Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Supreme Court on TV

C-SPAN has asked to broadcast the arguments in the case testing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Adam Liptak, a leading legal reporter, writes: Supreme Court TV? Nice Idea, but Still Not Likely (N.Y. Times, Nov. 28, 2011).

Liptak suggests that the Justices are leary of being reduced to sound bites, but he notes that "newspaper reporters use the text equivalent of sound bites all the time. We call them quotations."

TVW has broadcast (on cable, on DVD, and online) Washington Supreme Court oral arguments for many years with no apparent ill effects. You can watch arguments 1997-present here.

Graphic: screen capture from oral argument on TVW, dressed up a little in Paint, by mw.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tips for Thrift

Most students are on tight budgets, but not everyone is naturally frugal. A law student who blogs as Cowgirl in the City offers a list of Lovely Money Saving Blogs (Nov. 18, 2011). Maybe some of them will have tips you can use.

Hat tip: @LNLawSchool.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Will You Practice Solo Sometime?

The New York Times has an article about attorneys who leave big firms to go solo (or practice with just one or two others). Skipping the Partner Track for a Shingle of One’s Own, N.Y. Times, Nov. 23, 2011.

Solo practice isn't really the Big New Thing: there have always been a lot more solo practioners than lawyers in big firms. What's newish is the trend for lawyers to leave big firms to go solo.

Here are some numbers pulled from ABA, Lawyer Demographics (2011):

Distribution of all U.S. lawyers
Private practice 68%73%74%
Private industry10%9%8%
Legal aid/public defender2%1%1%
Private association1%1%1%

Distribution of all U.S. lawyers in private practice
Solo 49%45%48%
2-5 lawyers22%15%15%
6-10 lawyers9%7%7%
11-20 lawyers7%7%6%
21-50 lawyers6%8%6%
51-100 lawyers7%5%4%
100+ lawyers*13%14%

It's likely that a lot of current students will one day have practices of their own. One way to start thinking about this is to take Law E536 Practical And Professional Responsibility Issues in the Small or Solo Law Practice.

Carolyn Elefant has a terrific blog with links to lots of practical resources:

You might also take a look at a book on the topic, e.g.,
  • Carolyn Elefant, Solo by Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Wanted to Be, KF300.Z9 E44 at Classified Stacks
  • Jay G. Foonberg, How to Start and Build a Law Practice (5th ed. 2004), KF300.Z9 F66 2004 at Reference Area
  • Flying Solo: A Survival Guide for the Solo and Small Firm Lawyer (K. William Gibson ed., 2005), KF300.F58 2005 at Classified Stacks
Professional groups include

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Faculty Publication: Peter Nicolas on Geography of Love (Second Edition)

Professor Peter Nicolas, the School of Law’s Jeffrey and Susan Brotman Professor of Law, has recently published the second edition of his book, The Geography of Love: Same-Sex Marriage & Relationship Recognition in America (The Story in Maps)
Co-authored with Geographic Information Specialist Mike Strong, this book provides the reader with concise summaries, tables, and full-color maps depicting the state of marriage and relationship recognition rights in the United States for same-sex couples. The second edition includes new legislation and recent court decisions, updating the first edition which was published earlier this year.
The book’s companion website, and the book’s back cover offer the following description: This publication begins with a detailed history of efforts to achieve marriage rights and other forms of relationship recognition (such as domestic partnerships and civil unions) for gay and lesbian Americans, from the first lawsuit filed in 1970 in Minnesota to the Delaware and Hawaii civil union laws that go into effect on January 1, 2012 – and just about everything (judicial and legislative) in between.
Peter Nicolas & Mike Strong, The Geography of Love: Same-Sex Marriage & Relationship Recognition in America (The Story in Maps) (2d ed. Peter Nicolas 2011) is currently featured in the School of Law Scholarship display at the Law Library’s entrance.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Library Hours for Thanksgiving

The Law Library will be closed several days for the Thanksgiving holiday:

Nov. 24-26, Thursday-Saturday

The Library will also close early on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 5pm.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals on HeinOnline

The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals is now on HeinOnline!

IFLP indexes hundreds of journals from around the world, as well as chapters in collections of papers by different authors. You can use it to find scholarship about foreign and international law that you'll never find if you stick to just LexisNexis and Westlaw.

HeinOnline's interface for IFLP is straightforward and easy to use. You can search by keywords, author, title, subject, date, and so on:

IFLP search screen
For instance, if you search for winn j in the author field, you'll find articles that Prof. Jane K. Winn wrote in Studies in Transnational Economic Law (a Dutch journal) as well as articles in U.S. journals about international law, such as the Texas International Law Journal and International Lawyer.

Articles by Jane Winn

You can browse subjects to find one that the indexers would have used for your issue. For instance, if you try "Forced labor," you'll find the index uses "Slavery, forced labor, etc." And if you look up "slavery," you'll see the related concepts of related topics of "Crimes against humanity" and "Labor law" if you want to look more broadly.

Subject list

Click on "Slavery, forced labor, etc." and you get a list of all the articles indexed with that term since 1985, for example:

Entries under Slavery
When an article is available on HeinOnline, there's a convenient link. If the journal is not on HeinOnline, check the law library catalog to see whether we have it; if not, you can request the article through interlibrary loan.

