‘All jokes aside, when and why does a person “Take the fifth”?’

The Martindale dot com Legal Library is a source of many types of legal documents, including articles like this one:

“Taking the Fifth – A quick reference,” by Charles M. Farano, attorney.

Excerpt: “All jokes aside, when and why does a person ‘Take the fifth’?

We make jokes about it at parties and with our friends when we are confronted with uncomfortable situations, comments or questions, but it can be a serious consideration when you find yourself on the edge of a criminal investigation. Under what circumstances should a person actually consult a lawyer regarding something we joke about despite its importance?

Basic Right Stated

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution says that no person can be compelled in a criminal proceeding to testify against him or herself. This right can be asserted in any proceeding, civil or criminal, administrative or judicial, investigatory or adjudicatory, and it protects against any disclosures that a person reasonably believes could be used in a criminal prosecution or that could lead to evidence that might be used in or might lead to the filing of an indictment . The United States Supreme Court has been zealous to safeguard the values of that underlying the privilege. It can be asserted in any proceeding in which the witness reasonably believes that information or testimony sought, could be used in a subsequent state or federal criminal proceeding….” [Link to full Martindale dot com article.]

Model Legal Templates: NVCA Model Venture Capital Financing Documents

Jim Calloway (Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program) poses (and channels) the question:

“What if the clients decided to provide the templates for their legal work?”

Link to the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) for more, e.g.:

‘A “template” set of model legal documents for venture capital investments put together by a group of leading venture capital attorneys. The model venture capital financing documents consist of:

  • Term Sheet
  • Stock Purchase Agreement
  • Certificate Of Incorporation
  • Investor Rights Agreement
  • Voting Agreement
  • Right of First Refusal and Co-Sale Agreement
  • Management Rights Letter
  • Indemnification Agreement
  • Model Legal Opinion...” [from NVCA Model Legal Templates]

High Legal Research Cool Factor: wellsettled dot com

Hat tip to Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites blog post: WellSettled.com Mines Cases for Established Principles,” which introduces us to wellsettled dot com: “It is well settled…

I bet you can’t search just one (word or phrase), but this “one” is a non-hedonic hyperphagia compulsion, so enjoy.

“Only 15 percent of the unique volumes in U.S. law libraries have been digitized …”

Rent a Law Book? Want to get App App Appy?

Read: “Legal Research Revolutionized,” by Dan Giancaterino, in GP Solo, Vol. 31 No. 3:

“…. Law libraries will survive, and even thrive, in the future. An article in the May 2013 issue of ABA Journal estimated that only 15 percent of the unique volumes in U.S. law libraries have been digitized….

Legal Books as Apps

We’ve all seen the typical legal advertisement on the Internet, on TV, or even on the covers of telephone books (remember them?): an image of an attorney sitting in front of a wall of legal books. It impresses potential clients. And it implies that the attorney is continually consulting the accumulated wisdom of legal scholars throughout the ages.

But the truth is you need most legal sources for only a few days or weeks. The rest of the time they just sit on your shelf looking impressive but presenting you with challenges:

They’re expensive.
They take up office space, which is a fixed cost you need to minimize as much as possible.
They need upkeep. You must file updated pages or pocket parts or you risk committing legal malpractice by relying on outdated materials….”  [Link to full article.]

(The 15% article: “Are digitization and budget cuts compromising history?”  Hollee Schwartz Temple, ABA Journal, May 1, 2013.)

How to Find State Law Comparisons, Surveys, and Compilations

This is a quick and dirty guide to free and not-free (usually subscription) databases for this kind of research; it is not a comprehensive list. (And novice researchers should be reminded that the same statutory language is not always used across states to accomplish the same purpose.)

FREE:

NOT FREE, but priceless if you require thorough and fast research results:

  • The best and most comprehensive collection is Nyberg / Boast: “Subject Compilations of State Laws.” This collection is available in print (at some law libraries) and is now available online (HeinOnline), though not generally to mere mortals unless they have database privileges at a large law library or large law firm that subscribes. (But your local public librarian may be able to ask another librarian to run a search on a specific topic.)
  • There was also a book, not recently updated, but still useful, and maybe at your local libraries: “National Survey of State Laws,” by Richard Leiter (not updated regularly).

Death by Failure to Research: Could You Pass a Legal Research Competency Test?

David Lankes tells a familiar “Death by Failure to Research” story in his free eBook, “Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries for Today’s Complex World:

…. In 2001 Ellen Roche, a 24-year-old lab technician, entered into a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins University’s Asthma and Allergy Center. The trial was investigating how the lungs responded to chemical irritants. Researchers had Roche inhale hexamethonium. Roche was the third volunteer to do so in the study. The first volunteer had developed a slight cough that lasted a week. The second volunteer had shown no adverse reactions. Roche developed a slight cough that got worse and worse. Five days after inhaling the chemical, Roche was admitted to intensive care. Less than a month later, she was dead. What makes this story all the more tragic is that Roche’s death could have been avoided. As part of the funded clinical trial, the researcher did a literature search. He searched a database that indexed studies from 1960 to the present day. He found nothing on hexamethonium. However, had he not restricted himself to the Internet-accessible version of the database he would have found studies from the 1950’s linking hexamethonium to significant lung problems. Because of Roche’s death, all drug studies at Hopkins must now include a consultation with a librarian and pharmacist….” [Lankes, p. 80 [PDF p. 87] Link to free online versions of David Lankes’ latest book: “Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries for Today’s Complex World.”  The digital version of this book is free to download and distribute. It is in PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and iBook formats.]

Read more about “Principles and Standards for Legal Research Competency.”

 

Which Tech Companies Protect Your Online Data from Government Requests?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Report:

“Who Has Your Back? 2014: Protecting Your Data From Government Requests “

Download the PDF and read the full  “Executive Summary

We entrust our most sensitive, private, and important information to technology companies like Google, Facebook, and Verizon. Collectively, these companies are privy to the conversations, photos, social connections, and location data of almost everyone online. The choices these companies make affect the privacy of every one of their users. So which companies stand with their users, embracing transparency around government data requests? Which companies have resisted improper government demands by fighting for user privacy in the courts and on Capitol Hill? In short, which companies have your back? ….” [Link to full report.]

Hat tip to our Oregon PLF law practice management attorneys.