Researching Administrative Materials

The University of Virginia’s government documents department has developed a web site that provides access to agency documents (including decisions) available on the Internet. This includes agency guidance documents, interpretation letters, as well as links to agencies’ e-FOIA reading rooms.
Organized by agency and subject this site provides a wealth of information in a cost-effective manner. The subject search is particularly helpful when you are not aware of which agency might possibly regulate in the area you’re researching.

EU Documents Library Now Available Online Back to 1952

The European Union announced the availability of all official EU publications since 1952 in digital format. News articles mention 12 million scanned pages and 110,000 publications available free of charge in the EU Bookshop Digital Library. The press release indicates the availability this way:
You will access them by selecting the option “Digital Library” in the search pages. Enjoy the reading!
The search feature at the Bookstore site is a tad confusing. Select the Advance Search option from the main page and the Digital Library option appears as a radio button selection near the bottom of the page. Publications are available in a wide variety of language. As they say, happy reading. Other reports indicate the archive will also be available at some point on Europeana, Europe’s digital library of cultural materials.

ALI-ABA and ACLEA”s Critical Issues Summit Starts Today, Webcasts Available

ALI-ABA and ACLEA are conducting a summit on critical issues facing continuing legal education providers, law schools, and the legal profession in equipping today’s legal practitioners Oct. 15 through 17. Called Equipping Our Lawyers: Law School Education, Continuing Legal Education, and Legal Practice in the 21st Century, the summit will focus on issues in six key areas related to lawyer training and development: law school, bar admissions, continuing legal education, minimum requirements for CLE, in-house professional development, and differing generational learning styles. Among the issues to be discussed in this framework
How is legal practice changing and what do those changes mean for lawyers’ professional education?
How is the role of law schools changing?
What models are emerging in CLE and in-house professional development?
What’s next for technology and its application to legal practice and professional education?
What’s next for technology and its application to legal practice and professional education?
What new approaches can be taken to admission to the profession?
How well does today’s MCLE system set standards and meet needs?
What implications do generational differences have for law practice and lawyer professional development?
Webcast information here

The private sector follows the Marines into the “cone of silence” by banning social media at work.

According to the latest survey of more than 1,400 U.S. companies, more than half (54 percent) said they prohibit employees from visiting sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace while on the clock. The survey, by Robert Half Technology, a provider of information technology staffing services, was based on telephone interviews with U.S. companies of 100 or more employees.
Another recent survey delivered even graver news for the social media world. According to an August survey by ScanSafe, a Web security provider, 76 percent of companies are now choosing to block employees’ use of social networking — up 20 percent from February — which is now a more popular category of sites to block than those involving shopping, weapons, sports or alcohol.
. . . .Law firms have also joined in the trend. Indianapolis-based Barnes & Thornburg has blocked all access to Facebook. Twitter is still available, however. Gunster Yoakley & Stewart of West Palm Beach, Fla., blocks Facebook and Twitter for all its support staff, including secretaries and legal assistants, but lets lawyers use the social media tools. London’s Allen & Overy tried to ban Facebook in 2007, but then lifted the ban after associate backlash.
Lawyers say the bans are due to a number of factors, including loss of productivity, data theft fears, liability risks if online comments turn up in lawsuits and corporate image concerns.
“I think what’s happening is social media is starting to simmer, and the lawyers and the PR teams, the HR teams and marketing teams are realizing there are all these problems,” said Gaida Zirkelbach, an associate at Gunster who focuses on technology and the Internet.
But Zirkelbach herself is skeptical of the bans. “I don’t know if that’s going to work ultimately,” she said, suggesting that employees will likely ignore the rules. “It’s better to have a policy, just like with everything else,” she said.

West Makes Some of Its Most Popular Law Books More Mobile

EAGAN, Minn., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ — As electronic book readers increase in popularity with students and professionals, West is making nearly 30 of its titles available for electronic download for the Amazon Kindle. The addition of electronic versions of selected titles allows West to meet the needs of law students, law school faculty and legal professionals who are increasingly using new electronic media in the classroom, on the job and for personal use. The following titles comprise the first list:
Making Your Case
1L of a Ride
A Well-Traveled Professor’s Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School
Bankruptcy and Related Law in a Nutshell, 7th ed.
Beyond the Brief: Communication Strategies for Lawyers and Legal Marketers
The Complete CAN-SPAM Act Practice Guide
The Complete State Security Breach Notification Compliance Handbook
Contracts in a Nutshell, 6th ed.
Ending the Gauntlet: Removing Barriers to Women’s Success in the Law
Federal Income Taxation, 11th ed.
Guerilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams, 2nd ed.
Immigration Law and Procedure in a Nutshell, 5th ed.
Information Security and Privacy: A Guide to Federal and State Law and Compliance
International Taxation in a Nutshell, 8th ed.
Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success, 3rd ed.
The Leading Lawyer, a Guide to Practicing Law and Leadership
Litigation is War
Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges
Management of Human Capital
Marketers Handbook of Tips and Checklists
Now What Makes Juries Listen
Oil and Gas Law in a Nutshell, 5th ed.
The Opportunity Maker: Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development
Paralegal Ethics Handbook
Political Activity, Lobbying Laws and Gift Rules Guide
Principles of International Law.
The Rainmaking Machine: Marketing Planning, Strategies, and Management for Law Firms
Rediscovering Lone Pine
The Woman Lawyer’s Rainmaking Game
Women Attorneys Speak Out
Writing a Legal Memo

Supreme Court Begins New Term, Rejects Cases

The Supreme Court begins the October 2009 term today. Here are some notable cases the Court disposed of yesterday:
The Court will not review a Fifth Circuit case involving a 1995 law that relieved oil companies from paying royalties on gulf oil leases. The law said payment would come when a specific amount of gas and oil was produced. The government appealed the ruling in favor of the oil companies in the case. The case is Department of the Interior v. Kerr-McGee Oil and Gas Corp., 09-54.
The Court declined to hear an appeal of a Florida case involving a law that requires public students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance unless their parents opt out. The case is Frazier v. Smith, 08-1351.
The Court will not hear a lower court ruling that refused to require the State of Illinois to issue “Choose Life” license plates. An anti-abortion group had sued Illinois to force the issuance. The case is Choose Life Illinois, Inc. v. White, Il. Secretary of State. 08-1283.
The Court also declined to stop the release of documents generated during lawsuits against priests in Connecticut for sex abuse. The diocese of Bridgeport wanted to keep the 12,000 papers under seal. Connecticut courts had ruled that the papers were presumed to be public. Justice Ginsberg declined to issue a stay in the case on August 25th. The case is Rosado v. Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocesan Corp. et al.
The Court declined to hear an appeal by a prosecutor in a defamation case against the Chicago Tribune. The case involved a news story about prosecutorial (mis)conduct in the handling of a child murder case in DuPage County, Illinois. The prosecutor in question filed suit and the case went to the jury, which sided with the paper. The case is Knight v. Chicago Tribune Co. et al., 08-1337