News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Archive for December, 2012


Ringing in the New Year…

With the New Year right around the corner, now is the time to think about what you can do to make next year better than the last. There are quite a few websites that list resolutions specifically for lawyers including Above the Law and Lawyerist.com.  The second of these sites includes useful advice on how to hone your legal writings skills in the upcoming year.

If those don’t convince you to take action, here’s a short list of resolutions that might help you get the most out of your education at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law:

1.       Make OhioLink your best friend: With OhioLink you can get almost any book with very little effort. The OhioLink system could also save you money on textbooks. Do remember to return your materials on time though, or you may accumulate a lot of fines.

2.       Reserve study rooms in advance: By planning out your schedule you will use your time more efficiently. This will allow you to earn good grades but still have time for fun. Committing to a room at a certain time may also help you avoid procrastination. You can reserve study rooms up to a week ahead of time.

3.       Get involved:  Try working in one of the law school’s five clinics or volunteering in your spare time.

4.       Make use of the library’s research guides: The library has dozens of online guides that correspond with your class topics to make your research that much easier. Take advantage of them.

5.       Ride the RTA: As a student, you get a U-Pass practically for free. Try riding the bus to save money on gas while limiting your ecological footprint. Taking public transit will also give you extra time to get in all of your studying.

What Will You Do When Research Is No Longer Free?

Three years of law school can lull you into a blissful state of ignorance when it comes to the high-priced reality of legal research. After all, you’ve been given free rein to poke around in Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg, running searches that may or may not get you what you’re looking for, without regard to the underlying price structure of the materials you’re searching. Then when you graduate and continue sloppy research practices in the real world, you could be surprised at the whopping database bill you’ve just run up for your client. Librarians and other information herders like to call this problem “cost-effective legal research,” or lack of it.

Shawn G. Nevers discusses this issue in his article “Becoming a Cost-Effective Researcher” in the December issue of the ABA’s Student Lawyer. He suggests several ways to become aware of this problem and prepare to face it in practice:

  • Practice effective research strategies while it’s still free.
  • Learn the cost structures at your job or future employer.
  • Get to know the free and low-cost alternatives.

We have an extensive Cost Effective Legal Research guide that gives you search tips and guidelines, a basic explanation of law firm cost structures, and lists many of the free and low-cost alternatives like Google Scholar, Jureeka, Cornell Legal Information Institute, Casemaker, Fastcase, and Versuslaw. We also periodically offer seminar sessions and in-class lectures on cost-effective legal research. Be on the look-out for sessions like these in the Spring semester.

Happy To Be a Small-Town Lawyer

According to author Richard L. Hermann, small-town America is a haven for happy attorneys who are satisfied with their clients, careers, and lives in general. This seems to buck the national trend in lawyer job satisfaction. Lawyerist.com maintains that only 55 percent of lawyers overall are happy at work (Lawyerist doesn’t explore the urban vs. small-town happiness divide).

Hermann’s new book, Practicing Law in Small-Town America [Find it] aims at revealing the secrets of small-town lawyerly bliss, and how you can get there yourself. The book is broken up into three easily-skimable sections: (1) defining small-town law practice, (2) a large section of vignettes that gives you a sense of the breadth of the small-town experience, and (3) practical things to consider for starting out in or transitioning to small-town practice.

Winter Break=Reading for Fun

Exams are probably still too fresh in your memory for you to think about spending any time in a library reading books, but soon (believe it or not) you may actually get an itch to open the cover to a book. Winter break, though short, is the perfect time for you to read a book just for fun. Even if you might not be ready to tax your own mind with the written word, it’s possible that a book list might be helpful to you in finding a holiday gift for a scholarly parent or bookish friend. Checking out a best-seller list by the New York Times, USA Today, or Amazon could be useful in locating the perfect book, but you might also want to take a peek at the following book lists:

  1. American Library Association – Notable Books for 2012
  2. The Man Booker Prize – Winners, Shortlist, & Longlist by Year (Also see the Man Asian Literary Prize Winners)
  3. Exclusive Books – The Boeke Prize
  4. National Book Critics Circle Award
  5. National Book Foundation – 2012 National Book Awards (Go to Awards, then Winners & Finalists for additional years)

Frederick William Maitland

Today marks the 106th anniversary of the passing of Frederick William Maitland. His writings on the history of English law make him a figure worthy of remembrance. He was born in London on May 28, 1850, and spent most of his childhood in the county of Gloucestershire. He was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge.

It was not until Maitland was in his thirties that his career as a legal historian began in earnest. Maitland was one of the thirteen founding members of the Selden Society, which focused on publishing works on English legal history. The society was appropriately named after John Selden who was a 17th century scholar of ancient English law. Of the twenty-one volumes published during Maitland’s lifetime, eight were written by Maitland himself. Some of his significant writings include Bracton’s Notebook (1887), The History of English Law before Edward I (1895), Roman Canon Law in the Church of England (1898), Domesday Book and Beyond (1897), and The Constitutional History of England (1908).

Beyond his writings, Maitland is also significant for his acquaintances. He worked closely with Sir Frederick Pollock, who graduated from Eton six years prior to Maitland. Sir Leslie Stephen, who was the father of Virginia Woolf and an author in his own right, was also a friend. Maitland eventually married Florence Henrietta, the niece of Stephen’s wife. Following Sir Leslie Stephen’s death, Maitland wrote his biography, The Life and Letters of Sir Leslie Stephen.

For more information on Frederick William Maitland and his contributions to legal history, read a short biography from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.