Events: Tech Tips for Students

My January Calendar

Be sure to mark your calendar for our tech tips! We can’t help you defeat robot Lex Luthor, but we can help with normal student challenges. Thanks to Pedro Vezini for the photo

The Library’s Tech Group, working with the SBA Tech Committee, has set up a series of 15 minute weekly presentations for the rest of this semester, scheduled for 3:00 on Wednesdays in room 305. We’re happy to answer questions, too, and will have cookies!

Our goal is to help give you tools that will make your life easier as a student, but be useful for you in the future in your legal career as well.

March 26: Doing more with PDFs

From apps to advanced settings, learn about your options and tools you might want to try. We’ll show apps for iOS, Android, and Windows devices as well as the software you may already have on your computer or free alternatives.

Bonus: learn about features of pdf documents that legal professionals use regularly. For instance, do you know what OCR stands for? How to redact pdfs securely? We’ll show you!

April 2: Email Management

Learn about Gmail’s advanced searching, automatic filtering, and more settings that make your email work the way you need. There are a lot of customizations available: we’ll show you the ones that save the most time.

April 9: Note taking tools

We’ll show you how to access your notes from any device, keep them organized, even set them up to allow for collaboration if you like.

April 16: Backup your documents

As it gets closer to exams, learn how you can have more peace of mind with simple backup tools that will give you easy access to your documents online. We’ll cover
“cloud tools” from Google Drive to Dropbox and more, as well as software options and security settings.

April 23: Mindmapping for exams

If you’ve been building a traditional outline for your classes, consider how creating a visual outline may help you review your existing content and/or create a more memorable format to study from.

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Students: Legal Tech Conferences Coming Up!

Have you ever considered attending a local legal tech conference? You don’t have to be an “early adopter,” eager to try out the latest gadgets and apps, to find these conferences valuable.

Learning about new tools being used in the field and the issues new technologies are  bringing to legal practice can give you a leg up as you start your job search. Plus, local conferences are great networking opportunities too.

In Chicago: ABA Tech Show

aba-techshow-2014Every year our Library Tech Group attends the ABA Tech Show at the Hilton Chicago in the spring (March 27-29 this year) to check out the latest developments in legal technology available for practicing lawyers.The three day conference includes 7 concurrent tracks covering topics from ediscovery to social media, ipads to practice management.

Student registration for the conference itself costs $100 for the full conference (a 3 day event) or you can sign in for an expo pass only to attend the exhibit hall for free. The exhibit hall is packed with vendors displaying new apps used in the courtroom, research tools, virtual office options, and a wide variety of other technologies and services.

If you’re interested in attending the ABA Tech Show in any form, be sure to check out their “First Time Experience Guide” with lots of tips about all the activities going on around the conference and more ways you can check out their activities and tune into the online conversation.

See slides from our 15 minute “tech tip” session on this topic for Students here:

Conferences available online

There are multiple legal conferences around the US each year and many offer online access to the conference materials through their websites or YouTube channels:

virtual-legal-techLegalTech is offered in New York and the west coast, but this year you can attend many sessions online through Virtual LegalTech, available “On Demand” at any time as webinar sessions where you can view slides, listen to the presentations, and download handouts. Here are just a few of the available session titles:

  • Ethics for Lawyers in a World of the Internet, Social Media, & e-Evidence
  • Law Firm Security: Minding the Gaps
  • The Mobile Law Practice: Finding a Middle Ground between Security and Accessibility

CALI-Conference-2014Last year, CALI’s annual Conference for Law School Computing was hosted here at Chicago-Kent. Unlike the ABA Tech Show, the CALI conference is aimed at law schools, not practicing attorneys. Many sessions cover teaching ideas, school infrastructure, and innovative ways to use technology to assist in the goals of legal education.

