Better lawyering through creativity

Pelikan Fountain PenWho knew – creativity can help you be a better lawyer! A recent column from the Lawyerist blog describes several reasons lawyers should be creative. The article also features a few exercises for practicing creativity.

To be sure, strong legal writing can be heavily rule-bound. For the most part, you’ll need to adhere to established templates and forms. But when you need to make your work stand out — such as when writing a court brief or writing for marketing — consider using creative section headlines or even a few creative sentences for emphasis.

So break out your pens and let your inner artist run free — between deadlines, of course.

Pelikan Fountain Pen CC David Blackwell
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New Bluebook: a call for honest and accurate citation

The 20th edition of the Bluebook was just released about a month ago.  There are several excellent overviews on the differences between the 19th and 20th edition from the Pace Law Library Blog (which includes a link to a chart breaking down the changes), and the Brooklyn Law School Library Blog.  Please stay tuned for updates to the law library’s guide to the Bluebook, which will reflect all of the changes.

The exciting changes are, of course, in Rule 18: “The Internet, Electronic Media, and Other Nonprint Resources.”  The reality of legal research is that very nearly all legal research is done using a source cited using Rule 18.  Legal researchers and writers deserve a robust and comprehensive Rule 18 because citation is meant to support a scholarly conversation.  I believe scholars and students can only have that conversation if the citations tell the reader exactly what source the author relied on.  The new Bluebook tries to promote that scholarly conversation, but, ultimately, stops short.

First, the good things:  The Bluebook supports honest and accurate citations by recommending the use of an archived version of a URL.  Rule 18.2.1(d) encourages authors to archive Internet sources and append the archived URL.  Harvard, home of the legal archiving tool, is understandably thrilled.  Web archiving preserves the webpage that the author saw and allows the reader to see it as it was.  No more dead links!

Rule 18 also now gives far more guidance for how to cite new media things like tweets, podcasts, and blogs within a larger website.  This allows authors to add new media sources to the scholarly conversation.

However, the honesty and accuracy of citation breaks down in two places: electronic statutes and the rule on whether to append a URL.  The 20th edition still privileges the print edition of statutes.  The print is the first choice for what to cite, and citations to Westlaw, Lexis, or Bloomberg get an unwieldy parenthetical tacked on to the end (“(Westlaw through Pub. L. No. 113-93 (excluding Pub. L. No. 113-79))”).  Why does it matter?  Because if authors are doing their research online, then citation rules should make it easier for them to be honest and state what source they actually used.  When the citation rules are made complicated for anything but print, the author is tempted to cite to the print.  Then law review cite checkers have to find the print even though they can be reasonably sure that the author did not, in fact, pull that statute book down from a physical shelf.

The preference for print citation still holds true if the online version of a statute is the same as the original, official version.  Rule 18.2.1(a) lets the author cite the statute “as if [it is] the original print source.”  And that rule is not just for statutes.  Rule 18.2.1(a) lets you omit the URL from your citation any time an “authenticated, official, or exactly copy of a source is available online.”  I disagree with this rule.  If the author used an online source, she should cite to the online source.  That will allow the reader to quickly and easily join the scholarly conversation by finding the source on which the author relied.  Why make the reader go through the extra step of finding out that the source was, in fact, available on the Internet?

The Bluebook does give a possible way to get around the “as if” it was print subterfuge in Rule 18.2.1(b)(i) “Obscure sources.”  That rule provides that if the cited information is available in a print source, but that print source is “so obscure as to be practically unavailable” or if providing the URL “will substantially improve access,” the author should still append the URL.  I say, if we are to have an honest and accurate conversation about sources, then providing a URL will always substantially improve access.  A far simpler and more helpful rule would just say that if you relied on it, you cite to it, and you cite to exactly the thing that you saw…archived with of course.

Happy citation!

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Chicago-Kent at the 25th Annual CALI Conference

caliorgCALI, the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction, may be best known to most law students for the CALI Awards given to the highest scoring student in each law school class or for their CALI lessons.

But they’ve also sponsored an annual Conference for Law School Computing Professionals since 1991, starting at Chicago-Kent and going on to become a national circulating annual conference that has been hosted by law schools across the U.S., sharing current trends in technology used in the classroom, legal research, and the legal profession.

