Everyone knows the old adage “you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” Interestingly enough, the phrase is often flipped for lawyers. Anyone with $200 and a good tailor can look, or “walk” like a lawyer. “Talking” or being familiar with the important issues of the legal profession is a what can be a real challenge. With the current glut of legal publications, it is nearly impossible for practicing attorneys and law students to keep up with professional news. However, a little know how and a little social media can go a long way in keeping you up to date.
Enter Twitter. Twitter is often unfairly stigmatized by its association with pop musicians, entitled athletes, and 14 year old girls. What many outside the current generation don’t realize is that it is also an excellent way to keep up with professional news. Many legal information outlets tweet important breaking legal news. Magazines and newspapers use twitter to promote their longer articles, making twitter an effective way to quickly see what kinds of legal news is being discussed. Even the Supreme Court has a twitter account that tweets out links to recently decided cases ( @USSupremeCourt ).
Want to learn more? Check out the link below for suggestions on good accounts to follow.
OHCHR Jurisprudence is a new database from the UN Human Rights Office providing access to jurisprudence coming from the United Nations Treaty Bodies that receive and consider complaints from individuals:
- the Human Rights Committee
- the Committee Against Torture
- the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
- the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- the Committee on Enforced Disappearances
- the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and
- the Committee on the Rights of the Child
The database is “intended to be a single source of the human rights recommendations and findings issued by” the above committee, allowing researchers to search “the vast body of legal interpretation of international human rights law as it has evolved over the past years.” It could also be a helpful tool for those trying to prepare complaints to be submitted to one of the committees.
Researchers can do a basic keyword search, or can use the advanced search functionality, which provides a series of filters that researchers can use to narrow their results.
A recent article entitled “The 10 Most Important Legal Technology Developments of 2014” notes that value companies, such as Fastcase and Casemaker, are beginning to be more widely used by larger firms. The article notes that “larger firms are encouraging associates to use them for routine case law and statutory research.” This is probably in part due to their lower costs and the fact that Fastcase and Casemaker are sometimes provided for free to dues-paying members of state bar associations.
South Carolina is one such state, recently making the switch from Casemaker to Fastcase. To try out Fastcase and start getting familiar with it, select “Law Library Electronic Resources” from the library’s homepage. Fastcase is listed under Legal Search Engines Research on the left hand side.
For some videos on how to use Fastcase, select Tutorials under Help Options on the Fastcase homepage. You can sign up for a webinar training or watch short videos on the basics of using Fastcase.
Trying to follow all the legal coverage on potential military action in Syria but getting lost in the debate? John Louth of Oxford University Press has released a new, freely-accessible Debate Map through the Oxford Public International Law website to allow students and researchers to track more readily the legal debates surrounding the possibility of military action against Syria. The map covers different issues of international law separately and provides details on the dates, commentators, and positions for the arguments that have taken place. This is a great resource for anyone interested in witnessing the development of principles of international law in current affairs.
Thanks for using covered beverage containers in the library
…and other important questions, like how to print to network printers or register your Westlaw and Lexis passwords, now answered in our latest LibGuide, Cocky’s Guide to the Law Library. Check it out and get answers to your questions on library resources and getting up and running at the law school at guides.law.sc.edu/lawlibraryorientation. Or stop by the reference desk between 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM. Welcome back!
We all love and hate our Bluebook. Now, the Bluebook is following the electronic herd and making the rules available as an app for all Apple IOS devices. On August 10th, 2012, the Bluebook editors announced that the rulebook app published by Ready Reference Apps would be the official and excusive app for Bluebook. The mobile version of the Bluebook is now available for sale at the App store for all Apple IOS devices for $40.00 from the App Store via the rulebook app. You have to download and install the free rulebook app and then select, download, and install The Bluebook.
BUT Wait… the good news is that the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Bankruptcy Procedure, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure and Evidence rules may be downloaded at no charge onto the rulebook app on August 22, 2012. The free 2012 versions of the federal laws “will be kept current through the end of the year,” states Gregory Hoole, president of Ready Reference Apps. Unfortunately, there are no immediate plan for an android version of the app. Too bad all of you android users. However, for the apple user law students this app is something to look into when making your book purchases. [David]
I try to keep informed on iPad apps for lawyers. However, there are so many apps proliferating the landscape it is hard to keep up. I received a suggestion from Helene Schmidt as a comment for the article, “25 Game-Changing iPad Apps for Law Students & Lawyers”, recently published at (http://www.onlinecollege.org/25-game-changing-ipad-apps-for-law-students-&-lawyers ). This is a good article and the apps there work well for law students as well as lawyers. A word of caution, most of the apps that I recommend are free, many of these apps are not free but are very useful. Review this article and decide which ones are for you if you are an IPad owner and need legal apps for it. [Post-DEL]
I am particularly interested in Intellectual Property topics and IPWatchdog [http://ipwatchdog com/] is a great blog for those who share a similar interest. This blog contains articles and blog posts on the entire range of IP issues. It has been selected as one of the ABA’s top 100 blogs. If this is your area of interest this blog is for you. [DEL]
I try to highlight technology apps and websites that are free and useful. Aviary, http://aviary.com/, is a website and downloadable app for free online software that does many of operations that Photoshop or IllustratorAll make available for a price. Aviary offers all of the basic photo-editing tools that you need and more. It’s free and easy to use from any web browser, and if you want to learn more advanced techniques their tutorials are waiting to help. There is also a cell phone version for use on your android or other cell phones. It also offers music editing of your recordings. This is a great website and app for you and it is all free. [DEL]
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most-traveled weekends of the year. (See http://www.bts.gov/publications/america_on_the_go/us_holiday_travel/html/entire.html )
If you’re faced with a flight delay or other inconvenience this weekend, put the time to good use by participating in the administrative rulemaking process to help make airline travel more accessible for people with disabilities! No, really. Did you know that the public is invited to comment on proposed administrative regulations before they are put into effect? Your knowledge and feedback can help shape agency regulations to create the best solution possible.
Administrative rules are frequently complex and difficult to understand. One group, the Cornell e-Rulemaking Institute is working to change that. Their site, Regulation Room takes selected proposed rules, breaks them down to make them easier to understand, and then works to engage and educate the public to facilitate informed discussion. Regulation Room was selected as by the Department of Transportation (DOT) as its open-government flagship initiative and received a Leading Practices Award by the White House after a government-wide review of such projects.
In 2010, Regulation Room worked with the DOT to help make decisions about Airline Passenger Rights. Their current rule involves airline travel accessibility standards for people with disabilities. Check-in kiosks and airline websites are frustrating enough–can you imagine trying to navigate one if you had visual, hearing, or mobile disabilities? What if you couldn’t physically reach the check-in kiosk or read the instructions on the screen? So while you’re waiting in the airport this weekend, pop on over to Regulation Room and have your say.
(full disclosure: I worked as a Research Assistant for CeRI during the 2009-2010 school year.)