Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Library Hours Post-New Year's Eve

Happy Nearly New Year to Everyone!

The Law Library will be open until 5pm on Wednesday, Dec. 31st and then closed from Thursday, Jan. 1 through Saturday, Jan. 3.

The Library will open from noon till 5pm on Sunday, Jan. 4.

Regular hours resume on Monday, Jan. 5, when School of Law classes begin again.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Doris Chase, Sculptor

Have you ever wondered about the sculpture in the NW entrance to Gates Hall? To learn more about the artist, see Regina Hackett, Doris Chase, 1923-2008: Artist's work part of Seattle landscape, Seattle P-I, Dec. 23, 2008.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ABA's Social Networking Site: Legally Minded

The American Bar Association has launched a new social networking site for the legal community. Legally Minded "is an online community serving the legal profession. Our goal is to create an unparalleled resource that gathers law school students, academics, firm administrators, legal support staff, judges, paralegals, attorneys, law librarians and other professionals to contribute, network, and collaborate online."

The site features a blog, community discussions, job-finding tools, and lots of content from the ABA's website.

Create your own account and the site finds other users who share your interests and career goals.

This new site already has 500 members and is growing daily.

Friday, December 12, 2008

ABA Reports on Human Trafficking

"An estimated 27 million people are victims of human trafficking in the world today, and between 14,500 and 17,000 are trafficked into the United States each year." The American Bar Association has recently released three reports focusing on the legal needs of of victims:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Vested Interest: Excavating your closet

The aftermath of exam period is the perfect time to rest your eyes and instead turn to a different kind of "legal research"-rifling through the depths of your closet for a professional wardrobe. When deciding whether to keep those brown loafers or send them off to Goodwill, or whether to keep that designer peacock-print silk suit scavenged off the racks of Nordstrom Rack, the experts have a few pointers on appropriate attire at a law firm.

Because associate positions at law firms are highly competitive, the standards for professional attire have become stricter, as recruiters must narrow down larger pools of applicants. Here are five tips on dressing for that first interview, and after you get that dream-job:

1. Conform to the firm's dress standards.

Dress formally. This almost always means a suit and tie for men and a suit with pants or a skirt for women, in neutral colors. Even if your firm's dress is "business casual," make sure that the quality of your clothing is high and your clothes are well-tailored to fit your body.

2. Can't I express myself at all?

Yes, but keep it subtle! Color choice can have a subconscious influence on the perceptions of others. For example, black and red are strong colors often associated with power, while gray and navy are more approachable. Medium blue is a color that is often perceived as friendly and genuine. However, color associations can vary depending on the perceiver's age, gender, cultural background, and personal experiences.

Women can and should wear accessories that reflect their desired image. For example, pearls and simple gold necklaces convey a professional, conservative image, while chunky bead necklaces convey the image of a creative thinker. Don't forget to wear closed-toe shoes. With makeup, keep it natural.

Men can express themselves through their ties. You should still forgo the Jerry Garcia ties, but consider the meaning behind colors. If you want to appear approachable and friendly, consider ties in earth tones or soft greens, or a blue dress shirt. If you are relatively young and want to appear more serious, consider a tie in red with bold stripes paired with a dark suit.

3. Consistent impressions are important, but first-impressions never die.

A low-cut shirt or unkempt hair can leave a lasting impression, even if you do get the job.

4. Avoid image detractors.

Common image detractors for men are 5 o'clock shadow, displaying hairy ankles, and wearing ties of improper length. Ankles should be hidden by socks when sitting. Ties should end at the belt buckle.

The most common image detractor for women is perfume. Many people are allergic, or may not like it.

5. Stand up straight!

This one is very hard for most people; because of sedentary lifestyle, most people have weak backs. However, posture is extremely important for conveying confidence and capability.

For more information on how to dress in the legal field, the articles used in researching this blog post are available in full-text through LegalTrac:

In addition, this article referenced is available through Westlaw:

Now that you are "dressed for success," you can find valuable tips for running the interview gauntlet in Kimm Alayne Walton's book, Guerilla tactics for getting the legal job of your dreams. KF297 .W34 1999. Two copies of the most recent edition are available in the Gallagher Library reference area, and two additional copies are in the classified stacks.

-- Julia Vinson

Congressional Bailout Panel's First Report

The First Report of the Congressional Oversight Panel for Economic Stabilization was issued on Dec. 10th. Titled Questions about the $700 Billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Funds, the 38-page document poses and discusses 10 questions:
  1. What is Treasury's strategy?
  2. Is the strategy working to stabilize markets?
  3. Is the strategy helping to reduce foreclosures?
  4. What have financial institutions done with the taxpayers' money received so far?
  5. Is the public receiving a fair deal?
  6. What is Treasury doing to help the American family?
  7. Is Treasury imposing reforms on financial institutions that are taking taxpayer money?
  8. How is Treasury deciding which institutions receive the money?
  9. What is the scope of Treasury's statutory authority?
  10. Is Treasury looking ahead?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

UW Law Faculty Publication: Kate O'Neill

Kate O'Neill, But Who Will Teach Legal Reasoning and Synthesis?, 4 J. Ass'n Legal Writing Directors 21 (2007).

In this essay, Professor Kate O’Neill, former Director of the UW Law's Basic Legal Skills program, analyzes the interesting question “would legal education be improved by integrating the first-year legal writing course with an upper-level clinical course?” She addresses the potential benefits for students and faculty as well as possible challenges of such an integration including the need for an increased focus on instruction in neoclassical legal reasoning instruction in doctrinal courses and “the possible decrease in the quality and time devoted to instruction and practice in legal reasoning that might be the unintended consequence of integrating.”

