Bloomberg Law is moving up

according to the Heard on the Street column in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Data Don’t Add Up for Thomson Reuters.”  From the story:

 a survey of legal-information customers by Claudio Aspesi of Sanford C. Bernstein in January found that 61% of respondents had a subscription to Bloomberg Law, up from 36% the year before. And some respondents said Bloomberg Law was getting closer to offering a breadth of data needed to completely replace a subscription to Westlaw or rival Reed Elsevier’s Lexis-Nexis.

Operation Asymptote – Spread the word – Download distributed PACER documents

Operation Asymptote

Overview

Operation Asymptote is an initiative designed to download as much of PACER as possible by spreading the burden across many individuals, none of whom need to spend anything by staying under PACER’s $15.00 per quarter free access allowance.

What do I need to do this?

  1. You must have five minutes.
  2. You must have a valid credit or debit card, even though it will not be charged.
  3. You must have a computer with internet access that can run Firefox.
  4. You must have a PACER account.
  5. You must have the free RECAP browser extension.
  6. You must download no more than $15.00 worth of PACER materials per calendar quarter.

. . .

Publishing cases the New York Law Journal way

I start my day reading newspapers, and I especially enjoy the obituaries.   Today’s New York Times includes an obituary for Jerry Finkelstein, publisher of the New York Law Journal, and the obit includes this observation:

In 1963, Mr. Finkelstein bought The Law Journal, the official paper of the city’s legal profession, for $1 million. Its circulation was small, and it was an ocean of tiny print: legal notices, case calendars, texts of decisions. But he turned it into a leading journal, and he wielded enormous power by deciding which cases to publish, in effect determining what the bar read — a leverage not lost on judges, lawyers and politicians.

Researching 18th Century Judicial Cases from the Parlement of Paris

The latest issue of French History offers an illuminating  article by the legal historian David Feutry on the difficulties of researching judicial cases from the Parlement of Paris, an important judicial appellate body during the Ancien Régime.  The Parlement’s defense of aristocratic privileges and corruption has influenced French thinking about the the proper role of the judicial branch since the French Revolution.

Feutry explains that the organization of the Parlement’s documents and finding aids and the often labyrinthine procedural histories of the cases make researching the files a daunting task.

“It is a complex business to find a case or judgment in the registers of the Parlement. Not only is the date of a decision required, but the way in which the matter was decided; something brought for a hearing might have been through every stage, from hearing right through to a final decision by one of the chambers of Inquests. In that case different stages of its progress would be recorded separately in all the series of the Parlement’s records.” … “a case is unlikely to be found in a single user friendly archival unit.”

In addition to the complexity of Parlement registers, the author reminds us that fires and deliberative destruction destroyed many valuable records.The article also provides an excellent diagram showing the many different paths a case could take through the chambers of the Parlement of Paris.

The Historian’s Mountain of Paper: the Parlement of Paris and the Analysis of Civil Suits in the Eighteenth Century
David Feutry
translated by Bill Doyle
26 French History 277 (2012)

California’s Prop. 8 in Federal Court: Key Timeline, Briefs, and Opinions Leading to Hollingsworth Cert Petition

On July 30, 2012, California Proposition 8 proponents petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari.  In Hollingsworth v. Perry, petitioners (the original “Defendant-Intervenors”) ask the Court to review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinion in Perry v. Brown, (671 F.3d 1052), which affirmed the district court’s determination that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional (Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F. Supp. 2d 921).

We have prepared a timeline of key events, and gathered the main briefs and opinions, for the Prop. 8 federal cases leading up to the Hollingsworth petition.  These are intended as highlight compilations only.  Both are linked below.

Prop 8 in Federal Court_Key Timeline

Prop 8 in Federal Court_Main Briefs and Opinions

Cross-posted on the SLS Law Library Blog.

Afghanistan’s 2004 constitution drafting period archive

The Stanford Law School Afghanistan Legal Education Project (ALEP) has just posted an archive of Afghanistan’s 2004 constitution drafting period.

