Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Visualize the Legislative Process

The brainchild of University of Washington's Center for American Politics and Public Policy (CAPPP) and Schema, LegEx is short for "Legislative Explorer" and is a data-driven interactive tool that allows users to visually track the progress of legislation as it makes its way through Congress.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Global Business Jargon

Do you want to talk like a big-time financier? Or at least understand what the M&A folks and hedge fund managers are saying?

The law firm of Latham & Watkins offers a Book of Jargon® series, with titles covering European Capital Markets and Bank Finance, Global Mergers & Acquisitions, Global Restructuring, Hedge Funds, MLPs (Master Limited Partnerships), Project Finance, and US Corporate and Bank Finance.

For instance, The Book of Jargon--Hedge Funds defines "tiger cub":
Tiger Cub:
(1) a Hedge Fund run by an alumnus of Julian Robertson’s famous Tiger Management Corp.; (2) a baby tiger.

Tiger cub, photo by 8 Eyes Photography, posted on Flickr
and used with Creative Commons license
If you're scrabbling around looking for last-minute gifts, these are perfect. You can view them online, download PDFs, or load free apps from iTuns or the Google Play store. The price? Free!

End-of-Quarter and Holiday Changes to the Law Library's Hours

With the end of finals approaching this Friday, it is time to announce the Law Library's interim and holiday hours.

Dec. 13 - 16, Saturday - Tuesday: Closed
Dec. 17 - 19, Wednesday - Friday: 8am - 5pm
Dec. 20 - 21, Saturday - Sunday: Closed
Dec. 22 - 23, Monday - Tuesday: 8am - 5pm
Dec. 24 - 28, Wednesday - Sunday: Closed
Dec. 29 - 31, Monday - Wednesday: 8am - 5pm

Jan. 1 - 4, Thursday - Sunday: Closed

On the dates that the Library is open from 8am - 5pm, the Reference Office is open from 9am - 12noon and from 1 - 5pm.

Enjoy your time off!

More Follow-up to #Ferguson Forum

During the forum on Tuesday, there was discussion about why Darren Wilson was not interviewed for a few days after shooting Michael Brown. Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said that many police unions have negotiated a term in their contracts that provides for a delay of two or three days before questioning after a shooting incident, based in part on studies that suggest that memory would be better after the delay. Jeffery Robinson observed that civilians who are involved in shooting incidents might also experience psychological stress, but police investigators don't wait three days to interview them.

Here's a little more information on that issue:
  • In some states a statute gives officers a period to obtain counsel before they are interrogated. See Kevin M. Keenan & Samuel Walker, An Impediment to Police Accountability? An Analysis of Statutory Law Enforcement Officers' Bills of Rights, 14 B.U. Pub. Int. L.J. 185, 212-14 (2005) (links are to HeinOnline).
  • The Officer-Involved Shooting Guidelines from the International Association of Chiefs of Police Psychological Services Section (2013) provide:
    While officers may be asked to provide pertinent information soon after a shooting to aid the initial investigative process, whenever feasible, officers should have some recovery time before providing a full formal statement. Depending on the nature of the incident, the demands on the agency, and the emotional and physical status of the officers, this can range from a few hours to several days. An officer’s memory will often benefit from at least one sleep cycle prior to being interviewed leading to more coherent and accurate statements.3 4 5 6 7 Providing a secure setting, insulated from the press and curious coworkers, is important during the interview process.
  • p. 6 (citing articles about sleep and memory).

Twitter Feeds About Criminal Justice, Race, and Policy

To help you follow issues of race and criminal justice, here is a selective list of relevant Twitter feeds. The list focuses on organizations rather than individuals, although there are plenty of smart thoughtful individuals tweeting, too.

The list includes organizations' descriptions of themselves from their Twitter profiles.

Criminal justice

The Marshall Project, @MarshallProj
The Marshall Project is a not-for-profit, non-partisan newsroom dedicated to covering America's criminal justice system.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice Office for the Advancement of Research @JohnJayResearch
The Office for the Advancement of Research provides services to enhance the pursuit of academic research at the highest standards of scholarship.

Celebrities and Congress

What do Stephen Colbert, Oprah, Frank Sinatra, Mike Ditka, and Danielle Steel all have in common?
They have all testified before Congress!
These four are by no means the only celebrities to have testified before Congress. Others include Michael J. Fox, Julia Roberts, members of Metallica, and Mr. Rogers. Famous actors, writers, musicians, and sports figures have all come before Congress, to testify on a range of issues. Even Elmo* has testified before Congress (he also attempted to eat the microphone).
ProQuest Congressional, available to UW School of Law students and faculty members, has a page of Famous (Celebrity) Witnesses, linking to transcripts of the hearings. It is a fun and interesting page worth checking out in all that spare time you have. From there, you may want to brush up on ProQuest, with the other ProQuest LibGuides.

New E-comment Service Debuts At Washington Legislature

For the first time, the Washington legislature has an online form to accept e-comments on pending legislation.