Friday, December 5, 2008

Exam prep

One way to prepare for exams is to look at old exams your professor has given (or maybe exams for the subject that other professors have given). To see the archive, just click on "Exams" in the navigation bar at the top of our homepage (or click here). The archive is restricted to UW users, so you'll need to enter your UW NetID.

Need a little review? Consider the computer-based lessons from CALI. There are hundreds of them, for dozens of law school classes. (If you haven't set up an account yet, you can contact the Reference Office for our school's access code.)

Want a good place to review with a couple of classmates? Remember the group study rooms on L2.

Community Supervision of Dangerous Mentally Ill Offenders

A task force convened by the King County Prosecuting Attorney and the Department of Corrections Secretary released a 160 page report on the mental health and criminal justice systems: Examining the Tools in the Toolbox A Review of Community Supervision of Dangerous Mentally Ill Offenders. A news story on the task force report and investigation, and the tragic circumstances that led to its formation, is in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cleaning Up Puget Sound

The Puget Sound Partnership released its Action Agenda to restore and protect Puget Sound. The Partnership was created in 2007 by the Washington State Legislature and tasked to coordinate and lead efforts among various governmental entities, such as federal and state agencies, tribes, cities, counties, and ports. The goal is to restore the health of Puget Sound by 2020.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Blawgs to Watch

The ABA Journal has come out with its second list of law-related blogs -- The Blawg 100. There's a wide range -- from the FBI's weekly podcast of cases it's closed (Gotcha) to legal theory. Students thinking about career options and job hunting might find some of the blogs listed under "Practice/Career Management" helpful.

Congratulations to Seattle bloggers who made the list: Dan Harris and Steve Dickinson (China Law Blog) and Kevin O'Keeffe (Real Lawyers Have Blogs).

Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project

The Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project is a terrific resource about our local history.
Seattle has a unique civil rights history that challenges the way we think about race, civil rights, and the Pacific Northwest. Civil rights movements in Seattle started well before the celebrated struggles in the South in the 1950s and 1960s, and they relied not just on African American activists but also on Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Jews, Latinos, and Native Americans. They also depended upon the support of some elements of the region's labor movement. From the 1910s through the 1970s, labor and civil rights were linked in complicated ways, with some unions and radical organizations providing critical support to struggles for racial justice, while others stood in the way.

This multi-media web site brings the vital history of Seattle's civil rights movements to life with dozens of video oral histories, hundreds of rare photographs, documents, movement histories, and personal biographies. Based at the University of Washington, the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project is a collaboration between community groups and UW faculty and students.
The activist oral histories include Law School alumni Guadalupe Gamboa (UFW leader), Ricardo Martinez (federal district judge), Blair Paul (founding member of United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, now a real estate agent), and Charles Z. Smith (professor emeritus and former Justice of the Washington Supreme Court).

There are Films and Powerpoint slide shows include:
  • "A Really Nice Place To Live" Film by Shaun Scott
  • "The End of Old Days" Film by Shaun Scott
  • "A Family Affair" Film by Shaun Scott
  • "Seattle's Segregation Story" Powerpoint with video segments
  • "Seattle’s Civil Rights History: Movements and Milestones" Powerpoint with video segments
  • "Black Panthers Tell Their Stories" Powerpoint with video segments
  • "Raza Si! Chicano Activism in Washington State 1965- present" Powerpoint with video segments
  • "Youth in the Seattle Civil Rights Movements" Powerpoint with video segments
  • "Women in Seattle's Civil Rights Movements" Powerpoint with video segments

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

State Dep't Intercountry Adoptions Website

The US State Department has launched a website with information for Americans seeking to adopt children from foreign countries. The Intercountry Adoption site provides a wealth of information for:
  • adopting parents
  • adoption agencies
  • attorneys and judges
  • social workers
  • adoptees
The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption is the primary legal authority governing this issue. It went into force in the US on April 1, 2008. The website provides the text of the Convention, a list of countries that are parties to it, a guide for parents, and related material.

The website also provides country-specific information, forms, news, statistics, and visa information.

NYT Tracks Obama Appointments

The New York Times is tracking potential and announced appointments for President-Elect Obama's cabinet and transition team. Find individual profiles and browse by key appointments, nominations, and name.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Library Hours Correction

The Law Library will close at 5pm on Wednesday, Nov. 26th. In an earlier post, I indicated that the Library would be open regular hours on Wednesday and that is incorrect. Sorry.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New CRS Report on Midnight Rulemaking

CRS Report: Midnight Rulemaking: Considerations for Congress and a New Administration, November 18, 2008

"Summary: At the end of every recent presidential administration involving a change in the party controlling the White House, the level of rulemaking activity by federal agencies tends to increase. On May 9, 2008, White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies stating that “regulations to be finalized in this Administration should be proposed no later than June 1, 2008, and final regulations should be issued no later than November 1, 2008.”

Washington's First Women Lawyers and Judges

Her Day in Court: Women and Justice in Washington State (KF372 .H47 1988) is a short (28 min.) documentary about Washington's first women lawyers and judges. It was made in 1988 by the Northwest Women's Law Center's Women Judges History Project, to mark the state's centennial in 1989.

In it, you'll see interviews with:
  • Lady Willie Forbus (1892-1993), who ran for superior court judge unsuccessfully in 1934 and 1936 but won a seat in the state senate. See Lady Willie Forbus, Latte Republic, July 2, 2008; Three Lady Lawyer Legislators Who Showed Us the Way, Wash. St. B. News, Oct. 2007; Lady Forbus Won't Lay Down the Law, Seattle P-I, Jan. 12, 1986).

