Tag Archives: legal writing

Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — January 2, 2017


Tunisians Are Being Encouraged to Read by Turning Taxis into Libraries

Most of the yellow cabs racing through Tunis are decorated with air fresheners, glittery pendulums, and framed baby pictures. Sometimes you’ll find a complimentary box of tissues. But taxi driver Ahmed Mzoughi, 49, has taken a more cerebral approach to his vehicle’s decor. Scattered on the seats and lining the dashboard are slim volumes of poetry, fat novels, and psychology books. Stuck on a side door is a decal that says, “Attention: This Taxi Contains a Book.”

What does diversity mean in the age of a Donald Trump presidency? Even as the U.S. and the globe become increasingly diverse, the president-elect’s cabinet appointments have so far been strong on billionaires and white men and weak on women and blacks.

On the Differences between Cats and Dogs

A letter to my writing students on why they have more freedom to create than they seem to think

The Teen-Agers Suing Over Climate Change

In the spring of 2010, Julia Olson, an environmental attorney based in Oregon, was introduced to Alec Loorz, a teen-ager from Ventura, California, and the founder of an advocacy group called Kids vs. Global Warming. At the time, Olson, who ran the nonprofit Our Children’s Trust, was preparing to sue the federal government over its insufficient action on climate change, and she hoped to coördinate youth demonstrations and other events with the filing of the lawsuit.

 Interactive Constitution

On this site, constitutional experts interact with each other to explore the Constitution’s history and what it means today. For each provision of the Constitution, scholars of different perspectives discuss what they agree upon, and what they disagree about. These experts were selected with the guidance of leaders of two prominent constitutional law organizations—The American Constitution Society and The Federalist Society. This project is sponsored by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

10 Steps to Writing a Great Law School Final Paper

The final paper has become a common law school evaluation method. Here are 10 steps to writing a great law school paper.

Useful Law Apps for Students

The study of law is not easy as from the beginning of the first year of law, you are expected to absorb mountain of information every single day and this means late night study sessions and virtuosic organization skills. There are some students who are fine with the hard copies of dictionaries, legislation as well as personal organizers, but the convenience of law apps are unbeatable.

Using Microsoft Word Styles

Let’s face it: legal writing is already hard work. So who has time to tinker with stuff like fonts in the name of enhancing legal document readability? With the Microsoft Word Styles feature, consistent formatting becomes a whole lot easier and faster, and can help enforce standards in your firm’s outgoing documents.

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Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — October 10, 2016


High Tech Shelf Help: Singapore’s Library Robot

Library holdings are only useful if they’re findable. While many libraries focus on the digital aspects of improving search, for print collections at least, even recommending the most relevant titles ultimately falls short if they’re not on the right shelf. Misfiled materials can lead to major controversies, such as the one that recently led to the resignation of former Boston Public Library president Amy Ryan, as well as that staple of library human interest stories, the rare book or manuscript “discovered” in a library or archive.

Audiobooks Turn More Readers into Listeners as E-Books Slip

Sales of paperback books are up. Independent bookstores are thriving again. The threat of a digital apocalypse has subsided, as e-book sales have tumbled.

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence: Longlist 2017

Six finalists, three fiction and three nonfiction will be announced on October 26, 2016.  The winners are announced at the RUSA Book and Media Awards Ceremony, Sunday, January 22, 2017, 5-7:00 p.m. EST, at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta.

Outdated Immigration Laws: Bad for Students, Worse for Local Economies

In Illinois, an effort is underway to bring Chinese students into the craze of Big Ten football. Since 2015 the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has offered a play-by-play live stream of its football games in Mandarin — not only to better engage Chinese students on the campus, but also to build a following of future Illini in China. Such efforts have paid off. The university is now home to the largest cohort of the 304,000 Chinese students in the United States.

What the List of Most Banned Books Says About Out Society’s Fears

For as long as humans have printed books, censors have argued over their content and tried to limit some books’ distribution. But the reasons for challenging literature change over time, and as Banned Book Week begins on Sept. 25, it’s clear that public discomfort with particular ideas has evolved rapidly even in the last 20 years.

