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New LibGuide: Fastcase

It’s Halloween, so what could be scarier than legal research?  Luckily, the Library has How-to Guides to our legal databases for those new to research or those looking to brush up on their database skills. Our latest guide is How to Use Fastcase.

Fastcase is a legal research service which provides access to state and federal law documents including federal bankruptcy, tax courts, US Supreme Court, federal district and courts of appeal cases as well as federal and state statutes and regulations. This guide focuses on how to use Fastcase on the Library’s public computers, though there is also a Fastcase mobile app available for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone devices as well. Fastcase is available on all of the Library’s computers.

Use this guide to learn the fundamentals of Fastcase, from accessing the database in the Library to finding and saving cases, statutes, regulations, and more. There are step-by-step instructions for:

  • Searching Cases
  • Searching Statutes
  • Refining Search Results
  • Printing/Saving Documents

For more database help, check out our How to Use CEB OnLAW, and look for our upcoming How-to Guides on Westlaw and Lexis.

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New California Law Will Look to “Best Interest of Pets” in Divorce

blur canine close up couplePhoto by Danielle Truckenmiller on Pexels.com

By Richard Schulke, Reference Librarian

Custody gets a new twist in California on January 1, 2019—and that would be custody of the pets after a divorce between humans.

Assembly Bill 2274 adds section 2605 to the CA Family Code and requires judges in a dissolution of marriage case that involves pets to take the “best interest of the pet” in deciding who gets custody of the pet.

The judge has the options of sole or joint custody and assigning visitation rights. The judge will look at factors such as who walks, feeds and takes the pet to the vet. There is also the wags the tail test, which the judge can determine by viewing separately which spouse gets the most tail wagging (I made that one up).

Alaska and Illinois have very similar laws already on the books.

So, if you are a practicing family law attorney you better bone up on this new law!

 


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Free Immigration Law MCLE December 6

Thursday, December 6, 2018, Noon to 1:00pm
Immigration Red Flags: What Every Attorney Needs to Know in the Age of Trump

**Download Flyer Here**

Presented by Sophie Alcorn, Esq.
Alcorn Immigration Law, PC

1 Hour free Participatory MCLE Credit

Immigrants face new challenges every day under the Trump administration. The implications affect your clients whether your practice area is family, criminal, trust and estate, business law, or beyond. This program will cover the basics of immigration law and recent trends for audits, arrests, and deportations. Learn what to ask every client to make sure they have their immigration law needs met—and learn what red flags to spot if they haven’t.

Dec 6 2018 Immigration MCLE Flyer


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Oct. 11 – Free MCLE on reversing Citizens United

Thursday, October 11, 2018, Noon to 1:30
Corporations, Constitutional Law & Democracy: A Constitutional Amendment to Reverse Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission?
**Download Flyer Here**​
1.5 Hours Free Participatory MCLE

Presented by Jeff Clements, President of American Promise; former partner, Mintz Levin; former Asst. Attorney General & Bureau Chief, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office; Author, Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy from Big Money & Global Corporations
In Conversation with Attorney John O’Grady of O’Grady Law Group

How is the U.S. Supreme Court encouraging global and other business corporations to claim First Amendment and other Constitutional rights to avoid regulation, spend unlimited money to influence elections, claim religious exemptions from health insurance laws, and block government investigations? What are the implications of cases such as Citizens United and Hobby Lobby, for Constitutional law, public policy and American democracy? With a growing movement in the States and in Congress to advance a Constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and related decisions, what would a 28th Amendment say, how would it work, and what are its prospects?


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ABA’s Women in the Law Collection

Women in the LawThe Law Library recently acquired the ABA’s Women in the Law Collection—a generous donation from Shannon K. Mauer of Duane Morris LLP. Although women have advanced in the legal profession over the last few decades, the statistics and research show that there are still significant barriers to reaching its upper echelons in equal numbers as men. Together, these four books summarize the state of women in the legal profession today and chart a course toward achieving full equality. Anyone with an interest in women’s rights and equality, or learning what it takes to get ahead in professional life, will benefit from reading this collection.

Grit

Grit, The Secret to Advancement: Stories of Successful Women Lawyers
Edited by Milana L. Hogan

There’s been a lot of buzz about the word grit in the self-help and business spheres lately, and with good reason. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology defines this concept as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” It is essential for professional success, and it is essential for women to achieve equality in the legal profession. To this end, the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession developed the Grit Project in 2013. Grit, The Secret to Advancement reports the Commission’s qualitative and quantitative research on grit across all types of female lawyers, spanning everything from solo practitioners, law firms of various sizes, to nonprofits. The result is a thorough exploration of the concrete steps women can take to increase grit and related qualities, and how to apply those traits to build a successful career.

 

Learning to Lead

Learning to Lead: What Really Works for Women in Law
By Gindi Eckel Vincent

This book does a huge service to female lawyers looking to reach leadership roles in their profession. Author Gindi Eckel Vincent intentionally kept Learning to Lead short and sweet, and she begins by summarizing the major leadership publications in the business realm to spare readers from this gargantuan task. She distills this body of literature down to its key themes and then applies them to the practice of law. Subsequent chapters consist of interviews with prominent female legal leaders and judges, and a set of scenarios that present the leadership goals of real-life female lawyers and a concise to-do list to achieve them. Learning to Lead goes well beyond hackneyed theoretical advice and instead provides clear, practical guidance for any type of leadership role in the law.

 

Road to Independence

The Road to Independence: 101 Women’s Journeys to Starting Their Own Law Firms
Edited by Karen M. Lockwood

The Road to Independence collects 101 first-hand accounts from women who started their own law practices. They provide invaluable wisdom, guidance, and inspiration to anyone who is considering embarking on this complicated and challenging path. Readers will benefit from the stark honesty contained in these letters, which spans confronting personal weaknesses, the inevitable financial worries, being undermined and doubted, and many more obstacles—but the takeaway is that it is absolutely possible to rise above the chatter, follow your own path, and build a thriving practice.

 

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Zero Tolerance: Best Practices for Combating Sex-Based Harassment in the Legal Profession
Executive Editor Wendi S. Lazar

Zero Tolerance is the third manual produced by the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession, which was founded in 1992 with the objective of eliminating sex-based harassment in the legal profession. This slim book packs a powerful punch by setting forth the legal framework to combat sex-based harassment and bullying at work. After examining the EEOC’s guidelines on the topic, seminal cases, and state statutes and rules of professional conduct, it delves into the emerging issues of bullying and implicit bias. These latter issues are particularly thorny because they do not always involve behavior that is technically illegal, but that behavior is nonetheless damaging to the victims and also to their workplaces. Full of strategies, training and prevention best practices, and instruction on how to both develop and enforce effective anti-harassment policies, this book is essential reading for the legal profession.


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October Book of the Month: To End a Presidency

End PresidencyTo End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment
By Laurence A. Tribe and Joshua Matz
Reviewed by Tony Pelczynski, Reference Assistant

In a recent New York Times book review of an entirely different book, law professor Josh Chafetz identified a nascent literary strain of Constitution-focused popular books that has proliferated since the 2016 presidential election: the “this-book-is-about-timeless-constitutional-truths-not-about-Trump-wink-wink subgenre.” To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment, by Laurence A. Tribe and Joshua Matz, is no such book. Its first line reads: “Impeachment haunts Trumpland,” and from there, pedal is firmly put to metal. There is no winking in To End a Presidency—it is crystal clear whose presidency the book’s title is contemplating.

While the topic of presidential impeachment is almost always politically polarizing, if not politically motivated (at least in contemporary times), Tribe and Matz deftly and skillfully run through impeachment’s Constitutional framework and history with a minimum of partisan fireworks. While impeachment is enshrined in the Constitution, a removal option reserved for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” committed by high-ranking officials, the Framers left the process largely undefined. As the authors point out, this may be chalked up to the usual series of legislative compromises and accommodations that underlie any such attempt to hammer out a foundational legal document. But in large part, this was also by design, as the Framers understood that as the United States grew and evolved, actions that might constitute impeachable offenses in 1789 might not look the same in, say, 2018 (and vice versa).

Tribe and Matz hold lucid opinions regarding the topic of Donald Trump’s impeachability, and they are not hesitant to express them. However, while the book’s pace is quick and the tone urgent, the authors repeatedly remind the reader that even though the threat of impeachment has, in recent decades, been treated as a political tool, no president has ever been directly removed by the impeachment process, and so we simply do not know what the implications of such a removal might be (of course, Richard Nixon likely came the closest to removal, but resigned before the impeachment process could actually run its course). Whatever one thinks of Trump, the authors seem to be saying, and because impeachment is such a grave option, we ought to think long and hard before invoking the process in a fit of partisan pique. As they note, there are other ways of obstructing the President’s agenda (including Congressional action/inaction), short of the “nuclear” option of impeachment.

white house

Photo by Aaron Kittredge on Pexels.com

Of course, in the modern era, the gravity of the impeachment process has never slowed down Congressional calls for its implementation. Prior to Nixon, presidential impeachment attempts were relatively rare. Post-Nixon, the specter of impeachment has been invoked against every subsequent president, with varying degrees of seriousness and plausibility. From calls to remove Gerald Ford for his pardon of Nixon, to attempts to strip Barack Obama of his presidency for the supposed “birth certificate issue” (Blake Farenholtz) and what the authors term claims of “unspecified ‘thuggery’” (hello, Michele Bachmann!), Tribe and Matz spotlight the seemingly never-ending parade of modern-day partisan calls for impeachment. While such demands have most often functioned as a form of political grandstanding, the impeachment process became truly weaponized during the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, a weaponization that has taken root in American politics, and from which, the authors fear, the American political process may never fully recover.

With impeachment talk currently permeating any discussion of Trump’s presidency, apparently within even Trump’s own administration (see the New York Times’ recent “I Am Part of the Resistance” anonymous op-ed; or reports of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s attempted recruitment of Trump cabinet members willing to invoke the 25th Amendment), those advocating for, or considering, Trump’s impeachment would be wise to peruse To End a Presidency, before the United States heads down a road from which it may never be able to turn back. If, at some point in the near future, impeachment proceedings become inevitable, due to either partisan tribalism or a genuine presidential threat to the nation and its rule of law, one hopes that the authors’ calls for caution and contemplation will have been heeded. In a time of inflamed political passions, Tribe and Matz have written a sober and well-researched discussion of the history surrounding, and the pitfalls of blithely invoking, a wrenching political process with which the nation has had little actual experience.

To End a Presidency was generously donated to the Library by Suzanne P. Marria.