According to their website:

E-Comments is a feature the Legislature is testing during the 2013 Session that lets you send comments on a bill to the members of the Legislature. The first time you comment, you will be asked to set up an account with your e-mail address and a password of your choice. To comment on a bill, you may:
  • Click the button below if you know the bill number, or
  • Look up a bill on the Bill Information page to get to a bill history page then click the link near the top of the page.
Legislators and their staff will not be able to respond to individual comments. If you wish a response, contact your legislators directly by phone, e-mail, letter, or in person, or by calling the Legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000.
Need inspiration? You might want to comment on some of these bills, recently highlighted in the Seattle Times:
Abortion: Senate Bill 5156 would prohibit a provider from performing an abortion on a minor without at least 48 hours advance notice to the minor’s parent or guardian. 
Wolves: Senate Bill 5187 would allow livestock owners to kill a “mammalian predator,” such as a wolf, that attacks livestock. 
Motorcycles: Senate Bill 5143 would end mandatory helmet use for motorcycle riders age 18 or over.
To try out the new comment service, click here.

And if all this civic participation piques your curiousity, you can find out more about the Washington state legislative process in Gallagher Law Library's recently updated research guide, The Legislative Process.

The Means of Innovation

Looking for the latest from Professor Sean O’Connor? Check out The Means of Innovation, a new blog about law, creativity, commerce, and entrepreneurship.

Professor O’Connor’s scholarship is focused on how legal structures and strategies facilitate innovation. With this broad focus, he is writing an entertaining and educational blog that covers a range of topics including intellectual property, innovation and invention, legal instruction, and legal theory and policy.

The blog is a fascinating read in particular because Professor O’Connor stays on top of interesting articles and books, then, after briefly summarizing the topic, he provides direct and immediate commentary on aspects of the article you may have never considered. For example, a recent post concerning a New York Times article about a young woman who invented a prosthetic limb that would reduce phantom limb pain in amputees served as a jumping-off point for a discussion of the role of “innovation producers” (i.e., those individuals who are “able to bring together all the resources needed to take a cool idea or vision all the way to something that can be produced at a cost that makes it reasonably accessible to the market.”)

The blog is written in a congenial style that makes it easy to read and understand. If you’ve had Professor O’Connor for a class, you’ll be happy to know his blog style reflects his teaching style in that he makes the complicated legal issues easy to understand through his examples and illustrations. Two practicing lawyers, Brian Endter and Patrick Franke(both of Graham & Dunn), also contribute to the blog.

The Means of Innovation is also a forum for dialogue among those who want to think deeply and seriously about innovation across all different spaces (not just “technology”) and how those interested in innovation can get serious about the nuts and bolts of know-how/show-how rather than reduce innovation to theory and symbolic language constructs.

Professor O’Connor is working on a book, Methodology: Art, Science, Technology, Law, and the Means of Innovation.

All Creatures Great and Small

Seattleites are known for their devotion to their pets. (In fact, one statistic says canine kids outnumber the human variety almost 3-to-1.) And two local news stories have brought municipal ordinances and pet owners' run-ins with the law into the spotlight.

Duke, the ne'er-do-well kitty discussed in this Seattle Times article had a penchant for pooping on his neighbor’s property. This unfortunate habit cost his owners $109 given that Duke's flouting of the law resulted in damage to the neighbor's property apparently sufficient to warrant court action.

Curious about which municipal ordinance could get a small cat into big trouble with the law? SMC 9.25.084 states

"It is unlawful for the owner to...[p]ermit any animal to damage public property or the private property of another."

The question at trial was whether Duke was the kitty offender in question and, unfortunately for Duke, Magistrate Adam Eisenberg ruled that a preponderance of the evidence indicated he was.

In other animal news, Amy, the adorable dog featured in this Seattle Times article fought the law and (presumably) the law won a few years back, with her owner ending up in court to contest the language of Seattle’s dog-scoop law, SMC 18.12.080:

"Any person with a dog or other pet in his or her possession or under his or her control in any park shall...carry equipment for removing feces...."

Amy’s owner argued that “equipment” had no definition and could really mean just about anything, particularly when a person is in a pinch when faced with a $54 ticket. It is unclear whether Amy’s owner prevailed, but the ordinance still stands as-is.

Down in the dumps about the plight of these animal owners? Do yourself a favor and bone up on pet-related municipal ordinances including those related to licensing and picking up after Fido. Gallagher Law Library also has a handy book you might consider, Every Dog's Legal Guide: A Must-Have Book for Your Owner by Mary Randolph (2007), KF390.5.D6 R36 2007 (in the Reference area of the library). And for more on the significance of municipal ordinances and the ways they could impact your daily life, read Mary Whisner’s article, Enact Locally, 102 Law Libr. J. 497 (2010).

Graphics: Microsoft clip art.

Trademark Law...NSFW?

Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which governs federal trademarks, prohibits registration of trademarks that consist of or comprise "immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter." But who decides what constitutes an immoral, deceptive or scandalous mark?

As an initial matter, trademark examiners with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) make the call. While you might think you're stuck with Justice Potter Stewart's classic definition of obscenity ("I know it when I see it") when the examining attorneys make their decisions, a series of USPTO determinations has recently been collected that give you a more solid understanding of just what kinds of marks have been considered immoral, deceptive, or scandalous.

Trademarks Laid Bare: Marks that May be Scandalous or Immoral (available in the Gallagher Law Library here) gives an overview of the policy underpinnings of the prohibition against scandalous marks, summarizes the standard and applicable factors the USPTO considers when making assessments regarding such marks, then groups determinations by specific categories that could be considered objectionable (e.g., religious or ethnic marks, sexual references, drug references).

