Tag Archives: Legal Blogs

Are you Tech Savvy enough? Are you sure?

There has been a decent amount of press about Kia’s tech audit of their attorneys.  Basically, they gave the attorneys they employed or were considering employing a test to see if they could do basic technical tasks.  None of them passed.  Not one.  And Kia did not hire firms or paid them less based on their failure.

If you need to know how to do something technical – learn!  There are literally thousands of tutorials available to you on the web for free.  Search for things like how to Bates stamp documents video or how to use sort and filter using Excel video or how to use style and template in Word.  Basically, look for tutorials on topics you don’t know about – Adobe and the Microsoft Office Suite are a good place to start.  If you want more thoughts – look at a site you have to pay for to see what videos they offer.  Then you can search for those types of videos or pay if you have to.

No matter how you do it, brush up on your tech skills early and often!

Are you looking for a topic to write a paper about, or are you just interested in legal issues that courts disagree over?

It may be a little too late in the semester to start working on your legal research paper this semester, but maybe you could get an early start for next semester. Maybe you are interested in writing a paper for publication. Bloomberg BNA’s United States Law Week is a great resource for getting ideas for scholarly legal writing. The United States Law Week has a Key Features section that lists the current United States Circuit Court splits. Circuit Court splits provide great opportunities to write about unsettled legal issues. Bloomberg BNA United States Law Week is available on the library’s website on the Subscription Databases webpage, and access is available to faculty and students. Here are a couple more websites that also contain information on circuit splits Circuit Splits: A blog about cases ripe for review and Split Circuits: A blog dedicated to tracking developments concerning splits among the federal circuit courts.

The CRAP test.

I like to follow blogs about libraries and research. One of my favorites is Lisa Gold: Research Maven. Lisa is a professional researcher, who explains research concepts well. Check out her colorful post, “The CRAP test for evaluating sources,” for a good explanation of how to decide if a source you have found can be relied upon. If you click the “Highlights” link at the top of her page, you can see a list of her most notable posts. My favorites are, “Spell-check is evil, but funny: The Cupertino Effect,” “Let’s talk about search,” and “In praise of browsing.”

Trick or Treat or Where is Your Permit?

Are you planning to wear a mask with your Halloween costume?  Be sure you don’t need a permit!  At the Stupid Laws & Dumb Laws blog they have a list of Halloween specific laws that might affect you depending on where you plan to celebrate.  Click the link and see if they found a law that might affect you.

Note the disclaimer at the bottom of their page.  “The laws listed here are for entertainment purposes only. We have tried to cite specific references when available but, we make no guarantees on the validity of these laws and as such: the laws and regulations including the interpretation and commentary we have provided are for entertainment only.”  If you really want to see if your town or city has a law that might restrict your candy-collecting fun you should check out Municode.  A helpful tip: Start with the index if you can.  Happy Halloween! 

Swim With the Dolphins, But Leave the Manatees Be!

Manatees – or sea cows – have a rich history in mythology, often “tricking” sailors into confusing them with mermaids (Manatee 101 video). It’s only natural then, that people want to swim with the manatees, just as they do the dolphins. Alas, Florida law prohibits this – but not everyone is aware of that!

Consider this Please Do Not Ride the Manatees blog story (FYI: It includes some colorful language) from loweringthebar. It describes a woman in Florida who was swimming in the warm water with the manatees and now finds herself in hot water with the law!

Reliable blogs can be a good source for news stories, but they must be evaluated like any other secondary source. Some of the better news blogs will even provide specific citations to primary law or link out to primary sources on the open web. The loweringthebar blog does just that, linking out to the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act on Online Sunshine.

What next though? What if you are interested in more information about manatee protection in Florida? Where should you look?

Well, armed with a statute citation, a great place to look is a set of Florida statutes with annotations.