The documents in the collection are divided into twelve bulk sets in zipped files ranging in size from 176 to 569 MB.

The documents are chiefly in Dari with some documents in English.

ALEP is proud to host this unique collection of  documents from Afghanistan’s 2001-2004 Constitution drafting period. The collection includes early versions of the Constitution and notes discussing its drafting and intent. The full extent of the collection is still uncharted. No one, to our knowledge, has surveyed the full collection.

A Pair of Lawyers, One from Oklahoma and One from New York, Sue West and LexisNexis for Reproducing Their Court Filings

Oklahoma lawyer Edward L. White and New York lawyer Kenneth Elan sued West Publishing and Reed Elsevier yesterday in the Southern District of New York — White et al v. West Publishing Corporation et al (12-cv-01340-JSR ~ Judge Jed S. Rakoff) — for reproducing their documents in the Westlaw and LexisNexis databases.

See:

Two Lawyers Sue West and LexisNexis for Reproducing Legal Briefs

See also:

Class Action Complaint

For other blog coverage, see:

How Appealing

Volokh Conspiracy

Wall Street Journal Law Blog

The docket sheet as of today is as follows:

U.S. District Court
Southern District of New York (Foley Square)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:12-cv-01340-JSR

 

White et al v. West Publishing Corporation et al

Date Filed:

Feb. 22, 2012

Nature of suit:

820 Copyright

Assigned to:

Judge Jed S. Rakoff

Cause:

17:101 Copyright Infringement

Jurisdiction:

Federal Question

Jury demand:

Plaintiff

Parties and Attorneys

Plaintiff

Edward L. White
on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated

Attorneys and Firms

Gregory A. Blue
Gregory A. Blue, P.C.
405 Lexington Ave., 26th Floor
New York, NY 10174
(646) 351-0006
blue@bluelegal.us
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Raymond A. Bragar
Morgenstern Jacbos & Blue, LLC (NY)
885 Third Avenue
24th Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 750-6776
Fax: (212) 750-3128
bragar@bragarwexler.com
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

 

Plaintiff

Edward L. White, P.C.
on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated

Attorneys and Firms

Gregory A. Blue
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Raymond A. Bragar
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

 

Plaintiff

Kenneth Elan
on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated

Attorneys and Firms

Gregory A. Blue
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

Raymond A. Bragar
(See above for address)
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

 

Defendant

West Publishing Corporation doing business as: West

Defendant

Reed Elsevier Inc. doing business as: LexisNexis

 

 

Docket Proceedings

 

Filed

#

Docket Text

 

 

 

1

Feb. 22, 2012 

COMPLAINT against Reed Elsevier Inc., West Publishing Corporation. (Filing Fee $ 350.00, Receipt Number 1030502)Document filed by Edward L. White, Edward L. White, P.C., Kenneth Elan.(mro) (Entered: 02/23/2012)

2

Feb. 22, 2012 

SUMMONS ISSUED as to Reed Elsevier Inc., West Publishing Corporation. (mro) Modified on 2/23/2012 (mro). (Entered: 02/23/2012)

3

Feb. 22, 2012 

Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis is so designated. (mro) (Entered: 02/23/2012)

4

Feb. 22, 2012 

Case Designated ECF. (mro) (Entered: 02/23/2012)

5

Feb. 22, 2012 

Mailed notice to Register of Copyrights to report the filing of this action. (mro) (Entered: 02/23/2012)

6

Feb. 22, 2012 

 

STANDING ORDER IN RE PILOT PROJECT REGARDING CASE MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES FOR COMPLEX CIVIL CASES IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK (See M-10-468 Order filed November 1, 2011). This case is hereby designated for inclusion in the Pilot Project Regarding Case Management Techniques for Complex Civil Cases in the Southern District of New York (the Pilot Project), unless the judge to whom this case is assigned determines otherwise. This case is designated for inclusion in the Pilot Project because it is a class action, an MDL action, or is in one of the following Nature of Suit categories: 160, 245, 315, 355, 365, 385, 410, 830, 840, 850, 893, or 950. The presiding judge in a case that does not otherwise qualify for inclusion in the Pilot Project may nevertheless designate the case for inclusion in the Pilot Project by issuing an order directing that the case be included in the Pilot Project. The description of the Pilot Project, including procedures to be followed, is attached to this Order. (Signed by Judge Loretta A. Preska on 10/31/2011) (mro) (Entered: 02/23/2012)

