Articles Posted in Legal Subject Area Guides

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Six hours is barely enough time to teach Legislative History 101, but you can still join in the (admittedly wonkish) fun on October 23rd, 2015:

Oregon Legislative History: Research and Time Management Tips from the Experts”

Legislators, lawyers, law students, paralegals, librarians and other legal researchers are welcome to attend or purchase the course materials.

(Researchers who live or visit Salem should also visit State Archives and the State Capitol for some hands-on research experience. We couldn’t include those tours in this CLE, but you can have your own educational tour at your own pace on another day.)

Oregon Legislative History CLE
October 23, 2015
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Ambridge Event Center
1333 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97232
6.75 General or Practical Skills MCLE Credits

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The Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) offers these, and other, courses for library employees:

Going to Jail: How Juvenile Books Portray the Prison Experience:

“This five week course will explore portrayals of the incarceration experience in juvenile and young adult literature. Participants will be assigned to read several books written for young people that include scenes in prison or juvenile detention facilities….

An Introduction to Correctional Librarianship:

An Introduction to Correctional Librarianship” is an interactive six week course designed for those interested in pursuing prison/jail librarianship, correctional personnel tasked with assisting or running a prison library or community librarians interested in collaborating with their local institution….”

ASCLA uses Moodle for online educational programs.

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The Media Release, “Oregon Courts Make It Easier to Complete Documents in Domestic Violence Restraining Order Cases,” can be found from OJD Media Releases, What’s New (for 1/15/15).

If you have trouble reaching the actual online FAPA service from the URL in the Media Release, it’s not you (there’s a rogue www in the URL), so go to the OJD Restraining Orders – Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) webpage and look for the “Use Online Question-and-Answer Interview based eForms” link.

It doesn’t say so clearly, but you will likely need to create an account so be prepared to create a user-name and password. This feature enables you to return to your form later to complete or correct it.

Also, note the important warning, clearly stated on the first page:

WARNING: Your Internet activity can be tracked. It is impossible to completely clear the “footprints” showing where each site visitor has been. If the person who is harming you has access to your computer, use a trusted friend’s computer or a computer at the library. If you need immediate assistance, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.”

Most Oregon public and county law libraries have computers you can use to complete your request for a court order.

Excerpt from the Media Release:

Preparing documents in Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining order cases will be simpler starting today. Electronic interview-based forms now available on all Oregon circuit court websites will make it easier for parties to fill out and file FAPA documents with the courts.

To be able to provide these types of forms has been a long-time goal of the Chief Justice, State Family Law Advisory Committee (SFLAC), judges, and administrators throughout the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD). The forms, which have been used in Multnomah County since September 2012, use a simple online interview process to make sure all statutorily-required information is provided. The user then prints the forms for court filing. The process makes it easier for petitioners and respondents in FAPA cases to complete the forms, and more efficient for the courts to adjudicate these cases because the form is complete and legible.

The forms are available through the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) website [bad link – see above]. There is no charge to people using this service.

Forms available in this program allow people to apply for, modify, dismiss, or challenge a FAPA restraining order. Approximately 10,000 FAPA cases are filed in Oregon courts each year….

Stay safe!

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Book Review: Levitt & Davis: “Internet Legal Research on a Budget: Free and Low-Cost Resources for Lawyers”

  • Would you like a clear description of 3 free online versions of the U.S. Code?
  • Would you like useful tutorials on Fastcase and Casemaker?
  • Would you like to know about free and low-cost legal websites, legal research apps, and case law databases? How about cite-checking, dockets, federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal law, foreign, international, and comparative law free and low-cost research resource tips?

You will find those and more in “Internet Legal Research on a Budget: Free and Low-Cost Resources for Lawyers,” by Carole A. Levitt and Judy K. Davis, ABA Law Practice Division, 2014.

It takes brave authors to write a book about online legal research. If badly executed, it will sink quietly to the bottom of the recycle bin. If done well, it will remain within close reach of the researcher. I keep this book nearby and I’ve already pressed it into the hands of other legal researchers.

