Archive for October, 2009

The 2010 “Call for Papers” Has Begun

Have you been thinking of writing an article of interest to law librarians?  Need a push to get started?  Well, here it is.

The  The AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers Committee is soliciting articles in three categories:

  • Open Division: For active and retired AALL members and law librarians with five or more years of professional experience.
  • New Members Division: For recent graduates and AALL members who have become law librarians since July 1, 2005.
  • Student Division: Participants in this division need not be members of AALL. To be eligible in this category, you must have been enrolled in law school or in a library school, information management, or an equivalent program, either in the fall 2009 or spring 2010 semester.

The winner in each division receives $750 generously donated by LexisNexis plus the opportunity to present the winning paper at a program during the AALL Annual Meeting in Denver. Winning papers are also considered for publication in the Association’s prestigious Law Library Journal

Application form and details, including a list of past winners, can be found at the Call for Papers website. Selected winning papers from earlier competitions can also be found online. This list can give you an idea of the range of topics that law librarians have chosen. 


  • Articles in the Open and New Members Divisions must be submitted by March 2, 2010. 
  • Articles in the Student Division must be submitted by April 15, 2010.

If you have any questions, please contact a member of the AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers Committee: Chair James M. Donovan (, David Hollander (, or Connie Lenz (

November Issue of Spectrum Online

The November issue of AALL Spectrum is available online in PDF format. This month’s articles include:AALL Spectrum

Also, readers respond to this month’s “Member to Member” question: What movie has had the most influence on your life?

Paper copies mailed out to members on Friday, October 23, so look for them in your mailboxes soon.

Learn How to Field Complex Foreign and International Law Research Questions

As a law librarian, you never know when you’ll be pulled into an area in which you’ve had very little exposure. Today you’re working in your comfort zone; tomorrow you’re expected to find targeted information for a foreign and international law question and don’t know where to begin.

AALL’s November webinar, Global Legal Research: Routes to Success (November 19, 12 p.m. EDT) will help you hit the ground running. Join two global research experts as they discuss how to approach global research, sensible starting points, legal systems and terminology, resource strategies, collections, and more. 

Register by November 13.

Book Review of Terrorism: International Case Law Reporter, 2007 edition

Terrorism: International Case Law Reporter. Edited by Michael A. Newton. Oxford University Press, 2009. Hardcover, Bound. Volume 1-2, 1578 pages. $120.00 per volume.

Terrorism: International Case Law Reporter, 2007 is the first edition of a projected annual series publication. This reporter compiles select terrorism cases from around the world including cases from both domestic jurisdictions and a variety of international tribunals and bodies. The only commentary contained in this reporter is the editor’s introduction. The editor, Michael A. Newton, is a Professor at Vanderbilt University Law School and has extensive expertise in terrorism and international law. According to Professor Newton’s introduction, Terrorism: International Case Law Reporter is designed to provide researchers and practitioners an overview of terrorism jurisprudence. I recommend this reporter for a law library that serves policymakers or researchers interested in terrorism jurisprudence. It will not be useful to many practitioners because its scope is too broad and because it is not clear if future editions will provide a mechanism to update the cases. Researchers interested in terrorism jurisprudence may be able to find the cases located in this reporter using other means, but this publication is convenient because it pulls the cases together in an organized fashion. In addition, the Oxford University Press website boasts that many cases contained in this reporter are translated into English for the first time. This edition of the reporter contains decisions from 2007, but some earlier decisions are included. In his introduction, Professor Newton indicates that a select number of opinions decided prior to 2007 were necessary to illustrate the development of counterterrorism law.

