Sep 24
2:10 PM

Link rot in SCOTUS decisions documented; half don’t go to original material

From the ABA Journal:

The U.S. Supreme Court has cited Internet materials 555 times since 1996, but tracking down the information isn’t always easy.

According to a new study by co-authored by Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain, half of the hyperlinks in Supreme Court opinions no longer link to the information originally cited. The New York Times covers the results. “Supreme Court opinions have come down with a bad case of link rot,” the Times says.

Click for full screenshot.

According to the study, many of the links did turn up Web pages, but
they didn’t go to the original information cited or the information had
materially changed. Sometimes when the information changed, there was no
note indicating the update.

The Times notes one hyperlink in an opinion about violent video games
by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Users who click on the link are taken to
an error message
that reads: “Aren’t you glad you didn’t cite to this Web page? … If you
had, like Justice Alito did, the original content would have long since
disappeared and someone else might have come along and purchased the
domain in order to make a comment about the transience of linked
information in the Internet age.”

The Supreme Court clerk does keep a hard copy of hyperlinked
materials, but Zittrain suggest another solution: a platform that would
allow authors to generate, store, and reference archived data. He is
working on such a platform, called, which is supported by a
group of law libraries and nonprofits. Though the project would
initially focus on legal scholarship, it would also work for the Supreme
Court, Zittrain told the Times.

Source: Debra Cassens Weiss, Link Rot in SCOTUS Decisions Documented; Half Don't Go to Original Material, ABA Journal (Sep. 24, 2013).

See also:

Jonathan Zittrain, Perma: Scoping and addressing the problem of "link rot," The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It (Sep. 20, 2013).

Kendra Albert & Jonathan Zittrain, Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations (working paper on SSRN) (Sep. 21, 2013).

Adam Liptak, In Supreme Court Opinions, Web Links to Nowhere, N.Y. Times (Sep. 23, 2013).

Raizel Liebler & June Liebert, Something Rotten in the State of Legal Citation: The Life Span of a United States Supreme Court Citation Containing an Internet Link (1996—2010), 15 Yale J.L & Tech. 273 (2013), a service, currently in beta, that allows users to create citation links that will never break.


Sep 20
11:02 AM

ABA task force report proposes scrutiny of law school funding, pricing and accreditation standards

The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education has released its draft report and recommendations

An ABA task force is recommending wholesale changes in the financing
of legal education, the elimination of some law school accreditation
standards, and it is pushing for more innovation and practical skills
training in law school educational programs.

The task force is also calling on courts, state bar associations and
bar admitting authorities to come up with new or improved frameworks for
the licensing of limited legal service providers.

[T]ask force member Nancy Hardin Rogers, a professor emeritus
at Ohio State University, wrote separately to seek public comment on a
different approach to some of the law school pricing and funding
problems identified by her colleagues.

Rogers noted a recent proposal by the Obama administration (and cited this New York Times
article that covered it) that would base federal financial aid to
students on such factors as a school’s tuition, graduation rates, debt
loads, earnings potential and the percentage of lower-income students
who attend.

The task force recommends, among other things, that the ABA undertake
a fuller examination of law school funding and pricing issues than the
task force has been able to do. It also suggests that the ABA Section of
Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar revise accreditation
standards that increase the costs but not necessarily the quality of a
legal education. And it calls on state supreme courts, state bar
associations and lawyer regulatory agencies to look for ways to reduce
the educational requirements for admission and authorize people without
JDs to provide limited legal services.


The task force will use the public comments it receives on the draft
report to help prepare its final report and recommendations, which it
plans to issue by Nov. 20, the filing deadline for consideration by the
House of Delegates at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting in February in Chicago.

Source: ABA Journal article, ABA task force report proposes scrutiny of law school funding, pricing and accreditation standards.

Sep 20
9:35 AM

Talent Wants to Be Free

Prof. Orly Lobel's new book, TALENT WANTS TO BE FREE: Why We Should Learn to Love
Leaks, Raids, and Free-Riding
(Yale University Press;
September 30, 2013), looks at how we fight over talent
in every industry, profession, and region. Through insights from law,
business, psychology and economics, it shows how everyone
benefits when talent is set free. It is about intellectual property regimes,
innovaton policy, employment law, trade secrets, non-competes, corporate
governance, antitrust and smart market competitiveness.

The book will be released on September 30. It is available on Kindle and on AmazonB&NIndie Bound800-CEO-READ . It has general as well as academic appeal, and in the words of Prof. Frank Partnoy, offers "a provocative and compelling argument that we should abandon our obsession with controlling ideas and expertise."


Sep 17
4:32 PM
Sep 11
5:59 PM

LRC Tech Talk Series – Episode 1 Recap

Here's what you missed from today's Legal Tech Talk Series Episode 1: Legal Apps for Law Students

  • General apps for creating and storing documents: Evernote, Notability, Adobe Reader, DropBox, and Google Drive
  • Apps for law school: WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, FastCase, 2013 California Law, LawStack, dLaw, The Law Guide, The Rulebook, Law in a Flash, CaseBriefs, Lexis Q&A. 
  • Free pizza from zpizza!
  • Download Episode1handout

Don't miss Episode 2: Legal Blawgs coming up on Wednesday, September 25th at 12:00 in LRC room 113


Sep 10
8:54 PM

Nobel-winning law prof who wrote most-cited law review article dies at 102

Nobel-winning law prof who wrote most-cited law review article dies at 102.

A University of Chicago law professor and economist who wrote the
most-cited law review article of all time has died at the age of 102.

Ronald Coase died on Monday, report the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog (sub. req.) and the New Yorker blog Rational Irrationality.
He won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1991 and published “The Problem
of Social Cost” in 1960, which was ranked last year as the most-cited
law review article of all time, the Law Blog says.

In the paper, Coase argued that government intervention wasn’t needed
to stop companies or parties from harming others, the Times explains.
He argued that the affected parties could negotiate their own
satisfactory resolutions if they had all the relevant information, and
that such resolutions might make more economic sense.

According to Rational Irrationality, Coase “was transformed into an
icon of the political right. His famous ‘Coase theorem’ was used to
justify a hands-off approach to big business on the part of politicians,
regulatory agencies, and judges, leaving pollution and other economic
problems to the corrective powers of the free market.” In reality, the
blog says, Coase admitted that his theorem didn’t necessarily apply to
industrial pollution, where those affected are numerous, and he didn’t
believe in laissez-faire.

Source: ABA Journal

Sep 3
8:32 PM

Twitter posts result in loss of job and disciplinary action

A research attorney working for the Kansas Court of Appeals lost her job and now faces disciplinary action from the Kansas state bar. It's all because of tweets she sent about a former Kansas attorney general with his own ethics issues. The former AG was appearing in front of the Kansas Supreme Court regarding his conduct while attorney general. The research attorney was apparently viewing the proceedings online using her work computer from her office in the same building. She sent several colorful tweets (you can read the text of her ill-advised tweets here). She later said that she'd intended the tweets for a few friends and didn't realize they were publicly visible.

ABA Journal article: Fired over 'naughty boy' tweet about ex-AG's ethics case, court research lawyer is now on hot seat.