What this book is not: This is not a book about how to search public records or to perform background checks or skip-tracing. (There are other books on those subjects: see, e.g. Note 1, below.)

What this book is and for whom:

New and experienced researchers will find tips and instructions that can save time, money, and frustration when using the free and low-cost online legal research resources described.

I reviewed the book through the lens of a public law librarian who teaches lawyers and other legal researchers on limited budgets how to research the law. I wanted a quick reference book for myself, to lend to a researcher looking at a new research site or tool, and for our motivated self-represented litigants who need free or low-cost legal research tools.

This book will be useful to lawyers, law library employees, paralegals, judicial assistants, public librarians, and self-represented litigants. It will also be a useful legal research text for students of all stripes, paralegal, library school, and law school.

It can be read from cover to cover, but it is well organized, with a useful table of contents and a good index, so the specific guidance you seek can be found without wasting time.

It includes chapters on researching legal forms, court rules, cases, dockets, citators, and much more, all with excellent advice (and caveats) regarding the strengths and limits of the reviewed resources.

The research and website evaluation tips will be familiar to law librarians and will improve the research skills of those we serve – or at least reinforce the lessons we try to teach the researchers in our midst:

  • Read the whole screen.
  • Understand the database’s (or website’s) strengths and limits.
  • Make no assumptions about database searching protocols. (They change faster than the latest secret to a long life nutrition fad: Quinoa! Kale! Pomegranate! Bacon?)

This book presents those lessons painlessly and gives readers a roadmap for exploring and evaluating all online legal research resources.

Standouts: Tips are practical and the book is highly readable with appropriate warnings about data quality and database reliability. One, among other, standout examples is the section comparing 3 U.S.C. websites (pp. 163-177).

You will want to mark up this book. That is a good thing. It is not good when after reading a legal research guide all you have to show for the effort are a couple of sticky notes that could just as well fall out, with no regret or loss.

I added lots of sticky notes for tips to try out myself and recommend to co-workers. I featured this book in a recent legal research class, where I will recommend this book among my other favorite legal research guides.

The book was well organized. I would like to have been a fly on the wall when the authors and editors met to decide which legal research resources to include in the book and how to organize them – and which ones to leave out (the toughest cuts of all). Not all of the taxonomy, legal research, and UX knowledge in the world could have made that task easy.

Index: The index is very good – and I’m not unappreciative of the fact that there is an index at all, a rare value-added feature nowadays. I did wish there was a Legislative History index term; it is a subject frequently researched. Also, you need to look under both Briefs and Legal Briefs to find all the Briefs index entries, and … no, I quibble. I was able to find just about everything I needed in the index.

Wish list: I wished for more coverage of state and local resources, however, the selection of high quality, publicly accessible state and local online legal research resources varies widely from one jurisdiction to another, so the authors didn’t leave out anything over which they had any control. Many of the state and local research resources we need just don’t exist in digital format – and state legislative history documents often top that list.

Bottom line: This book is Highly Recommended, for law libraries, public libraries, legal research instructors, paralegals, and lawyers.


1) “The Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet: Conducting Effective Investigative & Legal Research on the Internet,” by Carole Levitt, J.D., M.L.S. & Mark E. Rosch, is in its 12th edition as of today.

2) You can purchase today’s reviewed book, Levitt & Davis: “Internet Legal Research on a Budget: Free and Low-Cost Resources for Lawyers” from:

Internet for Lawyers (Net for Lawyers)
Also: Internet Legal Research on a Budget
ABA Bookstore


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For the record, Measure 91 does not mention the word “recreation(al)” and its official “this Act shall be known as” statement says: “Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act.”

Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP), at the Public Health Authority website.

2014 Measure 91: Recreational Marijuana, at the Oregon OLCC website.

For Oregon city and county marijuana ordinances and discussions, visit the Association of Oregon Counties and the League of Oregon Cities.

Keep an eye on the Oregon Legislature for updates and amendments.

Is it only a matter of time before you can buy marijuana through Amazon?

