Career Guidance for New Lawyers

The 57 titles in the Brooklyn Law Library April New Books List cover a wide range of topics from constitutional law, global internet law, the legalization of marijuana, marriage equality and practice and procedure in asset forfeiture. There are several items that should interest graduating law students and aspiring lawyers.

Anatomy of a TrialAnatomy of a Trial: A Handbook for Young Lawyers by Paul Mark Sandler (Call # KF8915 .S24 2014) is designed for young trial lawyers eager to gain an appreciation of how to handle real problems encountered during jury trials. The second edition examines key phases of jury trials (voir dire, opening statements, direct and cross-examination, and closing arguments) in the light of two particular cases, one criminal and the other civil. The criminal case involves highly complex subjects and law campaign finance, national politics, and Hollywood fundraising, among others and necessitates simplifying and storytelling for the jury. The civil case illustrates the reality that most cases hinge on the credibility of witnesses, and also showcases the critical importance of experts in trials of a technical nature. This new edition also includes an all-new third case, a non-jury civil trial.

Entertainment Careers for LawyersEntertainment by William D. Henslee (Call # KF299.E5 H46 2014) discusses entertainment law, a popular area of study for law students and a desired career path for practitioners. Yet the glamor of working with actors, production companies, musicians, writers, and others to create works of art comes with long hours, hard work, and fierce competition for jobs. This Third Edition will dispel many of the myths surrounding the practice and help lawyers and law students gain an understanding of the realities of entertainment law. The book will help readers gain an overview of the substantive law areas included in entertainment law, from intellectual property and litigation to contract negotiations and estate planning; understand the pros and cons of specializing in entertainment law; learn about the career trajectories available in four major entertainment genres: music, theater, film, and television; land a first job as an entertainment lawyer as a law student; and understand the day-to-day realities of working as an entertainment lawyer.

AdvocacyIntroduction to Advocacy: Research, Writing and Argument by Harvard Law School Board of Student Advisors (Call # KF281.A2 I57 2013) is a clear, concise and accessible introduction to legal research and writing. The Eighth Edition includes examples and helpful tips about effective writing as well as warnings about common mistakes students should avoid. In addition, there is a new chapter on rule synthesis. The book also includes a new, full-length memorandum and two updated briefs.

SurvivalLaw Firm Job Survival Manual: From First Interview to Partnership by Nancy B. Rapoport (Call # KF297 .R37 2014) will help new lawyers run the gauntlet of their legal careers faster and smarter. Written with humor and sensitivity, this concise handbook demystifies the etiquette and ethics of the law firm environment while providing essential survival skills. The book spans law careers from summer job interviews through the first year of partnership.

StorytellingStorytelling for Lawyers by Philip Meyer (Call # K181 .M49 2014) offers a narrative tool kit that supplements the analytical skills traditionally emphasized in law school and practical tips for practicing attorneys to help craft their own legal stories. Good lawyers have an ability to tell stories, whether arguing a murder case or a complex financial securities case, explaining a chain of events to judges and juries so that they understand them. The best lawyers are also able to construct narratives that have an emotional impact on their intended audiences. The author begins with a pragmatic theory of the narrative foundations of litigation practice and applies it to a range of practical illustrative examples: briefs, judicial opinions and oral arguments. Intended for legal practitioners, teachers, law students, and even interdisciplinary academics, the book offers a basic yet comprehensive explanation of the central role of narrative in litigation.

Preparing Your Oral Argument? We can help!

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If you are a first year, you are most likely preparing for your oral argument.  It can be pretty intimidating and scary.  (At least it was for me.)  But the library can help you prepare and shake off some of those jitters.

The library has many resources to help, including a new Technology Collaboration Lab that will allow you to record and watch yourself practicing your arguments.   The Tech CoLab, Room 111, is located on the ground floor of the library by the copy machines/scanners.  To use the Tech CoLab, you need to reserve the room, using the library’s study room reservations system.   When it is time for your reservation, you will check out the key to the Tech CoLab from the circulation desk.

We also have several books trial and appellate advocacy to assist you.   Listed below are a few of the available titles.

