This Week in Legal News

On Wednesday, two U.S. Senators introduced a proposal that would allow for Senate confirmation of Supreme Court nominees with a simple majority.

Citing statutory exemptions, the First Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the denial of a FOIA demand by an antiabortion group for documents relating to a federal grant to an agency of Planned Parenthood.

Juror selection began on Thursday in the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, accused of shooting “American Sniper” Chris Kyle.

In Germany, a former SS guard will stand trial as an accessory to the atrocities committed at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.  The trial is scheduled to begin in April.

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has affirmed genocide convictions arising from the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.  This is the first final judgment for genocide handed down by the ICTY.

Come Try Out Our Chairs!

You may have noticed a few extra pieces of furniture in the library lately.  We currently have samples of potential furniture for the law library in the new building.  Now, we need your help!!!

readingroomAs the people who will be siting in these chairs for hours on end, we really value your input!!!  Please stop by, take a seat, and compare the chairs for us with our furniture survey!

There are three different types of chairs:occasional

1)  chairs for the formal reading room

2)  chairs for the Commons (similar to the law school lobby now, but way more studyroomawesome!), and

3)  study room chairs.

Remember that we’re only testing the style of chair, not the color or fabric, which we can change.

You can find a survey on a black cart as you enter the library!  We thank you in advance for your participation!

Tech Mistakes Lawyers Are Making

By now, you know that lawyers cannot get away from technology; it’s an integral part of their everyday life, from electronic filing to electronic researching to writing documents on their computers.  Clio, a tech firm, released a list of the top “10 Tech Mistakes that Lawyers Make.”

Many on the list are things that law students can start getting in the habit of now:  including backing up your data and being aware of social media and its implications on legal practice ethics.  Others tips include simple things like not leaving your computer on overnight (because anyone could see your information that comes in).

Take a look at the list, and keep an eye out for the IT Department’s Seminar Series, taking place in both the fall and spring semester, on topics like Backing Up, Practicing Safe Computing, and Legal Apps!

Write and Win Some Cash Money!

Stacks_of_moneyThere are several writing contests currently going on that you may want to participate in.  Not only could you get a boon for your resume, you could get a boon for your wallet!  In many instances, you can base the paper off one you wrote for a law seminar course!

1)  32nd Annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition:  Hosted by the Planning and Law Division of the American Planning Association, the competition accepts papers on the topics of planning, planning law, land use law, local government law, or environmental law.  Submissions are due by June 5, 2015.  The winner will be submitted for publication in The Urban Lawyer and will receive $2,000.  Second place will receive $400 and an Honorable Mention will receive $100.  Here are the rules!

2)  2015 Morris Cohen Essay Competition:  Hosted by the Legal History and Rare Books Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), the competition accepts essays on any topic related to legal history, rare books, or legal archives.  The deadline for submission is March 16, 2015.  The winner will receive $500 and up to $1,000 for costs to attend the 2015 AALL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia (where they will have the opportunity to present the paper; the winning essay will also be submitted to Law Library Journal.  See the rules for more information.

3)  2015 Gellhorn-Sargentich Law Student Essay Competition:  Hosted by the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, the competition accepts submissions discussing any topic relating to administrative law.  Submissions are due by May 1, 2015.  The winner will receive a $5,000 prize and round-trip airfare to and accomodations at the Section’s Fall Conference in Washington, D.C.; the winning entry may also be selected for publication.  See the rules for more information.

4)  James B. Boskey Law Student Essay Contest on Dispute Resolution:  Hosted by the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution, the submissions may address any aspect of dispute resolution practice, theory, or research.  Submissions are due by June 12, 2015.  The winner will receive a $1000 prize and the posting of the essay online.  See the rules for more information.

5)  2015 William W. Greenhalgh Student Writing Competition:  Open to students who are members of the ABA, students must answer the writing prompt found here.  Entries are due by April 7, 2015.  The winner will receive $2,000 and a plaque; the entry may also be selected for publication in Criminal Justice magazine.  See the rules to learn more!

6)  Howard C. Schwab Memorial Essay Contest (for second and third year students only):  hosted by the ABA Section of Family Law, entries can address any aspect of family law.  Entries are due by April 17, 2015.  Monetary and potential publication prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place!  See the rules for more information!

7)  K. William Kolbe Law Student Writing Competition:  hosted by the ABA Section of Public Utility, Communications, and Transportation Law, entries must address a topic of related to industries that provide certain important services to the general public.  Entries are due by June 1, 2015.  The winning entry will receive $2,500 and airfare to and accommodations at the Section’s Fall Council Gropu Meeting; the winning essay will also be posted on the Section Website and be considered for publication in the Section’s Annual Report.  See the rules for more information.

