Saturday, February 19, 2011

Presidents' Wills and Estates

My virtual prowling on Presidents' Day weekend led to some fun facts for future lawyers. For example, did you know that Abraham Lincoln, a prominent attorney with years of litigation experience, died without a will? After Lincoln's death, his estate, including what would become the Lincoln Papers, was administered by U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Davis at the request of Lincoln's son.

On the other hand, George Washington, with no formal legal training, hand wrote his entire 29-page will, which was detailed and provided for life estates. Stating in the will that "no professional character" had been consulted, he admitted that it had occupied many leisure hours. Perhaps Washington's experience as a county court justice and a state legislator provided the requisite knowledge for the task. The story of President Washington's will is told by the Fairfax County Circuit Court, its custodian. A facsimile of the original will, with some background and a transcription, is provided by the University of Virginia, the home of the George Washington Papers.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, February 18, 2011

Presidents' Day

Once again, you are off from class but I will be at my pouncing post on Presidents' Day (Mon. 2/21). You can get help from human beings both at the Circulation and Reference desks between 10am and 6pm. Outside of those hours you can access the Library through our 24/7 access point.

We will go back to our regular schedule on Tuesday. As always, you can check the Circulation desk hours and updated Reference desk hours on the Library's web site.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, February 17, 2011

When Cats Meet Metronomes

Sometimes, it is wise to step back from our mundane daily lives, including even the study of law, and ponder larger questions. For instance, see this video clip, in which two cats encounter a metronome. What, if anything, might the metronome symbolize? Which cat's reaction, if any, do you think best fits the situation?

Feel free to philosophize in the comments section, below.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Unpublished Opinions: The Saga Continues . . .

"Unpublished" opinions are not citable in many state courts, and they do not have precedential value in most federal courts. ("Unpublished" opinions are opinions that courts have not designated for publication, even though many of them are easily accessible.) There are sometimes pushes to change this state of affairs, but they usually don't have much success. For instance, a California attorney recently unsuccessfully sued the California court system in federal court to force them to allow citations to unpublished decisions. The attorney lost. A summary and the court's opinion are available here, on the Law Librarian Blog.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Research Resources: Environment & Energy Daily

If you are looking for a source with daily coverage of environmental and energy policy and markets, try Environment & Energy Daily (E&E).

To access Environment & Energy Daily(E&E):

* Go to the Library's home page, click "Online Resources"
* Click the "Environmental Law" link" link
* Scroll down to "Environment & Energy Daily"

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, February 14, 2011

Review of Panel discussion of alternatives to Lexis & Westlaw

There are legal research alternatives to Lexis and Westlaw. The Houston area law librarians recently hosted a panel discussion to provide an overview of Fastcase, Loislaw and Casemaker. An attendee posted a review of the presentation at 3 Geeks and a Law blog. The review is not only a good description of the discussion but addresses some of the basic questions that should be asked about any legal research product.

It is not a long blog post and is well worth reading.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Interesting Report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project

The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently published a report entitled "Generations and Their Gadgets." The report finds that many devices have become popular across generations despite many believing that the older generations are not open to technology or not technologically savvy. The top devices that a majority of people from different age groups own include laptops, desktop computers, mp3 players and more. Not surprisingly, cell phones were found to be the most popular device among American adults, especially for adults under the age of 65. To learn more about the Report's findings, click here.
Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat