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March Book of the Month: The Legal Career

The Legal CareerThe Legal Career: Knowing the Business, Thriving in Practice
By Katrina Lee
Reviewed by Andrea Woods, Reference Librarian

The Legal Career: Knowing the Business, Thriving in Practice is a useful new book from West Academic Publishing that provides a thorough examination of the state of the legal industry today. It is oriented toward law students and aims to help them understand the business of law and how to navigate within the legal profession as they set out on their careers. This book is also appropriate for new lawyers or those with an interest in evaluating the changes that have occurred in law and better positioning themselves for a successful career.

Author Katrina Lee is well-versed in the legal profession. She is a San Francisco native who attended UC Berkeley, became an equity partner in a large law firm, served on the Board of Directors of the Bar Association of San Francisco, and is now an associate clinical professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. With her vast experience, she takes readers on an insiders’ tour of the legal industry, beginning with the traditional law firm business model, and then exploring how legal process outsourcing and legal services outsourcing have transformed the modern practice of law. Lee goes on to examine how in-house practice is evolving and also drives further change in the legal field in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Subsequent chapters cover the seismic advances in legal technology that have transpired, changes in ethics and the unauthorized practice of law as some states move to allow legal technicians, how the legal field is changing to serve low and middle income people, innovations in legal education to equip new lawyers for this brave new world, and finally, how to find satisfaction and even happiness amid the pressures and stress of law practice.

In all, The Legal Career is exceptional in the amount of detail and insight it provides into the inner workings of the legal profession and the fast-paced changes that are currently shaking it up. Most notable are the in-depth interviews that Lee conducts with industry insiders that span everyone from knowledge management professionals and legal tech entrepreneurs, to Big Law associates and “alternative model law firm” founders. This invaluable insider information is the gem of the book.

The Legal Career was kindly donated to the Law Library by author Katrina Lee.

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March 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 March. 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.

Entertainment Law
Entertainment Law: Fundamentals and Practice
Written by Corey Field
$122.95, Paperback, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-51652-429-7

2019 Legal Technology Guide
The 2019 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide
Written by Sharon D. Nelson et al.
$89.95, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-64105-375-4

CA Administrative Law

California Administrative Law: A Legal Research Guide
Written by Caitlin Hunter
$79, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-8377-4088-1


Thank you to Althea Kippes for generously donating both books from our February Book Drive — California Animal Laws Handbook, 2019 and The Art of Fact Investigation.

Thank you to Brenna Moorhead for generously donating Dred Scott v. Sandford:
Opinions and Contemporary Commentary
, from our May 2018 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!


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


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Presidents’ Month—A Library Special Collection

Nixon
The Complete Record of Richard M. Nixon Impeachment Proceedings

The San Francisco Law Library has a timely, extraordinary 23-volume set of United States Congressional hearing transcripts, witness testimony, documents, and evidence regarding the Watergate break-in, the Nixon impeachment investigation and proceedings, and related activities from January 1971 through October 1973. The set begins with A Resolution Authorizing and Directing the Committee on the Judiciary to Investigate Whether Sufficient Grounds Exist for the House of Representatives to Exercise its Constitutional Power to Impeach Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, pursuant to House Resolution 803 of the 93rd Congress. Subsequent Statement of Information volumes include witness testimony and documents regarding Events Prior to the Watergate Break-in; White House Surveillance and Campaign Activities; Presidential Statements on the Watergate Break-in and Its Investigation; Transcripts of Eight Recorded Presidential Conversations; Witness Testimony; and the Final Report of the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities to the Committee United States Senate, pursuant to 1973 Senate Resolution 60 of the 93rd Congress. The set contains a volume of selected historical impeachment materials including debates on presidential impeachment from 1787, President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment proceedings and other perspectives on impeachment. (The Law Library’s collection also contains a book about the Johnson impeachment.)

These amazing chronicles enable one to re-live the nation’s three-year state of political paralysis through the avalanche of motions, briefs, subpoenas, and other legal instruments that came to define the Nixon presidency, and offers Library patrons the opportunity to consider what may lay ahead regarding current political developments. The set is on reserve and may be viewed in the Library on request.


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February Book of the Month: Becoming

BecomingBecoming
By Michelle Obama
Reviewed by Ruth Geos, Reference Librarian

Even if you don’t remember the fist-bump, begin with the beginning of Becoming and you will hear the vivid voice of a first-class storyteller with a full tale to tell. She is not just the former First Lady here but a narrator with a fascinating perspective of time and place. Michelle LaVaughn Obama describes growing up in a loving family in the South Side of Chicago, with her own evolution from a feisty little girl always ready for the next challenge, to Princeton and then to Harvard Law School, and — skipping ahead, as we already know — eventually to the White House, with her own initiatives and advocacy as First Lady over the two terms of the Obama administration. The Preface is an exceptional essay in itself, with an articulate grace and the kind of direct honesty that every good story needs, and history demands:

…until recently, I was the First Lady of the United States of America—a job that’s not officially a job, but that nonetheless has given me a platform like nothing I could have imagined. It challenged me and humbled me, lifted me up and shrank me down, sometimes all at once. I’m just beginning to process what took place these last years — from the moment in 2006 when my husband first started talking about running for president to the cold morning this winter when I climbed into a limo with Melania Trump, accompanying her to her husband’s inauguration. It’s been quite a ride…

It’s an intriguing story, starting with Becoming Me (the other sections are Becoming Us, and Becoming More) — a personal recounting of growing up in a largely African-American community, beginning to understand her own close family dynamics and community, and seeing how the history of deep discrimination had thwarted dreams and desires in her family and across the South Side. The story she weaves is anything but didactic, but a clear tracing of the cumulative impact of discrimination, such as how one grandfather’s dreams to be an electrician and to get a good union job were blocked, and others in her family circle limited to work in which there was no way to rise and push ahead.

