Westlaw

Bryan A. Garner

This May, Thomson Reuters published the tenth edition of the estimable Black’s Law Dictionary (affiliate link). The most widely cited legal book in the world, Black’s is a must-have for every lawyer and law student.

Henry Campbell Black published the first edition in 1891. Starting with the publication of the seventh edition in 1995, Black’s has been edited by Professor Bryan A. Garner, the noted lexicographer, legal-writing expert, and author of such books as Garner’s Modern American Usage, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, and Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts (the last two co-authored with Justice Antonin Scalia (affiliate links)).

I met with Garner during his recent visit to New York, where he taught his famous legal-writing course to various law firms and government employers. His voice was hoarse from a summer cold, but he generously soldiered through an interview with the help of some tea. Here’s a (lightly edited and condensed) write-up of our conversation.

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Keith Lee

A couple days ago on Twitter, I noticed Judge Stephen Dillard having a conversation with a few people about the validity of using Wikipedia as a reliable legal authority. I mentioned that I wrote about the topic back in 2011. But given the continued growth and reliance of the general public upon Wikipedia, I decided it was probably worth looking at again.

Wikipedia actually has a page devoted to documents used in legal proceedings that have cited Wikipedia as a source. One particular case provides an in-depth discussion of whether or not the use of Wikipedia is “reliable,” interestingly enough….

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(c) Image by Juri H. Chinchilla.

Years before Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center built the forty-foot high “Tower of Law” (or, as Stephen Colbert called it, “the building blocks of boring”) out of unused legal reporters, Lexis started the books’ march to obsolescence when it debuted on April 2, 1973. “Lexis,” a term the company’s president coined by combining the Latin word for law plus the letters “IS” for information systems, was the first widely available commercial electronic database for legal research. When it launched forty years ago, Lexis contained only decisions from Ohio and New York. Today, it provides access to nearly 5 billion documents, including cases from all state and federal courts, as well as notes written by law students that are still awaiting their first citation reader. This week, On Remand looks back at the history of Lexis, its rivalry with Westlaw, and its dispute with the maker of a car popular with attorneys . . .

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Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your party on. If you’re still looking for a date to fill the empty space in the lonesome lawyerly lairs of your heart, you should come out to our post-V-Day party this Wednesday, February 26, in New York City, sponsored by the Business Law Center on WestlawNext™ from Thomson Reuters.

If you can’t attend or aren’t in the NYC area, you can still register to win one of two grand-prize swag bags, filled with everything you could possibly need to make your next date a memorable one (awesome things like Russell Stover chocolates, ATL and Business Law Center t-shirts, and an iPad Mini).

Register using the form below, and we’ll send you an email with the exact time and location of our three-hour open bar. Love is still in the air, and we hope to see you there!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Join Us At The ATL Post-Valentine’s Day Party”

Have you seen this over the last few days?

* Were you using Westlaw last week and saw this image? Here’s why… [Westlaw]

* A federal judge is charged with DUI. And there’s video of the arrest! [American Press]

* A heartwrenching poem from a law professor about discrimination. Wait, it’s not about race or gender discrimination but about not getting tenure as a legal writing professor. Yeah, that makes sense. [TaxProf Blog]

* Criminal defense lawyers are part-counselor, listening to the woes of their clients. Should basic instruction in therapy be part of professional training? [Katz Justice]

* The collapse of legal industry could be happening again, this time to the medical profession. [The Atlantic]

* Jeez, I had no idea that the paralegal industry is enjoying such a surge in hiring. I guess it makes sense… you get all the drudgery work of a young lawyer at half the cost. [George Washington University]

* A new DOJ report confirms what we all expected: Montana law enforcement officials are kind of terrible at prosecuting sexual assault cases. [Jezebel]

Were you planning on joining us tonight for the Above the Law Valentine’s Day Party in New York City, sponsored by the Business Law Center on WestlawNext™ from Thomson Reuters? Well, did you look outside? Yeah, it’s kind of nasty. If you had looked outside and were still planning on coming, then you’re a damn trooper and we like you. That said, not everyone shares your fortitude, which brings us to this announcement:

We’re going to have to reschedule.

