As the holiday season approaches, law librarians (including this writer), faculty, students and staff at Brooklyn Law School and elsewhere look forward to the end of final exams so they can travel and join family and friends in celebration of the December holidays. From Christmas to New Year’s Day, from Hannukah to Eid Milad-un-Nabi or the Winter Solstice, many of us will celebrate according to our own tradition. Not all of us will be so fortunate as many people will be working during the holidays to keep the world running while we celebrate the holidays: cab drivers, garage assistants, healthcare workers, carers, police men and women, airline staff, members of the armed forces. All of these people deserve a massive thank you for keeping things going while we sit at home enjoying holiday cooking. So take a minute away from your family and friends and reach out to someone who is working on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. All of us can use a random act of kindness not only during the holidays but every day.
The BLS Library is offering a webinar and a live training session to introduce students & faculty to the LexisNexis Digital Library. As described in Reference Librarian Rosemary Campagna’s blog of October 15, 2016, the Library recently acquired a subscription to the LexisNexis Digital Library which gives students access to treatises, practice guides, and study aids in eBook format.
In order to formally introduce students and faculty to this important new resource, the Library is offering both a webinar and a live training session for the LexisNexis Digital Library. Both sessions will cover the following topics:
How to access (both on-campus and off-campus)
Our library’s collection
Tools and functionality
Locating a title/volumes
Linking on-line research with “print” research
Recent and forthcoming enhancements
These sixty minute sessions will be offered on the following dates/times:
UPDATE: THE PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED WEBINAR FOR THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3rd WILL BE REPLACED BY A LIVE TRAINING SESSION ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2016, 11AM-12NOON IN LIBRARY ROOM 113M. SPACE IS LIMITED. EMAIL to: firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to attend.
Current law students and faculty can access the Law Library’s new subscription to the LexisNexis Digital Library. This new subscription gives provides access to primary law, code books, treatises as well as study aids, such as the Understanding and Questions and Answers series. Just sign in with your BLS user name and password for access.
The LexisNexis Digital Library provides eBook lending capabilities, much like lending a physical book. The books are accessible via computer, smartphone and tablets. They are compatible with all major devices (Apple® products, Android, Amazon® Kindle®, etc.). You can access them 24/7.
Borrowing times vary depending on the format, ranging from 7 days for a study aid and 30 days for a treatise. We also have multiple copies of titles, so several users may access them at once.
This conversation with Brooklyn Law School Assistant Professor of Law Susan Hazeldean and Rachel Russell, Class of 2017 and chair of the Brooklyn Law School OUTLaws, discusses the Brooklyn Law School LGBT Advocacy Clinic where students represent LGBT individuals in immigration and prisoners’ rights cases and undertake advocacy projects to advance LGBT equality. The conversation starts with Prof. Hazeldean describing the types of cases students handle during their time with the clinic. She also discusses a recent decision by the New York Court of Appeals, In the Matter of Brooke S.B. v Elizabeth A.C.C., in which the court reversed its 25-year-old ruling in the Matter of Alison D v. Virginia M., 77 N.Y.2d 651 (1991), which refused a non-biological lesbian mother standing to sue for visitation with the child that she had parented for six years because she was not a “parent” within the meaning of the New York Domestic Relations Law.
The conversation shifts to Rachel Russell and upcoming projects hosted by OUTLaws. OUTLaws is an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) students and straight allies within the BLS community. The group’s goals are to provide educational, political and social events for students and to foster connections with alumni and the legal community at large. OUTLaws programming addresses issues affecting LGBTQ civil rights, sponsors guest speakers, supports activism, and increases the visibility of LGBTQ people within the profession.
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.
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.
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.
Have you been following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, colloquially known as “the Brexit?” In a referendum held on June 23rd, British citizens voted in favor of the Brexit, with 52% percent voting to leave the EU and 48% voting to remain.
What Happens Now?
That’s a good question as there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the legal consequences of the referendum. As a matter of fact, the UK is the first member nation ever to elect to sever its ties with the EU. For the immediate future, though, the status quo will be maintained. First of all, it is important to note that the referendum has no legal consequences with respect to the UK’s status as a member state of the EU. Instead, the UK will begin the process of leaving the EU only after the British government invokes Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, one of the EU’s governing documents.
