Monday, November 24, 2008

Legal Movies

Need a break from late night studying? The August, 2008 issue of the ABA Journal has an article listing the 25 greatest legal movies. Don’t agree with the expert panel? Add your vote online or check out the list of honorable mentions. Detailed descriptions can be found on the Internet Movie Database. Not to be outdone, the September issue of National Jurist lists the 10 legal movies to watch before you graduate (current issue available in the atrium). Did any movies inspire you to come to law school?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bring a Book, Take a Book - Travel Reading

Pick up some fiction at the library

Did you know that the law library has a fiction collection? Located on the low shelf near the printers on the 2nd floor, the Bring a Book, Take a Book collection provides leisure reading for students, faculty and staff. No check-out is necessary, just grab a paperback on your way out or drop off something for others to enjoy.

Heading home for Thanksgiving? Pick up a book for the trip! OR....

Take audiobook or download a classic for free

Denver Public Library provides a list of audio and text ebooks for check-out.

The text of classic books can also be downloaded for free to your ever-present laptops from sites like Project Gutenberg and Google Book Search.

Reading Days - stress, stretch & exercise

Stretching at your desk



Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Family Law Subject Guide

There is a new resource in Family Law research: the Family Law Subject Guide.

The new Family Law subject guide provides print, database and Internet research tools, including Colorado-specific websites, practice resources, ABA publications, family law blogs and more. Subject guides are found on the library's homepage, under "Research" on the left hand side, click "More." There are also print copies in the spindles by the reference desk on level 3, as well as on level 1. Please see the wide range of subject guides which can save you time and effort in your studies.

In addition, the following subject guides have been moved to the newly created Topical Legal Research section:

Thursday, November 13, 2008 Office of the President-Elect

President-Elect Barack Obama’s new website provides resources for understanding the presidential transition process and decisions that are part of it. Obama continues the momentum of his campaign by including a form that asks visitors to “tell us your ideas and help us solve the biggest challenges facing our country.” Visitors can also see a video of Obama’s November 4th victory speech, details on his agenda, a blog, recent news, and biographical information. The website is managed by The Obama-Biden Transition Project.
Links include:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Links: Sports & Entertainment Law

Web Research Links are compiled by librarians to assist students and others with online research projects. Go the library’s website and under “Research” on the left frame, click Web Research Links > Topical Resources > Sports & Entertainment Law.
Sports & Entertainment Law categories include:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Faust 2.0: EULA Boogaloo

xkcd: Faust 2.0 by Ralph Munroe

xkcd: a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language by Ralph Munroe
xkcd is a Creative Commons webcomic.

*I'll buy a coffee for the first student who e-mails me with the movie reference in this post's title.

Constitutional Law, First Amendment Links

Check Constitutional Law: First Amendment links compiled by librarians to assist students and others with online research projects. Go the library’s website and under “Research” on the left frame, click Web Research Links > Topical Resources > Constitutional Law - First Amendment.
Constitutional Law – First Amendment links include:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ved P. Nanda Int'l. Appellate Competition

The Sturm College of Law will be holding the Ved P. Nanda International Appellate Competition on Saturday, November 16, 2008, from 8 am to 5 pm. Competitors will simulate representing cases before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Here is a brief description of the ICJ and some library resources related to the ICJ:

The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is the “principal judicial organ of the United Nations” and is the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ). Established under the Charter of the United Nations in 1945, the Court’s role is to “…settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.” The Court’s official languages are English and French. The Court only has jurisdiction if the states party to the dispute have accepted its jurisdiction under a prescribed set of ways. In order to practice before the Court, counsel or advocates must have been appointed by a government. The Court is located at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.

The ICJ homepage provides quick access to the latest decisions and press releases. Check out the link to Cases in the menu on the left.

When searching for materials in the catalog, be sure to search under both “International Court of Justice” and “World Court.” The library has approximately 100 items on the subject. The official reports of the Court, Recueil des arrĂȘts, avis consultatifs et ordonnances / Cour internationale de justice = Reports of judgments, advisory opinions, and orders / International Court of Justice can be found in print at KZ214 .I58 (level 1). We have all the reports through 2007 with the exception of 2004.* Additionally, other resources include HeinOnline (search journal articles), Westlaw (INT-ICJ), and on Lexis by looking in the International Legal Materials (ILM). ILM is also available through HeinOnline (1962-2004) and in print (1962-2008).

*At the time this article was published, 2005-2007 were still being processed in technical services. We expect them to be on the shelf soon. If you need to see one of these years and it is not on the shelf, please contact the author.

by Joan Policastri, Foreign & International Legal Research Specialist

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Spring Legal Research Classes

Need to sharpen your legal research skills before clerking this summer? Sign up for one of these spring SCOL classes!

Legal Databases Research (L4702D)
This course will introduce students to a variety of legal databases, both fee-based and free, that can be utilized for conducting effective legal research as a student and practicing lawyer. Students will learn to analyze and critically evaluate whether or not a database provides accurate information and resources. Students will learn to determine which legal databases are most useful for specific types of information and resource needs. Students will learn to construct successful search strategies that can be employed to search a database and find the information required. This course will equip students to become expert searchers in the online environment.

Instructor: Stacey Bowers, JD, MLIS, Outreach & Access Services Librarian
2 credits, 10:30am, Wednesday, 100 minutes

Advanced Legal Research (L4035)
This course will provide students with the opportunity to master a major tools of law practice. Students completing this course will come away with an enhanced ability to do research in state and federal legislative and administrative materials. Students will gain knowledge and experience in the use of non-legal research resources as well as the many practice materials that attorneys frequently rely on. Students will have the opportunity to evaluate a variety of research tools, their ease of use, and relative cost with respect to creating or enhancing a law practice library. Finally, students will sharpen their presentation and public speaking skills and be exposed to innovative teaching technologies.

Instructor: Debra Austin, JD, PhD, Lawyering Process Professor
3 credits, 10:30am, Monday & Wednesday, 75 minutes

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Colorado State District Court System

Colorado State District Courts are trial courts, and do not publish their files online or in reporters. Someone must go to the appropriate court to view and/or copy the court’s file. The docket sheet in the front of the file lists all of the pleadings filed in the case, as well as all court orders and rulings. Most court files can be viewed and/or copied by the public. Check with the court clerk in that jurisdiction for costs and details, along with the appropriate rules of procedure. Court contact information can be found on the Colorado Courts website and in the 2008 Colorado Legal Directory at the reference desk on Level 3 of the library. Colorado district courts can hear civil cases in any amount, as well as domestic relations, criminal, juvenile, probate, and mental health cases. District court trial opinions are appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals unless a special rule gives the Colorado Supreme Court direct jurisdiction. Examples include water court opinions and constitutional rulings by a lower court.

County Courts have jurisdiction to handle civil cases under $15,000.00. If a counterclaim or cross claim is filed which puts the total amount at issue over $15,000.00, the case must be removed to the district court which has the appropriate venue and jurisdiction. County courts also handle county code violations, misdemeanors, traffic infractions, felony complaints (which may be sent to district court), protection orders, and other cases assigned to them. County court decisions may be appealed to the district court. County courts hear cases involving both state statutes and county codes.

Municipal Courts are found in most cities. They usually hear cases involving violations of their municipal ordinances. Local government websites are the best resource for municipal court rules and ordinances, as well as county codes. See the Web Research Links on the library homepage for Colorado resources for local government websites. Web Research Links > Colorado Resources > Colorado Local Government

The official Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure that apply to Colorado State District Courts, the rules for Attorney and Judicial Conduct, County Court, Small Claims Court, and Probate procedure are located in print in the library in the red softbound Court Rules Book 1, KFC 1830 .A2. The official Colorado Rules of Procedure for Juvenile, Criminal, Traffic, Appellate, and Evidence are located in the red softbound Court Rules Book 2, KFC 1830 .A2. The rules have sample forms and are annotated with references to cases, articles, and other research resources.

Magistrates are often used in the above-referenced courts, acting pursuant to relevant statutes and rules of procedure. The administrative law applicable to state agencies is not discussed in this brief overview of Colorado courts.

by Catharine Cott, Reference Librarian

Monday, November 3, 2008

Colorado's State Appellate Court System

The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest court in Colorado. Its decisions are binding upon the trial courts and the Colorado Court of Appeals. The court has seven justices who serve ten year terms. The Chief Justice is elected by the justices, and serves as head of the Colorado Judicial System, chair of the Supreme Court nominating commission, and has the authority to enact Chief Justice Directives which are binding on all courts. He or she also appoints the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and of the 22 state judicial districts. Most of the Supreme Court’s filings are requests to review decisions made by the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court may decline to review those decisions by denying certiorari. Cases may be filed directly to the Supreme Court where a statute has been held unconstitutional, for writs of habeas corpus, in decisions of the Public Utilities Commission, for appeals from the adjudication of water rights, proceedings under the Election Code, and prosecutorial appeals concerning search and seizure questions pending in criminal court. The Colorado Supreme Court licenses and disciplines Colorado attorneys. It also has exclusive jurisdiction to enact civil and criminal rules of procedure. There is an appointed committee for each.

The Colorado Court of Appeals is Colorado’s intermediate appellate court. Its 22 judges serve eight-year terms, sitting in three-member panels, and are retained by public election. The Court of Appeals’ jurisdiction is limited to areas designated by state statute and it has the power inherently granted to all courts. See Section 1 of Article VI of the Colorado Constitution and C.R.S. § 13-4-101, et seq. It generally has initial jurisdiction over appeals from the Colorado district (trial) courts, probate courts, juvenile courts, and a number of state administrative board and agency decisions. The Court of Appeals decision is final unless the Colorado Supreme Court agrees to review the case.

For more information:

  • "Delivering User-Centric Services at the Colorado Supreme Court Library" by Robert Linz. Legal Research Corner column, 37 The Colorado Lawyer 67 (May 2008).
  • "Civil Rules Committee and the Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee." Legal Research Corner column, 33 The Colorado Lawyer 75 (August 2004).
by Catharine Cott, Reference Librarian