Articles Posted in Legal Self-help Community

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There is no shortage of news about SRL (self-represented litigant) service resources, here in Oregon and beyond. Two recent stories and a list of SRL service provider resources:

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Oregon Access to Justice Forum, September 2016:

The Multnomah Bar Association (MBA) has this event on its calendar and you can link to more information and registration from the Oregon Campaign for Equal Justice website and this event’s Registration site.

Access to Justice Forum/Advisory Committee Meeting

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Massachusetts has Guidelines on the Public Rights of Access to Judicial Proceedings and Records.

This seems to be a relevant post for us here at the Oregon Legal Research Blog given the most recent statewide and local Oregon difficulties (to put it mildly) public officials are having with the true meaning and spirit of our Public Records Laws.  (And remember the 2006 Multnomah County Auditor’s report on eliminating barriers to access to public records? There are many more of those, er, aspirational public records proclamations, where that came from, local and statewide. Sigh.) (By the way, Auditor or “accountability” reports at many levels of government are a great research resource.)

These particular Massachusetts’ guidelines start off with this statement of their:

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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.]