There are numerous instances when this book may come in handy, but one area in particular may be a hot topic in the coming years: In an April Fool's Day twist a few years ago, the USPTO opened up a new category for marks: marijuana strains. While it seems clear that federal law still prohibits registering marks for marijuana strains, state trademark law may come into play. For more information on trademark law generally, check out Gallagher Law Library's research guide on trademarks.

For state-specific information, check the websites for Secretaries of State (like this one for Washington) as they often have jurisdiction over state trademark law.

Controlling Distractions

Boy, that Internet is full of distractions, isn't it? You might want to be taking notes or working on a paper, and then the next thing you know you're looking at _______________ [fill in the blank with your most tempting site].

Aaron Kirschenfeld, who is working on his JD and MLIS at the University of North Carolina, offers some tips in this blog post. For instance, he uses Freedom, an app that disables Internet access for a period of time: he sets it for the length of his class. He also has also LeechBlock, a Firefox add-on that can limit time spent at websites you designate.

If you have trouble staying focused on your writing, you might try Write or Die 2, an app that lets you set goals (minutes writing, number of words produced) and then provides "consequences for procrastination and . . . rewards for accomplishment." UCLA's Daily Bruin reviewed Three Apps to Beat Procrastination (including Write or Die) last month.

December 23 is an odd time to offer these tips, since lots of students are away from school and have a chance to goof off a little without guilt. Just save the tips to use when you tackle your New Year's resolutions.

Friday, December 12, 2014

"Lex FIFA"--Swiss Money-Laundering Laws Changed to Include Sports Associations

The Swiss legislature today voted to change its money laundering laws so that officials of sports organizations like the International Olympic Committee and FIFA will be accountable as "politically exposed persons." Some news coverage:
For background, see Roger Pielke Jr., How Can FIFA Be Held Accountable?, Sport Management Review (2013). (If you're interested in sport policy, you might like to check out Pielke's blog, The Least Thing.)

For more about efforts to fight corruption—in business and government as well as in FIFA—see the website of the advocacy group, Transparency International.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Capital Punishment: Race, Poverty, and Disadvantage—Free Online Course

Stephen Bright is president and senior counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights, a public interest law program that deals with human rights in the criminal justice and prison systems. He has also been a visiting lecturer or fellow at Yale Law School for over 20 years. Now Yale has posted Bright's  online course, “Capital Punishment: Race, Poverty, & Disadvantage,” on iTunes U and YouTube.
This course examines issues of poverty and race in the criminal justice system, particularly with regard to the imposition of the death penalty. Topics include the right to counsel for people who cannot afford lawyers, racial discrimination, prosecutorial discretion, judicial independence, and mental health issues. 
There are 40 videos, ranging from 18 to 45 minutes. I haven't figured it out, but that's a lot of instruction from one of the nation's leading authorities on the death penalty. Each video has related readings (from the YouTube description, you just click on a link to Dropbox).

If you're interested in criminal justice, this is a great resource.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Law School's Forum on #Ferguson

This afternoon attorney Jeffery Robinson led a discussion on the events in Ferguson, MO—the killing of Michael Brown last summer, the grand jury this fall, and the protests in Ferguson and around the country—and the larger issues of racism, criminal justice, and law enforcement. Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud and former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan were present and contributed to the discussion.

With a nod to Yogi Berra, Robinson titled his presentation "'You Can Observe a Lot Just by Watching': The Killing of Michael Brown and the Transparent Grand Jury Investigation."

This blog post lists some resources.

Washington State Minority and Justice Commission report mentioned by Justice Gordon McCloud: Mark Peffley et al., Justice in Washington State Survey  (2012, revised & updated 2014)

Project Implicit (Harvard website that Robinson mentioned that offers simple tests that reveal implicit bias).
  •   The developers of the Implicit Assocation Test (IAT) are two social psychologists, Mahzarin R. Banaji (now at Harvard) and Anthony G. Greenwald (UW). They have written a very accessible and fascinating book reviewing the research: Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People (2013). Catalog record.
  • Jerry Kang, a law professor at UCLA has done a lot of work bringing these studies into law. See his page, Getting up to speed on implicit bias. Kang has a Ted Talk on the topic, too:

Robinson showed a powerful spoken word video by Javon Johnson. View it here.

Robinson also had a powerful infographic with data on police stops from Racism Still Exists (which also has several other infographics).

The Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project is here.

1L Martina Kartman spoke about her experience going to Ferguson with a team from a Freedom School here in Seattle, the Tyree Scott Leadership Institute.

 You can find more resources in our guide, Race in the Criminal Justice System.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Presidential Action to "Fix" Immigration System

On Nov. 20, President Obama announced that he would take executive action to deal with problems in the immigration system.

Ten days earlier, the Congressional Research Service issued a 27-page report on Executive Discretion as to Immigration: Legal Overview.

The report addresses:
  • express delegation of discretionary authority
  • discretion in enforcement
  • discretion in interpreting and applying statutes.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides nonpartison research for committees and members of Congress. Unlike publications from Congress itself, CRS reports are not generally released to the public. However, many organizations and commercial vendors obtain copies and make them available. The Law Library website features a guide to Congressional Research Service Reports that identifies many of these sources.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Library Hours Changes

The Law Library will be closed from 3pm, Wednesday, Nov. 26 through Saturday,

Nov. 29. The Library will re-open on Sunday, Nov. 30. 

Enjoy sharing some time with friends and family!

