Law and Legal

New on LLRX – Virtual Chat Reference Services

Via LLRXVirtual Chat Reference Services – If our library had a virtual chat service linked to our website, would our reference librarians receive more questions? Brandon Wright Adler answers this question in the affirmative and shares her recommendations for services that merit your review and consideration.

Categories: Law and Legal

American Bar Association focus of attacks in efforts to approve unqualified judges

Politico: “Senate Republicans have declared war on the American Bar Association. Since 1953, the venerable legal organization has played a critical, behind-the-scenes role in assessing judicial nominees and their fitness to serve on the bench.But with the ABA emerging as a major stumbling block in President Donald Trump’s effort to transform the courts, the GOP is accusing the nonpartisan group of holding a liberal slant and is seeking to sideline it. The ABA has deemed at least four of Trump’s judicial nominees “not qualified” — a high number, although other administrations had the ABA evaluate candidates privately before they were nominated. Democrats warn of dire consequences of ignoring the group’s evaluations. But Republicans are intent on a dramatic reshaping of the federal judiciary that could last for decades and so far, haven’t been persuaded by the ABA’s ratings. As the Senate prepares this week to confirm one appellate nominee that the ABA said was not qualified for the bench, Republicans are instead ratcheting up their attacks to try to discredit the century-old group. “The ABA’s record on judicial nominations has been highly questionable,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It has demonstrated over past decades repeatedly partisan interests and ideological interests.” Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who also sits on the Judiciary Committee and is a vocal GOP critic of Trump, added: “Not a big fan of the ABA.” “It’s blatantly political,” Flake said. “Often. Not always.” The bar association has already been diminished somewhat under Trump. In a shift from the Obama White House and a return to the policy of George W. Bush, the administration decided earlier this year not to allow the ABA to review potential candidates before they were nominated…[emphasis added]”

Categories: Law and Legal

OpenCorporates ingesting registered trademarks from multiple sources and reconciling them to companies

“Here at OpenCorporates, our core mission has always been about making official public data about companies more widely available, more usable and more useful. Much of this comes from one of the 120+ company registers we use as a primary source, but an increasing amount comes from other public sources, which now includes US and global trademark registers. This is useful information in its own right, but it now also allows you to search for companies by the trademarks they own – which is for some a more natural way of doing things. It’s fairly common to think of companies as the trademarks, logos and product names we interact with daily, rather than as legal entities. For example, while lots of people will recognise the brand Nestlé, fewer will know the full company name – Société des Produits Nestlé S.A. In many cases, brand names and the name of the company that holds the trademark are not even close. Alongside over 900,000 existing trademarks from the WIPO Madrid Register, OpenCorporates now also has 4.5 million trademarks from the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office, and we’re pulling in new trademarks and updates every day…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Iraq Study Group Papers of former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton are now available in digital format

Indiana University Bloomington: “The Iraq Study Group Papers of former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton are now available in digital format from Indiana University Libraries, providing researchers and the public with a behind-the-scenes look at a bipartisan panel that influenced U.S. policy in Iraq. Hamilton, now a distinguished scholar in the IU School of Global and International Studies and professor of practice in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, served as co-chair of the study group, which assessed the conduct of the Iraq War and recommended changes in U.S. policy. The collection, donated by Hamilton, consists of the electronic and paper files created by Hamilton and by his senior advisor and special assistant to the study group. The files document the formation of the group, its work, the creation of its final report and follow-up activities. “The Iraq Study Group marked a serious effort by Congress to examine the conduct of the Iraq War and to play its proper role by providing oversight of American foreign policy,” Hamilton said. “I am grateful to Indiana University Libraries for digitizing these records and making them accessible, and I hope that students of government and history will learn from them for years to come.” The papers include notebooks, working papers, office files, meeting minutes, memos and records of news media coverage of the study group’s work. Archivists have prepared an extensive guide allowing users to find and view a digital image of individual documents from the collection…”

Categories: Law and Legal

CJR – Don’t blame the election on fake news. Blame it on the media.

