Thursday, October 23, 2014

Applying Native American Traditions to New York Disputes


The Peacemaking Program of the Court Innovation Project now has a branch in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. According to a recent article,


“Peacemaking is used today in the [Native American] tribal court system as a restorative practice that focuses on mending relationships and healing the community after an offense has been committed. When a case is referred to peacemakers, a circle is formed that includes the victim and the offender, any family or community members who have been affected by the crime or dispute and some tribal elders. Bread is broken, prayers are said, and then the issue is talked out until a resolution is reached.


Despite concerns that such a culturally specific and spiritual practice would not work in a multicultural urban environment with no particular spiritual tradition, peacemaking is flourishing at the Red Hood Community Court, and plans for expansion are already underway. Since the program was launched, the peacemakers have handled over 50 court cases and a number of conflicts referred directly from the community.”

Read more here.


Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, October 20, 2014

Study Guides

Sometimes you just need a little help preparing for a law school exam.  The Study Guides LibGuide is a list of resources that you can find in the law library by subject and series.

Only the most recent edition of each study guide is listed.  Earlier editions may also be available.  Academic Support (Law School, rooms 219 & 220) also lends from its library of study guides, which includes series not held in the Law Library.  Flashcards and audio CD’s are  listed by series and subject.  Unless  you see “Reserve,” the location will be in the Classified Collection, i.e. the main stacks.

In each list by subject, BL = Black Letter; CI = Concepts & Insights; EE=Examples and Explanations.

Check out the different kinds of study guides now so you can discover which type is best for you.  

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Legal Forms Libguide

Are you researching for various subject specific forms and would like to have all the resources in one place?  Try the Legal Forms Guide, this guide provides lists of major sets (like Bender's, American Jurisprudence and more), subject specific forms, online free and fee forms.  This guide only reflects resources available in the Law Library in print and online.  Click here to access the guide.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, October 17, 2014

Current State Statutes now online

Most of us look online for state statutes anyway.  Now it is official - to get the current statutes for states*, you should look either on Lexis Advance, Westlaw Next, Bloomberg Law or the web.

On the web, you can find links to all of the states' statutes at http://statelaws.findlaw.com/state-codes.html .   For states that provide their authenticated official code, see the web site for the states that have adopted the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act.  

*The Library still has current state statutes in print for NY, NJ, FL, TX and CA . 


Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Texas, A Major Presence in the Legal News

The State of Texas is much in the legal news these past couple of days, with mixed results for its legislature.

On the one hand, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reinstated Texas’s voter ID law. Read more here.

On the other hand, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a Texas law that would have forced several abortion clinics to close. Read more about that ruling here.


Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Congress.gov Moves Out of Beta!

"Congress.gov has been moved out of its beta testing status two years after its debut as the federal government’s free legislative information site. With the move, several new features have been added to the site, including:
  • Congress.gov Resources, a section with an expanded list of “most viewed” bills each day and an alphabetical listing of hundreds of links related to Congress.
  • Live video streams of House Committee hearings and meetings, with an archive to January, 2012.
  • Improved advanced search with 30 new fields including nominations, Congressional Record and name of member as well as the ability to browse a calendar of days in session, roll call votes and bills by sponsor and co-sponsors."
Hat tip GNCtech
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, October 13, 2014

Chronicling America

Chronicling America:  Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

Easy to use you can limit by state and date.  Newspapers are a great source for understanding the issues of a particular time and peoples response.   Review these older sources and you might discover that many of the same issues are topical today.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Online Sources: Kluwer Arbitration

If you are looking for an online resource for international commercial arbitration research, try Kluwer Arbitration. It includes case law, commentary, journals, conventions, awards, practice tools, news, blogs, legislation, rules and more. 

To access the Kluwer Arbitration:

  • Go to the Library's home page, click "Online Resources"
  • Click the "Alternative Dispute Resolution / Mediation" link
  • Scroll down to "Kluwer Arbitration"

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Animal Rights: Personhood for Chimps?

The question of whether a chimpanzee has the legal right not to be kept as an isolated captive in a dark cage has been playing out in the courts of New York since December 2013, when the Nonhuman Rights Project, an advocacy organization founded by an animal protection attorney, filed lawsuits on behalf of three captive chimps. Last Wednesday in Albany, oral arguments in the case of Tommy, a "26-year-old chimpanzee living in a used trailer lot in Gloversville, NY, isolated in a cage in a dark shed on the owner's property," were heard by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department. His attorneys argued that Tommy, a self-aware and autonomous nonhuman animal, was a wrongly imprisoned common law "legal person" entitled a writ of habeas corpus.

Read more about the oral argument and the background of the case here and in a Wired article by Brandon Keim. Those interested in the legal theories and arguments used in animal protection law should also check out this page created by the Nonhuman Rights Project to illustrate how the arguments used in the New York cases might fare in the courts of other states.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, October 10, 2014

Shortcuts on Windows

For those of us "commoners" who use Windows rather than the hip, oh-so-cool  perfection of Apple products, here are a few tips for keyboard shortcuts to make our common life a little easier - and maybe even dip a toe into "cool".


My favorite - view 2 windows side-by-side for comparison.  This can be not just browser windows, but also documents, email or whatever you have open in a window.
While pressing the Windows logo key Picture of the Windows logo key, click the Right Arrow key or the Left Arrow key and your browser will slide over to one side. Select another window (such as a Word document) and use the shortcut only with the opposite arrow.

Worthy of mention - Zoom in, zoom out.   This is like the Ctrl + or Ctrl - in your browser.
Windows logo key Picture of the Windows logo key+Plus Sign or Minus Sign
The Plus Sign key (+) zooms you in, the Minus Sign key (-) zooms you out. This lets you see small text on a webpage or to check out the pixels in a photo.

For more shortcuts, check out the full list .


Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat