Thursday, February 24, 2005

FirstGov for Citizens--Cross-Agency Portals

From Marylaine Block's NeatNew:
FirstGov for Citizens - Cross-Agency Portals "gateways that bring together federal information and services from multiple agencies about a particular topic or for a particular customer group," in alphabetical order by topic. (Anyone interested in the previous item on daycare might also be interested in the cross-agency portal, for instance.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Law and...

Each month, DCLRC features a display called "Law and..." that highlights the role of law or lawyers in various subjects. Each display contains a handout listing relevant web links or a bibliography of relevant printed material on the topic. The handout and photos of each display are posted on the DCLRC website. Topics are announced in the DCLRC Docket newsletter each month.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Article on Free Legal Resources

"Essential WI Legal Resources Available for Free on the Internet" was published in v. 28:1 Winter 2005 p. 16 of "The Verdict," a quarterly publication of the WI Academy of Trial Lawyers. It may be eventually posted on their website: or consult your local public law library for a copy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

US Legislative History theme

"AbsTracked" blog (written by a law librarian) features completing legislative history research for the US Congress for its theme this week.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Feingold Introduces Bills on PATRIOT Act

Thanks to Amy Crowder at the State Law Library for this link.

"U.S. Senator Russ Feingold has introduced three bills that would protect the civil liberties of all Americans. Today, Feingold reintroduced The Library, Bookseller and Personal Records Privacy Act, The Reasonable Notice and Search Act, and The Computer Trespass Clarification Act. All of the bills are intended to fix specific portions of the USA PATRIOT Act that Feingold criticized before he voted against the bill in October 2001." Read more...

WI Jury Verdicts Online

From Robert Ambrogi's Lawsites blog:
"A new source for jury verdicts online
The folks who publish the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin last week announced that the company has added 55,000 civil jury verdicts and negotiated settlements from Illinois and Wisconsin to its online research service, AccessPlus on the Web. Access requires a paid subscription, but the announcement did not provide prices. "

Monday, February 14, 2005

Limited Scope Representation Program

Announcement from
Limited Scope Representation Program Available

"A three hour unbundling training "Expanding Your Practice by Offering Limited Scope Legal Services: A "Hands On" Family Law Workshop" is now available free of charge as a public service thanks to the generosity of Practising Law Institute. It is posted on the PLI website, This program was taped at the PLI California Center in San Francisco in November 2004, and will be available on the PLI website for one year.

To access the video, visit and type "family law" into the search bar. That will link to a registration page. Registration is free, so when the class is added to the shopping cart, the dollar value will be $0. To access the written materials, visit the California State Bar website at Type "risk management packet" into the search bar. Those materials can be downloaded in pdf form.

Although it addresses a California audience, the program was designed to be a template which can be tailored for other jurisdictions. It focuses on the ethical and practical issues raised by limited scope representation in a family law context. The comprehensive written materials contain court forms, sample fee agreements, checklists, best practices, and client handouts which are very practical in nature, and designed to facilitate attorneys in incorporating these
services safely into their own professional practices. All of the materials, including the script, are available free of charge for adaptation to other jurisdictions.

If you would like to obtain a Word version to facilitate adaptation, email and she will email them to you. If you would like to obtain a Word copy of the script, email Sue Talia at and refer to Unbundling Script in the subject line. Please feel free to share this information with others who may be interested in learning more about limited scope.

The goal of this program is to allow other jurisdictions to benefit from the work which has already been done, and provide templates for materials which have proven useful after several years of practical experience."

Legal Research Tip 12: Postal Crimes

Welcome to the next issue of the DCLRC E-Newsletter "Legal Research Tips"! You can view back issues of these tips through other posts in this blawg. Enjoy!

This tip comes courtesy of the San Diego County Public Law Library:

Q: I live with several roommates. One of them is opening my mail. Is that a crime?