Columbia Journalism Review: “Since the 2016 presidential election, an increasingly familiar narrative has emerged concerning the unexpected victory of Donald Trump. Fake news, much of it produced by Russian sources, was amplified on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, generating millions of views among a segment of the electorate eager to hear stories about Hillary Clinton’s untrustworthiness, unlikeability, and possibly even criminality. “Alt-right” news sites like Breitbart and The Daily Caller supplemented the outright manufactured information with highly slanted and misleading coverage of their own. The continuing fragmentation of the media and the increasing ability of Americans to self-select into like-minded “filter bubbles” exacerbated both phenomena, generating a toxic brew of political polarization and skepticism toward traditional sources of authority. Alarmed by these threats to their legitimacy, and energized by the election of a president hostile to their very existence, the mainstream media has vigorously shouldered the mantle of truth-tellers. The Washington Post changed its motto to “Democracy Dies in Darkness” one month into the Trump presidency, and The New York Times launched a major ad campaign reflecting the nuanced and multifaceted nature of truth during the Oscars broadcast in February. Headline writers now explicitly spell out falsehoods rather than leaving it to the ensuing text. And journalists are quick to call out false equivalence, as when President Trump compared Antifa protesters to Nazis and heavily armed white supremacists following the violence in Charlottesville. At the same time, journalists have stepped up their already vigorous critiques of technology companiesFacebook in particular, but also Google and Twitter—highlighting the potential ways in which algorithms and social sharing have merged to spread misinformation…”

See also this paper – Related Fact Checks: a tool for combating fake news, Sreya Guha, Castilleja High School, Palo Alto, California. “The emergence of ”Fake News” and misinformation via on-line news and social media has spurred an interest in computational tools to combat this phenomenon. In this paper we present a new ”Related Fact Checks” service, which can help a reader critically evaluate an article and make a judgment on its veracity by bringing up fact checks that are relevant to the article. We describe the core technical problems that need to be solved in building a ”Related Fact Checks” service, and present results from an evaluation of an implementation.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Federal Weapons Prosecutions Rise for Third Consecutive Year

TRAC: “The latest case-by-case records from the Justice Department covering all of FY 2017 indicate that federal criminal prosecutions for weapons offenses grew by 10.8 percent over the levels seen during FY 2016. This is the third year in a row to see an increase in federal weapons prosecutions. Prosecutions during FY 2016 had risen a comparable rate – with 11.5 percent more than in FY 2015. This follows the March 8, 2017 memorandum that Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent Department of Justice prosecutors directing them to “partner with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to specifically identify the criminals responsible for significant violent crime in their districts” and singled out statutes penalizing firearms offenses as among the “substantial tools at their disposal.” The recent growth in federal criminal prosecutions for weapons offenses marks a return to the levels of weapons prosecutions last seen ten years ago in FY 2007, but it is still far below the peak level of federal weapons prosecutions reached in 2004. However, it is important to keep in mind that most gun prosecutions occur at the state and local level, and federal prosecutions are almost certainly dwarfed by anything that is done by the state and local governments. To read the full report, go to: http://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/crim/492/

Categories: Law and Legal

University of Pennsylvania: Online Books Page

University of Pennsylvania: Online Books Page – “The Online Books Page is a website that facilitates access to books that are freely readable over the Internet. It also aims to encourage the development of such online books, for the benefit and edification of all.Major parts of the site include:

The Online Books Page was founded, and is edited, by John Mark Ockerbloom, He is a digital library planner and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. He is responsible for the content of the site. Alison Miner is Associate Editor. The site is hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, who provide the server, disk space, and network bandwidth for the site. They also employ the editor, and support him in his various digital library activities (of which this is but one). The online books listed on this page have been authored, placed online, and hosted, by a wide variety of individuals and groups throughout the world (and throughout history!). The Online Books Page originally was founded in 1993 by the current editor, while he was a student at Carnegie Mellon University. He maintained it there until summer 1999, with Web space and computing resources provided by the School of Computer Science. In 1999, it moved to its present location at Penn…”

Categories: Law and Legal

2017 in Photos: How the First Months Unfolded

2017 in Photos: How the First Months Unfolded – “As the year comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back at some of the most memorable events and images of 2017. Among the events covered in this essay (the first of a three-part photo summary of the year): the inauguration of President Donald Trump; the Women’s March on Washington; the retaking of Mosul, Iraq, from ISIS; observations from Saturn; massive opposition rallies in Venezuela; and much more. See also, the Top 25 News Photos of 2017, and, from this series, the Year in Photos, Part 2, and Part 3. The series comprises 120 images in all. Warning: Some of the photos may contain graphic or objectionable content.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Diversity is growing in law firms but not at the top

WashingtonPost: “Minority lawyers now make up 16 percent of law firms – a record high – but remain scarce at the top, where only 9 percent of law partners are people of color, according to new data collected by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. Put another way, nearly half of their white counterparts make partner, while the vast majority of minorities remain associates. The disparity is also reflected in the corporate world, where only 11 percent of general counsels at Fortune 500 companies are black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American even though minorities make up a third of the legal profession as a whole…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Convenience and Compliance: Case Studies on Persistent Identifiers in European Research Information Management

This report provides university and research library leaders with useful insights on emerging practices and infrastructures in European research information management (RIM), on the current and future role of persistent person and organization identifiers, and, more specifically, on incentives and barriers to adoption in three different national settings—Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands—in order to better understand the decision-making dynamics in this space. Through research and semi-structured interviews with practitioners and stakeholders within universities, national libraries, and collaborative information and communications technology (ICT) organizations in Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands, the authors explore local institutional RIM practices and examine the role—perhaps even the necessity—of persistent identifiers for the facilitation of group-scale RIM activity and data aggregation. This work was part of a joint research collaboration with LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries). This report documents a rapidly changing RIM landscape, as CRIS systems aggregate more types of data, harvest publications from a growing number of external sources, and serve as an important node interoperating within a large, complex scholarly communications landscape…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Commuting Times, Median Rents and Language other than English Use in the Home on the Rise

New American Community Survey Statistics Provide Local Data for Every Community Nationwide – “The nation experienced an increase in commuting time, median gross rent and a rise in English proficiency among those who spoke another language. These are only a few of the statistics released today from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year estimates data release, which features more than 40 social, economic, housing and demographic topics, including homeowner rates and costs, health insurance and educational attainment. “The American Community Survey allows us to track incremental changes across our nation on how people live and work, year-to-year,” said David Waddington, chief of the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division. “It’s our country’s only source of small area estimates for socio-economic and demographic characteristics. These estimates help people, businesses and governments throughout the country better understand the needs of their populations, the markets in which they operate and the challenges and opportunities they face.” The survey produces statistics for all of the nation’s 3,142 counties. In addition, it is the only full dataset available for three-fourths of all counties with populations too small to produce a complete set of single-year statistics (2,322 counties). Each year, Census Bureau data helps determine how more than $675 billion of federal funding are spent on infrastructure and services, from highways to schools to hospitals…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Tim Berners-Lee – future of the web is dimming

theguardian uk: “Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s optimism about the future of the web is starting to wane in the face of a “nasty storm” of issues including the rollback of net neutrality protections, the proliferation of fake news, propaganda and the web’s increasing polarisation. The inventor of the world wide web always maintained his creation was a reflection of humanity – the good, the bad and the ugly. But Berners-Lee’s vision for an “open platform that allows anyone to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographical boundaries” has been challenged by increasingly powerful digital gatekeepers whose algorithms can be weaponised by master manipulators. “I’m still an optimist, but an optimist standing at the top of the hill with a nasty storm blowing in my face, hanging on to a fence,” said the British computer scientist. “We have to grit our teeth and hang on to the fence and not take it for granted that the web will lead us to wonderful things,” he said. The spread of misinformation and propaganda online has exploded partly because of the way the advertising systems of large digital platforms such as Google or Facebook have been designed to hold people’s attention. “People are being distorted by very finely trained AIs that figure out how to distract them,” said Berners-Lee…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Stark Partisan Divisions Over Russia Probe, Including Its Importance to the Nation

“A majority of Americans say they think senior members of Donald Trump’s administration definitely or probably had improper contacts with Russia during last year’s presidential campaign. And most are at least somewhat confident that special counsel Robert Mueller will conduct a fair investigation into the matter. Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided in views of possible wrongdoing by senior administration officials, as well as in confidence in Mueller to conduct a fair investigation. In addition, while just 19% of Republicans view the Russia probe as “very important” to the nation, more than three times as many Democrats (71%) say the same. The new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 4 among 1,503 adults, finds that President Trump’s job approval rating has declined over the course of his first year in office…”

Categories: Law and Legal

On Gender Differences, No Consensus on Nature vs. Nurture

“Americans say society places a higher premium on masculinity than on femininity: “Twenty-five years after the release of the bestseller “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” the debate over how and why men and women are different and what that means for their roles in society is far from settled. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that majorities of Americans say men and women are basically different in the way they express their feelings, their physical abilities, their personal interests and their approach to parenting. But there is no public consensus on the origins of these differences. While women who perceive differences generally attribute them to societal expectations, men tend to point to biological differences…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Stark Partisan Divisions Over Russia Probe, Including Its Importance to the Nation

