Sunday, August 14, 2016

Miranda at 50

Marking Miranda v. Arizona's anniversary, has a slideshow, 50 Years of Miranda in Popular Culture, compiled by Brenan Sharp.

collage showing TV police officers, from Dragnet, CHiPs, Miami Vice, and other shows
Photo collage by Brenan Sharp

For an overview, see the pages on Miranda  in the U.S. Courts' materials for schools.

Here are some of our recent books on confessions:
As you might imagine, Miranda has been cited a lot. A whole heck of a lot. KeyCite shows 116,042 citing references, including 59,453 cases and 9,452 secondary sources. Within the secondary sources, there are 6,998 law reviews.

How could you choose which law review articles to start with?

Here's a neat trick in HeinOnline. I searched for articles with confess* in the title (the asterisk makes the search include variants, like "confessing" and "confessions").  Result: 1,207 items.

I sorted them to show the articles that have been cited the most at the top of the list.

The most cited was Developments in the Law: Confessions, 79 Harv. L. Rev. 935 (1966), a big survey (nearly 200 pages!) published in March 1966, three months before the Supreme Court decided Miranda.

Next are a couple of works looking at false confessions: Steven A. Drizin & Richard A. Leo, The Problem of False Confessions in the Post-DNA World, 82 N.C. L. Rev. 891 (2004); Richard A. Leo & Richard J. Ofshe, Consequences of False Confessions: Deprivations of Liberty and Miscarriages of Justice in the Age of Psychological Interrogation, 88 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 429 (1998).

If you want to know the latest developments, you can sort to see the most recent article first: John C. Sheldon, Common Sense and the Law of Voluntary Confessions: An Essay, 68 Me. L. Rev. 119 (2016).

Searching for "confess*" in the title was very simple. You can put together more complex searches, too. E.g., if you search for "McMurtrie" as an author and "false" within five words of "confession*" in the text, you'll find Jacqueline McMurtrie, The Role of the Social Sciences in Preventing Wrongful Convictions, 42 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 1271 (2005).

Monday, August 1, 2016

Interactive Online Exhibits on U.S. Presidential Elections

The National Archives and Records Administration has teamed up with Google to present 13 online exhibits on U.S. Presidential elections in Google Arts & Culture.

According to a NARA blog post:
These specially curated exhibits feature historic photos, documents, videos, and stories related to the history and evolution of elections, how we amend the Constitution, political cartoons and campaign memorabilia.
Those of you who just can't get enough of the Democratic and Republican political conventions might enjoy Stories from American Political Conventions. It features photos and interviews with reporters who covered the conventions.

Other exhibits in this collection include:
Hat tip to the ResearchBuzz blog.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Chinese Law A-Z

The Gallagher Law Library Chinese legal research guide is completely revised, with a new look, a new link (, and a new name: Chinese Law A-Z.

East Asian Law Quick Reference
For quick access to the most-used East Asian law resources, check out "East Asian Law Quick Reference," another new guide from Gallagher (

Detailed questions about East Asian legal research? Contact Rob Britt, Coordinator of East Asian Library Services in the Library's East Asian Law Department.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Who cites who?

Do you ever wonder what works cite a particular article you've read? How about an article you've written?

There are many tools for finding citing references, in free and commercial online services, such as SSRN, HeinOnline, Lexis, and Westlaw. We have a new guide explaining some of them, with lots of examples to illustrate the different searches you can use. Check out Finding Citations to Articles.

Graphic: "A Learned Discourse," from Edith Nesbit, Our Friends and All About Them (1893), available in the British Library's photostream on Flickr.

Friday, June 24, 2016

"Stairway to Heaven" on trial

Maybe you saw yesterday's headlines:

(In order, those were from the Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone, and the Seattle Times, .)

But do you really understand what the fuss is about? Spend a few minutes with Professor Sean O'Connor, an expert in intellectual property and, not incidentally, a rock guitarist. If not with Prof. O'Connor himself, spend a few minutes reading his blog post, Why “Stairway to Heaven” Doesn’t Infringe “Taurus” Copyright: analysis & demo of “scenes a faire” motif common to both (June 15), and watch and listen to his video clips walking you through the riffs. And you don't get just the litigated bits of "Taurus" and "Stairway to Heaven"—the tunes in the lawsuit—there are also bonus tracks of "Michelle" and "Time in a Bottle" (just enough to show a chromatic descending line and keep you humming the rest of the day).

