Archive for February, 2012

Book Review – California Client Communications Manual: Sample Letters and Forms

California Client Communications Manual: Sample Letters and Forms, edited by Jon E. Heywood. Continuing Education of the Bar, 2012, 256 pages. 1 volume, loose-leaf, $169.00.

With more than 65 letters and form templates for drafting client correspondence, this single-volume practice guide from Continuing Education of the Bar is designed to facilitate effective attorney-client communication during the course of representation, helping attorneys comply with legal and ethical obligations to keep clients informed from initial contact through disposition. Each chapter contains time-saving form templates as well as a summary of applicable laws, issues, and considerations associated with the type of correspondence featured in the chapter. A “Comment” section follows each letter template, further clarifying its purpose and function.

California Client Communications Manual offers a greater variety of letter and form templates than similar, California-specific works centered on the attorney-client relationship, including Continuing Education of the Bar’s Fee Agreement Forms Manual and the Rutter Group’s California Practice Guide: Professional Responsibility. Furthermore, in contrast to the brief, general client letters found in the ABA’s Letters for Lawyers and Letters for Litigators titles, the templates in the California Client Communications Manual are detailed and cite specific California Rules of Professional Conduct and other applicable California laws.

California Client Communications Manual: Sample Letters and Forms is a comprehensive reference for drafting client-directed correspondence. Particularly valuable for new attorneys in solo practice who lack access to document archives typically available in established law firms, California Client Communications Manual is an appropriate and worthwhile purchase for California public law libraries and others with a practice-oriented collection.

Emily Bergfeld is a reference librarian at the Alameda County Law Library in Oakland, California.

March Issue of Spectrum is Online

The March issue of AALL Spectrum is available online in a PDF format. The issue includes:

Also, read responses to this month’s Member to Member question: To cope with the stresses of your work life, how do you get yourself refreshed and fired up?

Paper copies were mailed to members today, so expect yours to arrive soon!

Book Review – Intellectual Property: A Global Directory of Acronyms and Abbreviations

Intellectual Property: A Global Directory of Acronyms and Abbreviations, by Jon R. Cavicchi. William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2012, 392 pages. Hardcover, $62, ISBN 9780837738086.

It is refreshing but rare to find a source as useful as Intellectual Property: A Global Directory of Acronyms and Abbreviations that can be purchased without breaking one’s library budget. This valuable reference work contains more than 4,000 forward and reverse listings related to intellectual property (IP), which includes patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, rights of publicity, unfair competition, cultural and moral rights, and related areas. Entries are arranged alphabetically, and terms run the gamut from “A & E Pat Cas” (American and English Patent Cases) to “PPV” (Protection of Plant Varieties) to “RIAA” (Recording Industry Association of America) to “ZIMRA” (Zimbabwe Music Rights Association). 

The book is divided into two main parts. Part I, the forward listings, allows searchers to find the meanings of abbreviations and acronyms. Part II, the reverse listings, allows users to find abbreviations and acronyms for titles, terms, and names as they are used in legal literature. A few pages of foreign entries are listed separately.

Author and IP Librarian Jon R. Cavicchi spent a year researching thousands of print and electronic sources to compile this exhaustive resource. He has done an exemplary job of assembling this very handy and portable book. Most importantly, it is fairly priced and probably affordable to everyone. Intellectual Property: A Global Directory of Acronyms and Abbreviations should find a place in every legal library.    

Donna M. Fisher ( is a law librarian at Senniger Powers LLP in St. Louis.

Learn How to Make Your Voice Heard in State Advocacy

In the midst of state budget cuts that threaten the very existence of public law libraries and a growing number of state governments looking to eliminate print legal resources in favor of online-only, now is a critical time for law librarians to speak up for the important issues that affect the profession.

Join the free webinar, Making Your Voice Heard: Your Role in State Advocacy, on March 20 at 11 a.m. CST, to learn practical skills and strategies to make a difference in your state. You’ll hear the latest and most effective ways to influence decision-makers and come away prepared to advocate for the enactment of the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) to ensure authentication and preservation of electronic legal material in your state. Register by March 13.

This webinar is free for AALL members and chapter members.

Register Today for the 2012 AALL Annual Meeting

2012 AALL Annual Meeting logoRegistration for the 105th Annual Meeting and Conference in Boston is now open. Our new Annual Meeting site has all the information you need to connect to this year’s meeting – with more to come in the months ahead. You can register to attend; make hotel and travel reservations; search for programs and meetings; design your own personal schedule; see who’s exhibiting; and start planning your time in Boston. We can even help you make your case to attend. Keynote speaker Richard Susskind and the return of the Association Luncheon are just a few of this year’s highlights. There’s no better time to invest in your professional development – you belong at the premier educational and networking event for legal information pros.

Spread the word to your nonmember colleagues: Nonmember Conference Registration packages include a complimentary one-year AALL membership. By joining us in Boston, they’ll be joining AALL!

Book Review – Human Rights and the Environment

Human Rights and the Environment, edited by Dinah L. Shelton. Edward Elgar Publishing Company, 2011. Two volumes; volume 1 – 777 pages, volume 2 – 563 pages. $618.00, hardcover edition.