Do not fear, the party will go forward, you’ll get your chance to drink with us and win awesome swag bags, just some time after Valentine’s Day proper. Specifically, the event will now be held on Wednesday, February 26. Mark your calendars accordingly.

UPDATE (2/13/2014, 11 a.m.): Due to weather conditions and safety concerns, this event is being postponed to a future date. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Valentine’s Day is just days away, and this year, instead of planning which drug stores you’ll hit for after-Valentine’s Day candy sales, you should consider stopping by the Above the Law Valentine’s Day Party in New York City, sponsored by the Business Law Center on WestlawNext™ from Thomson Reuters. It’s being held on Thursday, February 13th, so you’ll have plenty of time to message people on OKCupid so you can tell your mother that yes, you do have a date, and yes, you will find a nice person to marry someday.

Register using the form below, and we’ll send you an email with the exact time and location of our three-hour open bar.

If you can’t attend or aren’t in the NYC area, you can still register to win one of two grand prize swag bags filled with everything you could possibly need to make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one (awesome things like Russell Stover chocolates, ATL and Business Law Center t-shirts, and an iPad Mini).

Love is in the air, and we hope to see you there!

UPDATE (2/13/2014, 11 a.m.): Due to weather conditions and safety concerns, this event is being postponed to a future date. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and this year, instead of whispering sweet nothings to those documents yet to be reviewed, you should consider stopping by the Above the Law Valentine’s Day Party in New York City, sponsored by the Business Law Center on WestlawNext™ from Thomson Reuters. It’s being held on Thursday, February 13th, so you’ll have plenty of time to feast on conversation hearts in your lonely office on Cupid’s birthday.

Register using the form below, and we’ll send you an email with the exact time and location of our three-hour open bar.

If you can’t attend or aren’t in the NYC area, you can still register to win one of two grand prize swag bags filled with everything you could possibly need to make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one (awesome things like Russell Stover chocolates, ATL and Business Law Center t-shirts, and an iPad Mini).

Love is in the air, and we hope to see you there!

UPDATE (2/13/2014, 11 a.m.): Due to weather conditions and safety concerns, this event is being postponed to a future date. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Valentine’s Day is less than a month away, which means it’s time to either Get Serious with the person you’ve been seeing once a week for two months or start the Slow Fade.

If both those options sound… unpalatable, here’s another idea:

Stop by the Above the Law Valentine’s Day Party in NYC, sponsored by the new Business Law Center on Westlaw Next™ from Thomson Reuters. Come for the three-hour open bar, the Thomson Reuters-branded M&Ms, and cool door prizes. Stay for the awkward mingling.

Don’t worry, it’s being held on Thursday, February 13th, so you’ll still have time for disappointment and prix fixe dinner on the 14th.

Register in the form below, and we’ll send you an email with the exact time and location.

If you can’t attend or aren’t in the NYC area, you can still register to win one of two Platinum Deluxe Elite Grand Prize Swag Bags. These Swag Bags include everything you need to make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one, i.e., Russell Stover chocolates, ATL and Business Law Center burnout t-shirts that you will only wear as pajamas, and an iPad Mini. Boom.

We hope to see you at the party!

The Layoff Lady moves beyond Biglaw.

When times are tough for law firms, others suffer too. If a firm as prestigious and profitable as Weil Gotshal is conducting open and notorious layoffs, and rival firms are conducting stealth layoffs, rest assured that other creatures in the Biglaw ecosystem — technology vendors, legal recruiters, Mercedes dealers — are feeling pain.

Take media outlets that cover law firms. American Lawyer Media recently cut at least 35 positions from its editorial and production staffs, amounting to about 7 percent of headcount within those two groups. Kevin Michielsen, chief operating officer of ALM, said the layoffs resulted from the company’s shift to being a “digital-first” operation, not cost cutting. But considering that ALM labors under a nine-figure debt load, cost cutting might not be a bad idea.

But the Am Law layoffs pale in comparison to the cuts over at LexisNexis, at least in terms of raw numbers. The company didn’t provide numbers, but the estimates might surprise you….

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