This year the conference will be hosted by the University of Denver Sturm Law School in Colorado, but Chicago-Kent will still be well represented in the presentations we’re giving.


Our staff will be keeping legal tech professionals, faculty, and librarians up to date on the A2J digital legal aid courses, new developments with Oyez project’s Supreme Court content, as well as tools used for video management and setting up basic WordPress websites. The full schedule of content is

Want to follow along online?

On Twitter:

twitter-icon-danleecIf you follow the conference hashtag on Twitter, you’ll find attendees sharing their favorite quotes, link to resources, and keeping the conversation going throughout the weekend: #CaliCon15

Video Streaming:

We are going to stream all of the sessions this year using the law school’s Panopto system. Links for the streams will be available on the conference website.

– conference organizers

Chicago-Kent Staff Presentations at CALIcon 2015

A2J Author Course Project: Equipping Students with Core Competencies and Lowering Barriers to Justice

  • Presented by Alex Rabanal, Jessica Frank, and Carrie Hagan
  • Thursday, June 18 at 10:30am (11:30 am Central)

A2J Author creates guided interviews to walk self-represented litigants through a legal process. Students in these courses work with legal aid organizations or courts to provide meaningful legal assistance to those who cannot afford a private attorney or do not qualify for legal aid. As they create these digital self-help tools, student learn practice management skills and tech competencies vital in the legal job market.

Is this thing on? Using your video management system to go beyond basic lecture capture

  • Presented by Debbie Ginsberg, Electronic Resource Librarian
  • Thursday, June 18 at 10:30am (11:30am Central)

Using Panopto at Chicago-Kent has allowed our faculty to create short videos to introduce themselves, flip the classroom with pre-recorded lectures, provide feedback for students, and create audio recordings for classes where laptops were not allowed.

Debbie will cover the team that handled this project, with AV, IT, and the library working to introduce it to faculty and provide access to students.

14 Ways You Didn’t Know you Could Use Oyez

  • Presented by Allie Bernstein and Matt Gruhn
  • Thursday, June 18 at 4pm (5pm Central)

Here’s new Oyez, which we’ll be previewing (and still very much under construction):

Allie and Matt will highlight interesting features available on Oyez, both old and new, and give listeners ideas for how to make the site work best for them.

Introducing WordPress

  • Presented by Emily Barney, Technology Development & Training Librarian
  • Friday, June 19 at 1pm (2pm Central)

Offering the basics of getting started with WordPress as a new user or for a new site. I offer WordPress managed hosting for student organization and faculty or department sites at Chicago-Kent and want to share the basics with more CALI members to help them get started with this very flexible open-source platform.

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Library Services for Alumni

Welcome Back

Did you know that Chicago-Kent Alumni still have access to many of the law library’s resources, even after graduation?  Whether you’ve been assigned your first big research assignment and don’t know where to start, or you need to locate an obscure journal or treatise, the law library and its knowledgeable staff will always be here to help.  As a graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, you will always be a special member of our community, and we love to see familiar faces back in the library.

For more information on how the Chicago-Kent College of Law can assist you after graduation, please see the Alumni Services page of the law library’s website, and the home page for the Chicago-Kent Alumni Association.

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Tech tip: taking notes for work

Pen Paper ComputerYou’re an expert classroom note taker and have a great system to prepare for finals.  But you’ve likely found that you need a different set of note taking skills for work, one that’s more focused and simplified than what you used in class.

In a recent post from Attorney at Work, five lawyers talked about their favorite note taking apps and tips.  Surprisingly, many of these tech-focused attorneys admitted that they prefer pen and paper – but with a twist.  Some scanned their paper notes with their phones using apps like Evernote.  Others took handwritten notes on paper with a “smart pen” called LiveScribe, then later used an app on their phones to translate their handwriting into typed text.

The five lawyers offer a lot of great advice – but there is one suggestion that you should be cautious about.  One attorney mentioned that she likes to use LiveScribe and her smartphone to create audio recordings of her meetings.  When recording audio, however, keep in mind that some states have laws that require the consent of everyone present.  It’s also worth mentioning that audio recordings can be considered an invasion of privacy any time.  If you want to make an audio recording during a meeting, be sure to ask first.