  • Betty Taylor Howard (1911-1995), who in 1956 was the first woman appointed judge pro tem in superior court and served in Seattle District Court from 1973 to 1986. See Judge Betty Howard, `Warmth And Humanity' In Justice System, Seattle Times, Dec. 30, 1995.

  • Bernice Jonson (UW Law '36) who raised six children while practicing and earning the nickname "barracuda." See Bernice Jonson, tough divorce lawyer, dies at 90, Seattle Times, March 8, 2005.

  • Filis Otto (1924-2006)(UW Law '44?), a justice of the peace in Pierce County for 28 years

  • Emma Dulik, then the chief judge for the Makah tribe

  • Norma Smith Huggins, the first black woman judge in the state (Seattle Municipal Court in 1983, King County Superior Court in 1988)

  • Jo Anne Alumbaugh (1941?-2003), the first woman to practice in Kittitas County and the first woman judge in Eastern Washington. See CWU Remembers Jo Anne Alumbaugh, June 3, 2003.
An newspaper article about the video when it first came out is Women Top the Scales of Justice, Seattle P-I, March 11, 1988, at F1.

DVD on Women and AIDS in Africa

We recently acquired The Face of AIDS: The Feminization of HIV/AIDS in Malawi. This 33-minute documentary was created by Fordham's Leitner Center for International Law and Justice and was shown on Malawi TV. The Leitner Center also prepared a human rights report on the topic: We Will Still Live: Confronting Stigma and Discrimination Against Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi (2007).

If you're interested in global health issues, check it out: KSS210.8 .F33 2007 at Classified Stacks.

Women Still Lag Behind in Top Law Firms

According to the Report of the Third National Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms (Nov. 2008):

women continue to be markedly underrepresented in the leadership ranks of firms.
A few of this year's findings:
  • Women lawyers account for fewer than 16% of equity partners.
  • Only about 6% of law firm managing partners are women.
  • In the average firm, women of color account for about 11% of associates but only 3% of non‐equity partners and only about 1.4 % of equity partners.
  • Male equity partners earn on average over $87,000 a year more than female equity artners.

The National Association of Women Lawyers began this empirical study of the 200 largest US laws firms in 2006.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Get a Jump on the Federal Register

The Office of the Federal Register has released a new site providing documents filed by federal agencies for publication in the Federal Register.

Called the Public Inspection Desk, the site provides the text of notices and proposed and adopted rules and regulations several days before their publication in the Federal Register.

Items found on the site today (Nov. 20) are scheduled for publication on Nov. 21, 24, and 25.

For more information about the Federal Register and related sources, see the Gallagher guide on U.S. Administrative Law Research.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dozens of New Databases on CCH

Where can you find dozens of new databases on topics ranging from antitrust, banking, construction law, corporate governance, energy, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, products liability, securities, and transportation law?

On the new service called the CCH Internet Research Network!

The Law Library now subscribes to the CCH service which provides more than 80 titles on a wide range of topics. UW users can access this database from the Law Library website under the Find Legal Databases heading.

A small number of these databases duplicate some print materials in the Library, but the vast majority are not currently available here. None of these items are found in LexisNexis, Westlaw, or any other commercial or free resource.

CCH (aka Commerce Clearing House) is a well-respected publisher of legal looseleaf services. In their day, looseleafs were state-of-the-art tools for keeping attorneys updated in major practice areas. They consist of 5-ring binders into which new pages are regularly filed--most on a weekly basis (loose pages = looseleaf).

Combining laws, legislative history, regulations, cases, and expert analysis, looseleaf services provide one-stop shopping for busy attorneys.

In future posts, I'll describe specific databases by topic. But I'll tease you with a few titles:
  • Aviation Law Reporter

  • Consumer Product Safety Guide

  • Copyright Law Reporter

  • Federal Securities Law Reporter

  • Guide to Computer Law

  • Mutual Funds Guide

  • US Regulation of the International Securities and Derivatives Markets, 8th ed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Library Hours for Thanksgiving

The Law Library will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28, in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday.

The Library will be open regular hours on Wednesday, Nov. 26 (8am - 11pm) and Saturday, Nov. 29 (11am - 6pm).

National Disaster Legal Aid

The National Disaster Legal Aid website is a new permanent resource designed:
  • To serve as a centralized national resource for legal aid, pro bono and criminal defender attorneys across the country on legal issues related to all types of disasters,
  • To recruit and help mobilize pro bono attorneys in the aftermath of a disaster, and
  • To provide accurate and timely information on legal issues related to disasters to the low and moderate income public.
It provides news; updates from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross; and information for people who need help with employment, health, housing, insurance claims, replacing important documents, and related issues.

The site is sponsored by the American Bar Association, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, and

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Find Your Spot

As you go about your job search, one key threshold question is where?

Just because you're in Seattle now doesn't mean that you need to spend your working life here, too. But what city would fit you well? San Jose? Austin? St. Paul? Missoula?

Find Your Spot is a website designed to help people find communities where they might like to settle. You start by taking a quiz that asks you a bunch of questions about your priorities -- do you like hot summers? could you live without golf? do you enjoy going to live theater? do you want your community to have parochial schools? do you like the Northeast better than the South?

After several screens of this, you click a button and the program comes back with 24 cities that match your preferences. And you can then click on any of them to get a four-page description of the city. There are over 500 cities in the database.

Other resources:
State and local bar associations are linked from this ABA page.

Thanks: Jackie Woodside.

Graphic from CIA World Factbook.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jureeka: Free law made easier?