This year the CALI conference is scheduled for June 19-21 and will be hosted by Harvard Law School. But you can still view all of last year’s presentations on their YouTube channel (be sure to subscribe to see new videos from this year’s conference too when they’re posted). Here are a few examples you may enjoy:

Chicago-Kent Library staff also presented several sessions last year:

 

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Fun With Government Documents, Part Two: Worst Quotes From the Financial Crisis

The "Library"In the second installment in our foray into amusing and amazing government documents, let’s look at two of the more jaw-dropping quotes from the months surrounding the financial crisis. The first is detailed in a series of 2010 hearings held by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

“Ratings agencies continue to create and (sic) even bigger monster “the CDO (collateralized debt obligations) market. Let’s hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters ;o”

That quote (winking emoticon in original) is from an internal Standard and Poor’s email from December 2006, Exhibit 27 on page 124 of the exhibits file [large PDF] from the subcommittee’s April 23, 2010 hearing, and also appears at footnote 8 of the SEC’s Summary Report of Issues Identified in the Commission Staff’s Examinations of Select Credit Ratings Agencies [PDF].

In his opening remarks, Subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin said that the documents showed that credit rating agencies had violated the public’s trust in the months and years prior to the financial meltdown:

“We used as case histories the two biggest credit rating agencies in the United States, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, and the ratings they gave to the key financial instruments that fueled the financial crisis: residential mortgage backed securities, or RMBS, and collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs. The Subcommittee investigation found that those credit rating agencies allowed Wall Street to impact their analysis, their independence, and their reputation for reliability. And they did it for the money.”

~

Not to be outdone….

“More and more leverage in the system, l’edifice entier risqué de s’effondrer a tout moment {trans. – the whole structure about to collapse at any moment}… Seul survivant potentiel {trans. – Only potential survivor}, the fabulous Fab (as Mitch would kindly call me, even though there The "Library"is nothing fabulous abt me, just kindness, altruism and <redacted>), standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstruosities (sic) !!! Anyway, not feeling too guilty about this, the real purpose of my job is to make capital markets more efficient and ultimately provide the US consumer with more efficient ways to leverage and finance himself, so there is a humble, noble and ethical reason for my job ;) amazing how good I am in convincing myself !!!”

That was Fabricio “Fabulous Fab” Tourre of Goldman Sachs, as quoted in Exhibit 62, page 267 of the same exhibits file (winking emoticon again in original), and also in the Securities and Exchange Commission complaint [PDF] alleging that Goldman committed securities fraud by misleading investors in early 2007, in violation of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

On August 1, 2013, Tourre was found liable for fraud on six of the seven charges brought by the SEC. The case is SEC v. Tourre, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-03229. Background information on the case is available on the SEC website.


Photos by Quinn Dombrowski, sculpture on display at the University of Chicago in 2010

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Fair Use & Free Use: Archives, Art, and Artifacts

How can you make sure copyright and fair use are working for you? This week Harvard Law School is promoting “Fair Use Week” to encourage greater understanding of this aspect of intellectual property law.

Intellectual Property Spectrum

In the United States, our Constitution establishes IP law with the goal:

“To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”

Get to know these symbols for the IP spectrum, getting to know what these limitations mean for owners and users will help you know your rights:

IP Spectrum

For owners, this IP spectrum ranges from constant vigilance to retain trademark rights to no restrictions with Public Domain works. Creative Commons and was introduced to give owners more options to allow pre-authorized use while retaining some limits.

As a user, how do you make these laws work for you without entering into extended (and possibly expensive) legal agreements? By finding your place in the middle ground (fair use), following the limited requirements of owners using Creative Commons, or verifying free use (public domain).

What are your rights & limitations?

Knowing where you fall on this spectrum can be tricky. Here are two helpful tools for interpreting what limitations you need to observe: Continue reading

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50 Years After Conquering America: The Beatles and the Law

Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ arrival in America, to appear February 9 on The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS and to perform their first U.S. concert on February 11 at the Washington Coliseum.

The Beatles Are Coming! - Part Three

More has been written about The Beatles’ music and their effect on popular culture, but The Beatles have also had some impact on the course of law.  In fact, there are many different areas of law that have been affected by cases involving The Beatles.

