Episode 098 – Conversation BLS Alumni Greg Zamfotis and John Rudikoff

Episode 098 – Conversation with BLS Alumni Greg Zamfotis and John Rudikoff.mp3

This conversation with Brooklyn Law School alumni Gregory Zamfotis, Class of 2007, and John Rudikoff, Class of 2006 and CEO and managing director of the Brooklyn Law School Center for Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE), discusses how law students can broaden their career prospects by incorporating into their thinking a willingness to take risks and develop, organize and manage a business venture in their professional life.

GregsThe conversation starts with Greg Zamfotis, President and CEO of Gregorys Coffee, a high end coffee shop founded in December 2006. Greg discusses his law school career and his decision to forego the practice of law and open his first shop in New York City, home to some of the world’s most discerning coffee drinkers. The conversation touches on marketing, branding and the highly competitive atmosphere of his business. Greg also talks about how the skills he learned in law school have helped him run his business.

CUBEThe conversation then moves to John Rudikoff who has been director of CUBE since 2015. John discusses CUBE’s mission which focuses on training students to seek a competitive advantage in the job market and on providing essential legal services that startups need to scale up and become sustainable. Referring to a recent article on the WSJ Law Blog, Law School Graduates Finding Fewer Private Practice Jobs, John foresees that this conversation between him and Greg can be an ongoing discussion to help BLS law students enrolled in CUBE who can benefit from the enthusiasm that Greg brings to entrepreneurship.

BLS Library Databases Research Fair: September 29, 2016

fair-balloonsThe Fifth Annual Library Databases Research Fair will be held on Thursday, September 29th, 2016.  The Fair will be held in the Student Lounge from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

Representatives from the following legal research companies will be here to demonstrate their databases:

  • Bloomberg Law
  • Ebsco
  • Fastcase
  • Lexis Digital
  • Lexis Nexis
  • ProQuest
  • Westlaw
  • Wolters Kluwer
  • The Library will showcase our E-Book Collection
  • Brochures/Pens/Post-Its provided by Hein Online

Come and learn how these databases will help you with your legal research.

There will be handouts, light refreshments, and a raffle drawing for gift cards.

Save the date:  Thursday, September 29th, 2016, 3:00pm – 6:00pm, Student Lounge.

Constitution Day Friday September 16th

To encourage all Americans to learn more about the Constitution Congress established Constitution Week in 1956 . It was to begin each year on September 17th, the date in 1787 when delegates to the Convention signed the Constitution. constitution_day

In 2004, Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia included key provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2005 designating September 17th of each year as Constitution Day and requiring public schools and governmental offices to provide educational programs to promote a better understanding of the Constitution.

Test your knowledge of the Constitution. Take the Constitution Quiz and see how well you do.

Good luck!

Labor Day Holiday

imageWith  labor union membership under 12% of the US workforce from a high of 33.2% in 1955, most Americans still appreciate a day off to barbecue, a marked contrast from storming the barricades as occurred during 19th century Labor Days. In the US, Labor Day takes place on the first Monday in September by law. See 5 U.S. Code § 6103. Outside the US, Labor Day falls on May 1. The two separate Labor Days cause some confusion. Labor Day and May Day have in common the celebration of laborers from an era when labor was more grueling than what we think of today. The first Labor Day occurred in NYC’s Union Square on September 5, 1882, when 10,000 union workers marched in a parade honoring American workers, who at the time had none of the labor laws we now take for granted. Labor Day sentiment spread across America when, in 1887 Oregon, followed by a number of other states, adopted Labor Day as a holiday.

The adoption of the holiday did not remedy the labor situation in Industrial Revolution-era America. In 1894 the railroad system was nearly halted by a strike against the Pullman Palace Car Company, a company that mistreated its workers. In reaction to the strike, President Grover Cleveland mobilized federal troops which escalated the violence resulting in several deaths. President Cleveland, in an effort to appease an angry public, passed a bill making Labor Day a national holiday. Labor Day continues as a reminder of the struggle of the labor workforce.