Suppose you don't have access to Westlaw or Lexis and you're looking at a case on a webpage that doesn't have those services' convenient hyperlinks to cited material peppered all over it. Do you manually type in each and every citation of interest into Google? You could, but there's another alternative: Jureeka, a Firefox add-on that might save you time and keystrokes.

Despite its funny name, the idea behind Jureeka is serious and straightforward: to provide an interconnected, hyperlinked web of primary legal material in Westlaw/Lexis fashion, but to do so using free, readily available, web-based resources. Jureeka recognizes the legal citations on a webpage and makes hyperlinks out of them that take you to "free" law located on sites like Justia, federal agency websites, AltLaw, and Cornell's Legal Information Institute.

Here's an excerpt of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Federal Register notice that's available online and hyperlinked by Jureeka:

Suppose you're interested in the text of 6 U.S.C. 557. If you click on that link, you're taken to Cornell's free version of that code section:

The "Find by Citation" search box located in Firefox's Jureeka toolbar allows you to type in a citation like you would in Westlaw or Lexis:

The toolbar also allows you to create HTML pages from PDF pages so that Jureeka can hyperlink them (the button labeled "PDF"), and to report errors (the spider/bug button). The latest version lets users tag material (the "TAG" button) so that Jureeka's creator can amass the data and eventually release it to programmers interested in creating a recommendation/search engine.

Like most Firefox add-ons, Jureeka is far from perfect. It doesn't always hyperlink citations (even for those citation forms that it technically recognizes) and it often fails to find free material at all--and, hey, it's never difficult to type a citation or case name into Google and find what you need, right? For some webpages, though, Jureeka's hyperlinking feature may prove useful; it's not a bad program to have running in the background as you surf.

Are you a Jureeka user? How helpful is it? Feel free to comment. If you haven't tried it, install it and let us know what you think.

-- Pablo Sandoval

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Zotero and Legal Research: Almost there....

A few days ago I wrote about the many virtues of Zotero, the Firefox browser extension that is now very popular among researchers across the academic spectrum. Unfortunately, as I alluded to at the end of that entry, Zotero hasn’t been a hit among legal researchers: within the legal academy, only the Harvard Law Library and the University of Wisconsin Law School are recommending it to their students and faculty. Why? Well, many within the legal community simply don’t know about the software, but it’s also the case that Zotero just doesn’t work very well with the databases that legal researchers use most often, like Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Hein Online. Have a look at the Zotero law discussion forum for a sense of what the current limitations and challenges are (among the challenges is a recent lawsuit that Thomson Reuters, Westlaw’s parent company, filed to shut down Zotero on the ground that Zotero’s creators reverse-engineered Endnote, a Thomson Reuters bibliography program).

The good news is that it does seem that all the essential elements are in place for Zotero to someday be as useful to lawyers, law professors, and law students as it has been to researchers in other fields. To begin with, legal researchers can use the Microsoft Word and Google Docs plug-ins to easily insert bibliographic information downloaded from websites that are Zotero-compatible (not all legally-relevant material comes from Westlaw and Lexis!). What’s more, Zotero users can download a Bluebook style that, when perfected, should make citation a snap. And it's probably fair to say that as more websites become Zotero-compatible, vendors like Westlaw and Lexis will feel pressure to ensure that their databases are capable of leveraging all of Zotero’s features.

So, in short, Zotero isn’t quite “there” yet as far as legal research is concerned. But it’s an ambitious venture that, when fully functional, might very well transform the way we write briefs, manage law review source cites, and write papers---it’s really just a matter of time.

Anyone out there using Zotero for legal research projects? What are the limitations you've encountered? Do the benefits of using Zotero make up for them?

-- Pablo Sandoval

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Titles on BNA

The Law Library's subscription to Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) resources now includes two new newsletters and a treatise on the labor laws of foreign countries.

The Pharmaceutical Law & Industry Report "follows major actions at the federal and state level that focus on intellectual property/patent issues, drug pricing and reimbursement, FDA oversight, and Federal Trade Commission antitrust enforcement. It is updated daily.

The Real Estate Law & Industry Report covers "finance, equity and leasing, litigation, legislation, and regulation." It is published biweekly.

The International Labor and Employment Laws treatise summarizes the laws of 40 countries.

Look for links to these and dozens of other great sources on the BNA page on the Library's website.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rain, Showers, Drizzle, Mist, Sunbreaks

October had a lot of clear days, but it appears the rains have begun.

As a native Seattleite, I can offer some predictions about weather during the rest of the school year:
  • There will be many cloudy days.
  • It will rain at some point during many of them.
  • It won't usually rain buckets -- just drips and drizzles.
  • We might get a little snow. (If so, traffic will be a mess. Think about it: we've got lots of hills and darn few snow plows.)
  • There will probably be several sunny days in February.
  • We will have cherry blossoms, crocuses, daffodils, and tulips when your friends and relatives in the East and Midwest are still looking at leafless trees and piles of dirty snow. It will still rain often, but the flowers are nice. And you don't have to shovel rain.
Of course, I have no training in meteorology. If you'd like to learn about the weather from someone who does, see Cliff Mass Weather Blog. Mass is on the faculty of the UW's Department of Atmospheric Sciences. His book, The Weather of the Pacific Northwest was just published.

For a book that combines some of the science of weather with anecdotes and quotations from historical and literary figures (Capt. Vancouver, John Steinbeck, Raymond Carver, and more), see David Laskin, Rains All the Time: A Connoisseur's History of Weather in the Pacific Northwest (1997).

Laskin's book is available through Summit. Mass's is so new that it's still being processed at several Summit libraries.