Image by Pete O’Shea

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Memorial Day, 1918

Clyde Todd stood on the deck of the ship, the great vessel leaning and shuddering in preparation for its departure from the city of Bordeaux, France. He was anxious to watch it all shrink into the distance, until it was barely a speck on the horizon. He hoped he wouldn’t be the only one to cheer when it disappeared behind him. It was Christmas Day, 1918, the sun was finally shining after weeks of downpour, and the 6th Marine Regiment was heading home.

Clyde Todd, Class of 1920 Composite

Clyde Todd, Class of 1920 Composite

The following spring, Todd wrote about his military service for the 1919 issue of The Transcript. He began by describing the feeling of returning to law school after the war, of the difficulty in believing that his military service had been anything more than a vivid dream. “I assure you when we enter the halls…there is a feeling which to me is much the same as that which I always imagined must have come to Rip Van Winkle, when he returned after his years of absence from society,” he wrote. “Many of our experiences are hard now to believe as actualities. Although you naturally refrain from condemning your own eyes, yet often you wonder if they were not deceiving you.”

On St. Patrick’s Day in 1918, Todd was far from home, marching with his regiment into the historic city of Verdun. For months, they had been moving through a string of towns in central and eastern France, growing ever closer to the violence and threat of the enemy. The city had been mightily defended by the French through almost a year and a half of bloody attacks by German troops . By the fall of 1917, the German offensive had been reduced, and American troops began to move into the area. Though he acknowledged that the bloodiest fighting in the city had been over for some time, he noted that holding the area was no easy task. “Coming here for the first time we looked upon our experience as severe hardships…[O]ur experience here for about seven weeks served as a training to prepare us for the test which we were to stand later.” The test came at the end of May. A small celebration of the Memorial Day holiday came to a halt when orders came from the command at Chateau Thierry, an area just under 40 miles from Paris, which German forces were attempting to enter. The order, blunt and chilling, tore through the regiment and sent 30,000 men toward the front lines: “For God’s sake, send troops.”

The entire division rode in a long line through town after town, mile after mile, on the backs of trucks. Through the first several small towns, the trucks slowed to allow crowds of people to part in the streets. “The people had been cheering as we passed all day long, but it was here in Meaux where the streets were lined with women and children that we got the heartiest welcome,” Todd wrote. “Flowers were thrown to us as we passed and from their generosity it seemed they must have had an endless supply.” The city of Meux was a mere 15 miles from the fighting at Chateau Thierry, and it was in these last few miles of the journey that the mood changed dramatically. “It was about two o’clock in the afternoon that we began to meet old men, women and children; babies carried in their mothers’ arms and all they had in the world was on their backs, traveling those dusty, hot roads…Oftentimes, those women with tears in their eyes would look up at us, with a ray of hope coming through their tears…It was on these last kilometers that we experienced that which made us a fighting unit and a formidable foe for the enemy.” The soldiers resolved, some of them aloud, to beat the German forces or die trying.

Marines of the 5th and 6th Regiment arriving in France shortly before the battle of Belleau Wood. (Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines)

Marines of the 5th and 6th Regiment arriving in France shortly before the battle of Belleau Wood. (Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines)

Over the rocky, hilly terrain of the area, through the thick underbrush and timber forests, the German army had advanced. The 7th French Army Corp had fought for weeks under constant, heavy fire, suffering many casualties, to hold the line against the advance of the enemy. On the evening of June 1, 1918, German forces managed to push through the French lines, and Todd’s regiment marched 6 miles and closed the gap by dawn. By the afternoon of June 3, the German advance on the cities of Marigny and Lucy through Belleau Wood was halted by Marines who bravely held their positions in a grain field until the enemy was within 100 yards. With the enemy now enclosed in Belleau Wood, Todd’s regiment charged forward into the darkness of the woods, where the German guns were well-camouflaged and took down nearly 75% of French and American forces. For days, Todd and his remaining fellow soldiers hid in shallow trenches, holding position. They waited, bombardments and bullets cracking overhead, until June 11, when their ranks were replaced. They pushed forward and finally cleared the woods on June 28.

Ruins of a town near Belleau Woods.

Ruins of a town near Belleau Woods.