Outside the US, laborers are honored on May Day also known as International Workers’ Day. This holiday was instituted worldwide in response to the Haymarket Riot of 1886, a peaceful protest gone awry with another violent altercation against the Chicago workforce by the police. Although the events leading to the creation of May Day took place in America, the US never adopted it as a legal holiday. It was embraced in the Soviet-bloc. With the fall of communism, the holiday is now removed from its violent origins, much like Labor Day in America, now little remembered for the labor required for this holiday.

Consider the debates that animated Chicago’s inaugural Labor Day celebration in 1885:

On Sunday, September 6th, organized labor’s most radical wing led a preemptive march of more than 5,000 persons in an anarchist and socialist-led demonstration, which included representatives from different unions carrying banners with messages such as: “The greatest crime today is poverty!”; “Capital represents stolen labor”; and “Every government is a conspiracy of the rich against the people.” The city’s rank-and-file had decided to boycott the festivities on the grounds that the red flag, radicalism’s most potent symbol, had been expressly banned. The dispute was symptomatic of larger differences within labor’s camp. The anarchist Sam Fielden emphasized these in his remarks, declaring, “There is going to be a parade tomorrow. Those fellows want to reconcile labor and capital. They want to reconcile you to your starving shanties.” The Chicago Daily Tribune decried the radical demonstration in an article entitled “Cutthroats of Society,” which began, “With the smell of gin and beer, with blood-red flags and redder noses, and with banners inscribed with revolutionary mottoes, the anarchists inaugurated their grand parade and picnic.”

Monday, September 7th, saw another parade by the mainstream Trade and Labor Assembly. They, too, carried banners with more moderate tones: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”; “We do not ask for charity, but simple justice”; and “Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for recreation.” The Trade and Labor Assembly’s march received more favorable reviews from middle-class voices and was even outright celebrated by some. But respectable opinion could turn as rapidly on the trade unions as it did on the anarchists. Just two months before Labor Day, the police had violently subdued a streetcar workers’ strike. In the process they won the admiration of many middle-class Chicagoans, including one minister who used his pulpit to urge the authorities to maintain order, even if it required them “to mow down the crowds with artillery.”

These glimpses of the tensions in earlier Labor Day celebrations show major differences between the late 19th century Gilded Age and current times. Today, we see disparities between rich and poor nearing historic proportions, yet Americans do not debate the morality of capitalism that consumed those who lived through industrialization’s peak decades. The Gilded Age is a world removed from our own and yet one that on Labor Day is worth revisiting. Users of the Brooklyn Law school Library can get a sense of that period by reviewing the book in the BLS collection New York Labor Heritage: a Selected Bibliography of New York City Labor History by Robert Wechsler, Call No. Z7164.L1 W38.

National Park Service 100th Anniversary

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Organic Act which Congress passed to create in the Department of the Interior the National Park Service. The aim of the law was “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

NPSWhen the law was enacted, there were already 35 national monuments and parks including Yosemite National Park established in 1864 and Yellowstone National Park established in 1872. Today, the National Park Service has 140 national monuments and parks, 128 historical parks or sites, 25 battlefields or military sites, 19 preserves, 18 recreation areas, 10 seashores, four parkways, four lakeshores, and two reserves. The biggest park is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska established in 1980 containing 13.2 million acres. It is the same size as Yosemite, Yellowstone and the country of Switzerland combined. The smallest site is the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Philadelphia established in 1972 sitting on 0.02 acres. The highest point in the system is Denali (or Mount McKinley) at 20,320 feet. The lowest accessible point is Death Valley National Park, at 282 feet below sea level. The newest National Monument is Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine which President Barack Obama designated this week for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. See NPR web page In Maine, Land From Burt’s Bees Co-Founder Is Declared A National Monument discussing the controversial designation of the woods as protected territory especially from locals concerned about federal oversight of lands that used to be central to the regional economy.