Photo from the Washington State Department of Transportation camera overlooking I-5 at Lake City Way this afternoon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Zotero: The Research Tool of the Future?

Are you tired of wading through countless folders on your hard drive to find the slew of Hein downloads, BriefCheck summary reports, and emails that your latest research project generated? Do you find yourself researching and writing papers using three or four different software programs, none of which seems to cooperate with any of the others? Ever wonder why there isn’t an easier way to store and organize the information that you spend countless hours retrieving online?

Well, some rather astute folks at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University have created what they call a “next-generation research tool” that they claim solves these lingering research management problems. This tool, Zotero, is a Mozilla Firefox extension that integrates all the typical tasks that make up the research process (e.g. word-processing, web-based research, note-taking, bibliographic and citation work) into one elegant browser-based tool—and it’s spreading like wildfire. An impressive number of colleges and universities are either promoting Zotero or recommending it outright, and reviewers and researchers within all academic disciplines are raving about how well it simplifies their work. So what’s so wonderful about it? A few key features stand out:

  1. Zotero is free, easy to install, and works within your web browser: Rather than develop yet another expensive stand-alone program that adds yet another component to the research and writing process, Zotero’s developers decided to strengthen our main research tool: the web browser. What’s more, Zotero works within the free Mozilla Firefox browser (sorry, Internet Explorer users), and is perfectly functional offline as well as online. To install Zotero, simply download the latest version of Firefox (if you haven’t already), open up the browser, and download Zotero from the Zotero homepage. Here’s an easy-to-follow video that guides you through the installation process and walks you through Zotero's interface and design:
  2. Zotero actually “senses” the bibliograpic information of the document you’re looking at within your browser: Today's web-based research process leads us to many types of useful documents like library catalog records, newspaper articles, PDFs, blog entries, and videos. Zotero can "sense" the bibliographic information of most types of documents that you encounter during web-based research. Here's how:
  3. Like creating playlists with iTunes? You’ll love Zotero...: Almost all of us have experienced the frustration of managing the fruits of our research through a mystifying array of folders and subfolders that we segment into ever more discrete categories until we can’t retrieve what we’ve gathered, much less make sense of our thinking. By contrast, many of us like nothing better than to download album after album on iTunes and organize countless songs into playlists that we listen to on the go or that we burn for friends. Zotero quite deliberately seizes on this contrast by allowing you to amass an iTunes-like document library that you can then sort into playlist-like document collections. Among other things, this means that you can put a single document into more than one collection by simply dragging and dropping it. Learn more by watching this short screencast.
  4. Zotero’s note-taking and tagging features are excellent: When the time comes to sit down and write up the results of our research, many of us find ourselves facing a collection of word-processed notes, hand-written notes, sticky notes, and back-of the-envelope calculations that, even when organized into neat piles or folders, often prove very cumbersome to use. Zotero solves this problem by allowing you to tag documents using any keyword you choose, to download and use Library of Congress subject headings, to place “sticky notes” right on individual items within your library, and even to create research timelines that allow you to visualize your library items by date of publication and other time criteria. You can also link items to other items, and conduct both basic and advanced searches of your library using various fields. These features and others (like Microsoft Word and Google Docs plug-ins) allow you to manipulate your research library in a variety of ways that make analysis and writing much easier.
The upcoming new version of Zotero will provide users with a new set of great features, including synchronization of a user’s library across more than one computer, free backup of user libraries on Zotero servers, automatic detection of PDF metadata, and online browsing of a user’s library.

Is anyone out there using Zotero? What do you think of it? Are you a convert? Some of you may have heard that Zotero isn't the greatest for legal research---more on that in a future post...

-- Pablo Sandoval

Friday, November 7, 2008

Library Hours for Veterans Day

Veterans Day is observed on Tuesday, November 11th. The UW recognizes this date as a national holiday and no classes are scheduled.
The Law Library will operate on a reduced schedule: 8am - 5pm.
The Reference office will be open from 1 - 4pm.

The image is from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. More information about this year's Veterans Day celebration is available at the agency's website.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

CRS Report on Presidential Transitions

The Congressional Research Service has issued a 35-page report entitled Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations (RL 34722).

Subjects covered include:
  • "midnight" rulemaking
  • executive orders
  • agency and presidential records
  • national security
  • political appointments
CRS is a division of the Library of Congress that provides legal and policy analysis and research to members of Congress and Congressional committees. For more information on identifying and locating documents from this agency, see the Gallagher guide on Congressional Research Service Reports.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Statistics on Civil Trials in State Courts

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released a study on general civil trials dealing with contracts, real property, and torts in a national sample of state courts for 2005.

Civil Bench and Jury Trials in State Courts, 2005 reports:

  • the types of plaintiffs and defendants represented in civil trials
  • plaintiffs’ win rates
  • punitive damages
  • final award amounts generated in civil trial litigation
  • trends in civil trial litigation in the nation's 75 most populous counties from 1992 to 2005

Some of the significant findings:

Plaintiffs were significantly more likely to prevail in bench trials as
opposed to jury trials.

Approximately 4% of winning plaintiffs received awards of a million dollars or more.

The number of civil actions has been declining.

Automatic Bluebooking with CiteGenie

The search for the legal writer's Holy Grail -- automatic Bluebooking -- has lead to the creation of several new products. One of them, called CiteGenie, is a Firefox extension.

Marc Hershovitz has written a review of CiteGenie for LLRX: Review of CiteGenie: Automatic Bluebook Citations When Using Westlaw. He puts Cite Genie through several tests and concludes that the product is very good, but "not quite perfect."

Read the review or test out CiteGenie for yourself. Share your experience by posting a comment on this post.

