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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

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With exams right around the corner this is a good time to brush up on your substantive law.  There are lots of ways to do that, the best, or course, is probably attending the review sessions for the classes and looking at your own notes.  There are other options, though.  You can also thumb through a hornbook or nutshell, for example.  You can also go take a look at the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI).  Some classes actively assign CALI lessons, but in general this is something that is optional for you.  CALI is a collection of lessons, written by a variety of people in the legal world-the Center tries to get people who are especially close to the subject matter to write lessons.  The lessons very greatly depending on who authored them, but in general you will be given lots of information about a particular area, and review questions that come up throughout the lesson.  There are CALI lessons on most areas of substantive law, and even lessons on legal research.  (There is no Indiana state legal research lesson yet-but a couple of the librarians here are in the process or writing it!) You can look for lessons by subject, by year you are in school, and even by casebook.  You might want to see if your particular course book had a lesson attached-that could be a wonderful way to study.  CALI is a service that we subscribe to, if you would like an account come by the library reference office and we can get you a password.

Government Websites

Yesterday we mentioned that you can check the status of your tax return on the Indiana government website, but you can, in fact, do so much more than that. is a great place to go for free Indiana legal research.  You can browse or search the Indiana Code or Administrative Code.  It makes it easy to track a bill, contact your legislator, grab a form you need, or brush up on the local court rules.  You can also look at various areas of law by topic.  All that and more is in the Law & Justice section-it gets even better when you look at their myriad other resources.  It is definitely a site that bears exploring. 

More than that, though, looking at state and federal government websites is a good practice in general.  Whatever state you are in, whatever area of law you practice, chances are excellent that the local state website has lots of good and (maybe more importantly) free information for you.  For example, one of the helpful things that the federal government website,, does is give you a list of links to the state government websites.  We’ve said it before-knowing your resources is key, especially for first and summer jobs.

Happy Tax Day!

Though Tax Freedom Day might have been on Monday, one often doesn’t really feel free from taxes until today is past.  Now all you need to do is kick back and maybe even get a nice refund.  You can check the status of that refund at both the federal and Indiana state revenue service websites. (For other states, try hitting their government websites.) Hopefully most of you have already done your taxes, but just in case, here are a couple of IRS pages for last minute filers-some reminders, and the IRS’s ten last minute filing suggestions, complete with a handy link for an extension form.

HeinOnline Webinar

This is a good time to brush up on your legal research skills in general. Be on the look out for ways to strengthen your skills, Jumpstart, Lexis and West refreshers, etc.  Tomorrow, for example, HeinOnline will be hosting a webinar.  It looks like it will take you through the basics and then get a little into searching.  For more information, or to sign up, check out this HeinOnline Blog entry on the subject.

Justice Ginsburg Honored

Last Friday the Ohio State Law Journal held a symposium devoted to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  The symposium not only celebrated Ginsburg’s work on the court until now, but it was also an opportunity for her to speak about some issues currently on her mind, such as being the only woman on the court, torture, and the citation of foreign law decisions.  The latter has been quite a bone of contention recently.  Some worry that citing foreign courts gives influence to people outside of our legal system.  Others, like Ginsburg, believe that it makes a good impression on the world stage. What do you think?

Articles on the symposium appear in the New York Times and the Washington Post, among others.  You could also go to the Ohio State Law Journal’s webpage, where you will find videos of the event.

More on Obama’s Judicial Picks

So far, the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary approves of President Obama’s judicial nominations.  His first three picks, David Hamilton, Gerard Lynch, and Andre Davis have all fared reasonable well, with a minority feeling that Davis is only qualified, rather than well qualified.  Want to see for yourself? Check out the Committee’s website.  You can read the statement of the president of the ABA, look at the frequently asked questions about the committee, or look at their opinion of judicial nominations back to the 101st Congress.  Also, the Blog of Legal Times is on the story.

Jumpstart Returns!

The extremely popular Jumpstart research program returns to the Law Library for the next two weeks. The program, designed by the Reference librarians, will again work towards preparing law students for summer clerkships and the first year of practice. In addition to group sessions on basic legal research skills, there will also be individual sessions dealing specifically with the Internet and Web applications. During last year’s sessions, a number of students learned the necessary research skills for dealing with materials such as legislative history, administrative law and the regulatory process, and computer-assisted legal research.

Following the formula established in previous years, each of the Jumpstart sessions will begin with a brief review of the basic legal resources so that every student has a complete grasp of the legal research process. The librarians will also provide information about more specialized types of reference books, including practice aids and form books. The Jumpstart sessions will then focus on individual student problems and questions about legal research, with an emphasis on the type of practice student participants will be seeing in the summer. During individual electronic research sessions, Peter Hook, the Computer Services Librarian, will discuss applications and uses of these extraordinary computer sources in the law office and on the job. The Internet/Web sessions will include hands-on exploration of the various Web sources.

If you have any questions about the Jumpstart programs, be sure to drop by the Reference Office and speak to a reference librarian. We’d especially like to hear from those of you who already know in what jurisdiction you’ll be working this summer and any special areas of law with which you’ll be dealing. We tailor the Jumpstart sessions to your particular needs in order to make the program a continuing success.

The Top Ten Gov Docs You Aren’t Seeing

Several weeks ago we reported on Show Us the Data website.  The site collects votes for the difficult to find government documents that people most want to see.  Last month they released the report on their findings this year.  Did you vote?  Go see what people most want.

Thanks to the Law Librarian Blog for reminding us that the report is now available.

Privacy and Social Networking

Can you expect privacy for things you post online? In a recent California case a judge ruled that anything posted to MySpace was in the public domain.  This came up when a young woman posted a diatribe against her hometown.  The local paper of the town picked it up, and the woman’s family suffered repercussions so severe that they felt that they had to move.  The woman filed suit.  The judge, however, found that in posting the rant, though she did not intend for it to go beyond a small number of her usual readers, she could reasonably expect that she was opening it up to the public. There is still a suit open, though, against the principle of the high school where the woman’s sister goes to school-he was the one that forwarded the post onto the local paper.  For more, check here or here.

Google and Trademark

Google has been in court recently for its practice of selling ‘adwords.’  Essentially a company buys a word, and then when users search for that word, the company comes up under the list of ‘sponsored links.’  They place where Google gets into trouble is when the keyword sold is a trademark.  It is a fairly common practice for companies to buy their competitors trademarked words.  The case in question is that of Rescuecom, a computer repair service.  They were concerned that when they search for their trademark, their competitors’ services showed up first, and consumers could be confused. 

A lower court found that the use of the trademark was internal and not commercial, however that was vacated and remanded a few days ago. The question seems to be whether or not, in selling the keyword, Google “uses” it according to the Lanham Act. If you’d like to read some articles about the case, check here, here, and here.  Or maybe you’d like to take a look at the case itself.

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