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Many people have their version of the White Whale, that thing they chase but can’t quite acquire or overcome.

For 3L Peter Cavallaro it came in form of Pope Benedict XVI. Well, not the man so much as his signature and the acquisition of it.

“It was very difficult” he said. “I wasn’t able to get it until about a month-and-a-half ago.”

It’s no surprise that Cavallaro would eventually track it down as he is an avid collector of autographs with over 300 hundred signatures from a variety of famous people. Replicas of a portion of his collection are currently on display in the Reading Room featuring figures from the last 50 years of American political and civil rights history. The autographed photos range from civil rights activist James Meredith to astronaut John Glenn and from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush.

Cavallaro said he’s been collecting over the last decade, some in person and some by mail. Regardless of method, he said the process is not unlike law school in that it requires research, planning and persistence in order to achieve success.

“The challenge is doing the research and looking for the right contact,” he said.”Ninety percent of the battle is just getting it in front of them.”

title page report

Check out what we’ve been up to the last 12 months with our 2012/2013 annual report. The report includes a message from our director, highlights of our Collections, Information Management, Reference and Research Services, and Access Services departments as well as updates on the professional activities of the staff and of various projects. Some of the features include the visit of Bitner Research Fellow Priya Rai, the return of ever-popular therapy animals, an update on the law school construction project and the award-winning Trial Pamphlets digitization project.

Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. The speech is sometimes referred to as the greatest closing argument in history, in part because Lincoln himself spent his early career as a lawyer in Illinois.

The law library has numerous books available for checkout detailing Lincoln’s career as a lawyer and covering his skill as an orator. One of the more recent examples is Arthur Rizer’s Lincoln’s Counsel: Lessons from America’s Most Persuasive Speaker, published by the American Bar Association.

From the publisher’s website:

Before Abraham Lincoln was called “Mr. President,” he was called “counselor” and “esquire.” Some consider him to be one of the nation’s greatest attorneys and, at the very least, an enormously persuasive speaker. He spent more years practicing law than any other president, and his years in the legal profession were essential to his eventual election to the Presidency.

As a lawyer, Lincoln knew how to craft successful closing arguments. As a president–with his Gettysburg Address, perhaps the greatest closing argument in history–he knew how to persuade a bitterly divided country into ultimately doing what was right for all.

Through examples from Lincoln’s great speeches and closing arguments–included in their entirety are Lincoln’s First and Second Inaugural Speeches, the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation and more–this book instructs you in the art of persuasion in two simple ways: by providing lessons from Lincoln’s career as a lawyer and politician, and then by analyzing those lessons and discussing how to apply them to your own life. Lincoln’s Counsel gives important advice about advocacy straight from the very best.

Also, due to Cornell possessing one of the original copies of the address, be sure to check out the commemorative events taking place around campus this month by visiting the university’s events calendar here.

 

The law library has a new resource available designed to help researchers navigate international legislation and case law regarding the acquisition and ownership of artwork.

Art Law & Cultural Property from the International Foundation for Art Research contains resources and information covering legislation that governs the export and ownership of cultural property from dozens of countries with primarily a European focus. Additionally, it covers case law and hard-to-find out of court settlement documents pertaining to art ownership issues in the United States.

The database is available to all Cornell students, faculty, and staff both on and off campus with the link given above.

 

Ben Rudofsky (3L) is the winner of the Halloween Research Competition and will receive a $25 gift card to the Cornell Store. Congratulations to all of you who had the correct answer of Royal v. Grounds, 471 F. App’x 324 (5th Cir. 2012).

The lesson – as always – vampires DO NOT have civil rights…or something.

Having first-rate research skills is a necessity in today’s legal job market. As you’re registering for the spring semester consider developing those skills through some of the specialized research courses taught by the law librarians at the Cornell Law Library. Course descriptions and names of the instructors are listed below:

LAW 6085 Law Practice Technology
Spring, 1 credit. Instructors: Femi Cadmus, Dan Blackaby,  and Carissa Vogel
This course introduces and investigates the use of current technologies in law firm practice.