Snapchat’s Wild New Specs Won’t Share Google Glass’ Fate

There are two important new things to know about Snapchat. First, it’s just Snap now. That’s easy enough. The second may be a little bit harder to process: The ephemeral chat mavens will sell video-grabbing sunglasses, called Spectacles, starting this fall.

Librarians Get Their GAME On

At the inaugural Gaming As Meaningful Education (GAME)conference, librarians met to explore how games can be used in education and programming to inspire creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The conference was held September 23–24 in Rochester, New York, and cosponsored by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the American Library Association’s Games and Gaming Round Table (GameRT).

Fatal Shooting by Police Shakes Charlotte’s Self-Image

This has always been a place that has prided itself on order, consensus and a can-do corporate mentality that turned a locale with no real geographic reason to exist into one of the hemisphere’s financial dynamos. It has also gained a reputation for racial amity, from its nationally recognized commitment to busing and integrated schools in the 1970s and ’80s, to the election of Harvey Gantt in 1983 as one of the South’s first prominent black mayors. But the fatal police shooting on Tuesday of a black resident, Keith Lamont Scott, and the protests that have followed are among numerous bumps and jolts that have shaken Charlotte’s sense of itself recently as it emerged from a successful small city to a more complicated larger one.

Law School Unveils Minnesota’s First Legal Services Van

The Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul unveiled the state’s first legal-services van Thursday. The school plans to park it in neighborhoods across the state, serving walk-up justice the way food trucks dispense tacos.

Florida Becomes First State to Mandate Tech CLE

Talk about burying the lede. On Friday, I reported that Florida had become the 25th state to adopt the duty of technology competence for lawyers. That was notable news, for sure, but I skipped over the even-bigger story — the same rule change also made Florida the first state to mandate technology CLE for lawyers.

Lawyers will have to cut 1,000 words from their arguments in federal appeals briefs

A proposal to trim the maximum word limit in federal appeals briefs by 1,500 words brought such an outcry that the word reduction was trimmed back. The current limit is 14,000 words, but that will change beginning on Dec. 1, the New York Times DealBook blog reports. The new limit is 13,000 words, a cut of 1,000 words, according to How Appealing and David Sellers, a public affairs officer for the for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Sorry, Technology Isn’t Easy — You Take the Time to Learn, or You Lose

A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it isn’t very good. That pithy turn of phrase speaks to a critical concern in a tech-enabled world. The user experience is paramount. People are impatient. If users have to search around for a button to click, they get annoyed. If the desired action then takes more than 0.1 second to execute, they start to get bored. Technology that is frustrating will not be used. Technology that is not used is not worth the investment.

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Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — August 29, 2016


Technology Is Not the Death of Deep Reading

In her opinion piece for No Shelf Required, Content and Media Editor at BiblioLabs, Emilie Hancock, argues that if we make even the smallest efforts to use technology as a means towards reading more, “we can re-establish a reading culture in the digital age.” At a time when so many ‘blame’ technology for ‘killing’ reading, Emilie’s article serves as a reminder that perhaps we haven’t been looking closely enough to notice that technology can, in fact, help us to read more, not less. This very thinking hits at the core of NSR’s own mission—to draw attention to the power of ebooks and econtent to transform the world into a place where reading flows and is an integral part of life in any enlightened society.

College as ‘Practice for Life’

A lot of the learning that takes place for undergraduates — perhaps most of it — happens outside the classroom

Dear Forums… I’m on a 9-Month Contract. How Can I Stem the Tide of Summer-Meeting Invites?

Do any of you adjuncts teach at more than one institution? If so, at how many do you teach? How do you prioritize for whom you work each term? How do you decide how many preps is too many and how much running between campuses is too exhausting?

School Libraries and ESSA

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaces the No Child Left Behind version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with language that includes “effective school library programs.”

