Tis the season to read briefs – and to eat Turducken?
A couple of years ago (long before I began Blorking) as we were gearing up to digitize the state’s appellate court briefs I wrote an article for our county bar association newsletter and in it I compared briefs to Turducken (no, I don’t imagine it really does need to be capitalized). Here is a fragment of that article:
“According to Laura Orr, the Washington County Law Librarian, appellate court briefs are the overlooked middle children of the legal research process. Quiet and unassuming, they sit there watchfully or more often obliviously, happy to be left alone. Many law librarians, and a few lawyers, know about the treasures within briefs. One can find sample pleadings, tables of cases, factual details that surpass and legal arguments that outnumber those found in their corresponding judicial opinions. To Laura, briefs are the Turducken of the legal world. (“For those who never heard of Turducken, it is a chicken, within a duck, within a turkey holiday main dish. I have heard some people then put the Turducken inside a pig. It may have a vegan counterpart, though I doubt it is quite as alarming as the carnivore’s version. I could be mistaken though.”)
(Note: If you are wondering about those digitized Oregon appellate court briefs: we did set up a great system, even with my small staff (2.5) and limited budget, but there wasn’t much interest so I’ve given up, though we still have about 7,000 briefs in the database. It was a nice little project though, efficient, cost-effective, and it is a joy to send a brief to an attorney in about 3 minutes – it used to take much more than that – hours sometimes if it was on microfilm. My incredibly supportive local bar association law library board and my county’s IT staff were champs all the way. But no more – very sad. The State Law Library is going to step into the breach, but we don’t know when.
(Note 2: Microfilm is the only way to go for archival purposes, but digital is the only way to go for easy access to the documents.)