There are many candidates among the cases as to which is the most well-known.  Certainly, the top two are probably The Beatles’ company Apple Corps’s trademark claim against Apple Computers.

apple-vs-apple

Or perhaps the copyright infringement claim brought by Bright Tunes (holder of the copyright for The Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine”) against George Harrison for alleged infringement of the song via his “My Sweet Lord” (the first Billboard number one single for a solo Beatle).  Bright Tunes Music Corp. v. Harrisongs Music, Ltd., 420 F. Supp. 177 (S.D.N.Y. 1976).

George, though ultimately found guilty of “subconscious plagiarism,” had his revenge of sorts by penning a minor 1976 hit, “This Song,” which skewered the suit with lyrics such as, “This tune/has nothing Bright about it,” and Monty Python’s Eric Idle singing in the background, “Could be ‘Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch’… no, sounds more like ‘Rescue Me.’

(For an extensive account of this litigation, see Joseph C. Self, “The ‘My Sweet Lord’/'He’s So Fine’ Plagiarism Suit.”

A more recent case was litigated in England, between Sir Paul McCartney and his then-wife Heather (Mills) McCartney.  The divorce judgment (PDF) includes the following amounts claimed by Heather: £3.25 million per year for Heather and daughter Beatrice; plus various other amount dealing with real estate, amounting to a claim of £125 million (plus costs) (see ¶ 3).

mccartney divorce

The justice ultimately awarded Heather less than one-fifth of that claim, about £24.3 million in cash and property (¶ 322).  Part of this result was determined by the justice finding Sir Paul a more credible witness:

“15. The husband’s evidence was, in my judgment, balanced. He expressed himself moderately though at times with justifiable irritation, if not anger. He was  consistent, accurate and honest.

“16. But I regret to have to say I cannot say the same about the wife’s evidence. Having watched and listened to her give evidence, having studied the documents, and having given in her favour every allowance for the enormous strain she must have been under (and in conducting her own case) I am driven to the conclusion that much of her evidence, both written and oral, was not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid. Overall she was a less than impressive witness.” (¶¶ 15-16).

Though getting “only” £24.3 million (about $39.6 million in 2014 dollars), the judgment was still among the highest ever awarded in an English divorce proceeding (though The Guardian reported that private divorce settlements had reached as high as £100 million).

Want more of these?  Leave a comment and look forward to a future “The Beatles and the Law” post.

Tom Gaylord
Research Librarian

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Fun With Government Documents, Part One: The Colbert Edition

Stephen Colbert

Peabody Award Winning Journalist Stephen Colbert
Photo Credit: Anders Krusberg

Researching government documents doesn’t always have to be a dry, dull exercise – this three-part series should prove that point. We’ll start with the sublime, then work our way through some of the ridiculous.

Let’s begin with two contributions from Stephen Colbert. The first is his testimony on migrant farm labor before the House Immigration Subcommittee on September 24, 2010 [PDF].

The entire testimony is not too long and well worth reading; note that Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers was not too keen on Colbert’s appearance, and not so subtly asked him to leave behind his written statement and beat it.

Conyers relented after Colbert pointed out that his testimony was at the invitation of Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren.

Most of Colbert’s testimony was not the usual Capitol Hill stuff. Continue reading

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Holiday Movies and the Law

If you’re feeling guilty about staying far, far away from the law over the winter break, maybe you can split the difference by watching some fun holiday movies that talk about the law. The Law Library of Congress put together a great list of holiday movies, and movies that take place over the holidays.

They all have some kind of legal issue right out in the open, like the commitment proceedings in Miracle on 34th Street, or lurking in the details, like whether Kevin could legally be left home by himself in Home Alone:

Trading Places Movie PosterYou might also want to watch one holiday favorite, Trading Places. Pay special attention to the very end when Louis Winthorpe and Billy Ray Valentine get their revenge via the commodities market. If you never understood that part as a kid (or as an adult), check out this explanation from NPR’s Planet Money team. Of special interest to law students: It turns out it wasn’t illegal to trade commodities on inside information obtained from the government until 2010. What’s 2010 rule called? Why, the “Eddie Murphy Rule” of course!

