Features and Columns — October, 2014

DNA Identification Evidence in Criminal Prosecutions

In criminal cases, there have been challenges on sufficiency grounds and concerns over the use of forensic DNA evidence as the sole or primary proof of guilt. Uncorroborated DNA matching might not be enough to satisfy the burden of establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The reliability of forensic DNA testing results might be questioned for any number of reasons, e.g., laboratory error, cross-contamination, interpretive bias or fraud, etc. Ken Strutin's essay provides an overview of nuclear DNA typing, a sampling of the kinds of discretionary decisions that analysts often confront when interpreting crime scene samples, and concludes with with remarks about current disputes in forensic DNA typing, and how recognition of its inherent subjectivity might inform and illuminate these debates. — Published March 7, 2010

The Web Guide for the New Economy

This guide by Marcus P. Zillman showcases the latest world wide web resources for discovering new knowledge on and understanding about developments with regard to the New Economy. The rapid changes in government transparency policies have resulted in the release of large volumes of data pertinent to researchers that public, advocacy and corporate entities are publishing to the web. — Published March 7, 2010

Cloud Computing for Lawyers

This is Nicole L. Black's primer for the legal profession on an emerging technology which is defined as a "type of computing that is comparable to grid computing, [and] relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. The goal of cloud computing is to apply traditional supercomputing power (normally used by military and research facilities) to perform tens of trillions of computations per second." — Published March 6, 2010

Social media, geolocation and privacy, oh my!

Nicole L. Black highlights how our net activities are carefully monitored and meticulously tracked by some of the biggest players, including Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. Our individual online footprints, from the Web sites we visit, the items we purchase, the people with whom we communicate, to the locations where we access the Internet, are extremely valuable commodities that are increasingly sought after. — Published March 6, 2010

February, 2010

Law Firms Now Outsourcers?

With the recent announcement that UK law firm Eversheds will launch its own outsourcing business, Ron Friedmann addresses the question of what exactly is law firm outsourcing, and how does it differ from where lawyers are located. — Published February 20, 2010

FOIA Facts: Why the Wait?

Requesters who are new to using the FOIA statute often complain that they have filed a request within the last month but haven't receive their documents yet. FOIA expert Scott A. Hodes explains that the congressional budgeting process does not specifically provide FOIA operations within an agency a set line item amount. Thus, FOIA Offices usually have limited resources from within their own agencies to fulfill requests. — Published February 20, 2010

Preserving Born-Digital Legal Materials - Where to Start?

Sarah Rhodes discusses the monumental challenge of preserving our digital heritage. She argues that law libraries specifically have a critically important role to play in this undertaking as access to legal and law-related information is a core underpinning of our democratic society. Our current digital preservation strategies and systems are imperfect but tremendous strides have been made over the past decade to stave off the dreaded digital dark age, and libraries today have a number of viable tools, services, and best practices at our disposal for the preservation of digital content. — Published February 14, 2010

Ethics of Legal Outsourcing White Paper

The practical reality for US and UK attorneys engaging in or contemplating Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) is that the outsourcing of both core legal and support services across the legal profession is nothing new. What is different today with the emergence of the LPO industry is that both core legal and legal support related services are being outsourced to lawyers, law firms and corporations located offshore in countries such as India, South Africa and the Philippines. Mark Ross analyzes how the outsourcing of legal work by a law firm or legal department to a legal outsourcing company or an entity located offshore raises specific issues pertaining to the outsourcing lawyer's ethical obligations to his or her client. — Published February 14, 2010

Effective Project Management: the Art of Creating Scope Statements

Carol A. Watson's discussion of how well-defined scope statements are the key to successful project management continues with this article focused on how all written documentation should be clearly and concisely written, avoiding ambiguities at all costs. — Published February 6, 2010

Business Intelligence Online Resources

This extensive guide by search expert Marcus P. Zillman includes a wide range of sources designed to serve as a foundation for knowledge discovery specific to business intelligence resources on the Internet. — Published February 3, 2010

January, 2010

The Government Domain - Congressional Documents on FDsys: Advanced Techniques

Following up on a previous column in which she introduced FDsys and explained the site's simple search and navigation, this month Peggy Garvin provides an update and introduces more advanced search techniques for the congressional information available on FDsys. — Published January 23, 2010

Wrongful Conviction and Attorney-Client Confidentiality

Interpreting Rule 1.6(b)(1) of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct in the context of wrongful convictions is complicated by evidentiary and practical considerations surrounding the potential use of such information. This article by Ken Strutin examines resources about several notable cases and the scholarly literature analyzing different approaches to resolving this dilemma. — Published January 9, 2010

December, 2009

Google Scholar: A New Way to Search for Cases and Related Legal Publications

Courtney Minick and David Tsai provide an overview of the new features Google Scholar provides for the legal research market. — Published December 30, 2009

Understanding the Limitations - and Maximizing the Value - of eBooks

The holiday season is here, and many signs suggest that thousands of people are finding themselves new owners of electronic book ("eBook") readers. Whether it's an Amazon Kindle, a Barnes & Noble Nook, a Sony Reader, or any of the less heavily advertised devices currently on the market, electronic book readers are being trumpeted as a product that has finally hit the mainstream after years on the bleeding-edge. eBook readers, in fact, do have the potential to radically reshape how books are read. Equally important, according to Conrad J. Jacoby, they are already reshaping how books are bought and owned. — Published December 23, 2009