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Legal Scholarship Blog Moves to CALI

CALI Classcaster Logo
The Legal Scholarship Blog recently changed web hosts to CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction. CALI was created by the University of Minnesota Law School and Harvard Law School - and it hosts over 900 interactive legal tutorials written by law professors.  CALI also manages a blogging network called Classcaster, which hosts legal education podcasts and blogs.

The Legal Scholarship Blog was created in 2007 to consolidate and publicize notices of calls for papers, conferences, and workshops that may be of interest to legal scholars. The blog's "goal is to facilitate the legal academy's development and dissemination of scholarship." Today, the blog is managed in partnership with librarians at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and the University of Washington School of Law. Currently featured on the blog are a Suffolk University Law School event, "Protecting Your IP Overseas"; the event "Big Data and Death" hosted by the University of Wisconsin Law School Global Legal Studies Center and Human Rights Program; and a call for papers for "Graphic Futures - Imagining Law's Potential in Comics and Graphic Novels."  For more information about the Legal Scholarship Blog's move to CALI, read their blog post about it here!

In other CALI-related news, it is CALI recently celebrated its 32nd birthday. Check out the new library display at the law library entrance, where you can learn about CALI's history and helpful resources that it provides for law students. Particularly valuable are the lessons and quizzes that CALI offers. Some topics covered include Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Evidence, Professional Responsibility, Property, Tax (Corporate, Partnership, S Corporation, Business Entities), and Torts. If you would like to access any of the content on CALI please ask a reference librarian for help registering.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Taking Images Seriously

Before you even got to the bookstore cash register when you bought your first books for law school, you probably noticed that law books don't have many pictures. Nor do briefs, pleadings, contracts, judicial opinions, or law review articles. What's up with that?

Now Prof. Elizabeth Porter takes a scholarly look at law's use of pictures and graphics: Taking Images Seriously, 114 Colum. L. Rev. 1687-1782 (2014).
Prof. Elizabeth Porter

Here's the article's abstract:
Law has been trapped in a stylistic straitjacket. The Internet has revolutionized media and communications, replacing text with a dizzying array of multimedia graphics and images. Facebook hosts more than 150 billion photos. Courts spend millions on trial technology. But those innovations have barely trickled into the black-and-white world of written law. Legal treatises continue to evoke Blackstone and Kent; most legal casebooks are facsimiles of Langdell’s; and legal journals resemble the Harvard Law Review circa 1887. None of these influential forms of disseminating the law has embraced—or even nodded to—modern, image-saturated communication norms. Litigants, scholars, and courts have been rebooting the same formalist templates for over a century—templates that were formed before widespread use of the cam- era, never mind the computer. Outside of trial, where image-driven advocacy has a long history, legal practice begins and ends with text.

But over the past five years, for the first time—unrecognized by scholars or courts—creative trial lawyers, receptive judges, and the iPhone camera are breaching these conservative bulwarks. Images are moving out of the evidentiary margins and are driving argument in litigation documents from pleadings to judicial opinions. If left unregulated, visual argument threatens fundamental premises of legal discourse and decisionmaking. Yet in comparison with law’s rich and detailed traditions for interpreting ambiguous text, lawyers and judges have few tools beyond common sense with which to ameliorate the interpretive risks of visual persuasion. “I know it when I see it” is not merely an aphorism; it is the reigning interpretive canon for images in law.

This Article, the first comprehensive scholarly treatment of images in written legal argument, identifies and critiques the nascent phenomenon of multimedia written advocacy as a vital, if potentially problematic, element of a lawyer’s tool box. It argues that despite substantial risks, the profession should cautiously embrace the communicative power of multimedia writing. It concludes by offering concrete suggestions for the fair regulation of multimedia persuasion, including two foundational canons of visual interpretation—the basis for developing new traditions for integrating images into written advocacy.
Appropriately, this is one law review article where you'll find pictures—in color, even!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Seattle Ponders Medical Marijuana

The City of Seattle will hold a public symposium on Nov. 20, 5:00-7:45 pm, at City Hall for those concerned about access to safe medical marijuana and the location of marijuana-related businesses in the city.

Medical marijuana logo from flyer for city symposium
Four 40-minute panels will address:
  • Testing of Marijuana for Purity & Strength
  • Access of Marijuana-Infused Products by Youth, Packaging and Labeling of Products, and Best Practices for Processors
  • Minimum Distance of Marijuana Businesses from Schools and Other Locations
  • The Disparate Impact of the Enforcement of Marijuana Laws on Youth and People of Color
KUOW reports on the symposium and the issues involved (Nov. 19, 2014).

Drone Law

What happens when a drone gets in the way of a crop-dusting airplane, as recently happened in Eastern Washington? Are there rules? KUOW reports FAA Takes Light Hand In Enforcing Flight Rules For Drones (Nov. 18, 2014).

A recent commercial use of drones was right here in the law library. A photographer used a small quad copter to go up into the skylight "crystals":

2 snapshots of small red drone in library
Drone carries camera from L2 up into the skylight and back. (Photos by Mary Whisner)

More on drone policy after the jump.

A Federal Robotics Commission?

We have federal agencies for mine safety, equal employment opportunity, disease prevention, aviation, and many more topics. Is it time for an agency on robotics?

Professor Ryan Calo thinks so. See his piece in Scientific American: Why We Need a Federal Agency on Robotics (Nov. 18, 2014) (it's in the December 2014 print edition). For more, see the white paper Prof. Calo prepared for the Brookings Institution: The Case for a Federal Robotics Commission.