Historical Congressional Committee Hearings Digitized

The Law Library of Congress and Google are cooperating in a project to digitize some of the Library's collection of 75,000 Congressional committee hearings.

The Congressional Hearings collection currently focuses on three subjects:
  • census
  • freedom of information and privacy
  • immigration
The selected hearings are presented as PDF images. More hearings and topics will be added as the collection grows.

Congressional committee hearings contain transcripts of oral testimony as well as written material submitted for the record. They are often used by legal researchers and historians in divining legislative intent. Read more about the role of Congressional committee hearings in the Gallagher guide on Federal Legislative History.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Want More Information on Judges?

When voting, we try to educate ourselves as much as possible when electing our representatives in the executive and legislative branches . However, when it comes to the judiciary, we may not know how to look for information.

In Washington State, as in most states, judges are elected. Perhaps you have questions about the process. Or maybe you wonder why we elect judges rather than appointing them. Did you know that there are judges on the ballot this November?

Voting for judges can be tricky. It is sometimes hard to understand what criteria is best to use when evaluating judges.

A helpful on-line resource,, answers all your questions about the judiciary in Washington. This website was started by a nonpartisan coalition of bar associations and other law-related groups to provide important information about judges.

Find out about the judicial elections in your area by clicking on the "Show My Elections" tab. Not only will you find each candidate's resume, but you can see what organizations endorsed certain candidates.

Find out which candidate is best for you. And remember to vote on November 4th.

-- Jennifer Wertkin

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guides for Job Hunters

Research is important when you're looking for a job (as well as for when you're in a job), and the library can help. Last week we posted a new guide, Government Work, and updated two others, Fellowship Opportunities in Law and Getting the Scoop on Jobs & Careers.

Briefcase image from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Patent D566,394).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

National Work and Family Month

October is National Work and Family Month. See H. Res. 1440 (Sept. 28, 2008).

Consider your whole life when you think about your career plans -- where do you want to live? what sort of schedule do you want to have? do you want lots of challenges every day? do you want predictability? flexibility? excitement? security?

Some resources to help you think about these things:
  • JD Bliss, "a blog for attorneys seeking career satisfaction, work/life balance, and personal growth."

  • Work/Life Balance articles from the ABA Journal.

  • It's Harder in Heels: Essays by Women Lawyers Achieving Work-Life Balance, KF299.W6 I87 2007 at Classified Stacks.

  • Excellence in the Workplace: Legal & Life Skills in a Nutshell, KF297.Z9 K38 2007 at Classified Stacks.

  • The Creative Lawyer: A Practical Guide to Authentic Professional Satisfaction, KF300.Z9 M45 2007 at Classified Stacks.

  • The Lawyer's Guide to Balancing Life and Work, KF300 .K38 2006 at Classified Stacks.

  • Stress Management for Lawyers: How to Increase Personal & Professional Satisfaction in the Law, KF300 .E49 2007.
Of course just because October has been designated Work and Family Month doesn't mean that it's the only month for thinking about these issues. Start now, and keep it up!

Important Voter Information

Election Day is just around the corner! On November 4th we encourage you to exercise your Constitutional Rights and vote.

Don’t know your precinct? Don’t know which district is yours? Don’t know what candidates are running? Don’t worry!

There are resources available to help you along the way.

Many of you may be new to Washington State. Perhaps this is the first time you have voted here. If you have already registered, you can find out everything you need to help you make an informed decision on the Washington Secretary of State’s website. Click on the "my vote" icon on that page and you are on your way.

Enter your name and birthday and your voter registration information pops up. If you use the drop down menu labeled "voter's pamphlet" you can find out all you need to know about which district you are in and what candidates represent your area. By clicking on each candidate's name, you can read about each candidate. Additionally, you will find the exact wording of each initiative and arguments for and against their implementation.

If you are a resident of King county, visit their election website for more details including the address of your polling place and the locations of ballot drop-boxes for early voting. Still have questions? Check out the official Voter's Guide and you will discover all of the answers to your questions about the voting process.

Don't let lack of information keep you from the polls. Get out there on November 4th and let your voice be heard!

-- Jennifer Wertkin

Saturday, October 25, 2008

WSBA's YouTube Contest

The Washington State Bar Association invites you to create a short video (3 minutes max.) showing "your vision of justice for all as citizens of Washington state." Not only do you get to use your creativity and express yourself, but you also will be in the running for two $1000 prizes -- one to be selected by a panel of judges and one People's Choice winner. You might even get both!

Details about the contest are here. The deadline for posting entries on YouTube is June 15, 2009.

Friday, October 24, 2008

LibraryThing Highlights Some Good Stuff

A lot of people think that law libraries are packed to the gills with really boring, dry books. Admittedly, we have our share of those. But we also have a lot of stimulating and compelling works. Our LibraryThing "library" highlights some of them.

Contrary to the proverb, you can judge books by their covers. LibraryThing lets you do just that, as well as find comments, reviews, and ratings. You can add your own reviews and ratings too, if you set up a (free) account.

Here are

(The display will be different on different visits.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The President's Identity Theft Task Force Report

This new report recommends 31 actions that the federal government can take to reduce the impact and incidence of identity theft.

Ranging from "small, incremental steps to broad policy changes," the recommendations focus on four categories:

data protection
data misuse
victim assistance

This document follows the Task Force's 2007 Combating Identity Theft: A Strategic Plan. Available in the Law Library: HV6679.U55 2007 at Classified Stacks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Ginzberg Films

Students who attended last week's Social Justice Tuesday saw excerpts from several of Abby Ginzberg's films. After the talk, she donated two DVDs to the library:
  • Those Who Know Don't Tell, about workplace safety (featured in this post) and

  • Justice Is Still a Constant Struggle: The National Lawyers Guild in Action (JC571.J87 2007 at Classified Stacks).
We appreciate Ms. Ginzberg's generosity.

