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August Book of the Month: Litigation in Practice

Litigation in PracticeLitigation in Practice
by Curtis E. A. Karnow
Reviewed by Michael Stoler, Reference Assistant


The Honorable Curtis E.A. Karnow has been a judge on the San Francisco Superior Court since 2005, after 28 years as an assistant U.S. attorney, a clerk, and a lawyer in private practice. He has authored the Rutter Group Guide Civil Procedure Before Trial, for which all California litigators owe him a debt of gratitude, and has spoken here at the San Francisco Law Library. Litigation in Practice, published in 2017, is a compilation of articles he had previously published in law journals, with some additional material. He starts with the premise that “while judges remember what it is to practice law, most lawyers have little idea of what it is to be a judge.” So he wants to “bridge that gap,” and give guidance to attorneys from his judicial perspective.

The book is a mix of the practical and the theoretical. Having asserted in his introduction that “law is what happens in the courtroom,” he devotes his first chapter to rules for conduct before the bench. Be polite. Be prepared. Don’t waste the judge’s time or otherwise show disrespect. He discusses how to submit and argue motions, select and treat jurors, and present evidence.

blur close up focus gavel

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The next chapter, on the use of statistics and probability, is fascinating and requires careful reading. Karnow cites examples of claims made in courts about the chances of some event occurring, and then dissects them to show why they don’t hold up mathematically. The next few chapters discuss legal epistemology, based on philosophy and logic: the one on settlement conferences refers to game theory, and one on legal analysis uses theories of categories to argue that really, any case has something in common with every other. The last chapter discusses legal education, how in this country it went from teaching practical skills to emphasizing academic, theoretical ones.

Karnow is a keen observer of the legal system. Attorneys will benefit from reading through this book. And litigators in general might find it will change their thinking about their profession and its processes, and hence, how they practice them.

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August Book Drive

Book Drive

Each month we will seek donors to purchase a new title for the Law Library. Here is our Wish List for the month of August, featuring books about marijuana, immigration, and John Lennon. Growing our collection is about so much more than a single book—it is a living demonstration of how the Library expands the public’s access to justice and provides legal practitioners with the tools they need to represent members of our local community. Please see our Donation Guide for more ways to support the Law Library.

PLI Legal Guide to the Business of Marijuana

Legal Guide to the Business of Marijuana
Written by James T. O’Reilly
$249, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-40243-134-0

John Lennon vs. The USA

John Lennon vs. The USA: The Inside Story of the Most Bitterly Contested and Influential Deportation Case in United States History
Written by Leon Wildes
$27.95, Hardcover, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-6342-5426-7

Guide for Immigration Advocates

A Guide for Immigration Advocates
21st ed.
Written by Immigrant Legal Resource Center Staff Attorneys
$295 (with nonprofit discount), Paperback, 2018

To donate, please contact sflawlibrary@sfgov.org or call (415) 554-1791.  We appreciate your contribution!


Recent Book Drive Donations

Thank you to Fernando Marinez & Shartsis Friese LLP for generously donating current editions of:

Please take a look at our Book Drive page to see Wish List items from prior months. We are still wishing for these books!

Thank you for your support!


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Free Wildfires Helping Handbook – Updated

Here are resources for those affected by the current California fires. We will update this list as new information becomes available:

MoFo Fires HandbookIn 2017 Morrison & Foerster created the free 2017 Northern California Wildfires Helping Handbook.  The Handbook provides general and practical information for people, small businesses, and other organizations affected by the fires, and covers many issues including FEMA, consumer fraud, housing, employment, SBA loan assistance, and insurance.  There is also a chapter on Lawyer Referral Services and Legal Aid if you find you need further information or assistance.

This handbook is current through October 20, 2017, and a Spanish version is here. Check back in at www.mofo.com/norcal-fires for updates. You can download a copy of the handbook: 2017 northern-ca-fires-helping-handbook. There is also the 2017-2018 Southern California Helping Handbook, also in Spanish.

The firm is part of the Bay Area Resilience Collaborative, which provides free legal information to California fire survivors.  Information on other free or low-cost legal aid and resources can be found here:

For general information about the fires:


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Ravel View Now Available on Lexis Advance

Lexis Advance case law searches now have a new, time-saving feature: Ravel View. This revolutionary search visualization tool instantly provides a sort of bird’s eye view of the research forest. Ravel View maps the top 75 case search results on a grid, so it visually explains the relationship between cases, the importance of each case, relevance to search results, and Shepard’s treatment.