In the days that followed, Todd marched and fought his way through small towns and crawled through wheat fields. He lost many comrades during this time, and saw much destruction. “In Lucy,” he wrote, “when we left there the only sign of life was one old hen…Many of our comrades lost their lives in this town.” He saw fellow soldiers fall and narrowly escaped the same fate as they advanced through Boureches, Vaux, and Louy. “I was one of a party of six…one night about eleven o’clock and a shell killed four of our party at a well after water. It was a common thing for a man to go out for necessaries and be killed.” Finally, by the end of July 1918, German forces were retreating and Todd’s division left the area, “as barren as if a fire had gone through it.”

"Teufelhunden," Recruiting poster by Charles B. Falls

Teufelhunden,” recruiting poster by Charles B. Falls

Through the fall of 1918, Todd’s division traveled down the line as a shock unit. They took part in the fighting near Soissons in late July, St. Mihiel in September, on the Champagne front in October, and the Argonne Forest in November. By December, the second division’s casualties were the heaviest in the American Expeditionary Forces, with 23,491 lives lost. Decorations awarded for unusual acts of bravery and heroism, at 1,221, outnumbered those awarded to any other division. Todd’s brigade was awarded the Croix de Guerre with palm, the highest honors to be awarded to a unit. After the Battle of Belleau Wood, the German press termed them the “Devil Dogs of America,” a name they proudly accepted as an honor.

In 1919, Clyde Todd wandered the halls of Chicago-Kent as if he were only half experiencing it, as if a part of himself had been left behind in the brush in the Belleau Wood, and another part of himself had never left law school. In his account of his experiences during the war, he describes an almost surreal hellscape, almost too frightening to believe. Still, he felt pride in his service to his country, writing that “We are proud to have taken part in this great war the way in which we did, and I assure you life has a different aspect to us. We realize we have been through hell as every other man does who had the experience of the war.”

97 years after one of our students gathered his courage and marched directly into one of the most violent battles of World War I, we honor and remember those who did not come home, which included many of our own students and alumni. Todd, upon his return, urged the community to take the Allied victory as an opportunity to support one another:

“It is my earnest hope that the boys will work together as they have fought, and enjoy the fruit of victory as we shared the hell in battle. And the men of the Kent College of Law and Alumni of this school, many of you who have taken part directly in this great task and others who have lended a hand, and their support, with our comrades in arms, can weld a great influence on the future of the world and this great republic, so that we and our children may enjoy the right for which many of us fought and gave our blood and lives.”

To read the entire letter, “The Devil Dogs,” download the Military section of the 1919 Transcript. For more letters from Chicago-Kent students and alumni in active service, see the Military section of the 1918 Transcript.

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High Adventure: Chicago-Kent’s World Traveler

Excerpt from The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, Volume 1, Issue  6, 1916.  AC025, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives.

Excerpt from The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, Volume 1, Issue 3, 1916. AC025, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives.

The end of summer 1916 was a fine and peaceful introduction to the oncoming fall weather. The hot days of July were cooling to an agreeable 78 degrees in the August afternoon, and while corn farmers struggled with poor returns in the dry weather, the city folk breathed a sigh of relief as the temperature finally became livable. Of course, none of these concerns or comforts were shared by 1916 Chicago-Kent graduate and former public speaking instructor, Lowell Thomas. The August 1, 1916 issue of the Chicago-Kent Bulletin reported that Thomas was spending the summer in Alaska, collecting material for his travelogues.

Lowell Thomas in Alaska filming the Klondike River; 1916. Marist College B&W photo 1516.10

Lowell Thomas in Alaska filming the Klondike River; 1916. Marist College B&W photo 1516.10

Lowell Jackson Thomas, born in 1892 in Ohio, was never one to rest after a major accomplishment. At the age of 17, he was already a budding journalist, and had interviewed statesman and orator William Jennings Bryan, as well as Clarence Darrow, one of America’s leading labor attorneys, before even finishing high school. By 1911, he had graduated from Valparaiso University with degrees in education and science. Upon the encouragement of his father, who tutored him in elocution, he pursued a position as an instructor in public speaking at Chicago-Kent, which he held from 1912-1914, while also working as a reporter for the Chicago Journal. In 1914, still a young reporter, Thomas interviewed Booker T. Washington and covered the sinking of the Eastland in the Chicago River, but became known for publishing an exposé on con man Carlton Hudson, who skipped bail in New York years earlier only to set himself up as a reputable businessman in Chicago to reprise his swindling ways. Upon receiving a law degree from Chicago-Kent in 1916, one might assume that Thomas would take some time off before beginning his new position as public speaking instructor at Princeton. Instead, he headed to Alaska to exercise his creative mind by putting together a film about the Klondike Gold Rush, and financed the trip and the filming with a series of articles on the wonders of rail travel.

