December 2007 Archives

"Legal Technology - Stay Informed: It's Really Rather Simple

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Legal Technology - Stay Informed: It's Really Rather Simple

Stay Informed: It's Really Rather Simple
By David Whelan
Law Technology News
December 17, 2007

Lawyers have used current events tools to monitor case law, statutory and regulatory change for years. Thomson Corp.'s Westlaw and Lexis- Nexis provide easy ways to save the perfect search and even update it automatically. But these tools also can be used to monitor client activity. Whether you are using Thomson's Watch or LexisNexis' Total Alerts -- or one of many free resources on the Web -- there's a way to make the process even easier, using RSS.

RSS, a.k.a. Really Simple Syndication, is pervasive on Web sites and in databases where data is updated frequently. An RSS file is a simple text file that is created by one computer so that another computer can look at it and see if it has new information.

Take a blog, for example. When an author publishes a new post, the RSS file for that site incorporates a link, and often a description, of the new post. Researchers who have subscribed to the RSS feed will have a tool, whether an intranet page or an RSS reader, to monitor the updates. When the RSS file is updated, the researcher sees the new posting automatically.

The breadth of possible RSS sources is enormous, because resources extend far beyond fee-based research databases. Blogs, online newspapers and magazines and news aggregation sites all offer news feeds in the RSS format, and users can supplement the significant content in their fee-based databases by using free RSS feeds. Like e-mail alerts and clipping services that trigger as news happens, RSS updates occur when content is added to the original source, so it's easy to monitor client news and activities without a dramatic increase in e-mail-triggered alerts.


For the remainder of this excellent article, please click here.

Basic Legal Citation (LII 2007)

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Basic Legal Citation (LII 2007)

This work first appeared in 1993. It was most recently revised in May 2007 to reflect changes appearing in the third edition of the ALWD Citation Manual, published in 2006. It is also keyed to the most recent edition of The Bluebook, published in 2005.


From our old friends at the LII, specifically former Dean of the Law School at Cornell, Peter W. Martin. Dean Martin was instrumental in guiding the original NYLaw Net committee as it groped its way toward NYSBA's first web site. His concept of "...adding value..." to publicly available legal materials and making both available on line is as valid today as it was back in the early 90's.

Mitchell Report On Drugs in Major League Baseball

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(New York, NY, Dec. 13, 2007) - Lawyer and former U.S. Senator George Mitchell released his independent report investigating the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs in professional baseball. The report states: "For more than a decade there has been widespread illegal use of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing substances by players in Major League Baseball, in violation of federal law and baseball policy." The report also includes a section of evidentiary exhibits relating to the purchase and delivery of drugs to MLB players and staff.

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FINDLAW: Daily Opinion Summaries for New York Court of Appeals - 12/13/07

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People v. Zimmerman, No. 131
In a matter arising out an antitrust investigation as to whether Federated and May Department Stores conspired with Waterford Wedgwood USA and Lenox, Inc. to restrain the sale of products by competitor Bed, Bath and Beyond, dismissal of perjury indictment against former Chairman and C.E.O. of Federated Department Stores is affirmed as defendant is not subject to "particular effect" jurisdiction, or venue, as set forth in CPL art 20, in New York County.


ITC Ltd. v. Punchgini, Inc.,, No. 165
Addressing questions certified by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit regarding common law claims for unfair competition, the Court of Appeals holds that New York recognizes common law unfair competition claims, but not the "famous" or "well-known" marks doctrine.


Fung v. Japan Airlines Co., Ltd., No. 172
In consolidated negligence action brought by employee of defendant Port Authority for injuries suffered in slip on fall on a patch of ice in parking lot subleased to Port Authority by other defendant, Workers' Compensation Law sections 11 and 29[6] do not bar plaintiffs' action against other defendant that claimed to be putative managing agent for the Port Authority, and this entitled defendant to the exclusive remedy defense. Plaintiffs' claim against defendant snow removal company fails as it owed no duty of care to the injured plaintiff.


People v. Danielson, No. 170, 171
In two separate cases where defendants were convicted of depraved indifference murder, appellate division's affirmance of conviction in first case is affirmed where the majority conducted a weight of the evidence review that included considering the credible evidence, conflicting testimony and inferences that could be drawn from the evidence. Appellate division's affirmance of conviction in second case is reversed where the court limited its weight of the evidence review to credibility issues and failed to weigh the conflicting testimony and conflicting inferences in light of the elements as= charged at trial.


