Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pro Se Cases Increase in U.S. Federal Courts

Federal Caseload Trend: More Civil Cases Being Filed Without Lawyer's Help

The number of civil cases filed in U.S. district courts without a lawyer’s help has increased over the last several years. In fiscal year 2010 – the 12-month period ending September 30, 2010 – a total of 72,900 “pro se” cases were filed.

That total compares to 71,543 in FY 2009; 70,948 in FY 2008; and 70,240 in FY 2007. As in previous years, most of the civil pro se cases filed in FY 2010 were filed by prison inmates challenging some condition of their incarceration. In FY 2010, 48,581 of the 72,900 pro se filings were prison petitions.

But the number of non-prisoner pro se cases has been climbing as well. In FY 2010, that total was 24,319. It was 22,821 in FY 2009; 20,192 in FY 2008; and 20,545 in FY 2007.

These statistics are compiled by the Administrative Office of the United States and are available on Table 23 of Judicial Business of the United States Courts (pdf).Comparable statistics are available back to 1997 on

Taken From U.S. Courts - Press Release, June 15, 2011

For a related article, see Pro Se Law Clerks: A Valuable Resource, published in the April 2011 issue of The Third Branch.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Library Closed on July 4, 2011

The Westminster Law Library will be closed on Monday, July 4, 2011 which is a University holiday. Regular hours will resume the next day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Penrose Library Update

The temporary Penrose Library, Penrose@Driscoll, opens today, June 20, and will be the home of most library services for the duration of the building project. Visit Penrose@Driscoll in the Driscoll Ballroom for Circulation, Document Delivery, Course Reserves, the Research Center, the Writing Center, and the computer lab. Penrose@Driscoll is your place to study and access library services during the renovation.

While the Penrose Library building will be closed for renovation starting on June 20, a few services such as Quick Copy, Special Collections and Archives, and the Center for Teaching and Learning, will remain in the building for a few weeks. Patrons needing to access these services should follow posted signs to an alternate entrance. All library services and materials will be out of Penrose Library by July 12, 2011.

Of course, as always, it is still possible to request books and other items using the “Request It” button in the online catalog (use the Find Books and More search).

For continuing updates about the library building project, please see the library home page If you still have questions, click the “Ask Us” button on the library home page to find all the ways to contact us.

We look forward to seeing you at Penrose@Driscoll!

(For more details on the move see our post on June 10, 2011)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

White House Project: Encouraging Women to Run for Political Office

The White House Project is "a national, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization, 501(c)(3), [that] aims to advance women’s leadership in all communities and sectors, up to the U.S. presidency." Working from the local level up, The White House Project offers training and networking opportunities to women interested in running for public office and making a difference in their communities.

On Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 from 5:30 to 7:30pm, the Rocky Mountains (CO) chapter of The White House Project will be hosting the 2011 Invite a Woman to Run - Colorado eventat the Cellar Wine Bar in Denver, CO. You can attend to support other candidates or The White House Project generally, or you (or a woman in your life) can also attend to learn more about running for office. If you've been looking for a way to make a difference as a lawyer, law student, or just community member, perhaps this is it!

Written by Marty Witt, Law Librarian Fellow

Friday, June 17, 2011

Law & the Multiverse

Have you ever wondered about how the Second Amendment might impact those with superpowers? Read this article . What about whether Batman would really be allowed to prosecute alleged criminals like he did in the 60's television show? Read this. And who is responsible for all the property damage that inevitably accompanies a good-vs.-evil mega-battle? Read this post.

Those issues, along with dozens of additional - and pressing - questions dealing with the intersection of law and comics are explored at Law and the Multiverse: Superheroes, supervillians, and the law. Authored by two licensed attorneys, Law and the Multiverse explores "the hypothetical legal ramifications of comic book tropes, characters, and powers" with well-reasoned and detailed analysis and a flair for the fun.

Although extensive tagging and categorization makes finding posts of interest easy - whether you are looking just for posts about the X-Men or want posts involving labor law issues in comics - posts are well-written and fresh enough that it is worth reading every one. With posts every other day - about 15 to 20 per month - there is enough material to keep things engaging and to provide a good break from studying (or practicing) the law, while still potentially providing interesting and useful analysis.