Chicago-Kent Bulletin, Vol. 1, Issue 6

Excerpt from The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, Vol. 1, Issue 6, 1916. AC025, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives.

By the time he wrapped up filming and began his new job (and the pursuit of another degree) at Princeton, Thomas had caught the eye of many important people. It was no wonder: at the age of 23, Thomas had already worked as an editor or reporter on six major newspapers, collected five university degrees, and taught at Princeton in a role he helped to create. The December 1916 issue of the Chicago-Kent Bulletin announced with pride that Thomas had been tapped to direct the speakers’ bureau for Mayor Mitchell of New York’s re-election campaign. Another job offer came swiftly, in early 1917, and this one from higher up: Franklin Lane, President Wilson’s Secretary of the Interior, hired Thomas to direct a national program, “See America First.” It was an offer that was rescinded just as quickly as it materialized, however. A month after the program began, the United States declared war on Germany. The cancellation of the promotional campaign saw the birth of a new opportunity, and it was decided that there was no one better than Lowell Thomas to run the campaign to change the minds of Americans toward support of the United States’ involvement in the war. Thomas insisted that the campaign would be a greater success if it was filmed, rather than produced in written format for the American people. The government, however, did not agree, and refused to provide a filming budget. Fortunately, Thomas was able to raise the $100,000 himself (the equivalent of over $1 million today) with the help of the many Chicago businessmen who benefited from his exposé on Hudson. With his new bride Frances Ryan, cameraman Harry Chase, and filming equipment, Lowell Thomas headed for Europe. He formed a company, Thomas Travelogues, and began to sign his letters “Lowell Thomas, Propagandist.”

T.E. Lawrence & Lowell Thomas from London session portraits; Marist College, glass plate 1270.58

Lowell Thomas & T.E. Lawrence from London session portraits; Marist College, glass plate 1270.58

The trenches of the Western Front were a dismal, uninspiring place, where Thomas and Chase found nothing to show the American public that would win any enthusiasm. The pair then visited Italy, where Thomas became interested in the campaign against Palestine. He obtained the permission of the British Foreign Office to travel to Jerusalem, and arrived just in time for the British to take control of the area from the Ottoman Empire. Shortly after, he met T.E. Lawrence, an Irish-English officer and former archaeologist who donned Arab robes and led Arab irregulars and forces in a revolt against the Turks. Thomas and Chase spent weeks following the dashing and photogenic Lawrence through the desert, and collected hundreds of still images and miles of 35mm films of Lawrence and the Arab forces. These images and films would become part of a multimedia show titled “With Lawrence in Arabia,” which traveled across America and Britain. The show was unique in that it featured Lawrence standing in front of a screen, narrating the events depicted in photos and short films. Though it is now considered to be the first of its kind, the documentary was widely panned, as the war had just ended and not only was Thomas’ job as propagandist at an end, nobody seemed interested in talking about the war in any capacity. There seemed to be something, however, in the part of the story about that gallant blue-eyed Oxford graduate, the gentleman who had led a revolt in the desert, and Lowell Thomas was there to tell it. By 1923, Thomas and Chase were perhaps the two best known international journalists, and were permitted to film in Afghanistan. In 1924, Thomas wrote the first of more than 50 books he would write in his lifetime, With Lawrence in Arabia.

Silent footage filmed by Thomas and Chase in 1917.

Lowell Thomas at microphone; Marist College B&W photo 1522.11.b.

Lowell Thomas at microphone; Marist College B&W photo 1522.11.b.

In 1925, Lowell Thomas tried his hand at radio broadcasting, and found yet another medium in which he could excel. By 1930, he was the host of the nation’s first nightly news program, “Lowell Thomas and the News” (or “Nightly News”). As the United States struggled through the Great Depression, Thomas thought it important to begin and end his broadcast on a light note by stating a friendly “Good evening, everybody” at the beginning of the newscast, and closing with “So long until tomorrow.” Since much of the broadcast was bad news, Thomas ended each episode with a light human interest story. The practices of trademark opening and closing lines, and of ending segments on a lighter note, began with Thomas and continue in broadcast news today. With his background in reporting and public speaking, Thomas seemed made for the role of the nation’s first broadcast news reporter, but he didn’t stop there. He also applied his experience in narrating on-screen images to rapt American audiences by lending his voice to Fox Movietone and American Newsreel Company newsreels.