Federal Robotics Commission seal from cover of
The Case for a Federal Robotics Commission

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Exhibit on Washington's Birth Year #WA125

Legacy Washington unveiled 1889: Blazes, Rails and the Year of Statehood. The exhibit (online and in the Capitol) has lots of great photos and stories.

banner for 1889: Blazes, Rails and the Year of Statehood

Among other things, you can hear Secretary of State Kim Wyman and a selection of children read excerpts from our constitution:

Washington State Passes 125-Year Mark: #WA125 Wahoo!

November 11 is more than Veterans Day and a day off: it's also the anniversary of Washington becoming a state in 1889.

You can learn about the Washington State Constitution in a short video from TVW. The video includes historic photos and film clips and features explanations by Prof. Hugh Spitzer.

If you want to go beyond the eight-minute video, you can take Prof. Spitzer's class, Washington Constitutional Law.

On the web, see our Washington State Constitution: History page, where we've gathered a wealth of resources.
First page of original
Constitution of the State of Washington,
from the Washington Secretary of State

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Law of Daylight Saving Time

Photo of Steve  Calandrillo
Professor Calandrillo
As the warm embrace of daylight saving time fades from our memories, and we begin to eagerly anticipate the Winter Solstice on December 21, take a moment to consider whether the United States should adopt daylight saving time year-round. University of Washington Law School Professor Steve Calandrillo and his co-author Dustin Buehler proposed just that in Time Well Spent: An Economic Analysis of Daylight Saving Time Legislation, 43 Wake Forest L. Rev. 45 (2008). Professor Calandrillo and his co-author provided a history of daylight saving time, examined empirical data from 1974 when the United States experimented with year-round daylight saving time, and argued that a cost-benefit analysis indicated that the United States should adopt daylight saving time year-round. During the winter, year-round daylight saving time would cause there to be additional darkness in the morning but the sun would set later. The authors argued, and provided data to support the claims, that extra sunlight in the evening would reduce traffic fatalities, criminal activity, and electricity usage. Vox.com is also in favor of year-round daylight saving time, and has an examination of areas of the world that have a local time that is ahead of solar time, that is, regions that effectively observe daylight saving time year-round.

The timing of an event can play an important role in litigation, and, in determining timing, daylight saving time can be the deciding factor. For example, in an attorney malpractice case, the client argued that his criminal attorney erred in failing to argue that a difference between Alaska Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time affected whether a newly enacted law was in force at the time of his crime. See Stewart v. Elliott, 239 P.3d 1236, 1243 (Alaska 2010). Although the client had successfully sought post-conviction relief due to the discrepancy between the timing of statute's applicability, the court in this case found that the client's attorney did not breach a duty of care in failing to raise that issue. Daylight saving time also played a role in Playboy Club, Inc. v. Myers, where the court held that Missouri's adoption of Daylight Saving Time in 1967 affected a Missouri law limiting the hours during which liquor could be sold and that as a result the plaintiffs could not base their closing time on Central Standard Time. Playboy Club, Inc. v. Myers, 431 S.W.2d 228, 233 (Mo. 1968). For more facts about Daylight Saving Time, visit WebExhibits.org's collection of incidents and anecdotes.
File:Portrait of Sir Henry Norman, 1st Baronet.jpg
Sir Henry Norman, 1st Baronet

If you are depressed by the fact that in Seattle the sun will set at 4:18 p.m. on December 16, know that on June 21, 2015, we will have nearly 16 hours of daylight and the sun will not set until 9:11 p.m. If June is too far off, perhaps a verse from Sir Henry Norman, quoted in Professor Calandrillo's article, will provide some comfort:

The very best way to lengthen the day

Is to steal a few hours from the night.

Image of Sir Henry Norman,via Wikimedia Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portrait_of_Sir_Henry_Norman,_1st_Baronet.jpg

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Getting to Know Your Supreme Court Justices: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also known as the Notorious R.B.G., is by far the coolest Supreme Court Justice right now, and is blowing up social media. She definitely won Halloween:

Not only did Justice Ginsburg win Halloween, she has her own Tumblr, her own t-shirt, and her own rap video as seen below:

Sousa's Birthday Too

Today is the birthday of John Philip Sousa (he'd be 160), the composer of our national march, "The Stars and Stripes Forever." See 36 U.S.C. § 304 (2012).

36 USC 304 National march

Inventor Adolphe Sax Turns 200

Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone, was born 200 years ago today. He filed 14 patents for his invention (in a family of eight sizes) in 1846.

For more, hear Happy Birthday, Mr. Sax, NPR, Nov. 6, 2014. And see June 28, 1846: Parisian Inventor Patents Saxophone, from Wired's This Day in Tech series. Want to dig into the details? See William McBride, The Early Saxophone in Patents 1838-1850 Compared, 35 Galpin Soc'y J. 112 (1982), JSTOR link.

You can see photos of saxophones created by Adolphe Sax, courtesy of the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota.

