SCOTUS Addresses Opinion Editing & Link Rot

banner_h120In May 2014, the NYTimes wrote about the Supreme Court continuing to edit opinions after release. Earlier this month, an NYTimes article noted that SCOTUS is now disclosing after-the-fact changes to its opinions.

The move on editing is a major development. Though changes in the court’s opinions after they are issued are common, the court has only very seldom acknowledged them. Many of the changes fix spelling or factual errors. Others are more substantial, amending or withdrawing legal conclusions.

Starting this term, a court statement said, “post-release edits to slip opinions on the court’s website will be highlighted and the date they occur will be noted.” The court’s website includes sample opinions to show how all of this will work. “The location of a revision will be highlighted in the opinion,” the statement said. “When a cursor is placed over a highlighted section, a dialogue box will open to show both old and new text.”

And in other wonderful news, SCOTUS is also addressing the problem of link rot in opinions.

The Court said it would also address what it called “the problem of ‘link rot,’ where Internet material cited in court opinions may change or cease to exist.” The Court will now collect and post the materials it links to on a dedicated page on its site.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bar…and a demo!

PB & J Sandwich Dinner at Marie Catrib's in East Hills January 18, 2012 9

Starting Thursday, October 15th from 11am to 2pm come by the Creative Commons on the 1st floor east side of the Law Library and fix yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

There will be peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, Fluff, Nutella, jelly and other fixings for sandwiches. Fix a sandwich on your way to class or take some time to learn about Law Library products, services, and programs.

This will be an ongoing series during the fall semester. The dates for the programs are:

October 15th

October 29th

November 5th

November 19th

If you have any questions please let me know.

Barbara Moreno

806-834-6625

barbara.painter@ttu.edu

Texas Tech Law School Faculty Update and Law Practice Technology CLE, October 22-23

Next Thursday and Friday, the Texas Tech Law School and Law Library will host the 10th Annual Law School Faculty Update and 2nd Annual Law Practice Technology CLE events. Previously, these were separate events, but have been combined this year. The event is free of charge, with an option lunch purchase for Friday.

Thursday afternoon, the Law School Faculty Update will open with a presentation from TTU Law Dean Darby Dickerson on Mobile Devices and Attorney Ethics, followed by talks on Cross-Examination tactics and Legal Ethics from Professors Dustin Benham and Larry Spain, respectively.

On Friday morning, the Law Practice Technology event will begin with a panel on current issues in Law Practice Technology, then move into Librarian Marin Dell’s presentation on Social Media and legal ethics. Professor Donnie Yandell will discuss ways to make your practice more efficient using office technology, then Librarian Joshua Pluta will discuss cryptocurrency and what it means for lawyers. Then, Librarian Jamie Baker will present on email ethics, before lunch and the keynote speaker, Craig Ball, a nationally-known expert on eDiscovery, digital forensics, and electronic evidence.

The Friday afternoon portion of the Faculty Update will complete the event, with Professor Jarrod Gonzalez providing an update to Texas Employment Law and Professor Terri Morgeson providing the Texas Family Law Legislative Update.

Those interested can register online by Friday, October 16. Attendees will not be turned away at the door, but lunch will only be available with preregistration. More information on the CLE event can be found on the event website.

Study Guides Available in Print and Online

Circ study guidesTexas Tech Law Library has study guides and treatises for all 1L and upper level law courses available in print and online.  Study aids come in many different varieties and many upper level law courses available in print and online. Study aids come in many different varieties and are used for various purposes. Hornbooks are student versions of longer legal treatises and can be invaluable for a close examination of a point of law. Nutshells are a concise paperback series of books that give an excellent overview of the law in a particular subject.

Other study aids, such as Lexis’ “Understanding” series or the “Examples and Explanations” series, fall somewhere in between the scholarly Hornbooks and the plain language of a Nutshell. Other study aids have additional features, such as Gilbert Law Summaries, which have detailed charts and boxes containing exam tips. The “Mastering” series features review checkpoints” at the end of each chapter and a master checklist of key points to know to assure the reader that they have studied and noted all the major topics in that area of law.

The “Inside” series has many FAQ sections with short questions and answers after a chapter or two of content and a highlighted “sidebar” inset that gives interesting background and explanation of the chapter text. Finally, the “Q & A” series and the “Kaplan PMBR” series of study aids both have extensive multiple choice questions and detailed explanations of both the right and wrong answers. The Kaplan PMBR series also includes substantive course outlines and flowcharts, especially helpful for visual learners.

While many study aids are only available in print at the reference desk, the Law Library has subscribed to the West Academic Study Aids online collection, which can be accessed by using your Westlaw OnePass login and creating a West Study Aids account at https://subscription.westacademic.com. Also available are the popular Texas guides, O’Connors, available in print and online at http://www.oconnors.com.  For more information about access, please see a librarian.

For those times when you want to put the traditional study aids away, the Law Library also has Texas Law and Law in a Flash flash-cards and Gilberts and Sum+Substance audio CDs available to check out at the Library’s Circulation Desk.  Get out and study today!

Lawyers Say Legal Research Skills are Very Important

BAR/BRI has released the first of what it intends to be an annual survey on the “State of the Legal Field.” The objective is to “evaluate industry perceptions about the state of the legal field,” establishing benchmarks related to student practice readiness, employment expectations, employment trends, and law degree return on investment. Faculty, law students, and practitioners were surveyed.

As one law library director noted, “[m]ost telling for [law librarians], I think, is “key finding #2.” Key finding number 2 of the report noted that:

“Faculty placed very little importance on research, with just 4 percent citing it as the most important skill for recent law school graduates. In contrast, 18 percent of attorneys named research the most important skill a new lawyer should possess.

This survey conveys similar information as a survey from 2013 that said that:

  • Newer attorneys spend more than 30% of their time doing legal research
  • Approximately 50% of associates think legal research should be a larger part of the law school curriculum

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