Movietone newsreel, “The Battle of Britain,” narrated by Lowell Thomas, 1940.

Lowell Thomas with FDR (1); Marist College colored glass lantern slide 1428.35.

Lowell Thomas with FDR (1); Marist College colored glass lantern slide 1428.35.

In the 1930s, Thomas wrote, produced, narrated, and even appeared in news summaries twice each week, which were then broadcast in theaters across America. In 1939, he began the first televised nightly news broadcast, which was cancelled only a year later due to World War II. Thomas declined other offers to do television news with the hopes of traveling to Europe to cover the events of the war in person. However, he was refused a passport by President Franklin Roosevelt, who considered the front too dangerous to risk the loss of America’s most trusted news anchor. It’s possible that he also did not want to put his friend and neighbor at risk: Thomas’ baseball club, “The Nine Old Men”, which played benefit games to support causes across the country, annually defeated the President’s team of White House correspondents, “The Purgers.” Thomas was not allowed to travel until February of 1945, when he visited Berlin, India, China, and the Pacific in a matter of months, reporting riveting an interesting stories on what he found along the way.

Lowell Thomas & Lowell Thomas Jr.  broadcasting by battery from Tibet; Marist College B&W photo.

Lowell Thomas & Lowell Thomas Jr. broadcasting by battery from Tibet; Marist College B&W photo.

Ever an adventurer and documentarian, Thomas traveled to Tibet with his son, Lowell, Jr., in 1949, where they met the Dalai Lama and produced the first ever remote battery-powered broadcasts for CBS. He produced travel films for his own production company, Cinerama Productions. He established himself as an independent contractor and became a media tycoon in short order by forming several broadcast stations, Capital Cities, which acquired ABC in 1980. From 1955 to 1958, he produced the series “High Adventure” for CBS, and in 1963 took such advantage of jet travel that he crossed all 24 time zones twice, continued radio and television writing and producing, and kept speaking engagements and ski trips around the world for nearly eight weeks, before finally collapsing from jet lag. In April of the following year, Thomas continued to multi-task when he wrote to Chicago-Kent President Douglas Schwantes and Dean William Zacharias to kindly thank them and accept the honorary Doctor of Laws he was to receive at the convocation ceremony later that year, including that he “might have another engagement that I thought I might as well take care of at the same time.” He returned to visit Chicago-Kent once more, for the IIT Annual Reunion in 1974, where he received a professional achievement award. He told a reporter from the Chicago Tribune “I’m planning to retire at the age of 100. I’ve always worked around the clock, ever since my days in Chicago. I’m on a merry-go-round that I don’t think I’ll ever get off.”

Detail, Convocation Program, 1964. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives.

Convocation Program, 1964. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives.

Lowell Thomas bid his final on-air “so long” on May 14, 1976, at the age of 84. Though it was to be his last broadcast, he insisted that he would not retire, and changed his parting line to “So long…for now.” Five years later, in 1981, Thomas passed away in his home in Pawling, New York, after returning from a trip to Colorado, where he had given a speech and attended a corporate board meeting. After 46 years in broadcasting, countless firsts, and a life that can only be described as both hectic and spectacular, Lowell Thomas left the world he so loved to travel and experience. His outlook on life was best captured in his response to an interview question in 1976 posed by a Chicago Tribune reporter, who asked him which had been the best years of his life. “The best years of my life,” he said, “have been all of my years.”



The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, No. 1, Issue 3 (August 1916). The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, AC025, Box 1. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives, Chicago, Illinois.

The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, No. 1, Issue 6 (December 1916). The Chicago-Kent Bulletin, AC025, Box 1. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives, Chicago, Illinois.

Convocation Program, 1964. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives, Chicago, Illinois.

Holmberg, David. “Thomas Returns to Alma Mater.” Chicago Tribune, 19 May 1974: 7.

Gorner, Peter. “84 is only a number if you happen to be Lowell Thomas.” Chicago Tribune, 8 December 1976: A1.

