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Good Luck on the Bar Exam!

After a summer of studying, it’s finally here. Today is the first day of the bar exam.   We’ve seen several of you at the Law Library nearly every day this summer, and we know that you’ve worked hard and are prepared. Don’t panic, remember your notes, and the best of luck to all the test takers!

Happy 281st birthday, George!

Happy birthday, George!

(courtesy of Rittenhoused.com)

Although we officially celebrate it on the third Monday of February each year, George Washington’s birthday is February 22, 1732.  Many happy returns, President Washington!  If you are interested in knowing more about our first president, Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate, maintains a website devoted to all things George.  You can even subscribe to his daily blog!

As a humble gift to the legacy of George Washington and the men who followed him, we offer a few fun presidential facts.  Earlier this month was the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth; however, the month with the most presidential birthdays remains October, with six.  In addition to being a statesman and lawyer, Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender and co-owner of an Illinois saloon.  Andrew Jackson was involved in over 100 duels and carried bullets from two of them in his body throughout his life. Full Story »

Lawyers Behaving Badly

With the final Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) of the year looming on the horizon, ethics may be at the forefront of your mind.  While the MPRE tests for knowledge of the Model Codes for Professional Responsibility and Judicial conduct, as well as common law principles related to attorney discipline, there are guaranteed to be a nearly infinite number of ethical quandaries that won’t make it onto the exam.  Fortunately, there are resources available to help law students and practitioners navigate these issues.

First, always start with the rules governing professional responsibility.  It is sound advice to familiarize yourself with the Rules of Professional Conduct in your jurisdiction.  The current version of Indiana’s rules can be found on the judiciary’s website.  In addition, attorney disciplinary opinions are available online at the Indiana Judiciary website, with coverage from 2004 to present.  Periodically, the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) publishes ethical advisory opinions.  This ethical guidance can be retrieved through the ISBA’s website.  For coverage of other jurisdictions, Bloomberg BNA and the ABA collaborate to produce the Lawyers Manual on Professional Conduct.  This online resource can be accessed by selecting “BNA Premier” from the Online Resources menu and choosing the “ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct” from the BNA “All Resources” list.

Next, keep abreast of changes – in both the legal field and society at large.  The advent of the Information Age, and its resulting technological advances, has added another layer of complexity in legal ethics.  Electronic discovery methods, and even simple email correspondence, can imperil the otherwise well-intended attorney.  Res Gestae, the journal of the Indiana Bar Association, includes a column in each issue devoted to ethics called “Ethics Curbstone.”  The law library keeps recent issues of this publication in the reference collection behind the circulation desk, shelved in the final row closest to the computer bank.  Res Gestae is a great current awareness resource for ethical concerns that are emerging or otherwise newsworthy.

Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or colleague.  In each state, there is help available to attorneys and judges struggling with mental health and substance issues.  In Indiana, the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) provides a variety of services to members of the legal community trying to cope with these types of difficulties.

Remain informed by using the myriad resources and advice available concerning legal ethics.  Be diligent and thoughtful in your professional and personal conduct.  Take care of your mental and physical health.  Lastly, remember that when you are an attorney, or even an aspiring one, what happens in Vegas, doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas.

Please, Don’t Shoot the Fish!

In my quest to find and verify strange Indiana laws that are circulating on the web, I came across this curious statement – “it is illegal to catch fish with your bare hands.” Even better, it turns out this one is true and is still in effect!  

According to IC 14-22-9-1, Unlawful Means of Taking Fish: 

(a) Except as allowed by sections 3 and 11 [IC 14-22-9-3 and IC 14-22-9-11] of this chapter, a person may not take fish from waters containing state owned fish, waters of the state, or boundary waters of the state by the following:

(1) Means of:

(A) a weir;

(B) an electric current;

(C) dynamite or other explosive;

(D) a net;

(E) a seine;

(F) a trap; or

(G) any other substance that has a tendency to stupefy or poison fish.

