Appellate Decision Includes Ostrich Photo

As noted here previously, Judge Posner does not take poor briefing lightly. This time his critique is supported by visual aids!  

Writing for the Seventh Circuit in Gonzalez-Servin v. Ford Motor Company, issued on November 23, Posner critcizes appellants in the consolidated cases for failing to properly address dispositive authority.  Posner writes:  “The ostrich is a noble animal, but not a proper model for an appellate advocate.”  To underscore the point, he includes both an image of an ostrich and one of a suited man—both with heads buried in the sand.

Any idea how to cite a photograph in a judicial opinion?  Ostrich, slip op. at 5??

Attack Legal Education Above the Fold and Watch the Blawgosphere Light Up!

While the blawgosphere provides its own critiques of legal education, attack this institution on the front page of a major newspaper, and suddenly swords are drawn! 

In case you missed it, the front page of last Sunday’s New York Times featured an article titled:  What They Don’t Teach Law Students:  LawyeringThe article critcizes the dearth of practical skills training in law schools and argues that this has become increasingly intolerable for employers, clients, as well a new graduates in the tight economy.  It also focuses on costs associated with rewarding production of legal scholarship rather than teaching excellence.

Some responses:

  • Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports calls the article a “hatchet job” full of cliches, inaccuracies, anti-intellectualism etc. 
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes “there’s a lot worth criticizing” in the article but finds merits in the piece as well.
  • Prawfs Blawg calls the article “A Recipe for Trashing Legal Scholarship” describing the “ingredients” as “half-baked.”

The issues here are nothing new.  Law school curriculum, especially the relatively limited focus on teaching practical lawyering skills, has long been the subject of debate.  But this debate isn’t generally highlighted on the front page of the New York Times.  Perhaps for law students, this discussion will help inform course selections or even make the time devoted to LRWA assignments seem a tiny bit less onerous?

Happy Thanksgiving!

On Thursday, November 26, 1789, the first Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated pursuant to a proclamation issued by President George Washington. An 1863 proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln established the last Thursday of November as the regular date for this celebration.

That tradition continued until 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the holiday would be celebrated on the second to last Thursday of November.  President Roosevelt was concerned that celebrating the holiday on the last Thursday of the month, which in 1939 was the last day of the month, would shorten the Christmas shopping season thus interferring with the country’s economic recovery.  Not surprisingly, this change prompted much controversy, including a split among states, a majority following the President but others refusing to change the date. (Listen to an NPR story about this change here).

On December 26, 1941, President Roosevelt signed a joint congressional resolution, known as the Thanksgiving Day Act (55 Stat. 862) establishing Thanksgiving as a Federal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November.

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, the law library will have reduced hours:

  • Wed. Nov. 23 9:00am-5:00pm, References Services available 9:00am-2:00pm
  • Thurs. Nov. 24 Closed
  • Fri. Nov. 25 Closed
  • Sat. Nov. 26 Noon-6:00pm
  • Sun. Nov. 27 11:00am-11:00pm, Reference Services Available 2:00pm-9:00pm

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

Ready, Set, Write: Preparing for Your First Law School Exams

No doubt, preparing for law school exams, especially your first set of these assessments, is a challenging experience.  But many law students have survived this process not much worse for wear, so don’t panic! 

As noted here previously, the law library has a variety of study aids available.  Here is a sample of some of the other potentially useful resources providing suggestions for exam preparation and writing:

Best of Luck!

Introducing Stanford Law Review Online

The Stanford Law Review has launched Stanford Law Review Online.  According to the publishers:

This new site will offer a flexible outlet for the publication of short, original pieces of scholarship and commentary on timely legal topics. The aim is to produce pieces of law-review quality, with an Internet-quick turnaround between submission and publication. And while we have made tentative decisions about the nature of the publication, perhaps the most important feature of the Stanford Law Review Online will be its ability to evolve over time.

Nixon Grand Jury Records Released

In collaboration with the Government Printing Office (GPO), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has released transcripts of President Richard Nixon’s Watergate grand jury testimony, given June 23 and 24, 1975.  These transcripts are publicly available pursuant to an order issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge) on July 29, 2011

The collection is available on FDsys.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day, a holiday for Federal employees, will be observed on Friday, November 11.  All GMU Law Library services will operate on a normal Friday schedule: the library will be open 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM, Reference Services will be available 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website provides links to veterans-related legislation (106th-111th Congress) available on Thomas, the Library of Congress site for legislative information.  Additional information regarding congressional action related to veterans issues may be found on the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees’ web pages.

Other resources related to the legal rights of veterans include:

Board of Veterans Appeals:  Part of the Veterans Administration, this web page includes links to forms and BVA decisions.

U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims:  This Court reviews certain BVA decisions.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit:  This Court’s jurisdiction includes review of UCAVC decisions.