According to Article 50: “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.” Article 50 also specifically provides “A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention.” This language is important because it makes clear that the Brexit cannot be initiated by the referendum vote, the trigger to request an exit from the EU can only be pulled by a formal request under Article 50 made by the British government. Whether and when the British government will actually invoke Article 50 is anybody’s guess given the spate of resignations and current state of turmoil in British politics. As a matter of fact, British legal scholars are currently debating how Article 50 is to be invoked – can the Prime Minister trigger Article 50 or is a formal vote of Parliament required?
What Happens When/If the British Government Invokes Article 50?
If the British government provides the EU with a formal Article 50 notification of its election to leave the EU, the UK and the EU will then be required by the Lisbon Treaty to negotiate a deal setting forth the terms of the UK’s withdrawal and establishing a structure for the future legal relationship between the UK and the EU. Once the Article 50 trigger is pulled, the European Council and the UK will have just two years to hammer out a new deal. If the parties choose not to extend this period and cannot reach any agreement, the UK will exit the EU with no formal arrangement in place. Once the Article 50 trigger is pulled, it is irreversible.
Following the Brexit vote, David Cameron announced his intention to resign as Prime Minister, leaving the decision on how and when to trigger Article 50 in the hands of his successor. Given the current chaos in British markets and politics, the culmination of Brexit may take years.
Hope everyone will be enjoying the beautiful 4th of July weekend.
The Library will be open its normal hours on Saturday and Sunday and will be open from 9 to 5 on the Fourth.
The Library hours for the weekend are posted below.
Saturday July 2nd 9 am – 10 pm
Sunday July 3rd 10 am – 10 pm
Monday July 4th 9 am – 5 pm
The show will take place on the East River this year. Fireworks will be set off from the Brooklyn Bridge and from barges in the water below. You can view the fireworks from any area in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn with an unobstructed view of the sky above the East River.
An intriguing new title in the Brooklyn Law School Library collection is Robot Law by Law Professors Ryan Calo, A. Michael Froomkin, and Ian Kerr (K564.C6 R63 2016). The 402 page book brings together research on robotics law and policy written by scholars from law, engineering, computer science and philosophy on topics such as liability, warfare, domestic law enforcement, personhood, and other cutting-edge issues in robotics and artificial intelligence. The book is an in-depth look at an area of law that is growing in importance. Like the Internet before it, robotics is a technology that will transform the social and economic landscape of legal research and practice. Robot Law looks at the increasing sophistication of robots and their widespread use in hospitals, public spaces, and battlefields requiring rethinking philosophical and public policy issues, including how AI interacts with existing legal regimes and changes in policy and in law.
Whether artificial intelligence will one day displace human lawyers has become so important that, this past April, Vanderbilt Law School hosted the first legal conference on the topic, “Watson, Esq.: Will Your Next Lawyer Be a Machine”. Speakers included Richard Susskind, author of “Tomorrow’s Lawyers” and “The Future of the Professions,” and Andrew Arruda, whose firm ROSS Intelligence helped build ROSS (which does not stand for anything), the world’s first artificially intelligent attorney, on top of IBM Watson. Designed by students at the University of Toronto, ROSS is meant for use by lawyers. Asking it a legal question will yeild an “instant answer with citations and suggested readings from a variety of content sources.” ROSS reads and understands language, postulates hypotheses when asked questions, researches, and then generates responses (along with references and citations) to back up its conclusions. It learns from experience, gaining speed and knowledge the more users interact with it.
A recent Washington Post news piece reports that the law firm Baker & Hostetler announced that it is employing ROSS to handle its bankruptcy practice of nearly 50 lawyers. CEO and co-founder Andrew Arruda, says that other firms have also signed licenses with ROSS and expects more announcements soon. Although still in the prototype stage, ROSS shows great promise as an innovative legal research tool. Tasks that ROSS can do include:
Giving relevant answers – not a list of results – to natural language questions;
Learning from user’s questions – it learns and improves the more it is used;
Providing a consistent, easy-to-use experience on any devices used to access it.
At this week’s CALIcon 16 being held at the Georgia State University College of Law, BLS Reference Librarian Harold O’Grady and Technology Educator Lloyd Carew-Reid will present a session, The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Legal Education, Research and Practice. Also participating will be: