Free and really good information from Justia – daily opinion summaries; weekly practice area summaries

Our friends at Justia sent an e-mail to law-lib about their new free case summary service.  Since all the world doesn’t read law-lib, I’ve pasted below Tim Stanley’s exciting  announcement.  I’ve signed up for the FREE (my favorite word) service, and it’s a terrific tool for keeping up with decisional developments both by specific court and also by subject matter.  I’m going to encourage all of my students to sign up too, especially those who want a judicial clerkship, as this is a nifty tool for students to learn about very recent decisions from the judges with whom they are interested in seeking interviews and positions.

Here’s Tim’s e-mail:

 

Hi All,

Justia would like to introduce our new Free Daily Opinion Summaries service.

We will be writing daily summaries for the Federal Appellate Courts
and selected state supreme courts (eventually we will add them all).
You can subscribe to the summary emails at:

     http://Daily.Justia.com

We will also be sending out weekly practice area summaries emails that
will include all of the summaries for all courts we wrote that week in
the legal practice area.

Here are some examples from last week:

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:    http://j.st/ost

Environmental Law Weekly Summaries:    http://j.st/osv

If you have any suggestions for layouts, additional courts or practice
areas, please let us know. The current courts and practice areas we
cover are:

DAILY COURT SUMMARIES

U.S. Federal Courts: U.S. Supreme Court and the Federal, D.C., 1st,
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th Circuit Courts of
Appeals

U.S. State Top Courts: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut,
Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,
Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota,
Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

And a few other courts like the Delaware Court of Chancery. We will be
adding more state courts in the near future. The full continuously
updated list is at http://Daily.Justia.com

WEEKLY PRACTICE AREA SUMMARIES

The weekly practice area opinion summaries, include all of the
summaries for all courts we wrote that week in the legal practice
area, are provided for the following:

Admiralty & Maritime Law, Aerospace/Defense, Agriculture Law, Animal /
Dog Law, Antitrust & Trade Regulation, Arbitration & Mediation,
Aviation, Banking, Bankruptcy, Business Law, Civil Rights, Class
Action, Commercial Law, Communications Law, Constitutional Law,
Construction Law, Consumer Law, Contracts, Copyright, Corporate
Compliance, Criminal Law, Drugs & Biotech, Education Law, Election
Law, Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Entertainment & Sports Law, Environmental
Law, ERISA, Family Law, Gaming Law, Government & Administrative Law,
Government Contracts, Health Law, Immigration Law, Injury Law,
Insurance Law, Intellectual Property, International Law, International
Trade, Internet Law, Juvenile Law, Labor & Employment Law, Landlord -
Tenant, Legal Ethics, Medical Malpractice, Mergers & Acquisitions,
Military Law, Native American Law, Non-Profit Corporations, Patents,
Products Liability, Professional Malpractice & Ethics, Public
Benefits, Real Estate & Property Law, Securities Law, Tax Law,
Trademark, Transportation Law, Trusts & Estates, Utilities Law, White
Collar Crime, Zoning, Planning & Land Use,

If you have other practice areas you would like us to break out, let
us know. We are not against adding some more as long as there are
enough opinions in the area and it does not nearly overlap one of the
above.

You can see the current list of courts and practice areas (in a
readable table format) at http://Daily.Justia.com

Again it is totally free :)

Peace,

Tim

————————————————————
Timothy Stanley                       . . .

New Web Resource: SCOCAL: The Supreme Court of California, Annotated

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Supreme Court of California website, SCOCAL (http://scocal.stanford.edu).

SCOCAL is a joint project between the Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford Law School, and  Justia, Inc.

The site provides free access to the full text California Supreme Court opinions from 1934 to the present, along with detailed annotations of selected cases written and edited by students in our Advanced Legal Research class here at Stanford.  For selected cases related California Supreme Court briefs, other documents and news items are also available, all free of charge. Users may subscribe to separate RSS feeds of new opinions, annotations, Court news and follow the site on Twitter.

Special thanks to FastCase for providing a large number of the California Supreme Court opinions available on the site.

A big day for Free Law

See Google post below.  And stay tuned for another announcement tomorrow, which will be yet another big day for Free Law.   And we here at Stanford have something cooking too.  Stay tuned.

Take a look at this posting and its comments too, from the Supreme Court of Texas Blog.

 

 

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/finding-laws-that-govern-us.html

 

Finding the laws that govern us
 
11/17/2009 09:05:00 AM

As many of us recall from our civics lessons in school, the United States is a common law country. That means when judges issue opinions in legal cases, they often establish precedents that will guide the rulings of other judges in similar cases and jurisdictions. Over time, these legal opinions build, refine and clarify the laws that govern our land. For average citizens, however, it can be difficult to find or even read these landmark opinions. We think that’s a problem: Laws that you don’t know about, you can’t follow � or make effective arguments to change.

Starting today, we’re enabling people everywhere to find and read full text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts using Google Scholar. You can find these opinions by searching for cases (like Planned Parenthood v. Casey), or by topics (like desegregation) or other queries that you are interested in. For example, go to Google Scholar, click on the “Legal opinions and journals” radio button, and try the query separate but equal. Your search results will include links to cases familiar to many of us in the U.S. such as Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education, which explore the acceptablity of “separate but equal” facilities for citizens at two different points in the history of the U.S. But your results will also include opinions from cases that you might be less familiar with, but which have played an important role.

We think this addition to Google Scholar will empower the average citizen by helping everyone learn more about the laws that govern us all. To understand how an opinion has influenced other decisions, you can explore citing and related cases using the Cited by and Related articles links on search result pages. As you read an opinion, you can follow citations to the opinions to which it refers. You can also see how individual cases have been quoted or discussed in other opinions and in articles from law journals. Browse these by clicking on the “How Cited” link next to the case title. See, for example, the frequent citations for Roe v. Wade, for Miranda v. Arizona (the source of the famous Miranda warning) or for Terry v. Ohio (a case which helped to establish acceptable grounds for an investigative stop by a police officer).

As we worked to build this feature, we were struck by how readable and accessible these opinions are. Court opinions don’t just describe a decision but also present the reasons that support the decision. In doing so, they explain the intricacies of law in the context of real-life situations. And they often do it in language that is surprisingly straightforward, even for those of us outside the legal profession. In many cases, judges have gone quite a bit out of their way to make complex legal issues easy to follow. For example, in Korematsu v. United States, the Supreme Court justices present a fascinating and easy-to-follow debate on the legality of internment of natural born citizens based on their ancestry. And in United States v. Ramirez-Lopez, Justice Kozinski, in his dissent, illustrates the key issue of the case using an imagined good-news/bad-news dialogue between the defendant and his attorney.

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of several pioneers, who have worked on making it possible for an average citizen to educate herself about the laws of the land: Tom Bruce (Cornell LII), Jerry Dupont (LLMC), Graham Greenleaf and Andrew Mowbray (AustLII), Carl Malamud (Public.Resource.Org), Daniel Poulin (LexUM), Tim Stanley (Justia), Joe Ury (BAILII), Tim Wu (AltLaw) and many others. It is an honor to follow in their footsteps. We would also like to acknowledge the judges who have built this cathedral of justice brick by brick and have tried to make it accessible to the rest of us. We hope Google Scholar will help all of us stand on the shoulders of these giants.

Posted by Anurag Acharya, Distinguished Engineer

Free resources: will they ever measure up?

Using the terminology of “hooks” instead of Tinkerbells, Bob Berring offers his opinion on commercial legal products, government web endeavors and free legal resources in a video posted here to a Thomson Reuters blog Legal Current: http://legalcurrent.com/2009/10/29/berring-on-free-legal-information/

I agree that the market for editorialized legal resources is something that will propel West and Lexis (and new-kid-on-the-block Bloomberg) into the future.  I also hope that pioneers like LII, Tim Stanley at Justia.com and Carl Malamud at PublicResource.org, and those who follow suit, will continue to take free resources to places and in directions we might not even be able to think of right now…straight on till morning.

A brief comment on the video from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, a group who has been providing free access to legal resources for almost two decades can be found here.

Copyright, Technology, and Access to the Law: An Opinionated Primer

“Copyright, Technology, and Access to the Law: An Opinionated Primer”


NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08/09-1

JAMES GRIMMELMANN, New York Law School

Recently, the state of Oregon has used copyright law to threaten people who were publishing its laws online. Can they really do that?

More to the point, why would they? This essay will put the Oregon fracas in historical context, and explain the public policies at stake. Ultimately, it’ll try to convince you that Oregon’s demands, while wrong, aren’t unprecedented. People have been claiming copyright in the law for a long time, and at times they’ve been able to make a halfway convincing case for it. While there are good answers to these arguments, they’re not always the first ones that come to hand. It’s really only the arrival of the Internet that genuinely puts the long-standing goal of free and unencumbered access to the law within our grasp.

This essay, written for nonlawyers and people interested in contemporary debates over access to the law, explains what’s at stake in the Oregon dispute, how people have tried such things before, the role of new technologies in improving legal publishing, what the law has to say about it, and where we ought to go from here.