Syria’s Secret Library

When a place has been besieged for years and hunger stalks the streets, you might have thought people would have little interest in books. But enthusiasts have stocked an underground library in Syria with volumes rescued from bombed buildings – and users dodge shells and bullets to reach it.

Are You Getting the Whole Story? Beware the Filter Bubble

In the 1990s, libraries put significant effort into building web guides—curated and vetted lists of web resources. Ten years later, web guides went out of fashion and patrons were referred to Google, whose algorithms had grown so sophisticated vetting the web seemed unnecessary. Fifteen years later, these trusted algorithms have learned so much about our personal preferences that they may be getting in the way of our ability to see differing views on critical problems in society. In this particularly polarizing election cycle and in a time when social networks mingle so closely with news reporting, we need to be mindful of what Eli Pariser coined “the filter bubble.”

Countdown: 40 More Days Until Banned Books Week!

September 25th – October 1st, 2016

Boolean Operators: Pirates vs. Ninjas

An introduction to the basics of Boolean operators. Created to support information literacy instruction at Lincoln Memorial University.

4 Steps for Thinking Critically about Data Measurements

Managers use measurements every day to guide their analyses, decisions, and planning. But even the simplest measurements can mislead. Indeed, measurement is much more difficult than most managers appreciate. Managers must protect themselves by understanding weaknesses in measurements and taking these weaknesses into account as they use them.

6 Ways to Job Search Like an Olympian

I easily identified six things that any job searcher should do that Olympian’s do as well. There are definitely others I haven’t thought about… so if you’ve got more ideas, post ‘em in the comments below!

Bad Legal Writing Cut Down to Size in Age of Short Attention Spans via Law360

For as long as lawyers have existed, their writing has been a subject of scorn. Philosopher Jeremy Bentham described lawyers’ writing as “excrementitious matter.” Founding father Thomas Jefferson said one could write like a lawyer “by making every other word a ‘said’ or ‘aforesaid,’ and by saying everything over two or three times, so that nobody but we of the craft can untwist the diction.” More recently, entertainer Will Rogers said, “The minute you read something that you can’t understand, you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer.”

Law School Wisdom: 10 Chapters from 10 Diverse Books (Part 1 of 3)

60 minutes of pleasure reading. For law school students, it’s a waste. During law school, I never wasted 60 minutes on pleasure reading. If a book didn’t have “Casebook” or “Bluebook” or “Law” in the title, then forget it. But I’m not asking for 60 minutes reading time. If you’re a law school student, I’m only asking for 10 minutes (maybe 15 if you do more than scan). Give me just 10 minutes, and I’ll give you 10 books to read. And to guard your valuable time, I’ll boil them down to their best chapters. Consider it a single book of wisdom containing 10 brief chapters. Just 10 minutes of reading time. Don’t fret … your Civ Pro grade won’t suffer.

MSU Course Teaches Law Students to Use Automation Tools

Law students at Michigan State will use ThinkSmart’s TAP automation tool to learn about best practices and automation in legal operations.

Smartphones Are Driving Everyone Insane

There’s nothing worse than whipping out your smartphone during a meeting, and few things will turn someone off to you quite like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone.

I Didn’t Think I’d Like Charlotte. Then I Fell in Love.

I love Charlotte, I really do, but I’m going to start off with a big dose of honesty — I didn’t think I would actually like it here.

Coding Explained in 25 Profound Comics

This article was published on Free Code Camp. Free Code Camp publish stories about development, design, data science, and open source. They asked their open source community to share the comics they found most profoundly described coding, via their news site (on Reddit.)

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Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — June 13, 2016



Law Firm Salaries Jump for the First Time in Nearly a Decade

In a move sure to bring cheer to junior associates at major law firms, one of the industry’s most elite, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, on Monday said it had increased the annual salary for its first-year lawyers to $180,000, from $160,000.