“A majority of Americans say they think senior members of Donald Trump’s administration definitely or probably had improper contacts with Russia during last year’s presidential campaign. And most are at least somewhat confident that special counsel Robert Mueller will conduct a fair investigation into the matter. Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided in views of possible wrongdoing by senior administration officials, as well as in confidence in Mueller to conduct a fair investigation. In addition, while just 19% of Republicans view the Russia probe as “very important” to the nation, more than three times as many Democrats (71%) say the same. The new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 4 among 1,503 adults, finds that President Trump’s job approval rating has declined over the course of his first year in office…”

Categories: Law and Legal

YouTube is a valuable source for CLE and self study

How to subscribe to YouTube videos to earn CLE self-study, watch news and learn new skills

“How many of you out there regularly watch YouTube videos? Mostly people randomly watch videos. But it is possible to follow YouTube in much the same way you follow a podcast. I’ve been a YouTube subscriber for about 7 years and really active for the last 4 – 5 years.
It is a great way to learn the learn new skills, follow a hobby or even catch up with cable TV shows. Many times, I’ll go straight to the government agency to watch speeches that I might have missed on TV.”

Categories: Law and Legal

Group of legal tech experts discuss whether email is broken

Is Email Broken? Law Technology Today November 30, 2017 – “Ways to communicate now with clients and collegues have grown tremendously since the days of just using the telephone, faxing a letter and even Emailing. If Email no longer gets the job done, what are our alternatives? Our Panelists Dennis Kennedy (DK), Steve Embry (SE), William Goren (WG), Brooke Moore (BM), and Robert Young (RY).”

Categories: Law and Legal

Legal Keyboard Mini Version Reviewed

Robert Ambrogi – LawSites: “Remember the LegalBoard, a keyboard designed specifically for lawyers? Now there is a mini version designed to be portable — and that has the added advantage of working with Macs, which the LegalBoard does not. I first wrote about the LegalBoard last January, and later followed that post with a hands-on review and a video unboxing. Recently, Brian Potts, the lawyer who conceived of the LegalBoard, sent me a review unit of the new mini version, called the LegalPad…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation

Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation, Alex Bell, Harvard University, Raj Chetty, Stanford University and NBER, Xavier Jaravel, London School of Economics, Neviana Petkova, Office of Tax Analysis, US Treasury, John Van Reenen, MIT and Centre for Economic Performance. December 2017.

“We characterize the factors that determine who becomes an inventor in America by using de-identified data on 1.2 million inventors from patent records linked to tax records. We establish three sets of results. First, children from high-income (top 1%) families are ten times as likely to become inventors as those from below-median income families. There are similarly large gaps by race and gender. Differences in innate ability, as measured by test scores in early childhood, explain relatively little of these gaps. Second, exposure to innovation during child has significant causal effects on children’s propensities to become inventors. Growing up in a neighborhood or family with a high innovation rate in a specific technology class leads to a higher probability of patenting in exactly the same technology class. These exposure effects are gender-specific: girls are more likely to become inventors in a particular technology class if they grow up in an area with more female inventors in that technology class. Third, the financial returns to inventions are extremely skewed and highly correlated with their scientific impact, as measured by citations. Consistent with the importance of exposure effects and contrary to standard models of career selection, women and disadvantaged youth are as under-represented among high-impact inventors as they are among inventors as a whole. We develop a simple model of inventors’ careers that matches these empirical results. The model implies that increasing exposure to innovation in childhood may have larger impacts on innovation than increasing the financial incentives to innovate, for instance by reducing tax rates. In particular, there are many “lost Einsteins” – individuals who would have had highly impactful inventions had they been exposed to innovation.”

Categories: Law and Legal

BuzzFeed Analysis – Government Data On 20 Years Of Workplace Sexual Harassment Claims

BuzzFeed News received a trove of data on every sexual harassment claim filed between fiscal years 1995 and 2016 with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that enforces laws meant to protect workers from discrimination. The more than 170,000 claims, which didn’t include identifying details, represent just a sliver of the countless incidents in the everyday workplace that don’t receive prominent attention or go unnoticed. Overall, women filed 83% of the claims; men filed 15%. The remaining 2% didn’t specify a gender. BuzzFeed News has published the data here. First, let’s break it down by workplace type. Search below to find an industry — you can get as specific as, say, “bowling centers” — and you can see the average hourly pay, percentage of women workers, and more…”

Categories: Law and Legal

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