Tag Archives: Legal research

Idaho Attorney General Makes Catalogue of Opinions, Annual Reports Available to the Public

“Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is making 125 years-worth of legal opinions, guidelines, letters and annual reports available to the public. Since 1891, as required by statute, the Attorney General has published a collection of opinions, advisory letters, lists of cases submitted to state and federal courts and summaries of the year’s business. In the past, these reports were housed in the office of the Attorney General, law libraries or the Idaho Historical Society. But as of today, the collection can be found on the Attorney General’s website.” (via Idaho Attorney General)

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Class Claims PACER Overcharges for Records

“PACER, the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system used by federal courts, systematically overcharges for access to court records, users claim in a federal class action. Bryndon Fisher sued the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts and its director James C. Duff on Tuesday, alleging breach of contract and illegal exaction.” (via Courthouse News Service)

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Court Libraries Adapt to Deep Cuts, Changing Technology

“Court libraries and librarians in all 12 regional circuits are playing a leading role in two of the federal Judiciary’s most critical management initiatives: reducing building space and containing personnel and other costs. Funding for library spaces, subscription and purchase budgets, and staff positions all have faced sharp cuts. The changes have been driven by new information technologies, which have reduced the need for books and enabled judges and law clerks to do more online research.” (via US Courts)

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Access to Nebraska Court Opinions Expands

“Free online access to the official published judicial opinions of the Nebraska Supreme Court and Nebraska Court of Appeals will be available to the public beginning January 1, 2016. Text-searchable opinions dating back to 1871 will be available for the Nebraska Supreme Court. The full collection of opinions of the Nebraska Court of Appeals, beginning with its establishment in 1992, will also be offered. Previously, appellate court opinions were printed or were available online through various for-profit subscription services.” (via Nebraska Judicial Branch)

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Massachusetts Bar Association Adds Fastcase Legal Research Benefit for Members

“The Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) and Fastcase today announced the state bar will be providing its members free access to Fastcase’s nationwide legal research system, effective December 1, 2015. The MBA becomes the 28th state bar to provide access to Fastcase’s online legal research service and its award-winning research tools as a benefit to members at no additional charge.” (via FastCase)

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Law librarians archive New York State’s regulatory history

“Since her early days of working at the New York State Supreme Court Library in Buffalo, Jeannine Lee recognized the need for a better way to archive the Department of State’s “New York Codes, Rules and Regulations.” Lee, who retired last year as director of the law library, said it was cumbersome to maintain all the materials tied to the state’s regulatory history” (via Buffalo Law Journal)

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Why Digitizing Harvard’s Law Library May Not Improve Access to Justice

“Harvard Law School and Ravel Law, a legal research and analytics startup, have partnered in an effort to make the law school’s massive collection of U.S. law and cases publicly available for free on Ravel’s website. The project, known as “Free the Law,” made waves because Harvard’s collection is second only to the Library of Congress in its breadth. Since most of this material was either unavailable or only available through a paywall, Free the Law has tremendous potential. But whom will it help the most?” (via BNA)

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Q&A: Legal Research Upstart Ravel Law Takes On Westlaw

“Four years ago, Daniel Lewis walked away from a promising Big Law career to co-found Ravel Law, a San Francisco-based startup that aims to transform legal research. He got big dose of fresh publicity this fall, when his company inked a deal with Harvard Law School to put the institution’s entire library online.” (via American Lawyer)

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Print v. Electronic 576 U.S. 280 (2015)

“The biblical book of Ecclesiastes says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” It proceeds with a series of pairings: “a time to be born, and a time to die”; “a time to kill, and a time to heal.” To this, we might add: a time to use print, and a time for online. Print versus electronic is the biggest battle every law librarian has to fight. Attorneys, judges, and paralegals will ask constantly why they need all those books when “everything is online.” Good question. You need a good answer, and it’s not just to keep your library from being balkanized and turned into offices, a copier room, or a Starbucks kiosk. You are a law librarian. Your job is to find the right information for the right person, fast. At your disposal are books, commercial databases, and the internet. What do these resources include? And when should you use which? (via ITI)

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Acting Law Librarian of Congress Roberta Shaffer Discusses Harvard’s Free the Law Project

“We here at the Law Library of Congress are excited to learn that the Harvard Law School Library and the legal research platform, Ravel, are teaming up to scan and make available online 40 million pages of American caselaw from Harvard’s vast collection. The best part is that this content will be made freely available, allowing public interest attorneys to reduce the costs associated with legal research and empowering civically engaged citizens and students to explore the inner-workings of the American judicial system. The database containing the cases will initially be made available to non-profits and scholars so they can use it to develop apps., and after eight years, the database “will be available to anyone for any purpose.” (via LOC)

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