We have two of those in the library – LexisNexis Florida Annotated Statutes and West’s Florida Statutes Annotated - located on the third floor in the Regional Collection. After the text of the statute itself, the annotations will provide you with references to cases related to that legislation, as well as cross references to other resources.

Now you are well on your way to understanding Manatee Law in Florida!

Did You Think the Mandate in the Affordable Care Act was Struck Down?

On the morning of June 28, 2012, many people were watching Fox or CNN to learn how the U.S. Supreme Court would rule on the Affordable Care Act. If you were one of these people, you could very well have believed, at least for a little while, that the mandate had been struck down. Jon Stewart does his usual priceless job of describing the confusion here.

One source that got it right the first time was SCOTUSblog. Read this fascinating and suspenseful blow-by-blow description of exactly what happened that morning, what went wrong, what went right, and why. One interesting detail was the Supreme Court’s decision not to email the decision to anyone, but to rely solely on its website for distribution – which promptly crashed.

Tom Goldstein, We’re getting wildly differing assessments, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 7, 2012, 10:04 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/07/were-getting-wildly-differing-assessments/

 

Facebook Safely this Fourth of July

Facebook has become a way of life.  No more is it merely a tool for wasting time and keeping in touch with friends.  The world is addicted to Farmville, Words with Friends, Likes, Shares, and George Takei’s witty library of pictures.  The ever evolving nature of facebook means a constant state of change in privacy and permission settings.  Check out some tips and tricks to enhance your facebook experience in ths blog post called the 5 Best Hidden Facebook Tricks You Should Make Use Of and be sure to open the PDF at the end to read the Very Unofficial Facebook Privacy Manual.

Now that your facebook is nice and secure you don’t have to worry about getting screamed at by a judge for your social networking activities.  However, it seems that is not the only reason you may catch the ire of a judge.  Check out this blog post about a judge who could not contain his disdain for a party before him in a divorce case.  There is also a video that captures the whole tirade.

One of the best things about The Fourth of July is all the fireworks.  Disappointed with this year’s display?  Well…There’s an app for that.

Have a SAFE and Happy Fourth of July.

Apparently you can sue for not finding Mr. or Mrs. Right

Sixty-four year old New Jersey resident Jeanne McCarthy joined the dating service Two of Us because she understood the service ran criminal checks on its members. McCarthy paid $7,000 to the matchmaking service and complained that she was only matched with two people in five months and that only resulted in one date with a man who had three DUI convictions and an outstanding criminal warrant.  Ms. McCarthy no longer believes that Two of Us screens their clients.  You can read more about the dating trials and tribulations of Ms. McCarthy here.

To Do or Not To Do: Professionalism and the Lawyer

Only one week before summer officially begins! Yes! Yes! Yes!

It’s wonderful to imagine that you’ll spend your time having fun at the beach, travelling, or indulging in various other forms of entertainment.  Reality, however, often falls short. For most law students, summer is the time for externships, internships, clinics, summer school, and bar prep!

One thing to keep in mind this summer, as you work towards your goals, is that the legal world is a small one and that your reputation follows you around.  You don’t want to be either of these “stellar” examples: Vegas Lawyer; Florida Lawyer

While it might be fun to read about or watch these lawyers, do you want to be remembered for being unprofessional?

Zombies!

Real life zombie attacks seem to be happening everywhere nowadays, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is finally taking notice. It has begun developing its Preparedness and Response plan for the inevitable outbreak of the undead.

Legal scholars are finally taking notice as well, and beginning to address the myriad of complications that will accompany the rise of the zombies. Take, for example, how the estate and income tax laws would apply to zombies; this issue is addressed is the forthcoming publication Death and Taxes and Zombies (Iowa Law Review). Understandably, this foray into the legal ramifications has generated quite a bit of buzz on the web, like on lawandthemultiverseio9, and nerdcore.

What’s next for zombies on the legal landscape? If you’re looking for an interesting ALWR topic, maybe you can be the one to answer that question!