(2) Means of the following:

(A) A firearm.

(B) A crossbow.

(C) The hands alone.

Honestly, I found the list of prohibited ways and means to be more intriguing than the lone method I originally started with.  Don’t shoot fish with a crossbow?  Yes, that is an actual Indiana law.  And while we are on the topic, please no explosives, Wile E. Coyote.

So, how did I verify this unusual law?  Print resources!  Sometimes, print really is easier.  By looking in the General Index of Burns Indiana Statutes Annotated I found the subject heading FISH AND WILDLIFE, which directed me to another subject heading, FISHING.  Under FISHING, I found the entry, Hands alone, fishing method prohibited, §14-22-9-1.  Incidentally, Title 14 contains the subjects of Recreation, Land Management, and Water Rights; Article 22 relates to Fish and Wildlife, and Chapter 9 is Regulation of Fishing.  You can also search through the Indiana Code on the website of the Indiana General Assembly

By Jen Kulka (Library Intern & Guest Blogger)

Brevier Legislative Reports digital version released

The Law Library and the Digital Library Program are pleased to announce the release of the digital version of the Brevier Legislative Reports. The set is available on the Law Library website under Digital Collections, and on the Digital Library Program website under Collections & Resources. A press release discussing the Brevier’s historical significance, including a quotation by Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard, is available here.

State of the University Address

Today President McRobbie will be delivering the annual State of the University address at 2 PM.  Students are encouraged to watch the address.  You can attend in person in the Frangipani Room at the Union.  It will also be broadcast on local television and radio stations, or you can watch it streaming live from wherever you happen to be.  For more information and a complete list of ways to see the address check out the IU Homepages page on it.

Prof. Henderson on Legal Success

National Jurist this month features an article by our own Prof. Bill Henderson on changes in what firms should be looking for in new hires.  Traditionally those with the best LSAT scores, the highest ranked schools, and the best grades are favored.  Prof. Henderson argues that just those limited factors aren’t enough to be predictors of legal success, and particularly in this tight job market, firms need to be looking for much more when they hire.  What do you think makes for a good and successful lawyer?  Are hiring practices likely to change accordingly? 

More from Above the Law, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, and the ABA Journal.

Election Day

Today is Election Day, and a it is particularly tight one this year.  Yahoo News mentions Indiana as an indicator state.  We posted information yesterday on current local elections, and on how to find your polling place.  For a more general look at Election Day in the United States, USA.gov has a nice page of links for things like the history of the Electoral College, and past vote counts.  Happy voting!

Voting Tomorrow!

You have been hearing it from everyone, but do remember to vote tomorrow.  There are many close races this year, so every vote counts.  For a look at sample ballots from all over Monroe County and news coverage of the elections you can head to the Election 2010 section on the website of the Bloomington Herald-Times.  You can also confirm your registration, find your polling place, and take a look at ballots at the Indiana Voters website.  Happy voting, all!

Attribution in Blogging

We at the BLAWg IN Bloom have often cited the excellent work of Marcia Oddi over at the Indiana Law Blog.  It turns out that we are not alone, but that not everyone is giving credit where it is due.  The law firm of Ferguson & Ferguson has apparently been running the ILB on its website for sometime—it looks like they simply harvest it automatically and repost it, with no attribution. If you click on the link to one of the entries it does take you to the ILB website, but there is nothing on the firm website to let the reader know it is not a product of the firm.  The ILB recently ran a post complaining about this, and sure enough, that post shows up on the Ferguson website.  The same post also asks for suggestions.  What should she do?  The ILB is meant for the use of the Indiana legal community, this is true, but it also has supporters from law firms.  What sort of intellectual property rights apply to blogs?  The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Bloggers’ Legal Guide does have some tips.  Does Marcia Oddi have any legal recourse?  Should Ferguson be required to support the blog?  Would appropriate attribution be sufficient?  What do you think?

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