Letter from Lowell Thomas to E. Douglas Schwantes and William F. Zacharias. IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Archives, Chicago, Illinois.

Lowell Thomas and Lawrence of Arabia: Making a Legend, Creating History. CLIO online exhibit:

“Lowell Thomas Dies at 89.” Chicago Tribune, 30 August 1981: B1.

Lowell Thomas Papers, Marist College Archives and Special Collections:

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ABA Techshow Recap: The importance of online security

We’re back from the ABA Techshow, which is always a great opportunity to learn about the state of legal technology today.  The show was packed with lawyers from all kinds of law firms who came to learn about the latest technologies to improve efficiency, better market their practices, and engage juries in the courtroom.

This year, many sessions addressed security and technology. Topics ranged from encrypting documents, to password best practices, to the ethics of cloud computing.  Lawyers are increasingly concerned with data security because they have a responsibility to protect client data and confidentiality (not to mention that clients now often ask their lawyers undertake specific security measures to protect their information).

At first, it may seem that following all of the practices suggested during the sessions would be daunting.  Lawyers should use encryption, but does that mean they are expected to encrypt all of their email?  Passwords must be secure, but do lawyers need to generate completely random passwords for each account?  Because cloud services can be hacked, should lawyers avoid storing documents on any internet-based service altogether?

But not only did the presenters at the Techshow address these concerns, they also provided practical solutions.  To quote one of the presenters, ”Security shouldn’t be so tight that the lawyer cannot practice law.”

Lawyers aren’t expected to be perfect – but they are expected to take reasonable measures to protect their law firm’s data and client privacy.  For example, there are many emails that won’t require encryption, but lawyers should learn what encryption is and should consider encrypting emails about sensitive topics.

Lawyers should avoid bad password practices like using single words or names, but should consider stronger passwords such as using variations of phrases.  And to make reasonable judgments about which documents can safely be stored on the internet — and which documents will require a more secure solution — lawyers should review the terms of service for cloud-based applications (also known as “software as a service” applications, or SaaS).

If you missed this year’s show, there’s always next year.  The next ABA Techshow will be March 17-19, 2016.


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Your summer reading project is here

(c)Flickr user Josue Goge, licensed under Creative Commons

(c)Flickr user Josue Goge, licensed under Creative Commons

The semester is winding down, and you might actually be looking ahead to summer by now.  Summer offers you a great opportunity to catch up on some non-school reading.  Here’s a novel idea (some pun intended): This summer, you can read, or at least start, the American Bar Association’s list of the 25 Greatest Law Novels Ever.  I’ll assume you’ve already read To Kill a Mockingbird, so you really only need to get through the other 24.  If you’re a reader, this gives you a great opportunity to step away from the casebook for a bit.

There are some great books on the ABA’s list, including many classics.  If you’re looking for a literary page-turner, I highly recommend The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe.  Maybe this summer is the summer that you finally read Crime and Punishment or Les Miserables.  Or maybe you’ll just take The Firm or A Time to Kill to the beach.  Think how smart you’ll feel when you’re interviewed for a job next fall and you tell them you spent the summer reading Bleak House and Native Son!

Where will you find these books?  The Chicago-Kent College of Law Library, of course!  Our Law and Popular Culture (LPOP) collection includes copies of all 25 novels, plus a lot of other great books and the ABA’s 25 Greatest Legal Movies, which would probably be a less ambitious summer project.

No matter what you’re looking forward to this summer, the library will be open to help you make the most of it, whether it’s the top 25 law novels, a place to study for the bar exam, or research help at your summer job.

Good luck with the end of the semester!

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Recent Faculty Scholarship Display

The IIT Chicago-Kent faculty are a distinguished and diverse group of scholars, teachers, and practitioners. Our professors are situated at the forefront of their fields, and are published consistently in top-ranking law reviews on subjects that span the full spectrum of the law—from U.S. Supreme Court analysis to privacy rights to labor issues to the intersection of law and technology.

The Library has created a display on the 5th floor of the law school containing profiles and examples of their work to highlight recent scholarship produced by our prolific faculty.


The faculty members highlighted in this display have produced important scholarship in their legal specialties and have helped maintain Chicago-Kent’s status as a leader in academic discourse.

Stop by the display case opposite Room 570 (the Game Room) to see the full display!

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