One of Prof. O'Connor's video clips.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Printing from Your Laptop is Down

While the UW Creative Communications team updates the law library's printers, you will not be able to send print jobs to the library's three Dawgprints printers from your laptop.

You can, however, print from the library's public computer terminals and scanners. This means you can email a document as an attachment or save it to a USB drive from your laptop and then open it on one of our computer terminals and print it from there.

Look for updates to the laptop issue here on the blog.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Korean Law A-Z

Korean Law A-Z
The Gallagher Law Library Korean legal research guide is completely revised, with a new look, a new link (, and a new name: Korean Law A-Z.

East Asian Law Quick Reference
For quick access to the most-used East Asian law resources, check out "East Asian Law Quick Reference," another new guide from Gallagher (

Detailed questions about East Asian legal research? Contact Rob Britt, Coordinator of East Asian Library Services in the Library's East Asian Law Department.

Library Hours Summer 2016

The law library is on interim schedule this week but summer classes begin on Monday, June 20. Summer Quarter ends August 19, after which the library will be on interim schedule until the start of Autumn Quarter.

Interim Schedule (June 13-June 19; Aug. 20-Sept. 23): 
M-F: Library open 8am to 5pm; Reference open 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm

Summer Quarter Schedule (June 20-Aug. 19):
M-W: Library open 8am to 7pm; Reference open 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm
Thu-Fri: Library open 8am to 5 pm; Reference open 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm

July 4th Holiday:
The library is closed on both Sunday, July 3 and Monday, July 4.

Labor Day:
The library is closed for Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 5.

More information about our hours.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

New Podcast on the U.S. Supreme Court

WNYC's Radiolab recently a weekly series of podcasts called More Perfect.

About the show says:

How does an elite group of nine people shape everything from marriage and money, to safety and sex for an entire nation? Radiolab's first ever spin-off series, More Perfect, dives into the rarefied world of the Supreme Court to explain how cases deliberated inside hallowed halls affect lives far away from the bench.

The first program, Cruel and Unusual (posted June 2, 2016, 40 minutes) deals with cruel and unusual punishment, covering cases including:

[Links go to the Cornell Legal Information Institute.]

The program's webpage includes links to documents mentioned during the podcast.

The second program, The Political Thicket (posted June 10, 2016, 42 minutes), covers Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962). Chief Justice Earl Warren said that this case was the most important case during his tenure on the Court. As the program summary says, Baker was so important that
it pushed one Supreme Court justice to a nervous breakdown, brought a boiling feud to a head, put one justice in the hospital, and changed the course of the Supreme Court--and the nation--forever.
You can subscribe to More Perfect via iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS feeds.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Golden Opportunity to Analyze Clichés in Law Review Articles

Much ink has been spilled on effective legal writing. [FN 1] Many lawyers, law students, and law professors have been guilty at one point or another of relying on overused phrases and clichés in their writing. This begs the question: how many times have certain clichés appeared in law review articles? 
Black ink has been spilled all over
these law reviews.
We searched selected clichés and idioms in the HeinOnline Law Journal Library, which contains more than 2,200 law and law-related periodicals dating back to the first published issue for each title. What was the verdict? The proof is in the pudding. Certain expressions do indeed appear too frequently, so you may wish to avoid them like the plague in the future and instead choose more original and fresh language:

The Gallagher Law Library's collection contains numerous books about legal writing, including Clear and Effective Legal Writing (KF250.C52 2013), The Lawyer's Guide to Writing Well (KF250.G65 2002), and The Elements of Legal Style (KF250.G37 2002). These books are all located in the Reference Area. 

For more resources on improving your legal writing, please see the Legal & General Writing Resources guide. For more information about writing and publishing law review articles, please see the Writing & Publishing in Law Reviews guide

At the end of the day, it is what it is. 