For fans of comic books or the law, it should already be bookmarked and you probably subscribe to the RSS feed. If you've missed it so far, you only have about 6 months of posts to catch up on, but be warned - once you start, you may well be hooked.

Oh, and for those of you who may need CLE credits, Law and the Multiverse is hosting two upcoming CLE webcasts !

June 21, 2011 at 1:00 PM EDT
Kapow! What Superheroes and Comic Books Can Teach Us About Torts

June 27, 2011 at 1:00 PM EDT
Everyday Ethics from Superhero Attorneys

Also, you can use promotional code HEROES2011 for a 25% discount to either webcast!

Written by Marty Witt, Law Librarian Fellow

Friday, June 10, 2011

Penrose Library Renovations

The Penrose Library Academic Commons project will create an entirely new library in the same location, at the heart of campus. Improvements to Penrose's current location will make it a more inviting and energy efficient library in which students, faculty, and staff can research, study, and learn. The project, which is slated to begin in mid-July 2011, will take 18-24 months to complete. Low-use collections have already been moved out of Penrose Library to the Hampden Center storage facility in anticipation of the renovation. Everything and everyone will be out of the Penrose Library building by July 12 for construction to begin.

During construction, a temporary Penrose Library will be set up at the Driscoll Ballroom in the center of campus. The temporary library will continue to offer the Research Center, the Writing Center, the Math Center, and a computer lab in one convenient location, along with a book pick-up and drop-off location and reserves at the Access Services Desk.

Other services, including Special Collections, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Writing Program faculty offices, will relocate to Aspen Hall on campus. The UTS computer help desk will be relocated to the UTS building and the Quick Copy Center will be relocated to the DU Bookstore.

Books and other materials requested online will be delivered to the temporary library at the Driscoll Ballroom from the Hampden Center storage facility. We aim to deliver requested materials within two to four hours using delivery vehicles running in a continuous loop during library hours.

After construction is complete, which the University hopes will be in December 2012, the Hampden Center will continue to permanently house a portion of the library collection. This will include many low-use materials, including most of the bound journal volumes, government publications, microforms and boxed archival collections, as well as low-use books. The library is currently working with the Provost and campus stakeholders to identify those collections that should return to the on-campus library after renovation. These collections are likely to include the most frequently checked out and most recent books (less than 10 years old), as well as those actively used for teaching and scholarship. Any materials stored in the Hampden Center after the new library building is complete will continue to be available for delivery by request.

To keep up with the Penrose Library Academic Commons project, please visit our Academic Commons site. You are also encouraged to submit any questions and feedback to Karen Nozik ( or to the Research Center by email, phone, chat(IM), or text. Just click on the “Ask Us!” button found on the library homepage and throughout the Academic Commons website for all the ways to reach the Research Center.

We are dedicated to providing uninterrupted access to library materials and services during the renovation process and appreciate your patience and support.

Nancy Allen
Dean and Director, Penrose Library

(Penrose Library is the main library for the University of Denver)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

U.S. Government Channel on YouTube

Market Wire reported on May 21, 2009 that YouTube would host The U.S.Government Channel. This channel was developed to bring more transparency into our Government and provide answers to basic civics questions from various federal departments. The participating departments include the State Department, FBI, NOAA, NASA, IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Library of Congress, the Centers for Disease Control, and the White House, just to name a few. Each agency provides answers to common questions like tax information, how to get a passport, how to apply for Social Security benefits, and weekly addresses from the President.

Law Library of Congress began posting debates and discussions on YouTube in January 2011. These videos include lectures on Constitutional law, foreign law, and debates on topics about Guantanamo detainees and the legal challenges facing NATO. While there is not a lot of information posted now, the videos that are there cover very interesting topics and are definitely worth watching. The lectures are from distinguished law professors, members of Congress, U.N. Representatives, law librarians, and high ranking military officials. The majority of the videos posted cover various aspects of International Law so for those interested in this area of law; the Law Library of Congress is definitely worth a visit.

Written By Brooke Jennings, Law Librarian Fellow

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Researching Cases With Reporters & Digests

The Westminster Law Library is pleased to announce the release of a new research guide on doing case law research using print resources such as reporters & digests. We currently have 39 online research guides on a variety of topics. Take a look and let us know if there are other areas where you think a guide would be useful.