Thomas A. Mauet, Trial Techniques and Trials (9th ed. 2013).

Charles H. Rose III, Fundamental Trial Advocacy (2d ed. 2011).

Ursula Bentele, Mary Falk, & Eve Cary, Appellate Advocacy: Principles and Practice (5th ed. 2012).

Michael R. Fontham & Michael Vitiello, Persuasive Written and Oral Advocacy in Trial and Appellate Courts (3d ed. 2013)

Student Writing Competition – First Prize $10,000

manwritesletterHave a particular legal issue you are keen on?  Interested in writing about it?  If so, then submit your paper to be considered for the annual Brown Award given by the Judge John R. Brown Scholarship Foundation.

The Award is in recognition of Excellence in Legal Writing in American Law Schools.  There is no  limitation as to topic; only that the writing must be on a legal subject.

Any student wishing to submit a paper must have a letter of recommendation from a faculty member.  Specific details regarding the competition may be found here.

Some topics from last year’s winners.

First Place: Information Traps

Second Place: Beneath the Surface of the Clean Water Act: Exploring the Depth of the Act’s Jurisdictional Scope of Groundwater Pollution

Third Place: Lien on Me: The Survival of Security Interests in Revenues from the Sale of an FCC License

New URL for “New EUR-Lex”

On Monday, March 24, there will be an upgrade to the European Union’s legal website, New EUR-Lex, and the URL will switch to: eur-lex.europa.eu. The site’s administrators have noted that New EUR-Lex might be temporarily unavailable on Monday.  EUR-Lex provides free access, in multiple official EU languages, to 1) the Official Journal of the European Union, 2) EU treaties and secondary legislation (including consolidated versions), 3) legislative proposals, 4) working papers and 5) EU case law.

Adventure and the Law

Brooklyn Law School Library’s March New Books List has 61 titles covering a wide range of subjects including Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan; felon disenfranchisement; trade secrets; appellate procedure; law and war; and taxation.

Thrill-seekers and those who like their Adventure and the Lawadventure from an easy chair may be drawn to one title, Adventure and the Law by Cecil C. Kuhne III (Call #KF1290.S66 K84 2014). The author, a member of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP’s litigation section since 1993 in Dallas, TX examines adventures on land, water, and everywhere in between. It tells how all sorts of exciting ventures can change from thrilling to threatening and what happens when these instances go to the courtroom. In the book which the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section sponsored, the author tells of 16 riveting cases surrounding extreme activities such as mountain biking, water skiing, snowboarding, bungee jumping, car racing, skydiving from recreational to extreme, and reveals how real-life adventures can take a turn for the unexpected.

Internet Turns 25 Today

happy_birthday_with_staresThe Pew Research Center, the nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world,  recently released the report, The Web at 25 in the U.S. 

What were the report’s findings?   “The internet has been a plus for society and an especially good thing for individual usersproclaims its subtitle. But we all knew that.

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • 87% of American adults use the internet
  • 90% of internet users say the internet has been a good thing for them personally
  • 6% say it has been a bad thing, while 3% volunteer that it has been some of both
  • 76% say the internet has been a good thing for society
  • 15% say it has been a bad thing and 8% say it has been equally good and bad
  • 53%  say the internet would be, at minimum, “very hard” to give up
  • 49% of cell phone owners say the same thing about their cell phone
  • 35% of all adults say their television would be very hard to give up (44% in 2006)
  • 28% of landline telephone owners say their phone would be very hard to give up (48% in 2006)
  • 70% report positive treatment by others online
  • 24% report negative treatment

Social media did not command as great an appreciation.   Only 10% reported that they would find it very hard to give up social media.

 

Episode 089: Conversation with Prof. Andrew Napolitano

Episode 089: Conversation with Prof. Andrew Napolitano.mp3

This podcast features an interview with Brooklyn Law School Visiting Professor of Law  Andrew Napolitano who teaches courses on Constitutional Interpretation and Individual Rights and First Amendment Law. Professor Napolitano discusses his role in the upcoming Evening with United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia scheduled for Friday, March 21, 2014 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House.

