Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Changes to the PACER System and Information Available on PACER

The PACER System (the Public Access to Court Electronic Records System) is a service provided by the Federal Judiciary which allows subscribed users to obtain case and docket information online from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts.  The Law Library does not maintain a PACER subscription, but many of our users may be familiar with this resource.

Earlier this summer, PACER announced new features that are part of the implementation of PACER's NextGen Case Management system.  However, implementation of the NextGen system has led to some compatibility issues with older closed case files from several jurisdictions, including the 2nd Circuit, 7th Circuit, 11th Circuit, Federal Circuit, and the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.  All open cases from these jurisdictions will continue to be available, but closed cases which were filed prior to certain points in time will not be available.  Specific information for each of the listed jurisdictions is available here

The announcement has brought strong reaction from the legal community.  Media coverage of the issue is available here from the Washington Post "The Switch" blog and here from Ars Technica.

So what's a docket researcher to do?  Some of the docket information and individual documents may still be available from commercial sources, such as Bloomberg Law, as well as Westlaw and Lexis.  If you have any questions on how to access a particular case, please do not hesitate to ask one of the law librarians.  The Prairie Law Blog will also continue to post additional information on this issue as it becomes available.

Labor Day - Law Library Hours

Monday, September 1 is Labor Day, a state and federal holiday.  The McKusick Law Library will be closed to the public on Labor Day.  We will resume our normal hours to the public of 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (weekdays) on Tuesday, September 2. 

Law students will continue to have access to the Law Library throughout the holiday weekend using their University ID cards.   

Monday, August 25, 2014

Don't Miss Our August Displays Before It's Too Late!

The Law Library is currently featuring two displays on the main floor, an Animal Law display, offered in conjunction with National Dog Day (August 26) and a display on women in the legal profession, corresponding with Women's Equality Day (also August 26).  These displays will only be up through the end of the week, so if you haven't had a chance to take a look yet, please stop by!

The display on Animal Law features several journals available via HeinOnline, including the Stanford Journal of Animal Law and Policy, Animal Law, and the Journal of Animal and Natural Resources Law, as well as the following titles:

Unleashing Rights: Law, Meaning, and the Animal Rights Movement / Helena Silverstein

Animals, Politics and Morality / Robert Garner

Animal Law / David S. Favre and Murray Loring

Animal Rights Law / Margaret C. Jasper

Animals, Property, and the Law / Gary L. Francione

Animals Confined For Human Benefit: A Legal Research Guide / Stefanie S. Pearlman and Melissa M. Serfass

Beyond Prejudice: The Moral Significance of Human and Nonhuman Animals / Evelyn B. Pluhar

People, Property, or Pets? / edited by Marc D. Hauser, Fiery Cushman, and Matthew Kamen

The display on women in the legal profession includes the following titles from the Law Library's collection:

Empowerment and Leadership: Tried and True Methods for Women Lawyers / American Bar Association, Commission on Women in the Profession

Ending the Gauntlet: Removing Barriers to Women’s Success in the Law / Lauren Stiller Rikleen

Calling for Change: Women, Law and the Legal Profession / Elizabeth Sheehy and Sheila McIntyre

Elusive Equality: The Experiences of Women in Legal Education / American Bar Association, Commission on Women in the Profession

Dear Sisters, Dear Daughters: Strategies for Success From Multicultural Women Attorneys / C. Elisia Frazier, Ernestine Forrest, editors

Outsiders Within: Black Women in the Legal Academy after Brown v. Board / Elwood Watson

Women Lawyers: Rewriting the Rules / Mona Harrington

Gender and Justice: Why Women in the Judiciary Really Matter / Sally J. Kenney

It’s Harder in Heels: Essays by Women Lawyers Achieving Work-life Balance / Jacquelyn Hersch Slotkin and Samantha Slotkin Goodman, editors and contributors

Women-at-law: Lessons Learned Along the Pathways to Success / Phyllis Horn Epstein

Visible Invisibility: Women of Color in Law Firms / Janet E. Gans Epner, for the American Bar Association, Commission on Women in the Profession


Friday, August 22, 2014

New Article Explores Tribal Environmental Law

Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner, of the University of Kansas, has recently published the article Examining Tribal Environmental Law in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law.  The article is available for download here from SSRN.  Importantly, the article "describes and classifies the laws of 74 federally recognized tribes, highlighting environmental laws the tribes have enacted."  As such, Warner's article serves as an important resource for researchers in this area.  The citation is 39 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 42 (2014).