[FN 1] One unspoken rule is that authors must always find a way to cite themselves in all of their subsequent publications. This is probably the biggest cliché of them all. For a specific example of an article where the cliché in the opening sentence of this blog post appears, see Sarah Reis, Toward a "Digital Transfer Doctrine"? The First Sale Doctrine in the Digital Era, 109 Nw. U. L. Rev. 173, 176 (2015) ("[C]omparatively little ink has been spilled on e-books.") (emphasis added). 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Law Library Services for UW Law Alums

Photo credit: A Dawg's Life, Dub's blog.
Your last law school exams are now behind you. Graduation, employment (or job searching), and the bar exam are ahead.

Now and forever (or at least as far as we can see into the future), you remain Dawgs, Huskies, and very special people to the staff of the Gallagher Law Library.

For that reason, we offer special services to alums, described on the Library Services for Law School Alumni page.

An exclusive service that we offer only to UW Law alums is the Law Books on Demand program. Basically, you tell us what books you want (from the Classified Stacks or Compact Stacks only) and we'll send them to you for free! You are responsible for returning the items to the Library.

You can search the Law Library catalog on the Internet to identify books relevant to your research. You can also call (206/543-6794) or email the reference librarians for help with finding just the right sources.

What a great deal, right? You may be leaving William H. Gates soon, but that doesn't mean that you will be leaving all of the great resources and assistance you've come to expect from the Gallagher Law Library.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fee Fi Fo Feoffmentes

I wanted to understand a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision pertaining to bankruptcy law, an area I'm unfamiliar with, so I attempted to do some research:

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Husky International Electronics, Inc. v. Ritz. Justice Sotomayor wrote the decision, which reversed the lower court's narrow reading of "Actual Fraud." To support this decision the Court set out to revive the common law definition of "Actual Fraud."

This case involved 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A)
§ 523. Exceptions to discharge
(a) A discharge under section 727, 1141, 1228(a), 1228(b), or 1328(b) of this title does not discharge an individual debtor from any debt-
(2) for money, property, services, or an extension, renewal, or refinancing of credit, to the extent obtained by--
(A) false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud, other than a statement respecting the debtor's or an insider's financial condition;
I noticed no dictionary definitions of "Actual Fraud" were cited in the Court's opinion, so I pulled up Spinelli's Law Library Reference Shelf, a database on HeinOnline, to take a closer look.

Here is the earliest definition in Bouvier's famous dictionary:

"Frauds may be also divided into actual or positive and constructive frauds. An actual or positive fraud is the intentional and successful employment of any cunning, deception or artifice, used to circumvent, cheat or deceive another. 1 Story, Eq. Jur. § 186; Dig. 4,3,1,2; Id. 2,14,7,9."
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Adapted To The Constitution And Laws Of The United States Of America, And Of The Several States Of The American Union 590 (2d ed. 1843).

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five Funky Washington Laws

Image credit: Emily, Law Library Intern

I love finding obscure facts online. This week I stumbled across an interesting law and wondered what other weird laws Washington has. I hope you enjoy these five funky Washington laws!

Image credit:
1. It is illegal to kill, or harm, a Bigfoot in Skamania County, Washington. To do so is punishable by a substantial fine or imprisonment. 

Image credit:!.jpg
2. Destroying a beer cask, or bottle, of another is illegal under the RCW.

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3. Thanks to RCW 70.98.170 it is illegal to use X-rays to fit shoes. Looks like you're going to have to settle for trying the shoes on now. 

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4. Seattle Municipal Code 9.20.010 says that is is a unlawful to color, dye, stain, or in any way change the natural color of any fowl or rabbit. So, no pink rabbits here!

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5. In Everett it is unlawful for a any hypnotist to display in any window or public place any person while under the influence of hypnotism. It is a violation of Everett Municipal Code 09.24.010 and can be punished by a $500 fine or imprisonment of up to six months!

If you want to find other funky Washington laws check out this website.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ten Tips for Law Students to Get the Most Out of Their Summer Legal Jobs

That is the title of a post on Justia's Verdict site.

Written by Vikram David Amar and Greg Miarecki (University of Illinois College of Law), these tips are specific and practical.

