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BLAWg In Bloom

The Indiana Law Library Blog

CALI Lesson on Indiana Primary Resources

The new CALI lesson on Indiana Primary Resources (written by librarians Jennifer Morgan and Cindy Dabney) is now available.

This interactive lesson teaches the basic sources for Indiana law and how to use them.  Using a hypothetical problem, the lesson walks you through case law, statutes, session laws & legislative history, and regulations.

As I mentioned in a previous blog posting, CALI lessons are an excellent tool for refreshing or perfecting your legal research skills.  You should definitely take advantage of this great resource as you prepare for life after graduation or for your summer job.

Use CALI Lessons to Perfect Your Legal Research Skills

CALI lessons are an excellent tool that you can use to hone your legal research skills.  The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) publishes a library of online interactive tutorials for anyone interested in legal education.  The lessons cover all legal topics from Administrative Law to Wills and Trusts, and include researching primary and secondary sources of law and federal and state jurisdictions. 

Whether you are graduating in a few weeks or about to finish your first year of law school, you should use CALI lessons if you plan on doing any legal research this summer.  Here are some CALI lessons that you should try out:

CALI also includes lessons on state-specific legal research such as “Colorado Legal Research – Secondary Source Materials” and “Georgia Legal Research – Primary Source Material.”  Librarians Jennifer Morgan and Cindy Dabney have created a lesson on Indiana legal research, “Indiana Primary Resources.”  Our lesson will be published in a few weeks, so keep an eye on the CALI website (or this blog) for an announcement of this new lesson.

The Library has a subscription to CALI, so you need a password (i.e., student CALI authorization code) to be able to access CALI lessons.  Stop by the reference desk to get your CALI password.

Tax Returns for POTUS & VPOTUS

President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Tax Returns are here at the White House Blog.

According to their returns, the Obamas made $5.5 million in income in 2009 and paid $1.79 million in federal taxes.  The Bidens reported a total 2009 gross adjusted income of $333,182 and paid $71,147 in federal taxes.

State Bar Associations Provide Free Legal Resources

Did you know that state bar associations provide legal resources for members?    

Coverage varies from bar to bar, but paying those annual membership dues can get you access to legal research services such as Fastcase, Casemaker, Loislaw, and Versuslaw.   

Greg Lambert has provided an interactive map (at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog) that shows what service you can expect to find provided by your state bar.  The Georgetown Law Library blog points out that the underlying data for this map “comes from a more detailed matrix of bar benefits that describes such benefits as mentor and ethics resources.”  Check it out!  

Fastcase, Casemaker, Loislaw, and Versuslaw are all Web-based legal research services that are available by subscription.  While not providing the depth and breadth of coverage as Lexis and Westlaw (nor the bells and whistles), they are low-cost legal research alternatives.  

Fastcase includes primary law from all 50 states as well as federal case law back to 1 U.S. 1, 1 F.2d 1, 1 F.Supp. 1, and 1 B.R. 1.  Use Fastcase to find court rules, legal forms, search PACER and newspapers.   

Casemaker contains state and federal case law, statutes, regulations, attorney general opinions and other resource materials used daily in the practice of law.    

Loislaw, in addition to having primary law for all 50 states and federal jurisdictions, has a public records database and a database of practice-specific treatises and state-specific treatises and legal forms.   

Versuslaw offers access to archived and current opinions from state, federal and Native American tribal courts, as well as the U.S. Code, CFR, and specialty practice collections.  Versuslaw also has an a-la-carte database of U.S. Legal forms.

Be sure to check out each service’s website for more detailed information on content coverage, searching, citators, training and webinars, free demos, iPhone apps, and more.

Indiana Joins the Healthcare Lawsuit

Indiana’s Attorney General, Greg Zoeller, joined the multi-state federal lawsuit which alleges that P.L. 111-148 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23rd) is unconstitutional.

Attorney General Zoeller’s press release is here and his report to Senator Richard Lugar containing the legal analysis and economic impact of the Senate version of the health care bill is found here.

Here is a copy of the complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of Florida on March 23rd.

Jumpstart Reminder

With today’s session, we will end the first week of Jumpstart classes.  These classes are great refreshers in legal research, and in fact you might well learn several new things as well.   If you tell us what you are doing this summer, we can even tailor the class to meet your specific needs. 

Jumpstart lets you learn, review, and ask basic questions about legal research before you get stuck on the job.  Don’t forget to drop by the reference office sometime soon and sign up for one of the five remaining classes!

Breaking News!

The Law School announced today that Professor Luis Fuentes-Rohwer has been traded to the Chicago Bulls for two critical legal theorists to be named later. “Too much time on the injured reserve list,” opined Professor Ajay Mehrotra. “HPER basketball will never be the same … thank goodness.” Professor Jeff Stake had a different take on the surprising news. “I don’t understand. I thought the deal was for two law & economics power forwards from the University of Chicago.” In a totally unrelated note, all Law Library users should be warned that due to technical difficulties beyond our control, searching IUCAT may automatically log orders for ShamWow towels. They may be like a chamois, they may be like a sponge, but they are nothing like a normal IUCAT search. We apologize for any inconvenience.

State Legislation Challenges Certain Health Reforms

Members of at least 38 state legislatures have proposed legislation to limit, alter or oppose health care reform actions.  Read the report at the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures.