Friday, January 30, 2009

Tax time!

It’s time to start thinking about organizing and filing your taxes for 2008.

Federal forms and instructions are available from the IRS website as well as daily tax tips and highlights of the 2008 tax law changes that might affect your return. Free federal online filing is available in English or Spanish if your adjusted gross income is $56,000 or less. Online filing and direct deposit are the quickest ways to receive your refund, but no matter how you file you can check on the status of your refund at Where’s My Refund?

Colorado tax forms and FYI publications are available from the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation. Colorado also offers a service to track your refund. Current tax forms for other states can help you get organized if you are not a Colorado resident.

If tax law is an area that interests you, check out the DU Graduate Tax Program, which offers full-time and part-time options to get an LLM in taxation, including a dual degree program for current JD candidates. Student jobs with the IRS can lead to various career options.

Update 2/3: Don't forget to check the IRS's page on phishing and tax scams!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jureeka: search for free online case law, statutes etc. (Firefox add-on)

Jureeka (download here) is a Firefox add-on that helps you find free online case law, statutes and regulations. Jureeka provides: 1) a toolbar for citation searching and viewing html versions of pdfs and 2) links within pages containing legal citations to the material cited. For example, if you view a blog which cites 36 C.F.R. Part 1270, that citation becomes 36 C.F.R. Part 1270, a link to the regulation on GPOAccess.

While a nifty tool, it is still under development and not without hitches. Some bugs I've encountered:
  1. During composition of this post, Jureeka automatically embedded html code to make any recognizable citations into Jureeka links. I had to repeatedly remove the code in the html view.
  2. Jureeka embeds links based on the recognition of a citation, not on whether it can actually provide a free online source to that material. Thus, many links return a page apologizing for not yet having found a source of that opinion/code etc.
  3. Jureeka overwrites links already embedded in the content. For example, when viewing Catharine Cott's article on the District Court of Colorado, our links to sections of the U.S. Constitution were overwritten by Jureeka links, which claimed they had not found a free source of the content but did not allow the reader to use the links to free content which we had already provided.
by Esti Shay, Reference Librarian

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Westlaw Browser Blocking

Starting in January, platforms will not support Web browser versions earlier than the following: Internet Explorer 6.0, all Netscape versions, Firefox 1.5, and Safari 2.0.

The browsers that are blocked are no longer supported by the companies that created them, and this lack of support can generate problems during development and with issue resolution. Most importantly, these browsers are not receiving security updates, which could lead to a security risk. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Westlaw technical support at: 1-800-WESTLAW (1-800-937-8529).

United States District Court for the District of Colorado

Contact info:Civil Division (303) 844-3433, Criminal Div. (303) 844-2115

The United States District Court for the District of Colorado is the federal trial court for cases falling within its jurisdiction. Its’ jurisdiction is limited to specific cases listed in the U.S. Constitution (U.S.C.A. Const. Art. III) and those specifically provided for by Congress (U.S.C.A. Const. Art. I). For the most part, they hear cases in which the United States is a party, cases which involve violations of the Constitution or federal law, and those between citizens of different states.In the event that there are both federal and state law claims which must be decided, the state law must be followed by the district or appellate court on that issue. If state law is unclear, the federal court may ask for an advisory opinion from the highest court of that state. The majority of cases in federal courts are civil as opposed to criminal, because most criminal law is left to the states. Information regarding the court can be found on the federal courts website.

The Federal Supplement Reporter 1st and 2d contain the published opinions of United States District Courts. Not all opinions are published and you should check the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to see if and when unpublished opinions can be cited. The 2009 federal rules of procedure apply to all United States District Courts and the United States Courts of Appeal. WLL has two print sources: the Federal Civil Rules Handbook and Moore's Federal Rules. The new 2009 Local Rules for the U.S. District Court and the new Local Rules for the 10th Circuit can be found on each court’s website.

The decisions of the various federal district courts are not binding on any other federal district court, just as state trial court decisions are not binding on other state trial courts. If a party appeals from the trial court level to the appellate court, the appellate courts’ decision will be binding on all lower trial courts within its’ jurisdiction. Colorado is in the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, so its decisions are binding on all of the federal district courts within the 10th Circuit.