A: Yes. Not only is that a crime, it's a federal crime! There are several federal laws relating to tampering with mail, most of which provide for punishment by fine or imprisonment or both. The laws regarding mail crimes are found in Title 18 of the US Code, starting with 18 USC 1691. Section 1702 specifically says it is a crime to steal someone's mail and section 1703 says it is illegal to open or destroy anyone's mail or packages. The USPS has issued a booklet that discusses mail theft, fraud, and other postal crimes (go to and look for publication 146)

Internet Tip 12

Welcome to the next issue of "Internet Tips"! There are three sections to this email: a beginner's tip, an advanced tip, and a useful internet link. Enjoy!

Beginner's Tip: Screen Shots
Say you want to take a picture of what's on your screen and input it in a presentation or email. You can do that with SCREEN SHOTS:
Press "Ctrl" + "Print Screen" for a picture of the entire Desktop.
Press "Alt" + "Print Screen" for a picture of the top window you have open on your desktop.
*Then paste (Ctrl+V) into whatever application: email, Word, etc.

Advanced Tip: "Send To" Feature
Do you ever use the "Send To" feature that you see when you right click on something? It's very useful -- with just one click, you can send a document or other file wherever you want -- your CD burner, My Documents, a mail recipient -- anywhere. But maybe the place you want to send something isn't listed. Here's how to do it -- if you're using Windows XP:
· Right click the Start button and click Explore. This will open Windows Explorer.
· Navigate to the drive on which Windows XP is installed (C:\Windows for most of you), and expand the Documents and Settings Folder.
· Double click on the Send To folder (this is a "hidden" folder, so you might need to modify your viewing options first -- click the Tools menu, then select Folder Options, then the View tab. Under Hidden Files and Folders, make sure the button "Show Hidden Files and Folders" is selected. Then click Apply, then OK. The Send To folder should now be visible)
· On the right side of the Explorer pane (the tree of folders), right click on the folder or drive you want to add, and drag it (while holding down on the right mouse button) into the Send To folder.
· Release the right mouse button, and a menu will appear. Select Create Shortcut Here.

Useful Internet Link: Internet Case Digest
From the site: "The Internet Case Digest is a compilation of cases designed to bookmark, collate and monitor important developments in Internet law, including cases that have significant implications for Internet legal issues even if they are not directly related to the Internet. "

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Trend Headed for Dane Co Jail?

As reported in Georgia, another correctional facility is making access to legal materials through electronic means. Is this trend headed to the Dane County Jail? Currently, Dane County Jail inmates have access to books and photocopies by submitting a written request to the Dane Co Legal Resource Center. DCLRC staff fill the requests and deliver them back to jail staff who distribute the requests to the inmates. Most of the instances where electronic kiosks or computer stations have been installed have been in state prisons or larger city or county jails.

Why not Dane County? 1. Does the Sheriff's Office have enough money to invest in this type of technology? Maybe, if a contract can be negotiated with a legal information vendor, such as Westlaw or Lexis.
2. Does the Sheriff's Office have the staff to train inmates how to use the computers? Maybe, but not likely.
3. Is it feasible for the legal information needs of jail inmates? Possibly. The majority of the requests DCLRC receives are for primary law materials: statutes, admin code sections, case law. These requests are poorly worded and require a bit of creative interpretation to decipher the actual request. Will those requests be interpreted by a computer and yield relevant and useful results to the inmate? With some training, an inmate can learn how to input search queries to achieve useful results. Who should do that training? In state prisons, it's law librarians. In Dane County?

I'm not advocating putting computer kiosks or stations in the Dane County Jail, but if the Sheriff wanted to seriously investigate the costs and staffing involved with such an idea, and the projected outcome of savings in time and money (if any), I would support his efforts. For another look at jail kiosks, see the article in the American Association of Law Libraries, Legal Information Services to the Public newsletter.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Blogging by the Numbers

Still have questions about weblogs? Keep in mind that 7% of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the internet say they have created a blog or web-based diary. That represents more than 8 million people.
27% of internet users say they read blogs, a 58% jump from the 17% who told us they were blog readers in February.
12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs. That represents more than 14 million people.
Want to know more? See "Weblogs in a Nutshell" written by Lis Riba.