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From ABA Journal: UK lawyer creates online prenup for pets,” Jan 1, 2015, by L.J. Jackson:

While many people treat pets like family members, courts take a different view. Pets are considered personal property, meaning Fido has the same status as a household appliance. So when a relationship sours, custody disputes involving pets can turn particularly contentious.

…. In an effort to avoid just this sort of problem, one U.K. family law attorney has created a prenuptial agreement for pet purchases. Pet Nup is a free download that covers ownership, responsibilities and rights in the event of a relationship breakdown, with the goal of keeping pet welfare at its heart….” [Link to ABA article.]

Link to the (UK law!) online forms and the Quick Guide to the Blue Cross UK Pet Nup.

Find other Pet Nup articles by searching the phrase pet nup in your favorite search engine.

Disclaimer: This is a document for use in the United Kingdom! Please ask a lawyer in your state for a lawful Pet Nup agreement.

Disclaimer: It is against state law for library staff members to engage in any conduct that might constitute the unauthorized practice of law (ORS 9.160, 9.166 and 9.21). They may not interpret statutes, cases or regulations, perform legal research, recommend or assist in the preparation of forms, or advise patrons regarding their legal rights. They may, however, assist patrons in locating materials or links that would aid in individual research.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for research purposes only. We do not provide legal advice, nor do we endorse any person, product, or company.

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IRS publication 5187, also available at the IRS ACA website, may help you learn how the Affordable Care Act affects your taxes.

IRS Publication 5187, Health Care Law: What’s New for Individuals and Families: While the health care law has several parts, this publication breaks down what’s new for the 2014 federal tax return you will be filing in 2015.

“This new publication provides important information for taxpayers who:

a. Had health insurance coverage for the entire year
b. Did not have health coverage for each month of the year
c. Purchased health insurance from the Marketplace
d. Might be eligible for an exemption from the coverage requirement
e. Had advance payments of the premium tax credit sent to their insurance provider
f. Is claiming the premium tax credit on their tax return. The publication includes a glossary that will help you understand new terms related to ACA. It also addresses the new lines for reporting ACA information on Forms 1040, 1040-A and 1040-EZ. Most people have qualifying health coverage, and all they will need to do is simply check a box on their tax return.

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Visit the IRS Affordable Care Act website for  publications and other information about the Affordable Care Act tax provisions.

IRS Publication 5187 provides information for taxpayers who:

a. Had health insurance coverage for the entire year
b. Did not have health coverage for each month of the year
c. Purchased health insurance from the Marketplace
d. Might be eligible for an exemption from the coverage requirement
e. Had advance payments of the premium tax credit sent to their insurance provider
f. Is claiming the premium tax credit on their tax return.

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“Indigenous Rights of Hiddenfolk and Native People,” by Kris Olson, OSB Bulletin, December 2014.

‘…. Upon arriving at the law department at the University of Iceland, I inquired about information regarding environmental/elf cases. “Which ones?” the law librarian responded. “There are so many!” The most current controversy involves a case in which the Supreme Court of Iceland has issued a stay. The news was picked up in the United States by the Associated Press and the major television networks in December 2013 as a Christmas human interest story with headlines such as “Iceland’s Hidden Elves Delay Road Projects” and “In Iceland, Elves Have a Strong Lobby.” ….

Andri Snaer Magnason, commented: “Some feel that the elf thing is a bit annoying,” adding that personally he was not sure they existed. “However,” he added, “I got married in a church with a god just as invisible as the elves, so what might seem irrational is actually quite common with Icelanders.“….’ [Link to full article.]

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Art major Michael Lewis, as trustworthy as Diogenes (but with a better sense of humor), hits another home run (don’t forget Moneyball) with “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt”

It is of the “financial thriller” genre, and no less riveting than Harry Markopolos’s “No one would listen” (about Bernie Madoff and, also, the [insert your own appropriate adjective here] SEC).

Note: HFT = High Frequency Trader

Note 2: See reference to “... riskless, larcenous, and legal” in Flash Boys, chapter 4, “Tracking the Predator,” on pg. 124 of the first hardcover edition, 2014.