Articles Posted in Legal Self-help Community

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First: Librarians, please do not make legal decisions, copyright or otherwise, for your employer (or your own business for that matter) if there is possible litigation down the road. Do not be penny wise and pound foolish. Your library employer has, or should have, a lawyer who is paid for making these decisions that will keep you and the institution from getting sued. Keep in mind that it is not just a matter of right or wrong, lawful or unlawful, win or lose. It takes time and money to defend yourself in a lawsuit, frivolous or not. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time and money on services for your library’s patrons?

Now, on to those Copyright Tools for Librarians, from the February 2016 Legal Research Plus blog post, and their link to the ALA Copyright Tools website.

Hat tip to Legal Research Plus for this and many other research tips (and for their Law Library blog).

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Home Free: How a New York State prisoner became a jailhouse lawyer, and changed the system,” by Jennifer Gonnerman, in: New Yorker, A Reporter at Large, June 20, 2016 issue.
Derrick Hamilton was wrongfully convicted of murder, and spent more than two decades trying to prove his innocence…. He started spending time in the library, and eventually taught himself enough criminal law to become one of the most skilled jailhouse lawyers in the country….” [Link to New Yorker article.]

Hat tip to Longform.

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“Thus sayeth the Librarian, over at Legal Research is Easy (where you can enjoy some of the best public law librarianship story (and truth) telling in the blogging business 🙂

Every public law librarian will recognize that sad tale told by, no, not an idiot, but quite the opposite: a Professional Law Librarian!

Lesson: Unless you’re willing to do ALL the research the law requires, ALL ALL ALL of it, don’t come crying to us (even from the grave). We don’t like to say “I told you so,” but gosh darn-it I will say it if you ignore me when I recommend, strongly, with or without a sigh, that you talk to a lawyer.

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Laugh and cheer in this excellent article about the Oregon women who took over, and cleaned up, the city of Umatilla, Oregon, in 1916:

“The Petticoat Rebellion of 1916,” by Jennifer Colton-Jones.

Excerpts: “…. By the time the polls closed that evening, the women of Umatilla had pulled off a strange sort of conspiracy unlike anything the country had ever seen….

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LawSites continues to be at the top of my list for Keeping Up With Interesting Legal Tech News. There are so many reasons so many of us link back to it. (There are other sites that will keep you abreast of the latest SCOTUS, Law and …, legal scholarship,and legal research news.)

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“State Legal Information Census: An Analysis of Primary State Legal Information,” by Sarah Glassmeyer, Published on February 21, 2016.

Sarah Glassmeyer, is a Research Fellow with the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Excerpt: “.… Findings indicate that there exist at least 14 barriers to accessing legal information. These barriers exist for both the individual user of a resource for personal research as well as an institutional user that would seek to republish or transform the information. Details about the types of barriers and the quantity of their existence can be found under “Barriers to Access.” At the time of the census, no state provided barrier-free access to their legal information….” [Link to full LLRX article.]

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Maybe you saw the recent New York Times Magazine Tip: “How to Make a Citizen’s Arrest,” by Malia Wollan, May 6, 2016. (Also in their “Crime and Criminals” library.)

Maybe you wondered about Oregon’s laws on citizen’s arrests?

Maybe you also wondered if Portland, Oregon, means business with its Vision Zero plan (zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries)?

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When you need legal research advice, turn to the legal research experts, professional law librarians, most of whom are able to share their expertise freely, or low-costly (so to speak), which is good value indeed when you need accurate, timely, and comprehensive information.

Great law librarians keep up with the vast world of legal research resources: dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of journals and websites and lawyer and law librarian listserves, networks, and professional associations (e.g. AALL). A Law Librarian’s Continuing Education also includes reading local, state, and national judicial, legislative, and regulatory news, and related news in the foreign and international legal world.

So, make sure the librarian you consult for legal research advice is Keeping Up With the Legal Research Joneses or, more to the point, Keeping Up With Opposing Counsel, whose access to legal research resources might be funded a whole lot better than yours:

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) (see also this view of the TPP, among others) would become FEDERAL law, not STATE law, so you should start your research with your Oregon Congressional Delegation. This is not to say you shouldn’t also talk to your Oregon state representatives, who should be conversant on the subject of the TPP anyway, if only because any national trade laws will affect you locally, your business, you as consumer, and all of us (most of us) as taxpayers.

A brief tutorial:

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Wikipedia entry.

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While there are many excellent legal self-help initiatives, there are few studies that evaluate those self-help programs after the fact, i.e. after the self-represented litigant has used the software or the court forms and system (e.g. in small claims court) to resolve a problem or right a wrong.

But the surveys that do exist can be helpful to others. See, for example, this report, which you can find at the SRLN Stories page – and here is the direct link:

Orange County, CA and the State of Texas Conduct User Experience Research and Learn that SRLs in Civil Cases Can E-File (News 2016)