You might also be interested in two of her films that we have in VHS:
  • Pulp Ethics: Criminal Lawyers' Ethical Dilemmas (KFC76.5.A2 P85 1985 at Classified Stacks). This is a multimedia fictional case study produced for California's Continuing Education of the Bar.

  • Inside/Out: A Portrait of Lesbian and Gay Lawyers (KF299.G3 I58 1994 at Classified Stacks). This 35-minute video was commissioned by the National Educational Foundation for Individual Rights, which was a non-profit formed by several GLBT legal organizations. The film was
    designed to help legal employers understand both the conscious and unconscious discrimination lesbians and gay men encounter within the legal profession. This film is intended to raise more questions than it answers. It is not a "how-to" guide for elminating discrimination based on sexual orientation within the legal workplace. Rather, it is recommended for use in group settings as a springboard for directed discussion.
    To make the film, Ginzberg interviewed over seventy-five lesbian and gay attorneys (and, as we saw in the clip Tuesday, at least one transgender attorney).
Don't have a VCR? The group study rooms and classrooms do. We also have a VCR in the Reference Area that you can use with headphones.

Chief justice's noir-tinged dissent gets mixed reviews

Chief justice's noir-tinged dissent gets mixed reviews, Nat'l L.J. (web), Oct. 16, 2008:
The Legal Times reported Tuesday on Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.'s seemingly whimsical experiment in opinion writing in the style of a hard-boiled detective novel. Dissenting from the denial of review in Pennsylvania v. Dunlap, Roberts painted a noir setting in which police officer Sean Devlin, working in a Philadelphia neighborhood that is as "tough as a three-dollar steak," suspects defendant Nathan Dunlap of selling drugs after viewing a transaction in which Dunlap exchanges small packages for cash. "Devlin knew the guy wasn't buying bus tokens," Roberts wrote in his new literary style. Sure enough, Devlin had sold three bags of crack, and he was arrested.

It made for unusually riveting reading, but not everyone was entertained, it turns out. Blog commentary here and here includes some criticism of Roberts' tone as dismissive of the defendant and the issue he raised.
Orin Kerr suggests that the Chief Justice might have been trying to do more than entertain: perhaps he hoped to bring more attention to the denial of cert to get the attention of lower court judges.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Internet Law Treatise

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the host for the Internet Law Treatise, a wiki-based "collaborative treatise summarizing the law related to the Internet with the cooperation of a wide variety of attorneys, law students and others."

Chapters address:
  1. defamation
  2. content and speech regulation (including obscenity)
  3. copyright
  4. trademark
  5. misappropriation
  6. electronic contracts
  7. privacy and data collection
  8. marketing issues (including spam)
  9. jurisdiction
The Internet Law Treatises is based on Perkins Coie's 2003 based upon the Electronic Media and Privacy Law Handbook.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Documentary Critical of USA PATRIOT Act

Continuing with my promised list of documentaries:

Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties, JC599.U5 U62 2004 at Classified Stacks. According to the producer, this film
tells the real story of the USA Patriot Act. Melding personal stories with words from the experts, the interviews invariably illuminate the assault that has been launched by the Bush administration against the rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution, principally using 9/11 as an excuse. Executive Producer Robert Greenwald. Produced and Directed by Nonny de la Pena in association with PIP.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Brick by Brick: A Civil Rights Story

Brick by Brick: A Civil Rights Story follows three Yonkers families during a struggle over housing desegregation. It goes back decades to describe how a ghetto was created through public policies, so that people of color mostly lived in segregated neighborhoods with very poor schools. Members of the community organized to fight for change, and the film
tracks the resulting federal US v Yonkers litigation, which challenged neighborhood and educational discrimination. Coming back out of the courtroom into the community, the story describes the bitter local confrontation about race and the very concept of community that follows. From a first person perspective, characters weave a tale of years of work attempting to achieve justice, with a labyrinth of successes and setbacks that the struggle entails.

At its close, Brick by Brick shows what has happened both to a community and to individual citizens, committed to their city. It also illustrates the difference housing opportunity can make in a single family’s life. The story brings the fiery legal and political crucible of a contemporary city and its larger implications for our nation today onto the screen.
It's in the library: HD7288.76.U5 B75 2007 at Classified Stacks.

The print is too small to read here, but this KeyCite display will show you how complex the case's history is:

Dates range from 1995 to 2000.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coming up with Paper Ideas

How do you come up with good ideas for papers?

Addressing this perennial problem, we've developed a guide with some ideas, such as looking for circuit splits or searching law-related blogs for new developments. See Writing for & Publishing in Law Reviews.

Graphic: Benjamin Franklin from Library of Congress.

Those Who Know Don't Tell: Worker Safety Documentary

When filmmaker Abby Ginzberg visited the Law School this week, she donated to the library Those Who Know Don't Tell: The Ongoing Battle For Workers' Health. Narrated by Studs Terkel, this film
traces the history of the struggle to rid the workplace of occupational hazards. Using archival footage, union songs and interviews, it tells its story both from the point of view of the labor activists and those within the medical profession who became their advocates.