Four views of alto sax made by Adolphe Sax,
National Music Museum, USD

The development of the saxophone did not end with Adolphe Sax. One of the recent sax-related inventions is U.S. Patent No. 8,314,318, "Unified octave/register key and vent for musical wind instrument," invented by Michael S. Brockman, who teaches in the UW School of Music (the patent is assigned to the university). More on Brockman's invention, nicknamed "the Broctave key," is here, on the UW's Center for Commericialization (C4C) site.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

That Blue Football Turf

When they're at home, the Boise State University Broncos play football on their famously blue turf. Whether you think it's quirky or cool, it's trademarked: U.S. Registration No. 3,707,623, approved five years ago (Nov. 9, 2009).

drawing of football stadium with blue rectangle for field
Diagram from Boise State's trademark registration for blue turf
To learn more, see Michelle Gallagher, Who Owns Blue? An Examination of the Functionality Doctrine in University Sports Color, 104 Trademark Rep. 765 (2014)

High-Level Writing Tips from Bryan Garner

Some writing tips are at the micro level—e.g., don't mix up "affect" and "effect." But you also need to think of the big picture. For instance, number one in Bryan Garner's list of 10 Tips for Better Legal Writing: Be sure you understand the client's problem.

Here's the list, but you'll want to read the article to see the explanation of each tip:
  1. Be sure you understand the client's problem.
  2. Don't rely exclusively on computer research.
  3. Never turn in a preliminary version of a work in progress.
  4. Summarize your conclusions up front.
  5. Make your summary understandable to outsiders.
  6. Don't be too tentative in your conclusions, but don't be too cocksure, either.
  7. Strike the right professional tone: natural but not chatty.
  8. Master the approved citation form.
  9. Cut every unnecessary sentence; then go back through and cut every unnecessary word.
  10. Proofread one more time than you think necessary.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Just Mercy: New Memoir by Lawyer Passionate for Social Justice

Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, AL, and a professor at NYU Law, has written a memoir about his work: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.
Just Mercy cover

A very warm review, by Seattle lawyer Kevin J. Hamilton, was in yesterday's Seattle Times. You can read more on the publisher's webpage.

And you can hear Bryan Stevenson himself at 7 pm Tues. Nov. 4 at the Seattle Public Library Central Library.

The book was just published Oct. 21, so we don't have it in the library yet, but we hope to have it soon.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Congress.gov Leaves Beta!

Did you know?
Congress.gov officially removed its “beta” label 
on September 26, 2014, two years after launching beta.congress.gov! 

What does this mean? 

  • Any URLs that included “beta” in conjunction with “congress.gov” will redirect straight to congress.gov.
  • www.thomas.gov also automatically redirects to Congress.gov 

A Few Highlights: 

  • Advanced Search
    • The advanced search section now allows browsing across Congresses.
    •  30+ new fields were added to the guided search framework, allowing for in-depth and intricate searching. Users also have the option of using a command line search in lieu of the guided search.
  • Resources A to Z: this is an index covering a wealth of terms related to Congress and the federal government at large (e.g. amendments, nominations, NARA). It's great for those who wish to browse the site. 
  • Most-Viewed Bills” replaces the former “popular Top Ten” and is archived going back to late July 2014. 
What’s happened to THOMAS?
  • The name “THOMAS” won’t be officially retired until after the close of fiscal year 2015.
  • THOMAS can still be accessed through http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php 

What’s happened to “Yesterday in Congress”? 

“Yesterday in Congress” was a feature of THOMAS that listed all floor activity for the previous day. It is not currently a part of www.congress.gov, but a similar feature will hopefully be added in the future. 

For more information, see the official announcement regarding Congress.gov shedding its beta label and Library of Congress blogpost on the same topic.

Friday, October 31, 2014

History of Halloween

Enjoy the History Channel's History of Halloween!

From its ancient origins to spooky superstitions, this page also features videos on candy corn, famous ghosts in American history, pumpkin carving, witches, and Halloween around the world.

Let's keep the good times rolling by looking forward to punkin chunkin!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bike Sharing and Helmet Mandates

Seattle's new bike-sharing program, Pronto, recently launched. Currently, there are 500 bikes available to rent from 50 stations located in the neighborhoods of Capitol Hill, Belltown, South Lake Union, and the University District, among others. In fact, a Pronto station is located just steps away from the Gallagher Law Library, between William H. Gates Hall and Burke Museum of Natural History. That station has 12 docks for bikes, and, as of this writing, there are 7 bikes available to rent.
Map of Pronto bike stations
Map of Pronto stations

With the launch of Pronto, Seattle joins other cities in the United States, like Boston, Chicago, the District of Columbia, and New York City, with bike-sharing programs. However, Seattle is unique among those cities insofar as Seattle, and all of King County, require that cyclists wear helmets. Although Seattle is the first U.S. city to try to implement bike sharing while mandating helmets, cities outside of the United States have faced the same issue. For instance, Vancouver, Canada, has been engaged in a years-long and oft-delayed effort to implement bike sharing. Critics contend that the delays are largely attributable to British Columbia’s bike helmet mandate. Currently, Vancouver is anticipating a launch date in 2015. Melbourne, Australia, implemented a bike-sharing program alongside a mandatory helmet law. That system, despite an available government subsidy for users to purchase a helmet, has not had the success enjoyed by other cities with bike-sharing that do not mandate helmets. Notably, as of August 2014, no fatalities have been recorded in the United States among bike-share users since the launch of the first program in 2007.

For an in depth look at bicycle helmet statutes across the United States, see John B. Egberts et al., Bicycle Helmet Statutes: An Analysis of State Legislation, 23 J. Legal Aspects of Sport 36 (2013). In that article, the authors discovered that nine states that mandate bike helmets provided in their statutes that failure to wear a helmet would not be admissible at trial as evidence of a cyclist’s negligence. See id. at 41-42.