With an annual budget of $2.6 billion, the National Park Service has about 20,000 direct employees and supports 240,000 local jobs generating $27 billion for the U.S. economy. More than 307 million people visited Park Service locations in 2015 compared to 1920 when NPS sites were visited by 1 million people. Brooklyn does not have a national park but this week Brooklyn Bridge Park hosted a National Park Service celebrating the100th anniversary of its founding. Nearby sites such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are both part of the NPS. Other NPS locations in New York City include the African Burial Ground National Monument, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site and Castle Clinton National Monument.

Brooklyn Law School Library users can explore OneSearch to find a large set of articles about the history of the National Park Service such as the National Parks: America’s BEST Idea? from Parks & Recreation Aug 2016, Vol. 51 Issue 8, page 44.

Welcome to the Library!

welcome back to schoolThe BLS Library staff welcomes new and returning students to school for the 2016-2017 academic year.  We are here to help in whatever way we can with your print and electronic use of the Library.

You may borrow reserve and circulating books from the first floor Circulation Desk and you can ask for reference and research assistance at the first floor Reference Desk.  There are now more ways than ever to reach the Reference Librarians.  See below:

Call us:  718-780-7567

Text us:  718-734-2432

Chat with us:  Visit the library homepage & the library page in BLS Connect

Email us:  askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu

Visit us at:  askthelibrary.brooklaw.edu

The Fall Semester Hours, beginning August 29, 2016, are:

Monday – Thursday:  8:00am – 12:00am

Friday:  8:00am – 10:00pm

Saturday:  9:00am – 10:00pm

Sunday:  10:00am – 12:00am

Good Luck in the fall semester!  We’re looking forward to seeing you in the Library!

Is the DMCA Unconstitutionally Overbroad?

takedownSince passage in 1998 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Pub. L. 105-304, media companies like Sony, Disney, Comcast and others have issued DMCA take down notices to remove online content from sites hosted by service providers, primarily YouTube. The DMCA was enacted to help both content creators and hosts by providing a safe harbor provision for hosts who rely on user-generated content and who do not provide content themselves. Since it is impossible for YouTube to police all user-uploaded content themselves, it would be unfair to make YouTube liable for infringing material on their site. Before passage of the DMCA, copyright infringement on a website might result in the website being liable, which could lead to putting platforms like YouTube out of business. The DMCA was codified in Title 17 of the US Code. The safe harbor in 17 USC 512  protects the rights of copyright holders while providing protection for content service providers. If a copyright holder alleges infringement in a video on the site like YouTube, it has to take down that video immediately. There is no appeal process, as YouTube is not in a position to look at the validity of each take down notice because of time constraints. If this process is followed, the law gives safe harbor protection for the content service provider.

With aggressive policing of potential copyright infringement, media companies use automated software that ignores fair use rights often misidentifying music and videos as copyrighted. Another controversial section of the DMCA aims to protect against copyright infringers who employ tools that enable them to circumvent access controls that protect a copyright holder, 17 USC 1201 prohibits the use of tool to “circumvent a technological measure” like those that  descramble a scrambled work, decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner.

Provisions of the DMCA dealing with both take down notices and the “anti-circumvention” rule now face legal challenges that may lead to review by the US Supreme Court. The take down provisions were the subject of a  federal appeals court decision in Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., 801 F. 3d 1126 (9th Cir., 2015). Plaintiff posted on YouTube a home video of her children dancing to Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy”. Universal Music Corporation sent YouTube a DMCA take down notice claiming that Lenz’s video violated their copyright in the song. Lenz claimed fair use of the copyrighted material and sued Universal for misrepresentation of a DMCA claim. The district court in Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., 572 F. Supp. 2d 1150 (N.D. Cal., 2008) rejected a motion to dismiss the claim, and held that Universal must consider fair use when filing a take down notice, but noted that to prevail a plaintiff would need to show bad faith by a rights holder. The 9th Circuit affirmed, holding that while fair use arises procedurally as an affirmative defense, copyright holders have a “duty to consider—in good faith and prior to sending a take down notification—whether allegedly infringing material constitutes fair use”. This week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a petition with the Supreme Court, arguing that this standard rendered fair use protections against the DMCA “all but meaningless.”

