Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Public Reading of the U.S. Constitution

For the eleventh year in a row, the UW Suzzallo & Allen Libraries are hosting a campus-wide, 75-minute public reading of the U.S.Constitution.  Please consider joining in as a reader (of just a few sentences) or as a listener. It’s inspirational and educational, solemn yet spirited. No need to stay for the entire event – you may come and go as need be. Readers and listeners alike are also welcome to take a small, folding pocket Constitution.

What: Constitution Read-Aloud.
When: Friday, October 7, 2016, 12:00 - 1:15pm.
Where: Outside the Suzzallo Library Main Reading Room (3rd Floor).
Sign up to read here!

Monday, September 26, 2016

In Memoriam: Professor Marjorie Rombauer, 1929 - 2016

Professor Marjorie D. Rombauer, who served on the UW Law faculty for 30 years, died on Friday. She was widely heralded as the "Mother of the Field of Legal Writing Education."

Prof. Rombauer was a Husky through and through. She earned both her B.A. and her J.D. at the University of Washington and spent her entire professional career here. She began working at UW Law as an instructor, hired for a single year. But her appointment was renewed several times and she moved up the ladder until she became the first female tenured faculty member *. She was the Acting Dean in 1991, again the first woman to hold that position.

Her book on Legal Problem Solving: Analysis, Research, and Writing was the first of its kind, written at a time before most law schools even offered courses on those subjects. She published the first edition locally, after West Publishing declined to publish it because they didn't believe there was a market for books on that topic. West, however, went on to publish the book from the 2d through the 5th editions.

Among her other contributions were serving on the Washington Law Revision Commission for ten years and writing more books and articles (including three editions of Legal Writing in a Nutshell). Her efforts were recognized with awards and honors from organizations such as the Association of American Law Schools, Association of Legal Writing Directors,  UW Law, and the Washington State Bar Association.

You can learn more about Prof. Rombauer at the Law Library's memorial page.

* Note: Prof. Rombauer was the first tenured woman on the teaching faculty. The first tenured woman at the University of Washington School of Law in any capacity was Marian Gould Gallagher, who served as director of the Law Library.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Slips of the Pen in the Constitution

Have you ever wondered about the scribe who wrote out the famous parchment copy of the Constitution? It was a Jacob Shallus, assistant clerk of the Pennsylvania legislature, who had a weekend to make a good copy of what the Constitutional Convention had hammered out. It was a hard weekend's work, with quill pens and no spellcheck.
Constitution, from National Archives
Jacob Shallus, being only human, made a few mistakes. He corrected many of them with insertions. Sometimes he scraped the ink off the parchment to make a change (a bit more laborious than the ctrl-x I routinely employ).

After the handwritten copy, there were a number of privately printed versions, which had their own variants. In 1847, 60 years after the Constitutional Convention, there was finally a printed Consitution certified by the Secretary of State (James Buchanan) to be "correct, in text, letter, & punctuation."

You can read more in Henry Bain, Errors in the Constitution—Typographical and Congressional, Prologue (the magazine of the National Archives), Fall 2012.

Hat tip to Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) who tweeted the link on Sept. 18. Like Prof. Kerr, we don't think that celebrations of the Constitution should be limited to Constitution Day (Sept. 17). We hope you enjoyed living under the Constitution on Sunday and continue to value our founding document.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Roald Dahl in the law

Author Roald Dahl was born 100 years ago today. To learn more about the author and his work, check out the official Roald Dahl website.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory illustration from

In 1965 an elementary school student wrote to Dahl's literary agent asking for permission for her sixth grade class to put on a play based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The agent's stuffy reply led to a marvelous response by their attorney, who took the case pro bono ("as a matter of principle, and in no snese because my daughter sits in the third row center"). See Re: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 14 Green Bag 2d. 171 (2011).

See also Sarah Segal, Note, Keeping It in the Kitchen: An Analysis of Intellectual Property Protection Through Trade Secrets in the Restaurant Industry, 37 Cardozo L. Rev. 1534 (2016), which begins with a discussion of Willy Wonka's fierce protection of his secret recipes. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Star Trek Turns 50: #LLAP50

Since today marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, I took a few minutes to check out Star Trek scholarship on HeinOnline. You might be surprised that there's a fair amount. See, e.g.:
Star Trek logo
Star Trek 50 logo from

John G. Browning, To  Boldly Go Where Few Judges Have Gone before: How the Bench Is Using a Pop-Culture Sci-Fi Classic to Explain Its Decisions76 Tex. B.J. 765 (2013)

Paul Joseph & Sharon Carton, The Law of the Federation: Images of Law, Lawyers, and the Legal System in Star Trek, the Next Generation  24 U. Tol. L. Rev. 43 (1992)

Richard J. Peltz, On a Wagon Train to Afghanistan: Limitations on Star Trek's Prime Directive,
25 UALR L. Rev. 635 (2003)

Lawrence D. Roberts, The Interstellar Relations of the Federation: International Law and Star Trek - The Next Generation, 25 U. Tol. L. Rev. 577 (1994)

Thomas C. Wingfield, Lillich on Interstellar Law: U.S. Naval Regulations, Star Trek, and the Use of Force in Space46 S.D. L. Rev. 72 (2001)

What are the property rights of a global entertainment franchise like Star Trek or Harry Potter? See Kathy Bowrey, The New Intellectual Property: Celebrity, Fans and the Properties of the Entertainment Franchise 20 Griffith L. Rev. 188 (2011)

And if you read French, see:

Fabrice Defferrard, Star Trek: Paradigme Juridique et Laboratoire du Droit
45 Rev. Gen. 613 (2015)

We librarians can't beam you up from a sticky situation or pilot a starship at warp speed. But we do provide you with lots of great resources (like HeinOnline) and we can help you explore the information universe.

(The hash tag #LLAP50 evokes to the classic salutation "Live long and prosper."

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Keeping up is hard to do. The library can help!

Keeping up with new developments in law (and related fields) might be hard, but we have lots of tools to help. To learn about them, see our guide, Staying Current.

This summer we set up "GallagherFYI" lists to help us send out current awareness items to groups of people. We have lists for children's issues, criminal justice, environmental law, health law, IP and technology, international development, legal profession, social justice, and writing.

The lists aren't meant to be comprehensive; they're just a convenient way for us to share information that we think will be interesting and useful to you. Each message is clearly labeled with the list name--e.g., [GallagherFYI-SocialJustice]--to help you triage your inbox. If you're interested, we'll be happy to subscribe you.