Looking to access environmental or other laws of recognized tribes?  The Prairie Law Blog previously posted about the new Library of Congress Indigenous Law Portal, available here, which organizes materials by state and tribe.

For more information on environmental law issues affecting Native Americans and tribal nations, consider the following titles available in the McKusick Law Library:

Native American Natural Resources Law: Cases and Materials / Judith V. Royster and Michael C. Blum

Closing the Circle: Environmental Justice in Indian Country / James M. Grijalva

Model Tribal Environmental Code / Native American Rights Fund

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Law School Alarm System

Several of the doors within the law school are connected to the law school's alarm system, including the doors that provide entrance to the law library on the upper level (near the Dean's Suite) and the lower level (at the bottom of the stairwell by the courtroom entrance).  These doors are closed and the alarm system set at the same time the outer doors to the building are secured (at 5:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter).  If you attempt to open one of these doors after they have been closed, the alarm will trigger.  Accordingly, after 5:00 p.m., law students are advised to enter the library through the double doors on the main level and use the staircases at the rear of the library to access the upper and lower levels.  Because the law library staff is available at the circulation/reference desk until 6:00 p.m., the double doors may be left open between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. as a courtesy to our students.  However, all students attempting to access the law school building or law library after 5:00 p.m. should have their University ID card available.    

Also, all students should be aware that the controls for the alarm system are secured and the controls are not accessible by the Law Library staff.  Accordingly, even if library personnel are at the desk, if an alarm is triggered between 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 a.m., the alarm will not be turned off until University Police personnel are contacted and arrive at the Law School.  If you trigger the alarms after hours, on weekends, or during a holiday, you will need to contact University Police.  The University Police number for non-emergencies is 605-677-5342.  In the case of an emergency, dial 9-911 from any campus phone.

Because the alarm system is not automatically disarmed after a set period of time, failure to contact University Police will result in the alarm continuing to sound.  Please be courteous to your colleagues by taking extra care not to set off the alarms.

A Reminder About Noise Levels in the Law Library

As the fall semester gets underway, the Law Library would like to provide a brief reminder to law students about appropriate noise levels in the library:

The main floor of the Law Library receives the greatest amount of traffic, as it houses many of the library's most frequently used reference materials, the new Technology Learning Center, as well as the public access terminals and copier.  However, noise on the main floor should be kept at a conversational level.  Out of courtesy to other library users, cell phone calls should be moved outside the double doors of the Law Library and into the lobby area.  Communications on the lower level and should also be kept at a conversational level.  The upper level of the library generally receives less traffic and provides a place for quiet study.  Please keep communications on the upper level to a minimum. 

If you desire a quieter place to study in the Law Library, study rooms on both the lower level and upper level are available on a first come, first serve basis or may be reserved in the Dean's Suite.  Also, as indicated, the upper level of the library generally receives less traffic, and four new study tables have been installed on this level with lighting, access to power, and network connections.

Monday, August 18, 2014

ABA Votes to Expand Membership Eligibility to Tribal Court Practitioners

On August 11, the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates unanimously voted to amend the ABA Constitution to allow tribal court practitioners to become full members of the ABA.  In the past, only persons licensed in a state, federal or territorial jurisdiction within the United States could join the ABA as a full member.  The ABA's policy did not extend to persons solely licensed through a tribal court of a federally recognized tribe.

The National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) issued a press release commending the decision of the ABA, stating that the decision will "put tribal court bar admissions on equal footing with the bars of states, territories and possessions of the United States."

Coverage is also available here from Turtle Talk, the blog of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at Michigan State University College of Law.  Turtle Talk also provides a link to the ABA Section Report in support of the amendment, available here