The fight for occupational health began almost one hundred years ago with Dr. Alice Hamilton's discovery of lead-caused industrial disease. She was followed by others such as Dr. Harriet Hardy of M.I.T., who discovered the dangers of beryllium. More recently, Dr. Irving Selikoff uncovered the danger of asbestos to workers and publicized his findings despite pressure from the asbestos industry to silence him.
It's being processed, but it will soon be available at HD7654 .T57 1989 in the Classified Stacks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New & Updated Legal Research Guides

Did you know that the Gallagher Law Library website offers more than 125 legal research guides?

Many of these guides are updated when the reference librarians give presentations for the courses for which the guides were originally created. New guides often spring from presentations we give for the first time.

For instance, students on the Shidler Journal of Law, Commerce + Technology requested a session on establishing links to reliable and stable free websites with primary law sources like constitutions, statutes, and cases. The presentation was given today and a new guide, Links to Primary Law Sources on Free Websites, was created.

A recently updated guide on Genetics & the Law was built for several courses taught by Prof. Anna Mastroianni.

The Judge and the Fanatic

Yesterday I promised to highlight some documentaries in our collection. Today's is The Judge and the Fanatic: Koranic Duels Against Terror, BL65 .T47 J83 2007 at Classified Stacks.
The interpretation of Islamic texts [is] the focus of Yemeni Judge Hamoud al Hitar and his Religious Dialogue Committee, which seeks to rehabilitate the most hardened Islamic radicals through a close reading of the Qur'an and the sunna (traditions from the life and teaching of the Prophet Muhammad). Tom Meffert's richly insightful documentary explains how agents of terrorism have systematically sought to change the meaning of Islam to suit their own ends. Far from being a fiery text full of blood and revenge, many of the Qur'an's 124 verses advocate tolerance, peace and hospitality, and advise that non-Muslims should be treated with charity and respect. It is this that the judge tries to make clear to the disaffected young men of his country turning to extremism. Yemen's war of words with the dark heart of terrorism has enormous implications, not just for that country, but the larger world as well.
-- description from Salt Spring Film Festival 2006

I didn't read the producer's description because it is in German, but I copied the photo (above) from that page. (Our library bought the English version of the film.)

Federal Criminal Statistics for 2005

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released a summary report on federal criminal statistics for 2005.

"The report provides data on the number of persons arrested, investigated, convicted, and sentenced for a violation of federal law. It includes the number of offenders under federal correctional supervision at the pre-trial and post-conviction stages. It also describes case outcomes, including percent prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced by type of sanction."

More detailed statistical tables are also available.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Asylum DVD

This week's Social Justice Tuesday speaker was Abby Ginzberg, a lawyer turned documentary filmmaker.

To follow up on the enthusiasm in the room, I'll feature some of films in our collection in the next several days. Today: Well-Founded Fear, a look at the system for granting asylum. KF4836 .W45 2000 at Classified Stacks.

At 3:30, there will be a showing of her film, Soul of Justice: Thelton Henderson's American Journey.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Is Solo Practice for You?

Did you know that about a third of American lawyers are in solo practice?* If you think solo practice might be for you down the road, it doesn't hurt to start learning about it now.

Here's a checklist of questions, Should You Go Solo?, excerpted from Deborah Arron, What Can You Do with a Law Degree? A Lawyer’s Guide to Career Alternatives Inside, Outside & Around the Law, KF297 .A872 2004 at Reference Area (two copies) and Classified Stacks (one copy).

I'm a fan of Carolyn Elefant's blog about solo practice, MyShingle. She has interesting commentary, reflections, tips, and links to resources. Her Online Guide is a goldmine.

This year, Carolyn published a book, too: Solo by Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be, KF300.Z9 E44 2007 at Classified Stacks. The book is enriched by interviews with lots of solo practitioners (including Seattle lawyer D. Jill Pugh).

The ABA's General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division has lots of information, including archives of its magazine, GP|Solo.

The ABA also publishes Jay Foonberg's How to Start and Build a Law Practice (5th ed. 2004), KF300.Z9 F66 2004 at Reference Area. See this short review from the Law Library News.

*See the ABA's fact sheet on lawyer demographics here. 74% of lawyers in 2000 were in private practice. 48% of lawyers in private practice were solo.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Supreme Court on Your TV or Laptop

Did you miss the PBS series on the Supreme Court? Not to worry: you can check it out from the Law Library, KF8742 .S856 2007 at Classified Stacks (4 DVDs).

Or you can click around on these interactive pages from the companion website. Can you place 10 landmark cases on a timeline?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Word about Word

Looking for ways to become more efficient using Word? We've assembled some tips, covering some little things (like how to make a §) and some more advanced tasks (e.g., creating cross-references among footnotes). Take a look at our guide, Word Tips to Make Your Life Easier.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lawyer Presidents

Twenty-five presidents have also been lawyers, from a wide variety of practices. To learn more, take a look at a book from the ABA, America's Lawyer-Presidents: From Law Office to Oval Office, KF353 .A46 2004 at Good Reads. (The Good Reads collection is in the wooden bookcases near the student lounge.)
America's Lawyer-Presidents, which is the work of an impressive assembly of respected scholars, is lucid, informative, and highly engaging. The book provides intriguing biographical perspectives on the professional lives of a number of our most influential citizens, and also demonstrates yet again the profound relationship between the development of American law and our democracy. -- Scott Turow
Think you already know a lot? Try this trivia game. (I scored 30% on my first try.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

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Law Library News Evolves

Welcome to the Next Generation of the Law Library News: Gallagher Blogs.

The Gallagher Law Library has published a Law Library News column in the University of Washington School of Law newsletter, The Crier, for many years.

In this new format, we will continue to share Library news, legal research tips and tools, and other information for the faculty, students, staff, and visitors of the Law Library.

Add our blog to your RSS feeds, or read new posts on the Law Library website.