In the conversation, Judge Napolitano discusses the format of the upcoming event where he will question Justice Scalia on issues of human freedom and the U.S. Constitution. Following that will be questions from the audience on a range of topics that Justice Scalia has covered both in his judicial opinions and dissents as well as the books that he has authored. Books in the collection of the BLS Library include:

Constitutional ChaosJudge Napolitano talks about two of his books that are in the BLS Library collection. The earliest is Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws (Call # HV9950 .N34 2004) written after he left the New Jersey Superior Court where he served as a trial judge from 1987 to 1995. The book speaks from his experiences and investigation about how government agencies will often arrest without warrant, spy without legal authority, imprison without charge, and kill without cause.

The other title is The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land (Call # KF5050 .N37 2006). The book explains how the federal government has manipulated the Constitution to take power from the states and the people. He closes the interview by discussing The Second Constitutional Convention: How the American People Can Take Back Their Government by Richard E. Labunski (Call #KF4555.L33 2000) which looks at Article V of the U.S. Constitution that authorizes the American people to call for a new constitutional convention.

Private Judges and Secret Rulings

A recent NY Times op-ed Renting Judges for Secret Rulings by Prof. Judith Resnick of Yale Law School raises the question whether wealthy litigants should be able to rent state judges and courthouses to decide cases in private and keep the results secret. While the use of alternate dispute resolution in the form of arbitration and mediation is nothing new dating back to the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925, it is the attempt by the Delaware courts to legitimize in-court secrecy that makes the article and the case that it follows one of interest to the legal community.

The article follows the case of Delaware Coalition for Open Government, Inc. v. Strine, 733 F.3d 510 (3d Cir. 2013) that the US Supreme Court may decide. In 2009, Delaware amended its code to grant the Court of Chancery “the power to arbitrate business disputes” permitting companies to resolve disputes through closed-door arbitration presided over by a sitting judge. The Third Circuit found the amendment unconstitutional, even though such proceedings are not identical to civil trials, and even though arbitration has historically been private, since Delaware’s government-sponsored arbitration differs fundamentally from other arbitration, in that they are in front of judges in courthouses, result in binding orders of Chancery Court, and allow only limited right of appeal. Finding that court proceedings have historically been open to the public and the judiciary as part of a democratic society, the District Court and the Third Circuit sought to ensure accountability and allow the public to maintain faith in Delaware judicial system. The ruling stated that the drawbacks of openness are slight as court rules provide for confidential filing of documents, and there are remedies to protect trade secrets or other proprietary information. Confidentiality is not the sole advantage of Delaware’s arbitration proceeding over regular Chancery Court proceedings.

The case is pending before the US Supreme Court as Strine v. Delaware Coalition For Open Government, Inc., Docket No. 13-869. Briefs are available at SCOTUSblog which states the issue before the Court as:  Whether Press-Enterprise Corp. v. Superior Court of California‘s “experience and logic” test requires invalidation on First Amendment grounds of a Delaware statute authorizing state judges to act as arbitrators in business disputes — when the parties voluntarily select arbitration — because the arbitration proceedings are not open to the public.

The issue is not a new one and was the subject of a 2006 law review article. See Laurie Kratsky Dore, Public Courts Versus Private Justice: It’s Time To Let Some Sun Shine in on Alternative Dispute Resolution, 81 Chicago-Kent Law Review 463 (Spring 2006) available to the Brooklyn Law School community through the BLS Library subscription to HeinOnline.

Congress.gov Replaces Thomas.gov

For almost 20 years, Thomas has been the official source for federal legislative information.  Now, users trying to access Thomas will be directed to Congress.gov.

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As of now, Congress.gov is a beta site and will remain a beta site until the shifting of all data sets from Thomas is complete.  The full transition is expected at the end of 2014, and at this time Thomas will be permanently retired.

Congress.gov replaces Thomas with a system that includes platform mobility, comprehensive information retrieval and user-friendly presentation. It currently includes all data sets available on Thomas except nominations, treaties and communications.  As mentioned above, all data sets will be included by the end of this year.

If you are interested in learning how to navigate the new platform, online training is available.  Sign up here.