Articles may be in English or in another language. Sometimes, they are in one language with a summary in another language. You can use the facets on the left of the screen to refine your search in different ways – e.g., by language or date, or jurisdiction.

Facets for refining search

Only 1985-date is set up as a database with different fields. But Hein has digitized all of IFLP, starting with volume 1 in 1960.

You can choose the print edition —

— and then use it as if you were thumbing through the books. Only you won't be carrying volumes to your table and you don't even have to be in the library to do it. And when you find a page with lots of good citations, you can just save it to your laptop instead of copying the citations one by one. What's not to like about convenience like that?

One or more of the articles you find in IFLP could make all the difference in your research paper or Jessup memorial!

Justice Frankfurter and Judge Wapner

Did you know that Justice Felix Frankfurter and Judge Joseph Wapner share a birthday? It's today, Nov. 15.

Matthew Mantel, a librarian at the University of Houston, discusses these two jurists' careers here (This Week in Legal History -- Judges, Nota Bene, Nov. 15, 2011).

Felix Frankfurter (l.) and Joseph Wapner (r.)
Photo credits: Felix Frankfurter from Library of Congress. Joseph Wapner from Los Angeles Times Hollywood Star Walk guide.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Library Hours for Veterans Day

The campus observes Veterans Day, Nov. 11, as a holiday.

The Law Library will be open from 8am until 5pm that day. The Reference Office will be open from 1 - 4 pm.

Regular hours resume on Nov. 12.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

An Anthology of Disability Literature

Christy Thompson Ibrahim, a part-time faculty member who has taught Disability Law since 2000, has just published An Anthology of Disability Literature.
According to the publisher's description:
This striking anthology includes works by Leo Tolstoy, Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, John Hockenberry, Michael J. Fox, Charlotte Bronte, Harriet McBryde Johnson, Franz Kafka, Annie Dillard, Temple Grandin, Cris Matthews, Georgina Kleege, H.G. Wells, Rachel Simon, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Jhumpa Lahiri, Helen Keller, Ursula Le Guin, Alexander McCall Smith, and others. The selections, both fiction and non-fiction, ranging from classics to modern favorites, contemplate a variety of disabilities — physical impairments, mental illness, and intellectual disabilities — and provide viewpoints from self-advocates, family, and friends. Expressing optimism, anger, love, hope, angst, drama, and realism, the readings and accompanying discussion questions provoke reflection about tolerance, community living, family dynamics, and disability rights.
Disability History Awareness Month ended on October 31, but the importance of disability studies did not!

W Day! -- Trademark Searching

Tomorrow, Nov. 4, is "W Day," when the University of Washington celebrates its 150th anniversary.

Recently I was wearing something with a W and the little TM, and a friend asked, incredulously, "Can they really trademark the letter W?"

Yes, indeed they can. And looking into the trademark created a good occasion to explore the trademarks resources on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, particularly the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). (I am NOT expert in trademark searching, but I was able to mess around and find some things.)

There are a lot of codes involved in trademark searching. For instance, Goods and Services (the [GS] field) are assigned codes, such as 015 for Musical Instruments (goods) and 037 for Construction and Repair (services). The UW provides a service coded broadly as 041, Education and Entertainment. There are also fields for data like the trademark owner's name [ON]. You use the Word Mark [WM] field to look for marks that are letters, punctuation, and words—like, say, W.

Searching for "university of washington" as the owner, and W in the Word Mark field, I found the trademark (serial number 77091314, filed Jan. 5, 2007; registration number 3377279, registered Feb. 5, 2008):

The UW's trademarked W.

I also found trademarked Ws with Huskies, one filed in 1992 and one in 1994.

Two trademarked Ws with Husky faces.
You might think: well, the Husky is distinctive, but that W is just a W.

Not so fast. Look at all the Ws that our W isn't:

1st row: Winona State Univ. (MN), Waynesburg Univ. (PA), Wright State Univ. (OH), Washburn, Univ. of Wisconsin (on its badger); 2nd row: Western Kentucky Univ. (twice), Washburn (again), Wayne State Univ. (Michigan); 3rd row: Waynesburg Univ. (again), Wichita State Univ. (Kansas), Univ. of Wisconsin (behind and on the badger), the Mississippi Univ. for Women; 4th row: Univ. of Wisconsin (a different style), Wharton (Univ. of Pennsylvania), Webster Univ. (MO), Weber State Univ. (UT), the Univ. of Wisconsin (one last time).
So it's not the letter per se, but the particular shape of the W that's trademarked. 

Note that the 16 Ws in the graphic are all universities' Ws. If you broaden the search, you can find Ws for banks, plumbers, and nearly every other kind of business.