8)  The Theodore Tannenwald Jr. Foundatino for Excellence in Tax Scholarship:  open to all law students, it accepts papers on any federal or state tax-related topic.  Entries are due by July 1, 2015.   Cash prizes for the top three papers, ranging from $5,000 to $1,500.  See the competition rules for more information.

Good luck!  There are even more


Wish I Would Have Known

Wish I Would Have Known

A blog for all those questions you want to, or should want to ask. medium_8687090282

The blog Wish I Would Have Know    attempts to do exactly as the title suggests, tell all the things lawyers wish they would have know while going through law school. It hits all the highlights, from the application process to first year classes to advice for lawyers on their first day. It even breeches the topic of law school dating.

Admittedly the blog is now rarely updated since the writers moved well into practice.  However the insight inside is still golden to anyone attending, thinking about attending, or finishing law school.



photo credit: College of William & Mary Law Library via photopin cc

This Week in Legal News

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded a collective bargaining decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On news icon for blogWednesday, fourteen civil rights activists who staged sit-in protests at a whites-only lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina, had their 1961 convictions for trespassing vacated.  The motion to vacate the convictions was filed by retired South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Ernest A. Finney, Jr., who served as the attorney for nine of the protesters when they were arrested in 1961.

Also on Wednesday, France’s highest court, the Cour De Cassation, ruled that a French/Moroccan same-sex couple can marry legally.  France has recognized same-sex marriage since 2013, although Morocco does not.

Senate confirmation hearings began this week for Lorretta Lynch, nominee for the position of U.S. Attorney General.

In copyright news, singer Sam Smith will be sharing writing credits (and royalties) for the song  Stay With Me with Tom Petty and ELO’s Jeff Lynne, who co-wrote Petty’s 1989 hit I Won’t Back Down.  For summaries of other famous copyright-in-music cases, check here.


Supreme Court to Make Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

Supreme CourtOn Friday, January 16th, the Supreme Court decided to rule on same-sex marriage, granting certiorari in four cases.

The Court limited the petitions (coming from four states: Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee) to just two questions.  First, does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?  And second, does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state?  The court has allotted one hour and ninety minutes for oral arguments, but a date for the oral arguments has not yet been set.

To see the documents for the four cases involved, click the case names:  Tanco v. Haslam, Obergefell v. Hodges, DeBoer v. Snyder, and Bourke v . Beshear.

More coverage to follow on what will likely be a ground-breaking decision regardless of how the Court decides…



cartoonWhat is a courtroom actually like?  Most non-lawyers, or non serial criminals, don’t spend a lot of time in a court room.  Often our impressions of court room activity come from TV dramas and books/movies like To Kill a Mockingbird.  The real thing can actually be a lot more raucous, unorganized, and sometimes even funny.  So, before you start judging your classroom participation or your courtroom demeanor against the likes of Atticus Finch, remember that attorneys and judges can say some really ridiculous things too.

Please Label This THIS WEBSITE  Exhibit 1,

and this video exhibit 2.


This Week in Legal News

The U.S. Supreme Court this week heard oral argumennews icon for blogts in Rodriguez v. United States, a case that asks whether a police officer can extend a completed traffic stop to conduct a dog sniff, absent reasonable suspicion or other lawful justification.

On Thursday, a federal judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona blocked a ban by that state on drivers’ licenses for immigrants who were brought to America illegally as children.

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the protocol for lethal injection drugs used in executions.




The Honorable Matthew J. Perry is our second entry into  the “Who Are These People” series.  Judge Perry, or should I say the painting of Judge Perry, hangs in the esteemed position directly above the reference desk.  perryBefore becoming a Judge, Mr. Perry was one of the most important civil rights lawyers in the history of South Carolina. Chief United States District Judge Joseph Anderson once wrote “to say that Matthew Perry was good in the courtroom is like saying Mickey Mantle knew how to swing a bat . . . Aristotle taught that lawyers and judges should be the very personification of justice. Matthew J. Perry Jr. comes as close as any person I have known to meeting Aristotle’s ideal.”



Upon finishing school, Perry concluded that he needed to learn and practice law due to “a growing awareness of racial injustices, many of them manifested by state laws.”

He quickly erupted to the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement by agreeing to represent Gloria Blackwell, an African American woman who was arrested for sitting in a “whites only” waiting room upon bringing her daughter to the emergency room. Perry insisted that he be allowed to build his case around discrimination and as a result he was subsequently jailed as well for making what the court deemed to be “remarks disrespectful to the court.”  The case against Blackwell was eventually dismissed and the hospital was later integrated thanks in part to Perry’s efforts.

Judge Perry is also remembered in our Memory Hold the Door project which can be viewed here.

Matthew J. Perry, Jr.