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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

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Resources for Judge Sotomayor

The Law Library of Congress has launched a new resource page on Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

One Day in America

How happy is your profession?  How do we spend our free time? How long is the average commute?  Time Magazine answers these questions in its feature One Day in America.  It turns out that lawyers are actually pretty high up on the happiness list-43% say that they are ‘very happy.’ Go take a look.

Are Your Tie Rights Safe?

Patent lawyer Raymond Stauffer doesn’t think so.  He believes that Brooks Brothers has been pulling the proverbial wool over your eyes and necks for quite some time, selling adjustable bow ties on expired patents.  Though the case hit a wall-the judge ruled that Stauffer didn’t have standing to sue because he couldn’t show any actual injury-Stauffer is apparently considering an appeal.  Go take a look at the write up.

Law Firms Get Down to Business

According to today’s Wall Street Journal more and more lawyers and law firms are leaning in the direction of business. Though some firms have encouraged employee business education for some time, the recent economic downturn has many other firms expanding their expertise into business.  Not only does business training help the management of the firm itself, it can also help lawyers understand their clients better.  Do you think that this is a good trend?  Should law schools start to focus on business skills as well?

Awesome Highlighter and i-Lighter

Have you ever wished that you could remember what exactly you liked about a website?  Or that you could send it to friends?  There are tools that let you do that!  The Awesome Highlighter and i-Lighter are essentially highlighters for the internet.  You can highlight interesting parts of web pages, write notes to yourself, or send relevant sections of web pages to friends.  The i-Lighter even has a feature called wiki-Lights that lets multiple people highlight and share the same page.  Both programs are free, though you have to get an account for the i-Lighter.  Go take a look!

Care to Make a Wager?

Paddy Power, a gambling website, takes bets on more than just sports.  At the moment you can place a bet on the nominee for the open U.S. Supreme Court position.  They have odds on 15 candidates at the moment, and you can also bet on the gender of the nominee, and on whether or not the Senate will approve.

Thanks to the Law Librarian Blog for mentioning this.  (They credit Fox News.)

Review of Free Legal Resources

Speaking, as we were yesterday, of knowing your resources, Legal Technology News has posted a review of ten free places to get case law.  These are not only websites it would be good to you to know about, but it is also nice to see some of their strengths and weaknesses pointed out.  Free websites in general are not going to give you the same coverage and ease of searching that West and Lexis will, but you can often use them for a simple problem. Go take a look at the review.  Go take a look at the sources themselves.  Get an idea of which ones are easiest for you to use.  Check their coverage.  You don’t want to find yourself paying for something that you can get for free.

Know Your Resources!

We have mentioned this in the past, but we thought it was time to devote a whole entry to it, especially with new careers and summer jobs on the horizon.  One of the most important things that you can do, no matter what level your research skills are at, is familiarize yourself with the resources that are available to you. This was a theme in the Jumpstart classes, too, for those who attended them. The first think that you want to know, when you start your new job, is what you have to work with.  Do you have Lexis? Westlaw? Something else?  What kind of books are there on hand? Where is the nearest public law library?  Is there a company file of the forms they use most? What are the free online resources for your particular area of law?  It’s a good idea to find these things out early.  And if worse comes to worse, you can always call the reference desk here for help. 

With that in mind, have a wonderful summer!  The BLAWg may be slightly more sporadic this summer than it is during the school year, but we will still be bringing you the latest as it come up.

Congratulations, Students!

Finals are over, and you are now entitled to either a few months break, or to a legal career!  You have all worked hard over the past year, and you have earned a little break.  You might spend a few minutes of that break taking a look at a new band Mikey Mel and the JDs. Their song When Finals Are Over seems particularly relevant at the moment.

Watching America: An Online Source of Current News Stories

Are you tired of reading the same newspapers?  Would you like to read what’s written about the United States in newspapers around the world?  Then Watching America is for you.  Watching America is a completely independent organization, that allows users “to surf all of the content of foreign-language news outlets…”  It “makes available in English articles written about the U.S. by foreigners, often for foreign audiences, and often in other languages.”  The key to the value of this web site is that it gathers news stories from a huge number of news sources, and employs translators to provide high quality translations of the day’s top stories.  It does not rely on auto-translation services, which frequently provide hilariously incorrect translations.  Such hilarity might have its own value, but not when you actually want to know what was originally written.

Watching America has several other really useful features.  First, it includes an archive that permits you to search for older stories by keyword.  Second, it provides links to the web sites of all the news sources from which it gathers stories.  So you might use Watching America just as an online index to the world’s newspaper web sites.

In addition to providing interesting news and editorial perspectives from around the world, Watching American is a great resource for those who want to brush up on or maintain their knowledge of foreign languages.  And best of all, it’s absolutely free.  So click on the link to your favorite foreign newspaper, and check out what’s happening in another part of the world.

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