 

Source:  LSN Legal Information & Technology Vol. 1 No. 8,  04/08/2009

Copyright claims for state statutes – Round Two

Our friends Carl Malamud and Tim Stanley are again in the news:

ROWLAND: California seeks compensation for posting laws online
Kara Rowland
The Washington Times, Monday, September 15, 2008

In the latest instance of states claiming copyright over their laws, public information activist Carl Malamud posted the California Code of Regulations online at public.resource.org. According to the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif., the state government is asserting a copyright over its laws so that people will be forced to buy a digital copy for $1,556 or a print copy for $2,315. The state rakes in nearly $1 million a year from sales of its code.

“We exercise our copyright to benefit the people of California,” Linda Brown, deputy director of California’s Office of Administrative Law, told the paper earlier this month. “We are obtaining compensation for the people of California.”

. . .

Oregon relented in June following negotiations with Mr. Malamud and Mr. Stanley.

Mr. Malamud told the Press Democrat he is willing to go to court.

“If that happens, it opens the doors to innovation,” he said.

“Find it! Legal Research on the Web”

Find it! Legal Research on the Web

WILLIAM A. HILYERD, University of Louisville – Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, Associate Professor of Legal Bibliography.

Materials originally presented June 20, 2008 at the Kentucky Bar Association Conference. Section II contains information on locating Kentucky cases, statutes, regulations, and ordinances on the internet. Other useful Kentucky sites are also mentioned. Section III provides information on locating various types of federal law (statutes, regulations, & cases) using free sites on the internet. Section IV gives tips on using search engines, portals, and meta-sites to locate legal information. Finally, Section V discusses using free sites to locate secondary sources on the internet.

There is a lot of really good information packed into the 9 pages of this article and it is certainly must-read material for anyone researching Kentucky law.  However, I do need to correct one error:  SCOTUSblog, while a truly fantastic resource, it is not the official blog of the United States Supreme Court.

 
Source: LSN Legal Writing Vol. 3 No. 14,  07/28/2008

Oregon and The Power of Persuasion

According to a detailed, must-read report of the Oregon laws copyright dispute hearing carried by the Loaded Orygun, the hearing “was an astonishing display of open-mindedness and respect for informed opinion that resulted in a victory for the public interest.”   As Loaded Orygun’s post ” Shocking Democracy In LCC Hearing: Decision Actually Swayed by Testimony!” reports:

 Carl Malamud and Karl Olson testified first, making arguments strongly based in case law history. Tim Stanley of Justia.org followed, expressing the impact that the LCC’s decision would have on his business, and also expressing a desire to serve as a facilitator in effective public discourse about the law. They had been pursuing a case in Federal court, which was clearly a concern of the LCC members. The LCC also took verbal testimony from three Oregon residents, the authors of this blog post: Pete Forsyth, a collaboration consultant; Bart Massey, a PSU professor and open source advocate; and Amy Sample Ward, formerly of the Chalkboard Project and current project manager for Connectipedia.org. A number of others, including wiki inventor Ward Cunningham and Portland attorney Matthew Whitman, submitted written testimony. Every legislator was thoroughly engaged with the process, . . .

It brings to mind the words of Margaret Mead:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

For those of you who will be in Portland in a couple of weeks, you’ll get to meet these free access thoughtful, committed citizens and learn what they are next setting their sights upon.

Who:  Tim Stanley and Carl Malamud

What:  AALL Hot Topic, “”Push Back and Push Forward — Open Access in Oregon and Beyond.” 

Where:  OCC-Portland Ballroom 254

When:  Sunday, July 13, 2008, 4:15 p.m.

Why:  To liberate the law.

10 Essential Web Sites for Litigators

Genie Tyburski at The Virtual Chase has put together this great list, and we’re pleased and delighted to see Justia listed as a “top 10″ web site for litigators.

Justia: Relatively new to the legal Web scene, Justia deserves mention for several reasons. It stands alone in offering a free keyword-searchable database of federal district court filings. You will find court opinions from 2004 to present as well as other filings. (See also: Free Case Law Databases)

Other offerings worthy of special mention include a database of federal appellate court opinions, RSS feeds for monitoring civil court filings by the type of lawsuit (Select any available topic and go to the bottom of the page to find the feeds.), RSS feeds for tracking federal regulations, and a blog search engine for law-related blogs.

 

 

The State of the State of Oregon

No, not Tuesday’s election.  Over on the Open Case Law Google Group, Carl Malamud has posted this discussion:

For those of you who are interested in the issue of copyright on state statutes, there is some updated information available here:

http://public.resource.org/oregon/

As always, we welcome any efforts to huna kuna the drafts!

Best regards,

Carl