Terrorism: International Case Law Reporter is user friendly. The cases are organized by subject. Both volumes include a detailed list of subjects. The main subject headings the cases are categorized under include: Terrorism and National Security in General; Constitutional Challenges, Human Rights, and Civil Liberties; Financial Aspects of Terrorism; and Specific Regions. The main subject headings are further divided into subtopics. Each volume contains a table of contents that includes the subjects addressed in that particular volume. Additionally, the reporter contains an individual table of contents in the beginning of each sub topical section that lists the corresponding cases alphabetically. If a given case addresses multiple subtopics listed in the reporter, the full case appears under the subtopic that is the primary focus of the opinion, and then cross-referenced in appropriate individual table of contents. For additional research ease, the second volume contains a Subject Index of Cases and a Consolidated Table of Cases. Professor Newton indicates in the introduction that cases in later editions, beginning with the 2008 edition, will contain editorial enhancements including headnotes and key words.

The Oxford University Press website indicates that Terrorism: International Case Law Reporter contains the full opinions of cases referred to in the first and second series of Terrorism: Documents of International and Local Control, which is a voluminous and expensive loose-leaf that examines the evolution of terrorism over a span of twenty-five years. A library would not have to purchase Terrorism: Documents of International and Local Control to use Terrorism: International Case Law Reporter. I could not determine if this reporter will be available in an electronic format. If it is not available electronically, Oxford University Press should consider an electronic format for this publication in the future.

Alyssa Folse, Reference and Instructional Services Librarian, Stetson University College of Law

Book Review: Copyright Law Deskbook, by Robert W. Clarida

Clarida, Robert W. Copyright Law Deskbook. BNA Books, 2009 ($395.00 / 857 pgs / 978-1-57018-691-2 / hardcover with CD-ROM cumulative case digest (1993-2008)).

It is difficult to overstate the importance of a work like the Copyright Law Deskbook, a one-volume compendium that serves as a useful summary of current copyright law. This very practical, portable work draws together the important cases and organizes them in a topical arrangement with commentary, explaining how the cases do (or do not) fit together.

Instead of an impassioned plea for one or another view about some point of controversy, the reader gets a useful statement of what the law is that can help both the seasoned practitioner and the copyright newcomer answer everyday questions. As one who is sometimes asked whether this or that practice is protected by the fact that an educational purpose would be served, for instance, I find it a pleasure to have Clarida’s chapter on fair use, which includes a two-page summary of how courts have viewed educational use when weighing the various fair use factors.

It is extremely helpful to have this reference work in one volume, albeit a hefty one. The Deskbook includes several appendices, one of them a CD-ROM that holds a 15 year case digest covering notable copyright cases from 1993 through 2008. In an academic law library, one groans to see a CD-ROM accompany a book, because it usually requires special storage and handling apart from the book to ensure that the disk does not disappear. Fortunately, the BNA Books Agreement that accompanies the work gives permission to make one copy of the CD-ROM for archival purposes, which helps to reduce the groan to a grimace.

There is no indication of how often the CD-ROM will be reissued, but one hopes that consideration will be given to a Web-based platform rather than a CD-ROM to update the case summaries. For now, cases with citations to BNA’s United States Patents Quarterly (USPQ and USPQ 2d) have links that take the reader to BNA’s Intellectual Property Library on the Web for the full text. Subscribers to the BNA IP Library must enter their password and user ID to access the full text, while non-subscribers can use a link on the sign-in page to request a one-time-only temporary password that gives 15 days of access to full text with a temporary password and user ID. Our library uses IP validation for the BNA IP Library, which makes access simple, so I am not certain how hospitable the temporary password option will seem to non-subscribers.

The Deskbook was assembled with a practitioner in mind, as evidenced by an appendix of forms. The forms are reproductions, in tiny print, of various registration forms used by the Copyright Office and readily available from their Web site. For a practitioner unaccustomed to finding such things, it may be useful to read the forms first, although the tiny print is a hindrance and there is no introduction to point the reader to the Copyright Office Web site. A more useful appendix might have included contact information for the Copyright Office as well as URLs for the Web site, but this is a tiny quibble about a small appendix.

One may well ask why the CD-ROM holds only the last 15 years of cases. I think the idea was to cover ‘current’ copyright law, and for most purposes, the past 15 years should suffice. Author Robert Clarida, a partner at Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, has written the summaries since 1993, but the firm has for many years summarized copyright decisions for the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. that are published in the Society’s journal. The firm also has had a long relationship with the publisher, Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), since the days when a founding partner of the firm, Alan Latman, took up the revision of Herbert Howell’s 1952 treatise on copyright law. Latman was a very influential figure in the development of copyright law whose casebook is familiar to anyone who took a law school copyright class in the 1980s or 1990s.

The Deskbook is a wonderful addition to any law library, although some will find it too expensive at a time when library budgets are being slashed and some serial costs are going up even more than the usual 7-9%. In addition to law firms, however, I suspect that the many law schools with an intellectual property program will add it, as I will, even though the volume itself will be in the non-circulating stacks, while the CD-ROM case summary will reside in a more supervised area of the library some distance away.

Reviewed by Keith Ann Stiverson, Director of the Library, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, and former chair of the AALL Copyright Committee

Book Review: The View from the First Chair: What Every Trial Lawyer Really Needs to Know

Grayson, Martin L. The View from the First Chair: What Every Trial Lawyer Really Needs to Know. LawyerAvenue Press, 2009. ($45, 176 pages, Paperback: 978-0-940675-66-7).

With his 25 years of litigation experience on maritime, oil & gas, transportation, insurance, and corporate cases, Grayson is a seasoned litigator intent on mentoring associates interested or working in litigation through his work, View from the First Chair: What Every Trial Lawyer Really Needs to Know.



View from the First Chair is a good start for the new associate or law student looking for an easy read on trial work and exposes the realities of being the first or second chair for a trial. It is a succinct beginner’s guide with only 147 pages of actual content (excluding the appendix and introduction) and generous line spaces.  Key tips are highlighted to reinforce their relevance in actual practice and the text reads as though Grayson is speaking with the reader in his office offering advice.

The simple table of contents moves along with the timeline of a trial, giving the reader a sense of what to do, how to report to clients, and other key information that is not taught in law school, but by experience.  With its conversational tone, the book is a virtual mentor for associates new to the world of litigation and gives the associate a sense of the mental constitution required for trial preparation.  The chapters are not too long and don’t bore as though Grayson is factoring in the demands on an associate’s time.  There aren’t any footnotes, but occasionally a link is printed on the bottom of the page advertising the author’s or the publisher’s websites.

Since the text assumes the reader is an associate or law student, it doesn’t focus on caselaw, but rather on practice tips and real world examples.  Some of his examples detail dramatic interactions with opposing counsel, unexpected witness testimony, and highlight the importance of having organized case files to maximize efficiency.  Furthermore, Grayson expands on the psychology of being a trial lawyer and the need to be professional in all circumstances to promote one’s client’s case.

The book does not have an index, although it does have an appendix with a sample report to the client that readers can adapt for their own purposes.  There are examples of letters, memos, and reports scattered in the chapters to illustrate the author’s emphasis on concise, clear legal writing.

I recommend this book for law firm libraries that specialize in litigation as it details common sense for trial lawyers and it would be a good read for a new associate to begin to understand his or her profession.

Reviewed by Esther Cho, Reference/Government Documents Librarian, Loyola Law School.

Help Celebrate Professional Legal Management Week

PLMW logo_09Professional Legal Management Week (PLMW) is a week set aside to recognize those in legal management for what they do and the roles they play in the success of their organizations. AALL is one of 11 associations co-sponsoring the event with the Association of Legal Administrators.

AALL members have been actively involved in important aspects of PLMW. The 2009 edition of Professional Legal Management Week Magazine, includes an article written by AALL members Monice Kaczorowski and Holly Pinto titled, “Doing More with Less: The Librarian Approach.”

And tomorrow’s free webinar, From Boomers to Millennials: Intergenerational Issues in the Legal Workplace on Tuesday, October 6, from 2-3:30 p.m. EDT, includes AALL member Sarah Mauldin as a panelist, along with representatives from five of the other co-sponsoring legal associations. Attend the free webinar to learn how to address the various challenges firms face in dealing with the differing priorities, attitudes, and skills of their employees.

October 2009
« Sep   Nov »

Share this blog


All ads appearing on the AALL Spectrum Blog are generated by WordPress.