was “evolving.” The short version of the rationale included this statement: “The new librarian is a digital archivist, savvy with searches, keywords and helpful websites.” We’ll sure. Those of us in law libraries understand the subject specialties and literature in detail when working with lawyers, faculty, students, and public patrons know that it is a bit more than that. Nonetheless, in the spirit of Friday Fun, I offer my own short version of the Song of the Reference Librarian:
I can’t believe they pay me to Polly-waddle Google all day.
I sit on my butt in front of a screen and Polly-wolly Google all day.
Fair thee well, fair thee well, I’m Polly-wolly Googling all day.
I move a mouse and point and click, Polly-wolly Googling all day.
I’ve seen that Shirley Temple movie collection ad one time too many, and that’s what it turned into for me after probably the 100th time on screen. Oh, and I had to Google the original lyrics so I could spell “wolly” correctly. Librarians will still be around mining the Internet, if for no other reason than to show patrons that there is more to useful information than Wikipedia.
Congressional lawmakers—more than two-fifths of whom are lawyers by education—often can’t resist from referring to their law school days when in need of a pithy anecdote for speechifying.
In remarks on the House and Senate floors, members of Congress this year brought up law school in a variety of ways, from arguing that an issue is too difficult to understand—not even a lawyer can figure it out!—to saying that a concept is so easy to grasp that even a first-year law student would not be vexed. Need to make fun of yourself? Mention how you didn’t get into Harvard Law School. Trying to fill time during a filibuster? Tell a story about law school. — Todd Ruger
Ruger proceeds to list seven of the best law school mentions in his National Law Journal article (free registration required). — Joe
What working library won’t be small by “old normal” standards? While missing a wireless node for the BYOD library of the future (hint to vendors), here’s a Minecraft tutorial for designing a small library. — Joe
And law profs don’t like student editors. Wow! And law reviews impact law prof careers negatively. Hum… . Why?
Those are the takeaways from a recent Loyola Law Review article, What Do U.S. Law Professors, Student Editors, Attorneys, and Judges Think about U.S. Law Reviews and the Need for Reform? by Richard A. Wise, Joseph C. Miller, Douglas P. Peters, Heather K. Terrell, Brett Holfeld, & Joe R. Neal [GSTF Digital Library, DOI: 10.5176/2251-2853_2.2.127]. Here’s the abstract
We surveyed 1325 law professors, 338 student editors, 215 attorneys, and 156 judges about their beliefs about U.S. law reviews and the need for reforms. Law reviews play a critical role in the law and legal education in the U.S. They are also one of the best means for social scientists to convey research about the law to legal professionals. Law professors were generally the most critical of law reviews and student editors were usually the least critical. Respondents identified several problems with law reviews. They believed that law review articles are too long. Most respondents also believed that U.S. law reviews have a negative effect on law professors’ careers and that they are not meeting the needs of attorneys and judges. The vast majority of respondents indicated that reforms are needed and that U.S. law reviews should implement blind, peer reviews. We also discuss the significance of our findings for the U.S. legal system and for social scientists who study the law.
About that negative career impact thing, Karen Sloan writes
The law professors surveyed had a more negative take on law review article selection than did the student editors, while the judges and practitioners were largely neutral on the issue. The law professors responded that law reviews frequently select articles based on the author’s credentials instead of the quality of the submitted article, and that law reviews don’t give adequate consideration to articles before making a decision on whether to accept them.
Quoting from Law Review Articles Need A Makeover, Study Finds (NLJ, Oct. 10, 2013; behind paywall).
In other words, “my submission is better than that other law prof’s submission.” Would peer review change that? — Joe
Well, that’s not exactly news but Dean Allard also talks about Brooklyn Law’s two-year program in this interview with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia.
From the Bloomberg Law description:
Law schools need to find ways to cut the expense of merit scholarships, which they “use to buy students . . . with high LSATs” to improve the schools’ US News rankings, Brooklyn Law School Dean and Patton Boggs Partner Nicholas Allard tells Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia. The money would be better spent on scholarships for students with financial need, he says.
I assume everyone is sitting on pins and needles over whether the government will be pushed into default by Congress’ seeming inability to fund the government and/or raise the debt limit. I admit that I’ve probably spent more than a few minutes over the past few days wandering the chattering class web sites while nervously thumbing my latest TIAA/CREF quarterly statement. I’m not going to take a stand on how this is going to (or ought to) turn out. The latest news is that the Senate leadership has reached a funding agreement with House Speaker John Boehner going along with allowing a House vote. Perhaps my and more than a few others’ retirement balances are safe for a few more months. I’ll be happy when the legislation is signed into law.