Lessons from Software Developers – Writing Legal Documents Like Software Code

Many lawyers are very smart and knowledgeable in legal work but fewer are informed about existing technology in the legal field (and how to use it effectively), let alone about technologies available in other fields.  For example, the software development industry figured out a long time ago that reusing existing content not only increases productivity but also improves quality of the final work product.

Couldn’t Attend FutureLaw? Catch Up on YouTube

Thanks to Katy Gabel, Assistant Director of Digital and Social Media at Stanford Law School, and her team, here are the videos from the May 20th “CodeX FutureLaw Conference. Credit also to Joe Neto, creative services specialist at the law school’s IT department, who works on video recording and processing.

Selfies with Sunnies

Back in the 1980s, the “post-punk” duo calling themselves Timbuk 3 looked like they were headed for popular success. (And they were.) According to Wikipedia, Barbara MacDonald said to her husband, “the future is looking so bright, we’ll have to wear sunglasses.” Pat MacDonald translated that as “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades,” and in 1986 their ironic hit song was born, which as it happened became their greatest success.

4 Suggestions for Planning a Productive Summer

Depending on your school’s academic calendar, summer might be upon you or at least close at hand. I’m already a week into the summer semester, and looking ahead at several weeks of teaching, grading, and conferencing. Every summer I set out with inflated goals and unrealistic deadlines: three months away from the normal schedule of meetings looks so promising on paper! However, it’s easy to end up with less progress than expected. Here’s a few strategies I use at the beginning of summer to make the most of the time.

Romano: Banning a Book Is the Real Obscenity in This Case

Not by the language, and not by the references to sex and drugs. Not by the unseen suicide, and not by the unseen pedophile. I’m offended by those who are offended.

Legos: A New Frontier for Libraries

Megan Lotts is not a “shushing” librarian. In fact, the Rutgers University librarian rather delights in the noise, conversation and mess at the Lego playing station she installed in the center of the university’s Art Library: It means that people are solving problems and learning to work as a team.

How to Make a Librarian Happy

I work at a public library and I love my job. But sometimes our patrons make the tougher than it has to be. I recently asked my fellow librarians to help me come up with a “wish list” of things, big and small, serious and frivolous, that you can do to make your favorite librarian happy.

UNC Press to Offer Publishing Services for Professors’ DIY Textbooks

As interest in open educational resources grows, university presses may find a new role: providing services to professors who want to create and post online their own materials that they can assign instead of adopting a pricy textbook.

Sci-Hub: What It Is and Why It Matters

The essentials on an open access controversy

The Buzz: State Library Scuffle Ends – Quietly

A controversy involving the State Library ended quietly last week after a House-Senate committee, trying to reach a compromise on the state budget that takes effect July 1, removed a proposal that would have restricted the agency’s virtual library.

Chinese University Installs Study Booths in Showers to Ease Overcrowding in Its Library

A Chinese university has come up with a novel approach to overcrowded libraries, by converting an unused public showers into dozens of tiny self-study booths.

What Makes a Good Teacher?

You may never be as funny, approachable, or creative as your favorite teacher — the key is to try

Preparing Audience-Sensitive Presentations and Workshops

When we teach a class, we have a semester to get to know our students and adapt our teaching to their interests and needs. But when you are invited to present a keynote or facilitate a workshop to people you know little or nothing about, how do you ensure you are sufficiently sensitive to your audience?

What Your Resume Should Look Like in 2016

Job seekers, give yourself an edge with some modern touches.

How an Industry Helps Chinese Students Cheat Their Way into and through U.S. Colleges

Part Three: The University of Iowa suspects at least 30 Chinese students of having used ringers to take their exams. The case offers a look inside a thriving underground economy of cheating services aimed at the hundreds of thousands of Chinese kids applying to and attending foreign colleges.

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Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — April 4, 2016


Lawyers, Stop Writing (and Saying) These Things Immediately

Many lawyers are tired of hearing about legalese, and many still haven’t embraced plain language in their own legal writing and speaking.

The Vitae Bookshelf: Melanie Nelson

I am most productive when my projects are running well, so my list interprets productivity broadly. These are the books that have helped me learn to be more effective, and get more done.