This trademark doesn't have any letters or words on it:

UW Husky trademark, filed in 2000.
To search for similar trademarks, you can't look for letters or words. So TESS also allows you to search by design elements. They can be geometric (triangle, ellipse, etc.) or categories like people, trees, or whatever.  In this case the codes are:
03.01.09 - Coyotes; Hyenas; Jackals; Wolves
03.01.16 - Heads of cats, dogs, wolves, foxes, bears, lions, tigers

I learned (by failure) that you need to leave the periods out when you search, but when I got it right 030116[dc] turned up a wide variety of dog and cat logos, including these:

Top Dawg headphones, Bulldog Burgers, Angola LNG Supply Services,Shodogg (Touchstream Technologies), the Centers for Habilitation, New York Dawg Pound, Nutt Butt Bakery, Pupcake Productions, Montana State Univ. (bobcat head), Hooperstown Huskies, NC State (wolf), Jackson Generals (baseball), Charlotte Hounds (lacrosse)
Think of all the different looks our Husky could have had!

For more on trademark searching, see this guide from the UW Engineering Library. For the scoop on how trademarks work at the UW, see University of Washington Trademark and Licensing Policies. And for trademark law, see our guide (note the table of contents in the upper right: you need to click to get to the different sections).

And if you're so inclined, show your purple on Friday. It's even good for discounts at some local businesses!

Hat tip: Meg Butler.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Big News in Federal Sentencing

There's a big new study of federal sentencing AND the federal government has begun reviewing the sentences of people serving time for crack cocaine offenses.


Yesterday the United States Sentencing Commission submitted to Congress a huge (645 pages!) assessing the impact of statutory minimum mandatory sentences. Here are a few excerpts from the press release:
"While there is a spectrum of views on the Commission regarding mandatory minimum penalties, the Commission unanimously believes that certain mandatory minimum penalties apply too broadly, are excessively severe, and are applied inconsistently across the country. The Commission continues to believe that a strong and effective guideline system best serves the purposes of sentencing established by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984.”
. . .
The Commission also addresses the overcrowding in the federal Bureau of Prisons, which is over-capacity by 37 percent.
. . .
The report was undertaken pursuant to a directive from Congress to examine mandatory minimum penalties, particularly in light of the Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in Booker v. United States, which rendered the federal sentencing guidelines advisory.
. . .
  • More than 75 percent of those offenders convicted of an offense carrying a mandatory minimum penalty were convicted of a drug trafficking offense.
  • Hispanic offenders accounted for the largest group (38.3%) of offenders convicted of an offense carrying a mandatory minimum penalty, followed by Black offenders (31.5%), White offenders (27.4%), and Other Race offenders (2.7%).
  • Almost half (46.7%) of all offenders convicted of an offense carrying a mandatory minimum penalty were relieved from the application of such penalty at sentencing for assisting the government, qualifying for "safety valve" relief, or both.
  • Black offenders received relief from a mandatory minimum penalty least often (in 34.9% of their cases), compared to White (46.5%), Hispanic (55.7%) and Other Race (58.9%) offenders. In particular, Black offenders qualified for relief under the safety valve at the lowest rate of any other racial group (11.1%), compared to White (26.7%), Hispanic (42.8%) and Other Race (36.6%), either because of their criminal history or the involvement of a dangerous weapon in connection with the offense.
  • Receiving relief from a mandatory minimum penalty made a significant difference in the sentence ultimately imposed. . . .
The report is here. The executive summary is here.

Crack Sentences

Crack Cocaine Case Review May Free Inmates, All Things Considered, NPR, Nov. 1, 2011.

Across the country on Tuesday, federal judges began reviewing the prison sentences of thousands of men and women jailed on crack cocaine charges. Many inmates could be released or see their sentences sharply reduced.

Congress voted last year to ease federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine. But a decision this summer to revisit old drug cases has sparked new controversy.

New Faculty Publication: Bill Rodgers on Climate Change

Professor Rodgers, the School of Law’s Stimson Bullitt Professor of Environmental Law, has recently published Climate Change: A Reader (William H. Rodgers Jr., Michael Robinson-Dorn, Jennifer K. Barcelos & Anna T. Moritz eds., Carolina Academic Press 2011).

The back cover provides a description:

Climate Change provides a comprehensive and unique introduction to the emerging issues of global climate change. It presents many of the foundational documents, background scientific explanations, and excerpts from the leading thinkers in the vast literature on global warming. It features original articles and essays from scholars in the fields of environmental science, and environmental, energy, international and human rights law. Designed for use in the burgeoning number of new courses in areas such as global warming, climate change and climate justice, this book is organized around the topics of science, justice, impacts, energy, the U.S. response, international law, state and local law, and innovative litigation. The Reader weaves together the important story of the global warming saga in a thorough and approachable manner.
The book is organized into the following chapters:
  • Setting the Scientific Stage
  • The Justice of Transformative Change and the Spread of Global Fever
  • The Health of the Planet: The Atmosphere, the Earth, the Sea, the Residents
  • Reconstructed Energy Futures
  • Framing the Climate Change Debate
  • United States’ Response to Climate Change
  • The International Law and Policy of Climate Change
  • Local, State, Regional, Tribal and Private Climate Change Initiatives
  • Legal Initiatives Designed to Turn the Tide on Climate Change (on CD-ROM)
Throughout the book are extensive references, figures, and tables. A detailed index is included.

Climate Change: A Reader is located in the Classified Stacks at KF3783 .C578 2011.