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Black’s Goes Mobile

Many of us have been using our phones for reference for a while, and it looks like the legal publishing world may be catching up.  You can now have the 8th edition of Black’s Law Dictionary on your iPhone or iPod Touch.  You can look up words, hear their pronunciation and even link into Westlaw.  So far there are not many reviews, but what there are look to be pretty positive.  $50 is very pricy for an app, but still less than what you would pay for Black’s in paper.  There are a few law related applications-some that give you rules or statutes, a few different flash card type apps to help law students study, a nice looking application for keeping track of members of Congress.  However Black’s seems to be the first app from a major legal publisher.

This suggests a trend.  What will be the next thing to come to mobile technology?  It seems like citators would be an obvious choice-wouldn’t it be nice to be able to run a last minute Shepard’s or KeyCite search from the courtroom?  It would also be good for anything that it was important to keep really up-to-date-bill tracking and such.  What legal resource would you most like to have on the go?

Swine Flu

Information on Swine Flu can be found at the CDC and at the Indiana State Department of Health.

Arlen Specter Switches Parties

Many of you probably know by now that long time Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has decided to join the Democratic Party.  It is difficult to say at this point what effect this will have on our political system-in his statement today Specter says that the switch does not mean that he will vote the democratic party-line or that he can be counted on as a 60th vote for cloture.  Near and dear to the hearts of the Maurer community, though, is the question of whether or not Specter will change his stance on Prof. Dawn Johnsen.  It looks like he will continue his opposition of her nomination.  As an article in today’s local Herald-Times points out, Prof. Johnsen enjoys support from a variety of sources, however, according to the Wall Street Journal blog, even with his change Sen. Specter is not one of them.  It is also unclear whether Sen. Specter’s opinion will be altered by his reported decision to join the Wu-Tang Clan.

Final Exams

Congratulations students, you’ve made it through another semester of classes.  All you have to do now is survive the final exams that start today.  We’re not worried about you, you are going to be fine, but just in case you are worried about yourself here are a few links to advice on taking law school exams you could take a look at.  In addition to this timeless advice from the University of Chicago, and one or two law school professors, remember the advice of Douglas Adams-Don’t Panic.

The New and Quasi-Improved Perry and the Masons

For what seems like the 87th consecutive year, the Law Library’s own Perry and the Masons returned to compete in the VITAL Quiz Bowl.  Sponsored by the Monroe County Public Library, the annual event raises funds to support the library’s adult literacy program.  While we have enjoyed a modicum of success over the years, we’ve never made it all the way. In fact, those in the local quiz bowl circle (it’s a very small group), refer to us as the “Best Team Who Never Won”.  Our record is intact.

After breezing through the first round, limping through a sudden death playoff in the second, comfortably succeeding in Round 3, we found ourselves in the quarterfinal round face-to-face with an immovable object in the form of four mild-mannered teachers from Bloomington High School North.  Watching our self-esteem wither and die before our eyes, we only managed a pitiful 30 points against their 120 (or whatever). In our meager defense, the Northside Story did eventually go on to win the championship.

On the bright side, Cindy Dabney joined the Masons this year and proved herself to be an outstanding competitor in her inaugural year.  (One of the original Masons, Dick Vaughan, decided to relinquish his buzzer and return to normal life).  Joining Cindy were the always-amazing Dave Lankford , Ralph Gaebler,  who came through for us in the sudden death overtime and our captain, Nonie Watt who provides moral support and an occasional answer.   Our alternate, Micah Van Hoff, faithfully stood by every night just in case one of us fainted from all the pressure.

Adding insult to injury, we have since learned that in addition to the 30 or so random people who watched us on public access television, our last match has been posted on YouTube.  Check us out!  We really did know all those answers; it’s just our buzzers didn’t work.  Honest.

U.S. News & World Report

As most of you probably know by now, the IU Maurer School of Law has jumped 13 places in the U.S. News & World Reports law school rankings, bringing us up to #23.  Not only that, but six other IU programs are in the top 25 of their rankings.  Congratulations to all!

Free Sources Found on the Web

In the course of doing foreign and international legal research, I often come across new or improved web sites offering foreign and international legal content of great value.  The purpose of this new, occasional column is briefly to highlight some of these web sites as they come to my attention.  Who knows?  They might be just the source you need in doing your own foreign or international legal research. Full Story »

International Law Reports Now Available Online

International law is comprised of many different sources, most famously summarized in Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, the current “world court.”  Today the most common sources of new international law are treaties, which are analogous to legislation within a municipal system.  Other sources include customary norms,  “general principles of law recognized by civilized nations,” and “the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists”.   However, judicial decisions are also important, including those of both international courts and tribunals, as well as those of national courts applying international law. Full Story »

It’s Not Just Us

We’re pushing the Jumpstart classes pretty hard, we know, but there is a reason for that.  As you embark on your legal career, or your first summer job there is a lot out there that you will need to know.  A refresher is a good idea.  The Law Librarian Blog recently directed us to an article by Patrick Meyer entitled Law Firm Legal Research Requirements for New Attorneys.  In the article Meyer looks at several surveys on what law firms expect in their new hires.  You might want to take a look at the article, and make sure that you are ready for the big stuff.  And you might want to sign up for one of the few remaining Jumpstart classes, either today or Thursday.

A Busy Time for the U.S. Supreme Court

Today begins the last set of arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court’s summer recess.  According to Law.com they will be hearing a lot of particularly interesting cases.  The day-by-day calendar on SCOTUSblog indicates that today will involve immunity for lawsuits against the former Iraqi regime, and English language instruction.  It’s only going to get better from there, so you might want to keep an eye on the Court for the next few weeks.  Some good places to keep track of schedules, decisions, and case descriptions are the website of the Court itself, SCOTUSblog, and Oyez.

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