As for the 17 USC 1201 prohibition on anti-circumvention tools, the EFF filed a complaint in the US District Court for the District of Columbia challenging its constitutionality claiming the section restricts people’s ability to access, use, and even speak out about copyrighted materials. The “Digital Rights Management” provision of the law bans activities that weaken copyright access-control systems, including re-configuring software-enabled devices. This imposes a legal cloud over the rights to tinker with or repair devices, to convert or remix videos, or conduct independent security research to reveal dangerous security flaws in computers. If the complaint succeeds, one of the most controversial technology laws will be struck down. Other countries that have been pressured by the US trade representative to adopt this rule will decide whether they will still enforce it, even after the US has given up on it.

copyrightBrooklyn Law School Library has a large collection of material on copyright including the 3d edition of Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators by Kenneth D. Crews (Call No. KF2995 .C74 2012) with 18 discrete areas of copyright, including specialized and controversial music and sound recording issues. The easy-to-use guide has tools that information professionals need to take control of their rights and responsibilities as copyright owners and users.

Israeli Court Rules on Kafka Papers

In a major victory for libraries and public access to great literature, the Israeli Supreme Court this week issued a ruling concluding an eight-year legal battle about ownership of the literary works and letters of Franz Kafka. The series of court cases between Israel and the heirs of Max Brod, executor of the estate of Prague-born writer Franz Kafka began in 2009. Kafka’s last will and testament transferred all of his manuscripts to Brod after his death in 1924. A March 2015 article The Betrayed(?) Wills of Kafka and Brod by Nili Cohen, 27 (1) Law & Literature 1 (available to Brooklyn Law School Library users through a subscription to the Taylor & Francis Online Journal Library) relates that Kafka in separate letters entrusted his manuscripts and works to Brod instructing him to burn them after his passing. Brod did not honor Kafka’s request and took the papers with him when he fled Czechoslovakia in 1939 and emigrated to Palestine. After the 1968 death of Brod, his will bequeathed the papers to his secretary Esther Hoffe with instructions to give them to the “Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the municipal library in Tel Aviv or another organization in Israel or abroad”. Instead Hoffe kept the papers and shared them with her two daughters and even began to sell them.  In 1988, Hoffe sold an original copy of Kafka’s The Trial for $2 million. The 2007 death of Hoffe, more than 80 years after Kafka’s death, touched off a lengthy court fight between Israel and Hoffe’s daughters who claimed the papers were given to their mother by Brod so she could dispose of them as she wanted.

The WSJ Law Blog reports that Hoffe’s daughters refused the Israeli government’s demands to hand over the documents. The case turned on questions of inheritance law and whether Hoffe was entitled to give instructions about Brod’s literary legacy in her will. “Max Brod did not want his property to be sold at the best price, but for them to find an appropriate place in a literary and cultural institution” Israel’s high court stated in its opinion in which it directed that the papers should belong to the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.

The TrialBoth Kafka and Brod studied law in Prague’s Karl University and Kafka devoted much of his literary work to the law. His letters to Brod to destroy his manuscripts was not a binding legal document as they included neither the title “Will” nor a date, suggesting that Kafka intended to ask his friend to honor a moral, not a legal, obligation. Kafka’s uncertain attitude towards law is expressed in his greatest novel, The Trial, which he wrote from 1914 to 1915. The novel was published in 1925 after Kafka’s death. Years later, Orson Welles wrote a screenplay based on the novel and directed the 1962 masterpiece The Trial (Call No. PT2621.A26 T75 1998) which the BLS Library has in its video collection. The story centers on the main character, Josef K, who wakes up one morning to find the police in his room. They tell him that he is on trial but no one tells him what the charges are. His efforts to learn the details of the charges and to protest his innocence remain fruitless. As he tries to look behind the facade of the judicial system, he finds he has no way to escape his nightmare.