Happy holidays from the law library!

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Apps for last-minute studying

Law School Dojo

Test your legal knowledge – but don’t lose all of your lives!

Looking for some last-minute tools to assist you with your exams?  Your tablet or smart phone can help. Here are a few apps you might find useful.

Aspen offers a suite of mobile apps for studying, including Law in a Flash apps (iOS & Android).  The Law in a Flash apps are free, and sample cards for each subject are included.  However, you’ll need to pay about $20 for full sets of cards on a specific subject..  These subjects include Civil Procedure, Federal Income Tax, Secured Transactions, and many more topics.  The Siegel’s 1L Q&A Mobile App covers 1L subjects (iOS and Android).

West offers mobile apps as well.  The Sum & Substance apps include mini-lectures on individual topics that make up a course subject.  West’s apps are more expensive, though – about $50 each.  Subjects include contracts, criminal law, constitutional law, criminal procedure, and real property. iOS only.

Law School Dojo is a fun way to study. Rack up the points as you answer legal questions — but don’t run out of lives!  The free iOS version of the app comes with three games — Open, Your Rights, and the Supreme Court.  Purchase additional subjects like Federal Income Tax and Evidence for $2.99.  Also available on Android, but there is no free base app.  Instead, you can purchase the individual topic apps for $2.99/each.

You can also make your own flashcards if you are so inclined.  The website Flashcard Apps compares over 150 different iOS flashcard apps, many of which are free.  Pick the one that works best for you.

Good luck on your exams!

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The Case of the Black Friday Brawl

Bannan v. City of Philadelphia 1-cv-04680 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 9, 2012).

Target Fighting Carts Corral

Photo by Kevin Trotman

A shoving match with a police officer and human beings standing in something called a “cattle chute”?

It can only be Black Friday, that feared and revered day after Thanksgiving when shoppers awake in the dead of night to fight over a Crock-Pot. This case takes place in the wee hours of Black Friday at a Wal-Mart in Philadelphia.

The plaintiff and his family went through the “cattle chute” to enter the store, but couldn’t find a cart when they got in. The plaintiff left the store, found a cart in the parking lot, and tried to reenter the store not via the chute, but by lifting the cart over a barrier. Two Philly police officers told him to leave and escorted him from the premises. He tried to come back in via the chute, but the officers escorted him from the premises again.

Whether that escort was actually a shove to the ground was the subject of dispute. The plaintiff brought an excessive force claim against the police under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The defendant officers filed a motion for summary judgment arguing, as the court put it, that “one shove is not excessive as a matter of law.”

Ultimately, the court held that one shove can be excessive; it depends on the shover, the shovee, and the circumstances surrounding the shove. Drawing all of the inferences in the plaintiff’s favor, the court basically says that the plaintiff was a slightly intoxicated, “relatively innocuous annoyance,” and it would be up to a jury to decide whether the shove was excessive.

You can read the full opinion online here:

http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/12d0135p.pdf

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Archival Chicago-Kent Display

This year marks the 125th Anniversary of the founding of the Chicago College of Law–a forerunner of what would eventually become the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.  To commemorate this occasion, the school has put together an array of events, publications and displays to highlight both the changes that the school has undergone in the last 125 years, and the individuals who have participated in its growth and development.

One project that the library had a prominent hand in developing is an archival collection of Chicago-Kent photographs and documents from various stages in the school’s history.

Archives Exhibit Fifth Floor Exhibit

For this display, librarians sorted through the school’s archives and picked out a selection of photographs and documents that illustrate key changes that the school has undergone throughout the years.

The collection includes selections from The Transcript–the yearbook of Chicago-Kent College of Law.  The selection chosen for display includes team photos of the 1924-25 Chicago-Kent baseball and basketball teams:

The Transcript        Chicago-Kent Baseball and Basketball Teams, 1924-1925

Also included in the display are images of the buildings that have housed the school at various times in its history:

History through Buildings

Stop by the display case on the south end of the 5th floor to see the full collection, and to explore the evolution of Chicago-Kent through the years!

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