Library as Platform

Facebook is in many ways an anti-model for libraries, but from this one action libraries can learn much. On May 24, 2007, Facebook became a platform: a set of resources — services, data, tools — that enable independent developers to create applications. Interesting possibilities open up if we think of libraries as platforms…open platforms.

The Harvard Library that Protects the World’s Rarest Colors

The most unusual colors from Harvard’s storied pigment library include beetle extracts, poisonous metals, and human mummies.

Pedagogy Unbound: How to Make Your Assignments Better

I’ve written before about the potential benefits of using old student papers as a teaching tool to give your current students a better sense of what’s expected of them. I still think it’s a sound idea — it offers students a concrete idea of what a good essay looks like. But a reader who questioned the approach raised a valid point: “One of my colleagues … had students read and discuss graded work. … Guess what: Many still submitted poor quality work.” She added: “At some point, we need to recognize that no matter how much we do, learning still requires students to do their own work.”

Compiling a Federal Legislative History: A Beginner’s Guide

Compiling a federal legislative history may seem intimidating at first glance, but it does not have to be. In this Beginner’s Guide, we revisit previous posts to create a comprehensive research guide that you can use to compile your own federal legislative history.

Using Google Forms for In-Class Polling

Recently, I found myself involved in a conversation about clickers. The topic under discussion wasn’t their usefulness in the classroom, but the fact that there are a number of different types available, and as the manufacturers update their products, equipment that’s already in use may end up obsolete.

On Leadership

The Chronicle’s On Leadership video series explores various aspects of campus leadership with top executives and other movers and shakers across academe.


The DMPTool is a free service that helps researchers and institutions to create high-quality data management plans that meet funder requirements.

Alan Alda on the Art of Science Communication: ‘I want to tell you a story’

Alan Alda is known to many people as the actor in the US television series M.A.S.H and later in The West Wing. But he’s also passionate about science and is the visiting professor at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, at Stony Brook University in New York. Alan is in Australia this month to help spread his message about the importance of communicating science and he spoke with Will Grant and Rod Lamberts from the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the ANU.

Where Websites Live

The total number of websites is expected to exceed 1 billion in the coming year. At the time of this writing, the number was estimated at around 970,864,745, and increasing by about 2 websites per second. According to Internet research company Netcraft, as of this past spring there were around 177 million active websites among the hundreds of millions of existing hostnames.

The Inside Story of How Oculus Cracked the Impossible Design of VR

Palmer Lucky has never used an Oculus Rift. That’s what the founder of Oculus keeps telling himself as he unboxes the commercial version of the virtual reality system he invented.

The Super Secret Style Guide the Supreme Court Doesn’t Want You to Read

You can’t get any higher than supreme. So when the public gets a glimpse into the inner workings of the Supreme Court, it’s a big deal. That just happened. The Supreme Court’s Style Guide, Amazon’s #1 new release in legal writing, can now be yours.

How to Design Happiness

Experts from Lippincott, Disney, and SoulCycle weigh in on how they craft happy experiences.

The Tension Between Library Collections and Other Work in Law Libraries

There has been an interesting trend in law firms recently of gradually reducing staff in libraries, but adding information specialist positions with various job titles to business development groups. It seems like a missed opportunity for firm libraries to redefine their roles, and for library staff to explore interesting work that increases the return on investment of the library budget.

This Student Put 50 Million Stolen Research Articles Online. And They’re Free.

Alexandra Elbakyan is a highbrow pirate in hiding. The 27-year-old graduate student from Kazakhstan is operating a searchable online database of nearly 50 million stolen scholarly journal articles, shattering the $10 billion-per-year paywall of academic publishers.

Anticipate Change and Make It Work for Your Library

Having read Lucidea’s white paper (“Building the Resilient Library”) based on the panel discussion they sponsored at a recent Special Libraries Association conference, I noticed the emphasis on proactivity as a key characteristic of successful librarians, especially when change occurs in their organizations.

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