If you don't have time to read the post, browse this short version of their ten tips:

  1. Exhibit a positive, enthusiastic attitude.
  2. Don't be afraid to come in early and stay late.
  3. Focus on the larger unit or organization.
  4. Do and show your best work.
  5. Communicate and interact in a manner appropriate for your audience.
  6. Seek out new work assignments and new work experiences.
  7. Request feedback, actively but tactfully.
  8. Show respect for everyone, including the clerical staff. [and the librarians!]
  9. Get to know people in the office.
  10. Always maintain a customer-service mindset.
Although these tips repeat what you might have already heard, they are handy reminders. And may you shine as brightly as the summer sun!
Image source: tiny buddha

New Feature for Searching News Articles on Westlaw

Searching for news articles on Westlaw usually yields thousands of hits. It can be a real slog to browse the list of hits looking for longer, more substantive articles.

Now, Westlaw offers an option to limit results from a news search by the length of the article.

The Advanced Search includes a "Document Length" field that lets you select from the following:

  • short articles and abstracts (less than 200 words)
  • no short articles or abstracts (greater than 200 words)
  • medium length articles (greater than 200 words and fewer than 1,000 words)
  • long articles only (greater than 1,000 words)

With this new option, you can quickly retrieve in-depth, fact-filled articles on your subject of interest.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Forced Migration Review

You catch headlines about refugees all the time, but maybe you'd like a little more depth and analysis. Check out Forced Migration Review, published by Oxford University's Refugee Studies CentreForced Migration Review "presents concise, accessible articles in a magazine format. Each issue has a feature theme and, usually, a range of general articles on forced migration. FMR is published in English, French, Spanish and Arabic (and occasionally in additional languages), and is available free of charge in print and online."

The latest issue has articles discussing displaced people from Syria, Libya, Nigeria, and Colombia, among other countries.

Monday, May 9, 2016

HLS Online Exhibit--What (Not) To Wear: Fashion and the Law

The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in a major fashion law case, Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., so it seems like a good time to promote the Harvard Law School library's online exhibit on Fashion and the Law. "What (Not) To Wear" does not signify fashion faux pas so much as it concerns the historical regulation of wearable things.

Image for "What (Not) to Wear: Fashion and the Law"

The exhibit is divided into three sections: 1. Sumptuous Origins, 2. Ceremony and Significance, and 3. Rules and Regulations, and it delves heavily into legal history. It's unlikely the Court will travel as far back into fashion law history as this exhibit goes; Star Athletica, a copyright case, is not a good vehicle to discuss sumptuary laws. What are sumptuary laws? Go to the exhibit and find out!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Japanese Law A-Z

Japanese Law A-Z
The Gallagher Law Library Japanese legal research guide is completely revised, with a new look, a new link (, and a new name: Japanese Law A-Z.

East Asian Law Quick Reference
For quick access to the most-used East Asian law resources, check out "East Asian Law Quick Reference," another new guide from Gallagher (

Detailed questions about East Asian legal research? Contact Rob Britt, Coordinator of East Asian Library Services in the Library's East Asian Law Department.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Soda Pop and Global Health

Carbonating the World coverFor you, a cold soda might be a refreshing drink or a mild vice (or a little of both). But there's a much bigger picture. Sugar-sweetened beverages are a huge global industry with equally large impacts on global health, as explored in a new study from coauthored by affiliate professor Allyn TaylorCarbonating the World: The Marketing and Health Impact of Sugar Drinks in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2016). Summaries (in English, Spanish, and Portuguese) are here.

For more about global health at UW Law, see the webpage for the Center for Law, Science and Global Health.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Library Closing Early on Friday-- Library Website Also Down

This Friday, May 6th, Gallagher Law Library is closing 1/2 hour early at 5:30 p.m. The Circulation Desk will close at 5:15.

All visitors, students, faculty, and staff, must leave the library and Gates Hall at 5:30 p.m. UW Law faculty, staff, and students, please see your email for more details.