Here’s how it works. Each case on the grid is represented by a circle, and the bigger the circle, the more times the case has been cited. This means that seminal cases are quickly identifiable, saving considerable time and effort for the harried researcher. The grid’s horizontal axis represents time, and shows the progression of cases from old to new from left to right. The vertical axis represents jurisdiction, with the highest federal court at the top, followed by other federal courts and state courts at the bottom. Cases that are more relevant to the search query are positioned higher within these jurisdiction segments. It is also possible to sort the results along the vertical axis by relevance alone—simply switch the “Sort by” option from Court to Relevance. When there is a citing relationship between two cases, lines connect the circles to one another. Hover over one of the circles, and color-coded lines reveal Shepard’s treatment. The result of putting all these features together is that instead of spending hours scrolling, sifting, and sorting through search results, researchers can see the big picture with a click of the Ravel View icon. It’s located in the upper right corner of the case search results and looks like this: RavelBelow is an example of mapped case search results after clicking on one of the cases in the grid:

Ravel View

After selecting one of the cases, hovering over another case displays a pop-up box that explains the citing relationship between the two, as well as a snippet of the relevant section of the opinion. All the usual filters are also available, so the results displayed on the grid can be searched for additional key words or narrowed to a particular jurisdiction or date range.

Come to the Law Library to see Ravel View in action! The Library provides two hours per day of free access to Lexis Advance and other research databases.


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Alert! Hot Topic – Free MCLE Thurs – Don’t Miss

Thursday, July 19, 2018, Noon to 1:00pm
Free Speech and the First Amendment:
Why do we give Nazis free speech—and should we?

Download Flyer Here
Download Materials Here


Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, Berkeley Law


Bernadette Meyler, Carla and Sheila Spaeth Professor of Law, Stanford Law


Justice Therese Stewart, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District


Justice Jon Streeter, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate 
District


Moderator
: Ben Feuer, Chairman, California Appellate Law Group LLP

In the wake of neo-Nazi riots in Charlottesville and elsewhere, and a surge in hate crimes across the country, a complex question that has recurred in American law and society for centuries is once again in the public eye: how much tolerance should the nation have for unpopular speech or minority opinions?

Renowned law professors and leading appellate judges will discuss the current state of free speech law in the United States, how and why those approaches developed, the effects liberal speech rights have had for good and ill, how other countries approach free speech questions, and more.

Seating is on a first-come, first-first-served basis.

Co-sponsored with The Bar Association of San Francisco

1 Hour free Participatory MCLE Credit.

 

July 19 2018 Free Speech MCLE Flyer


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New LibGuide: Free or Low-Cost Legal Services

Do you have a legal issue, but cannot afford to hire an attorney?  There are many ways to obtain free or low-cost legal help, and our new guide, Free or Low-Cost Legal Services, conveniently gathers together many local legal service providers in one place.  Some, but not all, of the services listed in this guide are reserved for people of low-income.

The local resources in this guide are organized in two ways: by topic (landlord/tenant, immigration, etc.) and by organizations that assist specialized populations (e.g. Hispanic, disabled, elderly). Click on a topic or population to view a list of organizations that provide services for that topic or population. There is also a full list of the legal service organizations which you can search.

We will update the guide whenever we find new organizations, so be sure to check back in.


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July Book of the Month: Neighbor Disputes

Neighbor DisputesNeighbor Disputes: Law and Litigation 
by Todd W. Baxter et al.
Reviewed by Ruth Geos, Reference Librarian


All of us are neighbors and most of us, in this urban setting, have neighbors above, below, next door or across the street. The issues touching our space and property are intensely emotional and can be difficult to negotiate. Some of our neighbors we know only by their first names, but the impact of their actions—by blocking access, encroaching a boundary, creating excessive noise, odor, or light, or undermining property foundations with earth-moving or water issues—can interfere with enjoyment, use, and other protections in living our lives next door. When the lines of communication between neighbors are closed, and impact is serious enough, some of these disputes arise to legal issues, and require consultation with counsel who can evaluate both the legal issue and the possibilities for resolution.

CEB’s Neighbor Disputes: Law and Litigation, available both in print and on CEB OnLaw, offers a specialized guide on how to address neighbor disputes, from the first client consultation through the completion of litigation. The authors emphasize the underlying emotional currents in any dispute between neighbors, and offer practical approaches to try to minimize antagonism both in immediate terms of negotiating a solution and for the long-term future to be able to coexist as neighbors. For example, counsel is advised at the outset of litigation to determine the client’s motivations and expectations in order to shape the course of representation, and to help the client understand the practical, emotional, and legal components of litigation. The authors emphasize that even where the client prevails, the wisdom is that client will not be made whole because they still live in an environment of distrust and anger.

view of city street

Photo by IKRAM shaari on Pexels.com

Individual chapters offer an authoritative analysis of neighbor disputes involving easements, encroachments, earth movement, trees, fences, domestic animals, water rights, views, open space, home businesses, solar and wind power, blight, criminal activities, toxic contamination, and noise, odor, light and air. The authors analyze potential causes of action, both statutory and based on common law, along with possible defenses and the various remedies that may be available. Checklists itemize the types of key information and facts to gather to support each cause of action, and a few sample documents are also included, including a sample demand letter requesting abatement of a nuisance.

Neighbor Disputes: Law & Litigation is highly recommended for its unique insight into the issues that challenge neighborhood civility, and for its thorough evaluation of the legal merits and potential for resolution through litigation or alternative means.