Image of unicyclists racing
Unicyclists racing
The Municipal Research and Services Center, which is an excellent source of Washington state city and county codes, has a subject guide on Bicycle Regulations and Operations. That subject guide includes relevant sections of the Revised Code of Washington and local government bicycle regulations, including a link to a table listing bicycle helmet requirements in Washington. Exploring local bicycle regulations on the Municipal Research and Services Center, I learned that Walla Walla's municipal code provides that a bicycle includes the term “unicycle” and “adult-size three-wheel cycle.” Walla Walla, Washington, Municipal Code § 10.19.020. Consequently, it is illegal to race unicycles on city streets in Walla Walla without a permit, which is required for "any bicycle race." Walla Walla, Washington, Municipal Code § 10.19.090.
Map image from https://secure.prontocycleshare.com/en/map/
Unicycle race picture from https://johnansell.wordpress.com/category/sport/unicycling/

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Legal Theory Lexicon

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832).
See Legal Theory Lexicon 008: Utilitarianism
When you study law, you come across legal theory terms  (often drawn from economics, philosophy, or political science). If you aren't fluent in this language, it can be a bit bewildering. And if you are familiar with these concepts, you might be hungry for more depth.

Georgetown law professor Lawrence B. Solum has created the Legal Theory Lexicon to help you out. Entries explain concepts and provide bibliographies for further reading.

Some of the entries will be especially helpful to first-year students, e.g.:

By the way, Prof. Solum's latest article was in the Washington Law Review's symposium, Artificial Intelligence and the Law. See Lawrence B. Solum, Artificial Meaning, 89 Wash. L. Rev. 69 (2014).

Graphic credit: engraving by W. H. Worthington, from Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation 10 (1823 ed.), available in British Library's Photostream.

Writing Tips from Bryan Garner

Care about your writing? You should!

One easy step you can take is to read Bryan Garner's regular usage tips. Either sign up for email (see the lower right corner of his Law Prose homepage) or follow Garner's blog.

The email service is convenient because it just comes to you. But the blog is nice because you have the archive to browse or search. Try searching for "hyphen" or "whether" or "contracts."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Supreme Court Videos—with Dogs!

On the HBO program Last Week Tonight, John Oliver observed that without video Supreme Court oral arguments are pretty dry, even with courtroom sketches as backdrops. So he proposed that the audio be livened up with video. What video? Dogs!

Clip from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Oct. 19, 2014.

Oliver and his team didn't stop with a cute video of their own. They went further, posting clips of nine canine justices and two lawyers that others could mash up with oral argument recordings. Some of the casting is apt: Justice Ginsburg, played by a Chihuahua, is petite; Justice Scalia, played by a Bulldog, is assertive and jowly.

The YouTube community has responded. Just a few days after the original broadcast, you can now watch the canine Court hear arguments in:
. . . and more!

I can't be alone in finding these amusing (otherwise, why would so many people have gone to the trouble of making the mash-ups?). Love the dogs. I also like the court reporter pecking at her stenotpe machine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fashion and Congress Do a Little Turn on the Legislative Catwalk

Piracy in fashion is nothing new, we've blogged about it many times before:

It is no shock to hear when a new lawsuit is filed over blatant infringement.  The most recently discussed would be Converse's (owned by Nike) complaints against 31 companies (including Skechers, Wal-Mart, Ed Hardy, Ralph Lauren, and K-Mart) for trademark infringement.  Articles discussing the details of the lawsuit can be found herehere, here and here.  Dockets as well as copies of the complaints can be accessed on Bloomberg Law by UW law students (if you'd like to learn how, stop by the Reference Office or ask us here and a reference librarian can show you!).

Photo Credit: www.converse.com

Piracy in fashion is so last season but the lack of any real legal protection provided to fashion designers (and consumers who are unaware that they are purchasing counterfeits) keeps the piracy trend alive and thriving.  The recently proposed Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act has some hoping that protection for fashion designers (and consumers) may be imminent.  See a recent student note, Eyes off the Runway: How to Prevent Piracy in Fashion in the Harvard Negotiation Law Review Online for an in-depth discussion of the IDPPPA.

While we wait for legislators to recognize fashion's need for protection, perhaps counterfeiters and copycats should heed the sage words of the late, great Oscar De La Renta:
Style is more about being yourself.
Rest in peace Oscar.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Former Washington Supreme Court Justice Robert Utter Dies

Justice Robert Utter, a UW Law grad '54, and former Justice on the Washington State Supreme Court, passed yesterday at 84.

Justice Utter served on the King County Superior Court (1959-69), the Washington Court of Appeals (1969-71), and the Washington Supreme Court (1971-95). He resigned from the Supreme Court to protest the death penalty.

Justice Utter also co-authored two books on the Washington Constitution with visiting UW Law professor Hugh Spitzer.

For more information about Justice Utter, see the Law Library's memorial page.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Street Harassment is NOT Okay!

Have you ever experienced being groped or harassed while on public transit, in a crowd or maybe even just walking down a sidewalk in broad daylight?  If so, did you report it?

Sadly, many victims of harassment are hesitant to report their harassers either because they are difficult to identify (in a crowd or in the dark), because they are ashamed, because they feel it is unsafe, or because street harassment and groping are sometimes not taken seriously by authorities.  (The list for not reporting is tragically long).

