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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.


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July 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 July, featuring books about cybersecurity and oral arguments. 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.

Little Book on Oral Argument

The Little Book on Oral Argument, 2nd edition
Written by Alan L. Dworsky
$17.95, Paperback, 2048
ISBN: 978-0-8377-4077-5

ABA Cybersecurity Handbook

The ABA Cybersecurity Handbook: A Resource for Attorneys, Law Firms, and Business Professionals, 2nd edition
Written by Jill Deborah Rhodes and Robert S. Litt
$89.95, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-6342-5979-8

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


Recent Book Drive Donations

Thank you to Susan Petro for her generous donation of Black’s Law Dictionary, 10th edition, part of our August 2017 Book Drive.

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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New LibGuide: Elder Law

June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and the Library has a brand new research guide on the topic. From high profile figures, such as philanthropist Brooke Astor and Marvel’s Stan Lee, to our friends and neighbors, elder abuse affects everyone and can come in many different forms, ranging from physical to financial abuse. As the global population ages, protecting these vulnerable members of society from exploitation, neglect, and other injuries has become a growing area of the law.

Elder law covers many different fields, including probate, finance, insurance, criminal law, and torts. The San Francisco Law Library Guide to Elder Law focuses on elder abuse, though many of the materials included also relate to broader aspects of elder law.  The guide collects key California resources on statutory and other remedies against financial and personal abuses from family members, strangers, and caretakers, including reporting resources, planning for long-term care, and for proceedings for guardianship, conservatorship, and other legal approaches to safeguarding the lives and assets of elders.

This guide highlights print and online resources, both in and outside the library, for practitioners and members of the public, including information on obtaining free to low-cost legal services and how to file a restraining order.  This guide will grow to encompass different facets of elder law, so be sure to check back in for updates.


In addition to our recently published guide How to Use CEB OnLAW, you might also be interested in our research guide on Domestic Violence Resources and Veterans Resources.


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New LibGuide: How to Use CEB OnLAW

Did you know that the San Francisco Law Library offers free online access to CEB titles? OnLAW includes over 150 Continuing Education of the Bar, or CEB, publications, including practice guides, action guides and downloadable forms. OnLAW can be accessed from within the library.

New LibGuide: How to Use CEB OnLAW

SF Law Library’s new LibGuide, How to Use CEB OnLAW, provides step-by-step instructions for using OnLAW, including how to:

  • Find a specific CEB title, chapter, or section
  • Search by keyword or phrase and narrow search results
  • Limit searches to specific CEB titles
  • Search by case name or citation
  • Search by statute
  • Find downloadable forms

Find a specific CEB title, chapter, or section

In addition to OnLAW, SF Law Library offers free access to Westlaw, Lexis Advance, HeinOnline and more.


Need help searching Westlaw or Lexis Advance? Check out these PDF guides:

Introduction to Legal Research on Westlaw

Lexis Advance User Guide

 


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June Book of the Month: Benched

BenchedBenched: Abortion, Terrorists, Drones, Crooks, Supreme Court, Kennedy, Nixon, Demi Moore & Other Tales from the Life of a Federal Judge
by Jon O. Newman
Reviewed by Aaron Parsons, Reference Librarian


In Benched, Justice Jon O. Newman writes candidly about his remarkable career as an attorney, federal trial court judge, and Justice on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

With a glowing forward by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, Justice Newman gives an inside account of how judges think and what they do.

Early in his legal career, Newman clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. He was a high-level staffer in President Kennedy’s administration for what is now the Department of Health and Human Services, where his many assignments included studying health effects related to fallout from Russian nuclear tests. He describes challenges faced as a Senate staffer, and the difficulty of working with different sides in Congress to agree on even non-substantive changes in legislation.

Appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, he humbly describes learning on the job while trying civil and criminal cases on issues such as heroin smuggling, enforcing draft evasion statutes during the Vietnam War, civil rights prosecutions, and being whacked with an umbrella by a woman after a takings case.

Justice Newman provides insight into the behind-the-scenes workings of the legal and political system, describing what it’s like to go through the Senate nomination process three times, how judges distribute caseloads, and their negotiation and decision-making processes—such as the preference of some judges to debate with their colleagues through memoranda and not through verbal exchanges. He relates an argument with the late Justice Scalia over statutory interpretation.

His judicial decisions included military drone strikes, a free speech case over school books (among them was Slaughterhouse Five, which prompted a complimentary letter from author Kurt Vonnegut), a law requiring royalties from the book Wiseguy and its movie adaptation, Goodfellas, be distributed to victims, and a case that required interpretation of the Articles of Confederation.

Justice Newman discusses his reactions to the handful of times that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed his Second Circuit opinions, and another when that Court reversed and essentially sided with his dissent. He offers ideas on how to improve the American justice system, including burdens of proof, supervised depositions, and increased use of independent counsel.

Read Justice Newman’s autobiography, and biographies of more judges and attorneys, at the Law Library.


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June 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 June, featuring books about AI in the legal profession and small claims procedures in California courts. 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.

AI in Application

AI in Application: An In-Depth Examination from the Legal Profession
Written by Kate Boyd et al.
$195, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-78358-320-1

Cal Courts Assn Small Claims Procedures Manual

Small Claims Procedures Manual
Written by California Court Association
$55.95, 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 Susan Petro for her generous donation of Black’s Law Dictionary, 10th edition, part of our August 2017 Book Drive.

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!