Thursday, December 18, 2014

Study Shows Waiting for Bar Exam Results Can Be Stressful

With the fall semester finals at USD Law now in the books, law students can attest to the anxiety that comes along with waiting for their scores.  The same is true for many bar exam takers, and a new study provides data indicating that those taking the bar exam are significantly stressed immediately after the exam and also in the weeks before the results were released.  The article, by Kate Sweeney and Sara Andrews, is titled Mapping Individual Differences in the Experiences of a Waiting Period, and it appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  For the article, Sweeney and Andrews tracked 50 law school graduates who took the California bar exam in 2011. 

A recent post by the TaxProf Blog provides the abstract of the article, as well as comments from author Kate Sweeney, who is a professor of psychology at the University of California - Riverside. 

New Justice Department Guidance on Marijuana Sales and Use on Native American Reservations

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released an October guidance memorandum regarding enforcement of federal marijuana laws on Native American reservations.  The memorandum, available here, indicates that with regard to enforcement, "each United States Attorney should consult with the affected tribes on a government-to-government basis."

There has been fairly extensive coverage of the memorandum in the press, with a recent article appearing in the Los Angeles Times, which quotes U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon of North Dakota, who chairs the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues, and U.S. Attorney John Walsh of Colorado.

According to the Los Angeles Times article, "the Justice Department will generally not attempt to enforce federal marijuana laws on federally recognized tribes that choose to allow it, as long as they meet eight federal guidelines, including that marijuana not be sold to minors and not be transported to areas that prohibit it."  Purdon is quoted for the proposition that "the federal government will continue to legally support those tribes that wish to ban marijuana, even in states that now permit its sale."  In fact, the memorandum was issued in response to tribal governments seeking clarification as to whether the DOJ would recognize tribal marijuana bans in states where recreational use has been legalized (see article from the Washington Post here).  

While the news coverage of the memorandum has varied, most coverage has framed the issue as one of tribal sovereignty.   As Purdon stated in the Los Angeles Times article, "the tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations."

Other news coverage is available here from U.S. News and World Report, here from USA Today, and here from the ABA Journal. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Law Library Services and Hours - Winter Break

Effective today, the McKusick Law Library will be modifying circulation and reference service hours for the Winter Break.  Circulation and reference services will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  During the Winter Break, the Law Library will be open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for designated state or federal holidays.  The McKusick Law Library will be closed Thursday, December 25 and Friday, December 26.  The Law Library will also be closed on Thursday, January 1. 

Law classes resume on Wednesday, January 7.  Stay tuned to the Prairie Law Blog and the McKusick Law Library LibGuide for our service hours effective for the spring semester.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Library Hours - Thursday, December 11

The Law Library will be closing today to the public at our normal closing time of 5:00 p.m.  However, circulation and reference services for law students will not be available after 5:00 p.m. today. 

Tomorrow (Friday, December 12) is the last day of the finals period for law students.  Please stay tuned to the Prairie Law Blog for updates regarding circulation and reference service hours during the winter break.  Law classes resume on Wednesday, January 7. 

Update in Apple iPod Class Action Antitrust Case

Last week, the Prairie Law Blog posted about the beginning of the trial in a class action lawsuit against Apple, in which the plaintiffs alleged that Apple violated antitrust laws by preventing certain models of iPods from playing songs that were not purchased via Apple's iTunes Store.

The ABA Journal recently reported that the judge presiding over the trial disqualified the one remaining lead plaintiff, because she did not purchase the iPod device within the time period required by the class action lawsuit.  The judge ordered counsel for the plaintiffs to find a substitute lead plaintiff as soon as possible for the trial to proceed.  Bloomberg News reports here on efforts to name a new lead plaintiff in the case. 

Stay up-to-date with developments in the case via Bloomberg News' Antitrust Litigation news page here

ABA TECHREPORT Summarizes 2014 Trends in Legal Technology

For more than a decade, the American Bar Association (ABA) has published a yearly Legal Technology Survey Report, based on the results of a survey of practicing attorneys about their technology use and choices of technology.  Copies of the official survey report are available for purchase from the ABA. 

Beginning in 2013, the ABA began publishing the TECHREPORT, which includes articles that summarize the data available in the official report and provide additional analysis.  These articles are written by experts in the field of legal technology.  This year's TECHREPORT is available here, with links to each of the 10 articles, which cover the following topics:  Security, Cloud Computing, Practice Management, Blogging and Social Media, Technology Training, Legal Research, Mobile Technology, Virtual Law Practice, Litigation Technology, and Solo and Small Firm Technology. 

The 2013 ABA TECHREPORT is also available here from the ABA. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Debate Over C.O.O.L. Heats Up With U.S. Appeal of WTO Decision

Country-of-Origin Labeling (or C.O.O.L for short) has been a long-debated topic on the international level.  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rules promulgated under 2008 legislation passed by Congress require country-of-origin labeling on packaged cuts of meat, as well as some fruits and vegetables.  (See the USDA's fact sheet here regarding labeling for meat and chicken.)  These rules have been targeted by Canada and Mexico, who claim that the labeling requirements put their products at a disadvantage with American consumers.  These countries won success in a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling 3 years ago, which held that the U.S. rules were illegal in their discrimination against imported meat, according to a recent article from Reuters News here

The U.S. appealed the initial ruling and new labeling regulations were promulgated by the USDA in 2013 (see the recent article published by AgWeek).  However, the most recent WTO ruling in October 2014 determined that the new regulations were still non-compliant.  On November 28, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative appealed this subsequent ruling. 

According to an article by the Minnesota Star-Tribune, the appeal and the labeling requirements are supported by the National Farmers Union, while many meatpackers oppose C.O.O.L. because it increases costs and paperwork.  A blog post (written by the President of the National Farmers Union) on "The Hill" Blog indicates that the majority of Americans support the labeling, based on a public opinion poll.

Interested in more information about international trade and agriculture?  Consider one of the following titles available in the McKusick Law Library:

International Trade and Economic Relations in a Nutshell / by Ralph H. Folsom, Michael Wallace Gordon, John A. Spanogle, & Michael P. Van Alstine

Agriculture in the New Global Economy / by William Coleman, Wyn Grant & Tim Josling