From Radio Shack to the U.S. Supreme Court

This Wednesday, November 29, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in a case that, as an article in the Nov. 27, 2017, New York Times describes it, “could spur a new era in digital privacy.”

While the case, Carpenter v. United States, had its origins in a “run-of-the-mill purse snatching,” according to the Washington Post, it has morphed into “the most important Fourth Amendment case we’ve seen in a generation.” Thus asserts Nathan Freed Wessler in a USA Today article. Mr. Wessler is the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who will argue the case on Wednesday.

According to the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on September 28, 2016, the Question Presented is: “Whether the warrantless seizure and search of historical cell phone records revealing the location and movements of a cell phone user over the course of 127 days is permitted by the Fourth Amendment.”

In addition, the case involves the Stored Communications Act, 18 USC §§ 2701 to 2711.

If you would like to place this landmark case in context, Chicago-Kent’s Law Library has resources that may be of interest to you. Some examples are the following:

Cybersecurity Law by Jeff Kosseff. An ebook published in 2017, it discusses the Stored Communications Act on the following pages:

  • Section 2701 278–279
  • Section 2702 279–284
  • Section 2703 284–286
  • full text 461–476

Privacy Law in a Nutshell. Published in 2014, it is located on the 10th floor of the law library.

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Legal Skills Workshop: Effective Listening

Last week Professor Robbins, head of our Praxis Certificate program, hosted a workshop with Jenny Johnson Ware on the value of learning to listen effectively and the long-term career value in developing on this skill, especially for young attorneys.

Listening matters well beyond the legal profession, of course – you may find some of these tips helpful with approaching big family holiday dinners too! The workshop also included an excellent handout of resources on listening for lawyers, which I have incorporated into the links throughout this post.

Professor Jennifer Robbins and Jenny Johnson Ware

Quick Reads:

Workshop Content

Professor Robbins and  Ms. Johnson Ware organized the workshop around a “toolkit” of effective listening skills with the following acronym: Continue reading

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A Toast to George Boole

George Boole. From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

Today, November 2, 2017, marks the 202nd birthday of British mathematician George Boole. While you may not have heard this name before, advanced searching in legal research databases arguably owes its origins to Professor Boole. Search techniques that involve AND, OR, and NOT, relationships among keywords known as “Boolean Terms & Connectors,” are premised on Boolean logic.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “Boolean” as: “of, relating to, or being a logical combinatorial system (such as Boolean algebra) that represents symbolically relationships (such as those implied by the logical operators AND, OR, and NOT) between entities (such as sets, propositions, or on-off computer circuit elements).”

In Westlaw, for example, the “Advanced Search” “Connectors and Expanders” bear the traces of the British logician’s legacy: Continue reading

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Free Money? A comprehensive list of student legal writing competitions

icon of person holding reading materialWith prizes as high as $25,000, there is good money in student legal writing competitions (not to mention great experience).  Suffolk has compiled a list of current competitions by topic and due date. Are you interested in writing about tax law?  Check out the 2018 Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition, which offers a $2,000 prize for first place and $1,000 for second.  Or maybe you’d like to write about companion animal law in a competition sponsored by the American Kennel Club?  You could win $2,500.  Other topics include administrative law, education law, gaming law, women’s rights, and many more. You are sure to find at least one competition that looks fun and challenging.

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Wall Street Journal – IIT accounts

Last week we shared how you could use your kentlaw email to sign up for the New York Times and customize the email alerts and newsletters you receive.

You can also sign up for the Wall Street Journal, though it will take an extra step or two, since these educational subscriptions* are through our IIT main campus library.

The WSJ subscription doesn’t provide as many general email news alerts as the NYTimes, but you can select from a variety of newsletters on specific topics or customize tracking alerts for stocks and more.
Continue reading

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New York Times Customized Subscriptions

Lobby Sign at the New York Times by Amit GuptaDid you know you have access to a free subscription of the New York Times at Chicago-Kent? Did you know you can customize what news you get via email?

In an era of information overload, personalized news alerts and email newsletters can be very helpful. Get relevant, accurate updates on your terms!

Personal Account

First, if you haven’t already set up your personal subscription, you’ll need to do so as we’ve posted on this blog before.

Important Reminder: this subscription link only works ON CAMPUS with your kentlaw email (that’s how they verify your connection to the school). Continue reading

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Happening Now: Banned Books Week

I am Jazz book coverEvery year at the end of September, the American Library Association hosts Banned Books Week.  This week celebrates fights to preserve books which have been censored or removed from libraries – books like Fun Home or The Kite Runner.  Check out the American Library Association for more information.  You can even be a Rebel Reader on Twitter.  Post banned-books related selfies, videos, or other Tweets with the #RebelReader hashtag and you might win prizes from the ALA.

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Phones for the Fall – the new smartphones for 2017

Once a staple of early summer, new smartphone releases are now an annual fall tradition. This fall has already seen two major phone announcements with one more scheduled for early October.

iPhone 8 and 8 plusiOS- iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X

On September 12, Apple announced three new smartphones.  Two are available for ordering now – the iPhone 8 and the larger iPhone 8 plus.  New features include:

  • Wireless charging
  • Sharper display
  • Advanced camera
  • Faster processor

For those who can wait until November, there is the technologically advanced – but much more expensive – iPhone X (ten – no idea where 9 went).  In addition to the improvements seen in the iPhone 8, its features include an edge to edge screen as well as facial recognition for security (cue Android users: we’ve had these for years!).  The new iPhone also will feature advanced virtual reality apps and customizable animated emojis.  

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Introducing Mandy Lee

Mandy LeeThis week a new class of students is beginning their education at Chicago-Kent. Our newest research librarian, Mandy Lee, arrived on August 21st  along with you, and looks forward to getting to know you.

Mandy came to Chicago-Kent from the University of Nebraska College of Law. She also served as a reference assistant at the University of Illinois College of Law Library, and as a teaching assistant for faculty in the UIUC graduate library/information science program.

Mandy has experience as an extern at the Circuit Court of Cook County, a law clerk at the Chicago Housing Authority, and an intern at UNESCO in Bangkok. She was a volunteer in Chicago at the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic and the Illinois Human Rights Commission. As if that weren’t enough, Mandy has been a real estate broker associate at Baird & Warner.

What were you doing before you came to Chicago-Kent?

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End of Summer Reading – Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy

Just Mercy coverThe summer’s almost over – time to read one last book on the beach.  If you’re looking for inspirational reading about the great power of the legal system, check out Bryan Stevenson’s memoir, Just Mercy.  Stevenson is a death-row attorney whose stories about working with inmates are fascinating and inspiring.

Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama.  In addition to working on death penalty cases, the EJI promotes racial justice, fights mass incarceration, and helps children in prison.

AALL Keynote – Social Recap

Stevenson was the keynote speaker at this year’s American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting. Librarians at this national conference were excited to read his book and share quotes from his keynote address on twitter: Continue reading

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