Project Management - A Law Librarian Survival Skill

Carol A. Watson discusses how effective project management requires considerable thought and preparation before actually initiating the work of the project. Although many of us are eager to jump into the tasks related to a project, it is important to remember that careful planning will provide the groundwork for a successful project outcome. Carol reminds us, "Remember, it takes time to save time," and she will be writing on this overall topic in forthcoming issues of LLRX.com — Published December 22, 2009

A Guide for the Perplexed Part III: The Amended Settlement Agreement

On Friday, November 13, 2009, Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers filed an Amended Settlement Agreement (ASA) in the copyright infringement litigation concerning the Google Library Project. The amendments proposed by the parties are designed to address objections made by the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders to the original proposed settlement agreement. This paper by Jonathan Band describes the ASA's major changes, with emphasis on those changes relevant to libraries. — Published December 18, 2009

Deep Web Research 2010

Marcus P. Zillman is a an internet search expert whose extensive knowledge of how to leverage the "invisible" or "deep" web is exemplified in this guide. The Deep Web covers somewhere in the vicinity of 1 trillion pages of information located through the world wide web in various files and formats. Current search engines are able to locate around 200 billion pages. Marcus identifies sources to mitigate the odds on behalf of serious searchers. — Published December 13, 2009

Research RoundUp: Business Filings Databases Updated

Kathy Biehl's guide to online corporate and business filings available provides links to and descriptions of services available from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as selected commercial services. It is the most comprehensive, reliable web resource available on the topic. — Published December 5, 2009

November, 2009

Access to Social Websites in The Legal Environment - Fall 2009 - Part 1: Survey of Law Librarians in Selected Firms, County/State Law Libraries and Law Schools.

To ascertain the current use of social websites/media in law firms, a survey was conducted among Law Librarians entitled Computer Use in Your Organization. In addition to the responses from law firm Law Librarians, several Law Librarians from law schools and county/state government law libraries also responded as did an independent Law Librarian. The opinions of Law Librarians was sought since they are typically among the first professionals in the legal environment to explore, use and recommend new computer innovations and trends useful to attorneys, judges and legal scholars regarding information gathering, information sharing, electronic legal research and current awareness. Part 1 of the Survey details the responses of fifty-six Law Librarians regarding computer use in their organizations. Part 2 will review the responses and take a close look at the implications of the responses and what, if any, patterns can be predicted for 2010. — Published November 30, 2009

Strengthening Forensic Science: The Next Wave of Scholarship

Ken Strutin's article focuses on threads of scholarly literature citing and commenting on the recent National Academy of Sciences report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, and highlights discussions where experts and practitioners rethink the merits of a wide range of forensic issues. — Published November 23, 2009

Bridging the DiGital Divide: A New Vendor in Town? Google Scholar Now Includes Case Law

The November 17, 2009 Google launch of free caselaw searching via Google Scholar is the focus of John J. DiGilio's timely content and resource review. — Published November 18, 2009

Support for the Research Process - An Academic Library Manifesto

This document by Chris Bourg, Ross Coleman, and Ricky Erway can serve as a pathfinder for those professionals seeking to focuses on roles that academic, law and special librarians could undertake in order to better support the research process. — Published November 17, 2009

Free Tools and Applications For More Efficient Online Interaction

Many lawyers understand the importance of networking, but running a law practice takes time and no one ever seems to have enough of it. This factor is one of the main reasons lawyers offer as an excuse to avoid online networking, but Nicole Black proposes how choosing even a few efficient applications from the range of free tools available can streamline and accelerate this marketing process. — Published November 14, 2009

October, 2009

The Government Domain: A Handful of Classics

Peggy Garvin has updated her directory of useful government information resources online, the e-Government and Web Directory: U.S. Federal Government Online. Her research has found that federal web sites do not change as rapidly as users believe. The content on these sites is dynamic, constantly being refreshed and redesigned. However, the sites themselves, the ones that represent so much of the work of the federal government and are selected for inclusion in the book, are fairly stable. — Published October 31, 2009

Using Technology To Estimate, Control And Manage Litigation Document Review Budgets

Conrad J. Jacoby details approaches and exercises that contribute to a successful process for calculating - and staying within - a realistic budget for a litigation or regulatory document review. — Published October 17, 2009

Legal Implications of Cloud Computing - Part Two (Privacy and the Cloud)

As a follow-up to last month's article that provided an overview of cloud computing in the context of significant legal issues, this article by Tanya Forsheit reviews the issues of privacy and cross-border data transfers. — Published October 17, 2009

Pretexting, Legal Ethics and Social Networking Sites

The court decisions, ethics opinions and articles comprising Ken Strutin's guide provide background into current legal thinking about covert investigations, and include recent publications addressing online pretexting as well as the privacy limits of social media. — Published October 5, 2009

September, 2009

Peek: Mobile E-Mail On A Budget

Conrad J. Jacoby discusses his experiences using the Peek mobile e-mail device (Time Magazine's 2008 Gadget of the Year), which he believes is genuinely useful and an excellent value for its cost. — Published September 24, 2009

ILTA 2009: Smaller, Cheaper... Better?

Attorney and legal IT expert Conrad J. Jacoby believes participants in this year's conference were hungry for the knowledge available there, for the ability to see in-depth presentations of products, and to attend personal briefings with high-level vendor-side programmers and product directors. — Published September 23, 2009

After Hours Goes to the Stars

Attorney, food writer, astrologer and Tarot master Kathy Biehl is a long term contributor to LLRX.com. Her new column explores different avenues to understand the collective challenges that have become an integral part of our lives and perspectives over the past couple of years. — Published September 21, 2009