Human Rights and the Environment is an attempt to present a wide variety of articles related to the rights guaranteed to individuals as far as the environment is concerned. These volumes attempt to address the responsibility of the state to guarantee these rights, how to monitor compliance, and how to regulate non-state actors. With these goals in mind, the editor of these volumes provides a great deal of articles that address these issues from a wide range of viewpoints.

Before actually getting into the format of the books themselves, the editor addresses the need for this resource and the connection between human rights and the environment. The editor gets straight to the point in her introduction by quoting Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration: “Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being” [emphasis added]. She also states in her introduction that the awareness of the link between the two areas is growing, but yet environmental law and human rights are still not always addressed in conjunction with each other.

As such, the editor has gathered numerous essays by a multitude of authors attempting to tie these two issues together and address questions related to the two. To ease the study of the topics together, she has divided the book into four parts (two in each volume), addressing theoretical approaches; specific issues and problems; vulnerable populations; and, international texts and jurisprudence.

In arranging the volumes in this manner, Ms. Shelton allows one to follow the path from the basic ideology of human rights through environmental law all the way to what is actually being done in various parts of the world. Along the way, she also continues to present articles demonstrating the need to study the two areas together and the need for environmental law to ensure human rights.

For anybody interested in human rights and/or the environment, this resource is valuable in presenting the topic(s) in a way that may not always be done; the editor ties the two topics together both theoretically and in existing practice. For scholars of the subject area, this resource brings theory and fact together in a way that fully illustrates how dependent human rights can be on environmental law and how environmental law should be fashioned and implemented to guarantee these rights.

Paul D. Venard is reference librarian at the University of Dayton Zimmerman Law Library in Dayton, Ohio.

Book Review – The Legal Kiss

The Legal Kiss: The Legal Aspects of the Kiss, by Victoria Sutton, MPA, PhD, JD. Vargas Publishing, Inc (2011). Trade paperback, 131 pages, listed on Amazon for $18.99.

“An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” – Proverbs 24:26.

Honestly, but skipping the kiss, this book is interesting and intriguing from the start. The Legal Kiss, written by Victoria Sutton, Paul Whitfield Horn Professor at Texas Tech University School of Law, reads like a collection of short essays. The clever titles for each chapter give you insight on where the author is going to take you – whether it be to the Garden of Gethsemane where Judas places an identifying kiss upon Jesus’ cheek or to a modern day New Delhi where Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty are publicly shamed for a passionate back-bending kiss at a charity event. In all of the situations that Sutton takes the reader, she outlines the act of the kiss and its intended and unintended consequences within society and the law.

As an academic librarian, I am always looking at how other people introduce and explain complex or abstract legal theories. For that purpose, I would recommend this book for being able to make obscure concepts of the law come to life. For example, Sutton discusses “the celebrated contractual kisses” in the context of whether or not a kiss (or a bunch of kisses) can be consideration for a contract. And if so, would the court require specific performance for the enforcement of said contract? In my opinion, it is much more interesting reading about specific performance when the performance involves the question of what constitutes a legal kiss rather than whether a duck is adequate consideration for a sales contract. As an added feature, I don’t believe libraries would have a hard time marketing this book to their patrons. It basically promotes itself. I think it would be an easy addition to any new books shelf or on a book display set up around our favorite February holiday because its title and appearance would spark the interest of shelf browsers.

Let me step back and take a hard look at the content, not just the packaging. Before Sutton begins to even explore the legal kiss, she provides the caveat that this work is not a complete treatise on the subject. Take her word for it. It is not. I was a bit disappointed in the lack of authority cited throughout the book and in the bibliography at the end. That being said, Sutton does provide the relevant authority when discussing subject-specific topics, such as citing the Restatements when discussing tort and contract claims, Supreme Court opinions when considering “Kisses and the Konstitution [sic],” and various other legal primary and secondary authority along the way. I believe the scope of the work is intentionally surface level, which provides an air of lightheartedness to the book.  Because of the coverage, I would not recommend this for a book to keep at reference, unless your reference staff is compensated with two lips in lieu of dollars and cents!

Overall, I enjoyed the book.  It was fun to sit and read about all the different ways a simple kiss on the cheek, lips, or a “Kiss my A**” has been twisted and construed by our courts and legislatures. If you plan to kick off your Valentine’s Day celebration with a kiss, make sure you read this book to be sure you’ll steer clear of any legal ramifications! Or if you do get caught kissing (say in Times Square) and someone makes big bucks off of the picture of you and your partner, know that you can consult this book for your chances to cash in. After reading this book, I kiss off with a positive and doting review.

Elizabeth (Liz) McCurry Johnson, JD/MLS, is a reference librarian and an adjunct professor for the course Health and Medical Research for Lawyers at Wake Forest University School of Law in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Learn to Write a Successful AALL/BNA Continuing Education Grant Proposal

Do you have a bright idea for a continuing education program? AALL would love to fund it!

Please join the Continuing Professional Education Committee on February 7 at 11 a.m. CST for a FREE webinar, Tips for Writing a Successful AALL/BNA Continuing Education Grant Proposal. Learn about the grant, the application process, and hear about program successes all just in time to meet the deadlines for submission. The AALL/BNA Continuing Education Grant can assist you in providing ongoing quality continuing education programming outside of the AALL Annual Meeting. All AALL chapters, special interest sections, member institutions, caucuses, and individual AALL members are encouraged to apply.

Register by February 6 at 4:30 p.m. CST.

February 2012

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