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Jennifer Pickett, the Reference Librarian at the Brooks Free Library in Harwich MA, gives readers of Wicked Local some resources to check in regard to seeking legal advice (without giving legal advice).
In Massachusetts, she suggests starting at your own public library (in her case the Brooks Free Library), then checking the Barnstable Law Library and the website Mass Legal Help website. The Bar Association, like many state bars, also has a free referral service.
I had noticed that this story on LISNEWS had gotten the most hits this week: A Simple Question On Legal Information Vendors
A story with as many hits as it got with no comments seemed odd. I did some looking and found that the story related to a video that has been causing some debate.
The video and original post are here: Berring on free legal information
Bob Berring's response to debate about video: Free Law Kerfuffle
Sarah Glassmeyer wonders... Why do we delegate the reporting and indexing of the American legal information system to commericial vendors using a proprietary system? If you want to talk more about these issues, check out this Friday’s episode of The Law Librarian on Blog Talk Radio. Carl Malamud will be a guest to discuss Law.gov. You also can download it later as a podcast.
We've just launched a survey, Rate Your Legal Resources Vendors: BNA, LexisNexis, West and Wolters Kluwer, on Law Librarian Blog at http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_librarian_blog/2009/09/rate-your-legal-resources-vendor...
Hope you have a moment to contribute to it. -- Joe Hodnicki
We're going to be talking to a group of firm librarians about what resources are being used in law firms today.
"Doing more with less" has long been a theme, goal, and -- at times -- mandate for law firm librarians, but now it's "do much more with far less." Money is part of the story, with the average library budget down slightly, according to our fourteenth annual survey of law firm library directors, from $5.9 million in 2008 to $5.8 million in 2009. But far more telling is the number of firms that said their budgets had gone under the knife. Last year only 9 percent of respondents said their budgets had shrunk. This year it was a whopping 46 percent. Staff reductions have also become the norm, with 57 percent of firms paring their library payroll, up from 18 percent in 2008.
The future of Michigan’s State Law Library has become uncertain in light of a July 13, 2009 executive order issued by the state’s governor. Executive Order 2009-36, which takes effect October 1, 2009 absent legislative action, provides for the elimination of the law library’s “circulation and document delivery” services. Details and prospects for the future of the state law library and an analysis of the executive order on Law Librarian Blog
Joe Custer is a winner of the AALL LexisNexis Call for Papers award for "The Truthiness of Thinkable Thoughts Versus the Facts of Empirical Research". His paper is available on SSRN at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1354111
Posted to a law librarian listserv:
We crafted a very short petition directed at the Administrative Office of the US Courts to improve PACER.
The petition is online here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/improve-PACER.
We ask the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to improve PACER by enhancing the authenticity, usability and availability of the system.
We the undersigned, urge the Administrative Office of the US Courts (AO) to make the following changes to the PACER system:
For verification and reliability, the AO should digitally sign every document put into PACER using readily available technology.
PACER needs to be much more readily accessible if it is to be usable for research, education, and the practice of law. Improved accessibility includes both lowering the costs for using PACER and enhancing the web interfaces.
Depository libraries should also have free access to PACER.
Please sign the petition, comment on the ideas and share the petition with your friends and colleagues!