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Litilaw Legal Research & Litigation Related Articles

Litigation Articles & Legal Research Collection

This is's free collection of over 500 recently published articles of interest to litigators and related legal professionals. All articles are full-text, written by lawyers and have been published as part of continuing legal education (CLE) seminars, in legal journals, or are of similar quality. Litilaw links to copies of articles available on the internet, or hosted by them at the author's request.

| No Comments Litigation support services, case management, legal document scanning, e-Discovery, OCR and conversion is a web-based case analysis and document management application. Case analysis features include fact and issue analysis, case calendaring, tracking of contact and case participants, deposition analysis, case research and dynamic timeline generation.

Document management features include full-text search, automatic OCR, document sorting and retrieval, native file upload, document coding, document encryption and off-line access. is available on a monthly basis with no set-up or cancellation fees.


For more info.

Your Very Own Personal Assistant

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Your Very Own Personal Assistant (TICL)

Matt Lerner has sent along the following from his post at the TICL Blog:

How many times during the day do you forget a little task? Do you ignore your Outlook reminder box, even though you diligently put things on your calendar?

I've found a solution: Sandy the personal assistant ("I Want Sandy"). This free, web-based e-mail assistant send emails to your Inbox and also to your cell phone (if you choose to do so) pursuant to your requests. Sandy also starts your day with an overview of the tasks on your calendar. The emails also have attachments that allow you to import them into your Outlook calendar.

Sandy also interacts with Jott, a free service that allows you to dictate short messages to yourself and have them emailed to your Inbox.

For some reason, my Outlook reminder box goes unnoticed. The emails from Sandy and Jott do not and help me to remember all the small things during my day.

Both services are extremely easy to setup and use (approximately 10 minutes a piece).

Thanks, Matt!! - Sentencing Commission Votes to Allow Retroactive Easing of Crack Cocaine Sentences

Mark Sherman
The Associated Press (Read entire article)
December 12, 2007

The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to allow some 19,500 federal prison inmates, most of them black, to seek reductions in their crack cocaine sentences.

The commission, which sets guidelines for federal prison sentences, decided to make retroactive its recent easing of recommended sentences for crack offenses.

Most of those eligible could receive no more than a two-year cut in their prison terms, but roughly 3,800 inmates could be released from prison within a year after the March 3 effective date of Tuesday's decision. Federal judges will have the final say whether to reduce sentences.
U.S. District Judge William Sessions of Vermont, a commission member, said the vote on retroactivity will have the "most dramatic impact on African-American families." A failure to act "may be taken by some as particularly unjust," Sessions said before the vote.

Four of every five crack defendants is black. Most powder cocaine convictions involve whites.

Tuesday's vote follows two Supreme Court rulings Monday that upheld judges who rejected federal sentencing guidelines as too harsh and imposed more lenient prison terms, including one for crack offenses.

Kimbrough v. United States

Gall v. United States

NYSBA Ethics Opinion 817

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The Committee on Professional Ethics of the New York State Bar Association on November 2, 2007, issued Opinion 817. According to the "Digest" of the Opinion, the Committee has taken the position that "participation in [a] residential real estate transaction that includes a 'seller's concession' and [a] 'grossed up' sale price is prohibited unless the transaction is entirely lawful, the gross-up is disclosed in the transaction documents and no parties are misled to their detriment".

Read Opinion 817.


Thanks to Mike Berry at the Real Property Section Blog, which is well worth your attention.

Photo Organizer

start [Photo Organizer] At its most basic level, Photo Organizer is (yet another) a multiuser web-based photo gallery engine. It differentiates itself by focusing on asset management, aiming at the needs of professional photographers rather than the more typical “I need to share some images on the web and blog about it” crowd. It does not make the assumption that just because you have an image, you want to share it with someone. It combines “we'd like to show people some photos” with “we have a lot of photos we just store and annotate.” To that end, Photo Organizer is highly scalable, capable of handling tens of thousands of images with ease. Coupled with robust importing, exporting, searching, tagging, and printing capabilities, it is intended to act as a photographer's primary image repository. Photo Organizer is Free Software licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL)


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CCleaner - Home

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. But the best part is that it's fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware!


Click here.