One of the casualties of the shutdown has been government web sites. Sites have either been down or available with messages saying they are not being updated due to the shutdown. The Federal Trade Commission site still features a stark page stating the site is not available. Sites that are available but with messages stating they are not being updated at present include the White House, the Department of Justice, and other major cabinet departments. I’m happy to report that the Library of Congress web site appears to be functioning though it has a message saying it is not being updated. Earlier reports indicated that the LOC was one of the first sites to become totally unavailable. Thomas and FDSys are working as well, though the latter says it is processing congressional material in any event, even if it’s not posted immediately. The Federal Register is kept current to some extent. Thomas, by the way, is not going to be with us much longer. A message on that site says the Thomas web address will redirect to FDSys starting in November.
The Supreme Court is still going despite the shutdown. The latest message on the Court’s web site says everything will continue, including public access to its building at least until the 17th of October. We’ll see how normal everything becomes once the appropriations are made.
No, not me! The author of lawprofblawg: A blog by a law professor for law professors is. Hey, wait a minute. That sounds vaguely familiar. Oh well, at least Blog Emperor Caron can’t unilaterally delete published posts and insist on pre-screening future posts by that blog’s author. — Joe
Apathy, confusion, difficulty, cost, staffing concerns and legality are just some of the reasons given for not releasing government data according to a series of posts published on the Sunlight Foundation Blog. You can read the Why Open Data series here. — Joe
On Tom Glocer’s blog, former TRI CEO Tom Glocer returned to the day, some 30 years ago, when he and fellow Yale LS classmate, Ron Wright, launched a computer game at YLS that was designed to be a teaching aid for pre-trial discovery. The program apparently was well received at Yale. It even made the New York Times. Glocer republished the article in his 30th Anniversary Post – Can Computers Teach the Law? post. [Glitchy direct link warning; hence the above link to the blog’s front page.] From Computer Gives Yale Law Students a Taste of Court Process (NYT, Dec. 25, 1983):
Professor Fiss, one of Yale’s three professors teaching civil procedure this semester, is replacing what was a written exercise with a computer game created by Mr. Glocer and Mr. Wright. Process of Discovery.
OK, so the NYT article was Christmas Day newspaper fodder. Still, it’s too bad Glocer didn’t bring that sort of innovation to the table at Thomson Reuters. Then again, WEXIS is the cemetery for innovative thinkers. Perhaps he tried.
Don’t know about your non-compete clause but … why not start up an Etsy eCommerce site for one-off e-“legal solutions” like altSEs, apps, etc., handmade by legal technologists? My hunch is many of those creative folks wouldn’t mind giving you a 4% sales commission for the exposure they might get from a legal Etsy site.
Your pal, Joe
Help Us Improve The Bluebook !
The editors of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation are about to embark on the exciting task of making revisions for the forthcoming Twentieth Edition, and we need your help. We rely on user input to guide our revisions to The Bluebook. This survey is an opportunity for you to share your ideas with us as we update The Bluebook so that we can target our revisions to best serve your needs.
Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey at www.legalbluebook.com/survey. Surveys must be received by November 8, 2013, in order to be considered for the Twentieth Edition. Comments and suggestions are also welcome through e-mail to email@example.com.
As an added incentive for the completion of our survey, we will select five participants at random to receive a Kindle Paperwhite e-reader. An additional twenty participants will be randomly selected to receive a free copy of the Twentieth Edition as well as a two-year subscription to The Bluebook Online (www.legalbluebook.com). Winners will be notified by December 8, 2013.
Source: law-lib announcement (republished with permission). — Joe
Hat tip to Jean O’Grady for calling attention to yesterday’s re-launch of the product now known as “Business Law Center on WestlawNext.” After giving a brief history of Thomson Reuters’ many bungled attempts since acquiring Global Securities Information (GSI) in 2005, Jean provides an overview of Business Law Center and comments on this development.
This relaunch is surely about regaining lost “good will” and reinforcing credibility in the corporate practice space. But I suspect that the Business Center is a beachhead from which a greater initiative will be launched. It is becoming increasingly clear that as content has become commoditized, the large legal publishers will maintain their growth and advantage by providing more integrated content, enhancing context and folding content into tools for process improvement.
In this case, the battleground is for control of the transactional desktop. See Thomson Reuters Re-Launches Westlaw Business (Again): The Business Law Center and the Next Great Battle for the Corporate Lawyer’s Desktop on Dewey B Strategic. Highly recommended.
If interested, see also TR’s press release, Thomson Reuters Introduces Business Law Center on WestlawNext: Next generation of business law research supported by Experts On-Call dedicated research assistance, and its companion podcast discussing Experts On-Call.