LAW 6514 International and Foreign Legal Research
Spring, 2 credits. Instructor: Thomas Mills
The practice of law continues to become ever more dependent upon a clear understanding of the global context in which it occurs. This course provides an overview of sources, methods, and strategies for researching international and foreign law. Topics to be covered include the various legal systems of the world, public and private international law, the European Union, and the United Nations. The course will be delivered through lectures and hands-on exercises. Selected readings will be available online and on reserve; there is no required textbook. There will be a series of assignments and a final research project in lieu of a final exam. Foreign language ability is not required.

LAW 6739 Online Legal Research and Resources
Spring, 1 credit. Instructor: Amy Emerson
Take your research skills beyond the basics of Lawyering. This course provides an overview of the resources, methods, and strategies necessary to conduct efficient and effective online legal research for upper level courses and employment. Students will learn when and how to use various databases while considering their relationship to each other and to traditional print sources. The course will be delivered through interactive lectures and hands- on exercises. Internet access will be provided in the classroom. Selected readings will be available through the course website and on reserve; there is no required textbook. There will be a series of assignments and a final research project tailored to students’ individual interests.

 

nosferatu

Enter our research competition to win a $25 gift card to the Cornell Store! The rules are easy: email the answer to the question below to mjw332@cornell.edu by midnight on October 31. We will draw a winner from the pool of correct answers next week and announce it on the blog.

The Problem:

Bill Compton, a Louisiana prisoner and vampire, is claiming the prison where he is serving his sentence is violating his civil rights. Compton asserts that as Vampire King of the State of Louisiana, he has been barred from practicing his religion related to his role as leader of the vampires, which includes access to necessary food items such as real human blood rather than the Tru Blood synthetic bottled version that the prison has provided him.

Compton’s civil rights suit was rejected in district court on summary judgment and he appealed that decision in a federal circuit court. That court subsequently dismissed his claim as frivolous and noted that the suit counted as a “strike” under 28. U.S.C. 1915.

Locate a factually similar case involving a self-proclaimed vampire that inspired the story above. Send in the name of the case and the citation to mjw332@cornell.edu by midnight, October 31 for a chance to win the $25 Cornell Store gift card.

Professor Robert C. Hockett has been exploring the idea of using eminent domain as a way to relieve underwater mortgages in several of his recent publications. The research is more than just theory, as the city of Richmond, California took steps this summer to put such a plan into action, while several other municipalities are exploring the idea as well.

The Scholarship@Cornell Law repository is featuring one of Professor Hockett’s recent publications on this topic titled: “A Federalist Blessing in Disguise: From National Inaction to Local Action on Underwater Mortgages”, originally appearing in the Harvard Law and Policy Review earlier this year and co-authored with John Vlahoplus of the advisory firm Mortgage Resolution Partners.

The abstract describes the paper as:

Taking “the measure of the national mortgage debt overhang problem as a cluster of local problems warranting local action. It then elaborates on one form of such action that the localized nature of the ongoing mortgage crisis justifies – use of municipal eminent domain authority to purchase underwater loans, then modify them in a manner that benefits debtors, creditors, and their communities alike.”

For more on the latest scholarly articles from Professor Hockett and the rest of the law school faculty visit the repository at Scholarship@Cornell Law.

Despite the government shutdown the Supreme Court began its new term last week. To kickoff the start of the new session we’ve collected a few helpful resources and links for tracking the latest SCOTUS news and developments:

  • SCOTUSblog – considered one the premier destinations for up to date information and analysis.
  • LII Supreme Court Bulletin - Cornell’s Legal Information Institute provides previews of the 2013-2014 term as a whole as well as previews and commentary of upcoming individual cases.
  • PBS does a great job of covering the Court, posting both articles and commentary from the Newshour.
  • For many years, Nina Totenberg has been recognized for her coverage of the Court. Follow her on Twitter at @NinaTotenberg.

The Law Library will have reduced hours during fall break from October 12 -18.

Monday – Friday:   8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Reference Hours:  9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Weekends:             Closed

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