Of course, before the White House lawn becomes a model garden, there are miles to go — piano recitals, marriage and children, campaigns, and many high-level professional positions. Ultimately, Becoming is a narrative of one woman’s intelligence, frustrations, humor, style, and perspicacity, with an inborn jolt of courage and personal daring, across history and her own personal way. Not the least, it also offers a fresh reminder of eight years of a White House not that long ago—and an altogether fascinating read. As Mrs. Obama says: “Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”


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February 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 February. 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.

Both February books have been donated! Thank you for your support!

CA Animal Laws HandbookCalifornia Animal Laws Handbook, 2019
Published by State Humane Association of California

The Art of Fact InvestigationThe Art of Fact Investigation: Creative Thinking in the Age of Information Overload
Written by Philip Segal
ISBN: 978-0-99690-791-0

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


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January Book of the Month: Representing Children in Dependency and Family Court

Representing ChildrenRepresenting Children in Dependency and Family Court: Beyond the Law
By Rebecca M. Stahl and Philip M. Stahl​
Reviewed by Andrea Woods, Reference Librarian

Representing Children in Dependency and Family Court: Beyond the Law is a thoughtful new book from the ABA that guides legal representatives of children in dependency and family court through the professional and emotional challenges they will encounter. As the subtitle indicates, it takes readers “beyond the law” and delves into the complex psychological issues that children experience prior to and during these proceedings that their lawyers must understand. Authors Rebecca and Philip Stahl begin by examining the unique attributes that a child’s representative must have, noting that they need a fundamental curiosity about their child clients and a willingness to understand their motivations, feelings, and experiences. Only with this deeper level understanding of the child’s perspective can a lawyer adequately inform the judge what decisions the court should make, and the authors emphasize that the judge’s entire comprehension of the child will come from the lawyer’s ability to know and communicate the child’s views. In fact, the authors urge a new interpretation of the lawyer’s role, in which the lawyer uses the concept of an imaginary friend to guide their representation. In this model, the child retains a sense of autonomy and is able to use the lawyer to make sense of the adult world. This is especially relevant for children who are enmeshed in high-conflict situations, in which their parents are likely to put their own needs before their children’s.

The authors’ discussion of psychological issues provides the bulk of the book’s content, and it covers in detail trauma, child development, the impact of domestic violence on children, high-conflict separation and divorce, alienated-resistant children, and special circumstances such as neglect, immigration status, oppositional defiant disorder, and sexual abuse. Readers will benefit from the authors’ expertise with these complicated topics. With a thorough understanding of the ways that psychological issues manifest themselves both emotionally and physically, and what conditions are needed for a child to heal and recover, the lawyer can learn the proper way to communicate with their client and provide the best representation possible. The authors note that trauma-sensitive interviewing requires considerable patience and self-regulation on the part of the lawyer, and an awareness of the child’s reaction so that the representative can help the child client release emotion but also move forward. Again, the authors emphasize how critical it is for a child’s representative to understand why a child behaves in a certain way, rather than to focus on what the problematic behavior is.

The last three chapters of the book are devoted to the personal and professional challenges that a child’s representative will experience directly—ethical issues, bias, and personal impact. The authors acknowledge that the ethical issues are bound to be unique because of the tendency for the child’s representative to be the only legally trained person on the case other than the judge, as more and more litigants in these types of proceedings represent themselves. Furthermore, there is an inherent tension between the best interests of the child model and the child client’s personal autonomy that the lawyer must navigate. The authors’ comprehensive discussion of the types of bias that a child’s representative must grapple with is insightful and recognizes the difficulty of this type of work. They observe that children’s lawyers must be so fully trained in understanding bias that they can also recognize the biases of their own clients, unlike other areas of law practice where this is not necessary. Finally, the authors discuss the emotional and physical toll that representing children in dependency and family cases will have on their lawyers. With an understanding of how legal practice differs from healing professions, and the resulting limitations in terms of what children’s representatives can do that they must accept, the authors provide thoughtful advice on how to avoid compassion fatigue and continue to find reward in representing children. The authors do not suggest that there are easy ways to reconcile these personal and professional issues, but their knowledge and the breadth of their experience in representing children provides ample guidance.


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January 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 January. 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.

Computer Games and Immersive Entertainment

Computer Games and Immersive Entertainment: Next Frontiers in Intellectual Property Law, Second Edition
Written by Chrissie Scelsi and Ross A. Dannenberg, Editors, and Contributing Authors
$89.95, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-6342-5118-1

Cal Courts Assn Probate Procedures

Probate Procedures CD (2019)
Written by California Court Association
$50, CD-ROM, 2019

AILA PERM 2019 ed 2

AILA’s Guide to PERM Labor Certification (2019 Ed.)
Written by American Immigration Lawyers Association
$279, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-57370-429-8

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