 

 

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

A Cross-Case Analysis of Top-25 U.S. Law Schools in the U.S. News and World Report Rankings from 1998-2012

A Cross-Case Analysis of Top-25 U.S. Law Schools in the U.S. News and World Report Rankings from 1998-2012

Brooks Seay


Emory Law School

2012

Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 12-184

Abstract:
For law schools, U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings dominate discussion on how law schools compare to one another. In addition to focusing rivalry, U.S. News’ ranking criteria has a powerful influence over the management of U.S. legal education. Also, American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation standards require law schools to make expensive investments that reinforce uniformity and increase costs. As a consequence, the prevailing practices of elite, or top-25, law schools are largely undifferentiated and conformity is the norm. At the same time, elite law schools are aggressively seeking to improve their position in the existing hierarchy by displacing one or more higher ranked law schools. The upward spiraling effect of schools pursuing identical strategies has resulted in strategic convergence, eliminating any meaningful distinction between close competitors. However, law schools ranked in the top-25 by U.S. News have changed over time.

In this quantitative method study, I will focus on four institutions that have moved significantly in the U.S. News top-25 rankings. I will determine what key factors were at play in their movement since 1998 and why these changes have occurred. Finally, my research design contemplates studying two private schools and two public schools. In doing so, I will examine whether public and private schools are facing similar competitive challenges or whether distinctions appear in this cross-band comparison of law schools.

HeinOnline’s Browsable Congressional Record Index

We’ve recently learned that HeinOnline’s “U.S. Congressional Documents” library offers browsable copies of the Congressional Record Index.  Given proposals to axe many print copies of the Congressional Record, there is concern that, among other things, we could lose ready access to the great research tool that is the Index.  Last year, we researched dozens of wilderness-related bills in the 1950s-1960s.  Initially, title searching in Congressional documents databases did not identify them all, because a few of the earlier bills were captioned as “forestry”—a fact discovered by using the print version of the Congressional Record Index.  So, we are  relieved that HeinOnline has preserved the Index’s utility with browsable PDFs.  To boot, they do a great job with metadata structuring.  Each letter within an Index may be accessed via separate hyperlink.  As one browses, the list of hyperlinks remains visible along the left of the screen, allowing for easy navigation.  Thank you, HeinOnline!

Finding History in a Drawer

In 1875, a jury committed Mary Todd Lincoln to an insane asylum.  This week, the Chicago Tribune reported that two Illinois State Supreme Court justices discovered her trial papers still on file with the Cook County Clerk!  The Clerk’s Office will be donating them to the Lincoln museum, but we hope the story does not end there.  Like many others, we’ve previously posted about the cultural heritage reflected in state court files.  Some of the stories told in these documents are historically significant, like Mary Todd Lincoln’s commitment, or John Wesley Hardin’s murder trial (see this Texas Task Force report).  Many stories, however, are just minor threads in life’s tapestry: divorces, probates, business disputes.  Whether the story is big or small, the court records that tell it may be irreplaceable.

Each state’s preservation rules differ.  Some place the retention determination in the hands of state libraries or archives, some issue mandatory retention schedules based on the nature of the action, and some afford the clerk of court discretion to dispose of files after prescribed time periods.  Even if a clerk of court wanted to save everything, storage expenses and space constraints make this impossible.  The costs of digitizing every paper record are prohibitive.  As cultural institutions may not be interested in less noteworthy files, many are noticed for destruction.  Provided that a state’s rules allow it, however, law libraries may be uniquely positioned to rescue these files — preserving not just the documents, but also state history.  And if you spend some time digging through them all, you never know just what you might find…