The MULTNOMAH COUNTY HOME RULE CHARTER [Amendments Approved November 8, 2016], states:
“12.40. Appointment of Committee Members.
The charter review committee shall be composed as follows:
Your State of Oregon Law Library give you FREE access to NOLO publications and the FASTCASE legal research database:
NOLO (aka Nolo Press): “NOLO provides access to full-text legal reference publications written for consumers that allow individuals to learn about specific topics of law.”
FASTCASE: “Fastcase collection includes the United States Code, United States Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Cases; and cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, constitutions, attorney general opinions, and session laws for Oregon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington.”
If you think the U.S. Supreme Court posts official versions of their opinions on their website … hahaha … I have a virtual bridge and an inside WH or Congressional source to sell you for $1B dollars. (Tip: Beware of any source who charges too much or too little and read those disclaimers, e.g. click on “Latest Slip Opinions.“)
If you think that is the only problem with online Supreme Court opinions, guess again: what about their link rot? See e.g.:
NYT article, “In Supreme Court Opinions, Web Links to Nowhere,” by Adam Liptak, Sept. 23, 2013.
People like “free.’ People like getting free content from other people who paid for the content. Long live the free-loader, long live the person who spends $20 in time and gas looking for a free parking spot instead of paying $10 for a paid space! It’s the principle, isn’t it?
But sometimes getting “free” is about the journey and the satisfaction earned when putting one’s search skills to the test. Here’s one way to do both, from Aaron at Musings about Librarianship:
Research Tip: Additional official and unofficial digital archived webpages and other sources of presidential documents exist or will soon come into existence. Check the usual suspects: Presidential libraries, Library of Congress, National Archives, branch of government archives (e.g. Judiciary, Congress, Executive), the Internet Archive, HathiTrust, university libraries and archives, nonprofit legal and government information databases, fee-based legal and government information databases, and librarians everywhere.
The Legal Research is Easy blog post, Hone Those Research Skills, is California-based, but the lessons it teaches apply to law students in every state where public law libraries are supported. Be a good money manager, and get smart: seek out free and cheap legal research resources, human, print, and digital:
“A while back, I read an article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal (Bar proposes revised practical skills requirements) by Lyle Moran that caught my eye. Apparently, the California Bar Association wants to include 10 hours of “practical” legal instruction while law students are still in school. While the article did not say what specific skills the Bar want’s new attorneys to focus, might I offer a suggestion? Might I propose that in that 10 hour mix, law students spend at least three (3) hours at their local county law library to see what exactly their local county law library has to offer.
If nothing else, lawyers and judges care about what words mean:
SPORTS: What Exactly Is ‘Locker-Room Talk’? Let an Expert Explain,” by Bill Pennington, Oct.10, 2016, New York Times:
“….Having just left the locker room after his team’s victory over the Broncos in Denver on Sunday night, Tamme wrote: “I showered after our game but I feel like I need another one after watching the debate.” [Link to NYT article.]
If you don’t think it matters, i.e. free access to current and historical local law, then you aren’t paying attention.
We can also only hope that any copyright law overhaul will be rational; Congress is involved. But there are a few good people in Congress so make your voices heard.
Lawyers in large law firms usually have databases, couriers, professional law librarians and money to help them locate full-text copies of court documents quickly. What are mere mortals to do? There is actually quite a bit.
Mere mortals who want Oregon appellate court documents have their own “points of access” and it’s going to get better:
1) How to Find Oregon Appellate Court Briefs research guide, which will be updated shortly
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?