National Institute’s Publications Added to HeinOnline

The William S. Hein Company has added program materials from the ABA Center for Professional Development‘s National Institutes, to their digital legal library collection, HeinOnline. These substantive materials are assembled each year by the faculty for these in-person programs and represent original analyses of legal developments in the subject areas being addressed.  Coverage begins with 2012.

Below are examples of 2016 Institutes:

To access this material select Hein from the Quick Links menu on the Library’s Webpage  

heinIn the Browse Collections by Names box, expand                              ABA Law Library Collection Periodicals     hein

Impeachment in Cross-Examination

Each year, the American Bar Association, Section of Litigation publishes thousands of books to enhance trial practice skills of lawyers and law students on subjects from evidence to discovery to client privilege and skills for the examination of witnesses at trial and in discovery. The Brooklyn Law School Library collection has many of these titles that aspiring trial lawyimpeachers can review before starting the practice of law. The latest acquisition, MacCarthy on Impeachment: How to Find and Use These Weapons of Mass Destruction (Call No. KF8950 .M33 2016) by Terence F. MacCarthy, Executive Director of the Federal Defender Program in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and his two sons, is a relatively short 172 page volume that explores in detail impeachment of witnesses, which the author defines as cross-examination on “matters affecting the credibility of the witness” or “that which challenges veracity”. Impeachment is often used to show that the witness is, at worst, a liar, a difficult task that requires the cross examiner to go for the jugular. An easier goal of impeachment is to show that a witness is mistaken. Another type of impeachment discussed in the book is motivation or bias impeachment the constitutional dimension of which was firmly recognized in Davis v. Alaska, 415 U.S. 308 (1974).

There are many books on evidence and trial advocacy, including MacCarthy on Cross Examination (Call No. KF8920 .M326 2007) by the same author, but little specifically on impeachment. It is one of the most confusing and misunderstood parts of the trial for both trial lawyers and judges. Just as cross examination is the most difficult of trial skills, impeachment, usually a part of cross examination, is even more difficult. Many trial lawyers do not know what they can or cannot do to impeach. This new title offers trial lawyers “weapons of mass destruction” with instruction on how to use them. This groundbreaking work is an indispensable resource for trial attorneys seeking to improve their skills and better serve their clients.

The book discusses sixteen ways to impeach a witness in sixteen chapters, the last two of which deal with expert witnesses. Some chapters include citations to the Federal Rules of Evidence in parentheses. The chapter are:

  • Chapter One: Inconsistent Statements (FRE 613)
  • Chapter Two: Contradictions – Contradictory Evidence
  • Chapter Three: Motivation
  • Chapter Four: Truthfulness (FRE 608)
  • Chapter Five: Convictions (FRE 609)
  • Chapter Six: What the Witness Could Have Done but Did Not Do
  • Chapter Seven: Capacity
  • Chapter Eight: Bad Acts, Crimes, and Wrongs (FRE 404(b))
  • Chapter Nine: Habit (FRE 406)
  • Chapter Ten: Writing Used to Refresh Memory (FRE 612)
  • Chapter Eleven: Admissions (FRE 801(d)(2))
  • Chapter Twelve: The Hearsay Declarant (FRE 806)
  • Chapter Thirteen: Character Witnesses
  • Chapter Fourteen: Sex Offense or Sexual Assault Cases (FRE 412 to 415)
  • Chapter Fifteen: Expert’s Résumé (FRE 702)
  • Chapter Sixteen: Learned Treatises (FRE 803(18))

At the end of the volume is a useful list of MacCarthy’s Rules of Trial Advocacy including these sample admonitions:

  • “The lectern is for putting things on not for standing behind.”
  • “Speak in a courtroom the way you would speak in a bar. You speak in a bar to practice speaking in a courtroom.”
  • “Do not legalize.”
  • “The importance of eye contact and a smile.”
  • “Do not use fillers – i.e. “and”, “like”, “ah”.
  • “Your stories should paint pictures.”