The reason for the closure is a planned power outage to the entire building. This outage will affect the library's website (including legal research guides), the library catalog, and a few other resources. Most electronic databases will not be affected. The School of Law website will be similarly affected. Both sites should be back online on the morning of May 7th.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

13 U.S.C. § 113 established May 1 as Law Day, U.S.A., which "is a special day of celebration by the people of the United States--in appreciation of their liberties and the reaffirmation of their loyalty to the United States and of their rededication to the ideals of equality and justice under law in their relations with each other and with other countries; and for the cultivation of the respect for law that is so vital to the democratic way of life."

Every year, the American Bar Association assigns a theme for Law Day. Since 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the theme of Law Day 2016 is Miranda: More than Words. The day will celebrate not only the protections afforded by Miranda, but also all of the procedural protections guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. It will also include a discussion of how the courts safeguard those rights and why those rights are essential to our liberty. The ABA provides lesson plan materials for elementary, middle, and high school classes. It also gives out awards to the best program promoting Law Day. The Award Categories include best student/classroom program, best public/community program, most innovative program, and best interpretation of the 2016 theme. The ABA also provides a Dialogue program which "provides lawyers, judges and teachers with the resources they need to engage students and community members in discussion of fundamental American legal principles and civic traditions.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Inspired Infographics

Do you like infographics? Check out How Information Graphics Reveal Your Brain's Blind Spots, ProPublica (April 20, 2016). Kicking off a new series on Visual Evidence, Lena Groeger highlights dozens of creative graphics that can teach about all sorts of topics, from playing the stock market to segregation in housing.

For example, here's a graphic charting the severity of judges' rulings against when the judges had a meal break.

Pretty dramatic! To read the original study, which looked at over 1,000 rulings by 8 Israeli judges, see Shai Danziger et al., Extraneous Factors in Judicial Decisions, 108 Proceedings Nat'l Acad. Sciences 6889-6892 (2011)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fiction Writing Classes Being Offered at Law Schools

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Hopefully students don't choose to go to Law School with the intention of being fiction writers. But it is impossible to deny that many famous authors got their start as lawyers. Law graduates like James Patterson and John Grisham have become famous for writing novels with legal themes. Lawyer authors are not just found in the mystery or crime genres either. New York Times bestselling Young Adult author Carrie Ryan is a University of North Carolina School of Law grad.

With many lawyers becoming authors it should come as no surprise that Law Schools are offering fiction classes to their students. The University of Iowa, famous for their writer's workshop, offers a course entitled Narrative Strategies for Lawyers. Professor Michelle Falkoff, who taught the course for the first time in 2012, said that, "Fiction writing offers good lessons to lawyers about good writing and editing." Falkoff is the author of the young adult novel Playlist for the Dead

The University of Baltimore School of Law offers a class called Fiction Writing for Law Students. The class is designed for students who wish to develop story-telling and teaches the basics of fiction writing. The University of Arkansas also offers a seminar about the Law and Literature

Yale professor Stephen Carter said that one of the reasons many lawyers write fiction may be because of the Socratic Method. It teaches lawyers to think about the "what if's". This thought process can naturally spiral in to a full-fledged novel idea.

The lawyer-turned novelist is so prevalent that the Journal of Legal Education published, for the first time in 2013, a special fiction edition. The American Bar Association - Young Lawyers Division also wrote an article about the possible ethical pitfalls that could befall a budding lawyer-novelist.

If you are a short story writer the ABA Journal is hosting the Ross Essay Contest. The contest is currently accepting entries. The entries must be no more than 5,000 words and illuminate the role of law/lawyers in modern society. Submissions close May 31, 2016 and the winner will receive a $3,000 cash prize.

Whether it is the Socratic Method turning lawyers and law grads in to authors, or that law school teaches writing skills and diligence. One thing is for sure; many lawyers have found success in the publishing world. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Casetext Announces New Features

Casetext recently announced several new features designed to make finding cases more efficient. Casetext is a free resource that anyone can use. Law students who will be working this summer in positions where they will have limited access to Westlaw or Lexis Advance may find this website especially useful.

On Casetext, users can read the full text of cases, including cases from the U.S. Supreme Court, federal circuit courts, federal district courts, state supreme courts, and state appellate courts. These cases are annotated by attorneys and other members of the legal community. Casetext is a particularly helpful tool to use during the early stages of research when searching for relevant cases.