Project Sunlight-NY

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Project Sunlight

Currently, Project Sunlight allows you to search data related to a Elected Official, campaign finance, legislation, lobbying activity, registered corporations, recipients of state government contracts, corporations and charities. The website also offers educational videos on relevant laws, an educational glossary, and basic information on how state government works. In order to access these materials, go to the “information” option on the homepage. You can do so by clicking here or go directly to available educational videos by clicking here.

Constitution Crisis in Pakistan - America's Lawyers Respond to Crisis

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Constitution Crisis in Pakistan - America's Lawyers Respond to Crisis

A Message to Pakistan From America's Lawyers

We, the lawyers of America, stand shoulder to shoulder with the brave lawyers and citizens of Pakistan as you strive to preserve the rule of law in your nation.

An independent legal system and a just constitution are cornerstones of all lawful societies. The arrests of Pakistan's Supreme Court justices, and of thousands of lawyers, judges and civil leaders, are a profound breach of the rule of law.

The American Bar Association calls on President Pervez Musharraf to:

Restore the Constitution of Pakistan;
Reinstate Pakistan's Supreme Court justices; and,
Free those lawyers and civil leaders who have been wrongly jailed.

The courageous men and women of Pakistan, led by their legal community, remind citizens of all nations that justice and the rule of law are both precious and fragile.

The suspension of Pakistan's institutions of justice is a threat to the rule of law in all nations. We, the lawyers of America, stand with you.

Sign Petition


Ordinarily, I would not post such an appeal on an apolitical bar association blog; but this petition by the ABA deals directly with the reinstatement of the rule of law and the restoration of lawyers, judges, and courts to their positions. Our state bar President and others have been supportive (in official capacities) of the lawyers who have been jailed for fulfilling their obligations to the rule of law.


TaxProf Blog: Teaching Fellowships for Aspiring Law Professors

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TaxProf Blog: Teaching Fellowships for Aspiring Law Professors

Teaching Fellowships for Aspiring Law Professors

For practitioners and others contemplating joining the law professor ranks, many law schools offer wonderful opportunities to transition into the legal academy with one- or two-year fellowships which allow you to enter the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference (the "meat market") armed with teaching experience and published scholarship under your belt:


Click here for the entire list.


Thanks to Carolyn Elefant of My Shingle.

United States Attorneys' Manual

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United States Attorneys' Manual

There are literally hundreds of forms and memoranda available here. - N.Y. State Brief Defends Restrictions on Attorney Advertisements

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N.Y. State Brief Defends Restrictions on Attorney Advertisements
Argues commercial speech can be limited
Joel Stashenko
New York Law Journal
December 4, 2007

A Northern District of New York federal judge failed to recognize the limits the U.S. Supreme Court has placed on commercial free speech when he ruled that most of New York state's new restrictions on attorney advertisements are unconstitutional, the state is arguing on appeal.

Promotional activities that the guidelines seek to prohibit are not protected by the First Amendment and U.S. Judge Frederick J. Scullin "erred" when he found them unconstitutional, the attorney general's office contends in its brief to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ad restrictions were challenged by a Syracuse, N.Y., lawyer, his firm Alexander & Catalano, and a public advocacy group. The 2nd Circuit has tentatively scheduled oral arguments for March to hear an appeal of Scullin's determination.

The ad guidelines imposed starting Feb. 1, 2007, seek to bar flamboyant promotional techniques such as lawyers referring to themselves as "heavy hitters" or other monikers that suggest an ability to deliver special results. Other prohibitions struck down by Scullin barred active clients from giving testimonials, portrayals of judges and the use of Internet pop-up ads on Web sites other than the firm's own site.

The brief before the 2nd Circuit defending the ad guidelines, written by Assistant Solicitor General Owen Demuth, also asks that a permanent injunction issued by Scullin in July prohibiting enforcement of the allegedly constitutionally infirm sections be lifted.


Read entire article


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For each day of the MacSanta promotion, starting
01-Dec-07 and running through 24-Dec-07, five different developers
will offer a 20 percent discount off their normal pricing during
that 24-hour period (Pacific Standard Time).

After the day on which they're featured on the MacSanta home page,
all products will be offered at a 10-percent discount, through
31-Dec-07. The site has an RSS feed to which you can subscribe in
order to receive updates as they appear.


From Tidbits..subscribe to this free Mac newsletter.

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