Westlaw

Casey Anthony is pissed.

* And now another reason for lawyers to hate other lawyers (even more than they already do): Westlaw and LexisNexis are being sued for copyright infringement for selling access to publicly filed legal documents. [WSJ Law Blog]

* MGA Entertainment’s antitrust suit against Mattel has been dismissed. In celebration, attorneys from Quinn Emanuel will buy themselves hot pink convertibles while singing that “Barbie Girl” song. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Yesterday in the Golinski case, a federal judge ruled that the definition of marriage under DOMA is unconstitutional. Come on, even a Bush II appointee knows what’s up. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* After finally realizing that he was a lawyer and not an agent — and that his most infamous client wasn’t worth as much as he thought — Jose Baez dropped Casey Anthony like a bad habit. [Miami Herald]

* Former University of Virginia lax player George W. Huguely V was found guilty of second degree murder in the death of Yeardley Love. UVA students are instructed to pop their collars at half-staff. [Bloomberg]

'How do I get these stupid marks to disappear from my document?'

Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about some über expensive and embarrassing examples of lawyers making technological mistakes.

Those stories involved sexily scandalous blunders, but they were relatively extreme scenarios. (If turning over thousands of privileged documents happens regularly at your firm, may God help you.)

More frequently, firm employees deal with little technological snafus that are just annoying, pointless, and a waste of time. In a world where attorneys might literally be working themselves to death, every second of the day counts. It’s when people can’t handle mundane, seriously easy computer tasks that daily tasks become inefficient and infuriating.

Keep reading for some true stories of the technologically challenged….

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Although no accredited law school offered night classes, public interest did not require granting of accreditation to law school offering night classes, absent a sound operation, because there was no compelling need for additional law graduates.

Matter of Laclede School of Law, 700 S.W.2d 81 (Mo. 1985) (via Westlaw Headnote of the Day).


Hang onto your hats, your legal world is about to get rocked. At least behind the scenes.

Thomson Reuters, owner of West Publishing and BAR/BRI is selling BAR/BRI. The reports have been confirmed by people who are enrolled in BAR/BRI. They all received an email from the company tonight.

Above the Law obtained a copy of this stunning email containing the news….

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google.jpgLast week Google engineer Anurag Acharya sent a shot across the bow of the multi-million dollar legal publishing business. “Starting today,” he wrote on the Google blog, people will be able to use Google Scholar to “find and read full text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts.” And in typical Google fashion, these searches will be intuitive and simple. “You can find these opinions by searching for cases (like Planned Parenthood v. Casey), or by topics (like desegregation) or other queries that you are interested in,” he wrote.
That sounds familiar…. That sounds like a service law firms pay bajillions of dollars for every year. There’s been some speculation across the Web that Google Scholar’s new offering is a red flag for LexisNexis and Westlaw.
Robert Ambrogi of Legal Blog Watch writes:

Inevitably, Google’s announcement leads to another round of predictions that 2012 has arrived for Westlaw and LexisNexis. Scott Greenfield wonders whether the news signals the end of the duopoly. Social Media Law Student says this could fast become the preferred tool for “law students and lawyers of the younger generation (and tech-savvy elders as well).” But Carolyn Elefant says Google is unlikely to replace Wexis for some time to come. “Even as free services launch, the premium legal services still continue to improve,” she writes. “So the gap still remains between legal research haves and have-nots.”

We checked in with LexisNexis and Westlaw. They aren’t citing any fear. After the jump, get their reactions and take our poll about your plans for Google legal scholar.

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Bloomberg Law BloombergLaw Lexis Westlaw rival.jpg.pngIt’s been a long time coming, but Bloomberg is finally ready to unveil its new legal research tool. It will compete with Lexis and Westlaw for the hearts and minds of law students and junior associates across the land.
Bloomberg Law will have its launch party at the end of the month at the west side offices of Willkie Farr.
It is way too early to tell if Bloomberg Law will truly offer an innovation in case law research. But we already know the company has put a metric ton of money into the product.
And we know that they’ve been hiring former attorneys for at least two years. I found out about the Bloomberg Law project way back in early 2007, when I was freelancing and looking for work (I declined to follow up on the opportunity). More recently, if you know a New York attorney who was laid off at the end of 2008 who didn’t interview with Bloomberg, then you know a New York attorney that wasn’t really trying that hard to get a job.
Click here (PDF) to check out Bloomberg Law’s initial offerings.
We’ve learned how to Shepardize, we’ve learned how to KeyCite, will we all soon learn how to Citator?

Law librarians got miffed at Westlaw this week, after the legal research company sent out the following advertisement via e-mail:
offensive westlaw ad.jpg
Law librarians across the land were appalled and voiced their displeasure on this list-serv, among other places. From a librarian at a large southern law firm:

[Apparently] the folks at West think that attorneys shouldn’t know their librarians’ names. I’d love to see ATL’s snarky humor sticking it to West (or, Hell, stick it to us law librarians if you think we’re being too sensitive.)

We don’t think you’re being too sensitive. In fact, we have a great appreciation for law librarians.
We know that law librarians are hot. We know that librarianship is a good career alternative. We know that law library staffers save lives, literally. And we think knowing their names is not something to mock.
While the folks at LexisNexis are doing a little happy dance, what does Westlaw have to say for itself?

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Puerto Rico law Westlaw boycott.JPGLife happens fast. This morning we reported that Thomson Reuters had revoked free printer access to law schools in Puerto Rico.
It seems that the policy has now been reversed. A message from University of Puerto Rico law professor José Julián Álvarez González, after the jump.

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Puerto Rico law Westlaw boycott.JPGUpdate (4:15): After this post went was published, Thomson Reuters reversed course and reinstated the free printer access to Puerto Rican law schools. Click here for our coverage.
Thomson Reuters owns Westlaw and is one of the two major gatekeepers to legal research in the modern world. Recently, the company made an economic decision that some claim unfairly impacts law students in Puerto Rico. A tipster reports:

It seems Westlaw has decided to cut their free printer service to the four Puerto Rico Law schools for economic reasons, while keeping the service in all US law schools.

Why would Westlaw only discontinue free printer access to Puerto Rican law students? One Westlaw user wrote to Thompson Reuters, asking the company to reconsider its decision. But he also seems to have figured out why Westlaw made this decision.

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