This past weekend, one Seattle woman, Julia Marquand found herself groped by a complete stranger in the middle of the day while walking into a store.  She confronted her harasser and even caught a photo of him with her phone.  Marquand visited the Seattle Police Department to file a police report to an officer who was unfortunately uninterested in the incident and the photo.  Marquand was informed that it was unlikely that the man could be charged.

Marquand decided to post the photo to her Twitter and Facebook accounts:
Fortunately, the tweet seemed to motivate some action by the Seattle Police Department who assigned Marquand's case to a detective:

Marquand's story has been covered by many outlets, read more at the Seattle Times, King5, SF Gate, and the Washington Times. If you would like more information about street harassment, read Huffington Post's Things You Can Do to Stop Street Harassment or check out a couple of organizations dedicated to ending street harassment:


Update (Oct. 16, 2014)
According to the Seattle Times, the alleged groper photographed by Julia Marquand is a level 3 sex offender (who among many other sexual assault crimes, was arrested by UW police for indecent liberties). The man is now being investigated in connection with groping!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Indigenous Peoples' Day

By unanimous resolution last week, the Seattle City Council declared the second Monday in October (that's today!) Indigenous Peoples' Day in Seattle. See Seattle Swaps Columbus Day For "Indigenous Peoples' Day", NPR, Oct. 12, 2014; Seattle to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day, Seattle PI.com, Oct. 6, 2014.

Of course, your interest in indigenous peoples is not limited to one day. And we support that interest: you can use our Indian & Tribal Law Research guide 365 days a year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bestlaw – Improving WestlawNext Citations and Functionality

Have you ever been searching in Westlaw or Lexis and experienced that wonderful moment when you finally locate the perfect case for your argument or the best law review for further research?  Whether that moment occurred two minutes or a couple hours into your search, relief should set in, but all too often the most difficult and stressful part of research and writing has only begun: citing to your source in proper Bluebook format!

Well, fear no more!  Your citation needs have finally been answered, or so touts Bestlaw designer Joe Mornin, a law student at UC Berkeley School of Law.  Bestlaw is a Google Chrome extension, which can be installed from their site.  Bestlaw adds functionality and citation assistance for WestlawNext. 

The Bestlaw toolbar is located just below the "Return to list" tab on left side of the screen.

Over the past few days, I have utilized this extension and realize there is great potential for this free support product, but that there are currently many limitations that prevent this from being truly revolutionary.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What does a law librarian do?

Do you know what a law librarian does? There are so many things, it is impossible to list them all! You may already have some basic knowledge about what we can do for you:

  • If you're a frequent law library visitor, you probably see the reference librarians in the Reference Office helping visitors either in person, on the phone, or via email.  Do you wonder what we are doing in there - come on in and see for yourself!  
  • If you've worked on a research paper, or are a RA, you may have had an individual appointment where a reference librarian provided you with directed guidance and suggestions on how to tackle your work. Do you need some extra help with your research?  UW law students are welcome to sign up for an appointment!
  • Outside the law library, you have seen us visiting your classes where we teach you about resources and techniques that will help you in your coursework and hopefully, in your eventual practice of law. 
  • You may have become familiar with other law librarians at firms, courts, and other organizations as you've gained experience at internships, summer associate positions, clerkships etc.
Did you know that some law librarians are consulted at national and international levels based on their expertise?  Our very own Cheryl Nyberg will be speaking at a joint meeting of two sections of the National Conference of State Legislatures next week!  Cheryl is widely regarded as a preeminent expert in researching 50-state information and will be on presenting on compiling 50 state information.  In case you weren't aware, Cheryl's Subject Compilations of State Laws is published annually and has been hailed as being "unique, priceless and irreplaceable"!

Curious about what else law librarians are doing?  Feel free to visit us to find out more!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Printing to the Library Printers from Your Laptop

Printing to the Library Printers from Your Laptop

If you would like to send print jobs to the law library printers, here is some information that will likely come in handy for you:

How do I print from my laptop?

You need to download the printer driver software. Here's how you do that:

1. Go to the DawgPrints site: You first need to download the printer driver software from the University of Washington Creative Communications Department website. Here is a link to their printer locations page.

2. Find your printer: Scroll down the list to "Gates Law School" and download the software for L111 or L114 (once you download it for one of them, you'll be able to print to both).

3. Choose your OS: Be sure to select the appropriate software for the kind of computer and operating system that you are running.

4. Install the software: be sure to allow popups from the Dawgprints site, save the software to your computer, and install it.

I tried to download the drivers but something's not working! What do I do?

Here is a link to the DawgPrints troubleshooting page with some suggestions. If you still can't fix the problem, email Creative Communications with your question: uwcshelp@u.washington.edu.

How much does it cost to print?

It costs $.12 per page (you can print either double-sided or single-sided) to print in the library. It's $.75 per page to print in color, which you can only do in the alcove next to the law student lounge. You pay for printing with funds that you have added to your Husky Card

Where does my document print out?

There are two printers in the law library in our two Copy Alcoves. We have a new copy alcove in the Reference Area between the Circulation Desk and the microfiche cabinets. The other is next to the Law Student Lounge.

Where can I find even more information about printing and scanning in the law library?

Check out the library's Printing and Scanning page for a wealth of information about printing and scanning in the library.