The Federal Supplement prints the courts’ opinion only. It does not include the complaint, motions, or various other pleadings found in the trial courts’ file, or a transcript of any hearings. If you want to look at pleadings within the file, you will probably have to go to the courthouse or request copies from the court. Current technology and e-filing is making newer documents more easily accessible through fee based vendors such as Westlaw and Lexis. Access to older federal trial court case documents and files is not currently available free online, although the federal court does publish some recent opinions online. As with Colorado state trial court documents, you must visit or contact the court in which the action was filed. Westlaw and Lexis are making some older court documents available for a fee. In the United States District Court in Colorado, only documents filed after June 20, 2005 may be downloaded using the Pacer system, for a small fee. Older files will only have the docket sheet containing a list of all pleadings filed, action taken and orders entered by the judge. If you need to see the pleadings from earlier cases, they are available from the court file itself or after five years from storage at the Denver Records Center, (303) 236-0804.

by Catharine Cott, Reference Librarian

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New competition DVDs

Check out the new 2007-2008 competition DVDs in the library's AV section behind the circulation desk on level 2:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tax Notes Today

Tax Notes Today is an online publication produced every weekday by Tax Analysts, Inc. Read Tax Notes Today for:

  • Current information on developments in tax practice and application
  • Text of tax bills
  • Congressional hearing testimony and transcripts
  • Hearing announcements
  • Congressional news releases
  • Committee reports
  • Relevant pages from Congressional Record

Access current Tax Notes Today from the following WLL databases:

LexisNexis -

Tax Analysts’ Tax Notes Weekly (1982 through current): Click Enter Research System > Legal tab > Secondary Legal > Tax Analyst > Tax Analysts Tax Notes Today. Scroll to the Enter Search Terms dialog box, select Terms and Connectors, Natural Language, or Easy Search. You may limit your search using “Restrict by date.”

LexisNexis Academic -

Tax Analysts’ Tax Notes Today, Worldwide Tax Daily, and State Tax Today (1984 through current) and

Tax Analysts Tax Magazines, Combined (1982 through current)
  • Exempt Organization Tax Review
  • Insurance Tax Review
  • Letter Ruling Review
  • State Tax Notes Magazine
  • Tax Notes International Magazine
  • Tax Practitioner and Controversies Magazine
  • Tax Notes Weekly

On the left, click “Tax Law.” Select Terms and Connectors or Natural Language and type in your search terms. Under “Sources,” uncheck The Tax Lawyer default box. Scroll and click box in front of either Tax Analysts Tax Notes Today, Worldwide Tax Daily, and State Tax Today OR Tax Analysts Tax Magazines, Combined. You may restrict the dates of your search with the “Specify date” dropdown menu.

Researchers may also review limited hardbound issues of Tax Notes (v. 16 July, 1982 through v. 89 Dec., 2000) in the library at Level 3 KF 6272 .T39.

Client Counseling

The DU Moot Court Board will be hosting an intra-school Client Counseling Competition on Saturday, January 24, 2009. According to their website, “The ABA Law Student Division’s Client Counseling Competition simulates a law office consultation in which law students, acting as attorneys, are presented with a client matter. The students conduct an interview with a person playing the role of the client and then explain how they would proceed further in the hypothetical situation. The focus is on the competitors’ ability to negotiate the most advantageous settlement for their client(s), given the circumstances and facts provided. Competitors are scored on professionalism and ethics, as well as their style and negotiating strategy.”
You can prepare for the competition by reviewing some of these materials. Good Luck!
  • Legal Interviewing & Counseling in a Nutshell – Level 3 Reference KF311 .S5 (2005)
  • Legal Counseling & Negotiating: a Practical Approach – Level 3 KF311 .H465 (2001)
  • The Counselor-at-Law: A Collaborative Approach to Client Interviewing & Counseling – Level 3 KF311 .C63 (2006)
  • Essential Lawyering Skills: Interviewing, Counseling, Negotiation, & Persuasive Fact Analysis – Level 3 KF300 .E84
  • Client or Not? – CALI exercise, “Client or Not?” which reviews issues of competence, conflict of interest and confidentiality issues involved in working with clients.
  • 2007-2008 Client Counseling Competition National Finals (DVD) – Level 2 A/V KF311 .C55 2008 – this is a new item, so ask for assistance at the Reference Desk if you can't find it