The start of the new Supreme Court term was dominated more by what the Court didn’t do, than what it did. Still, there are plenty of cases to track and we’ve rounded up a few previews and other SCOTUS-watching resources to help you follow along.

  • LII Supreme Court Bulletin - Cornell’s Legal Information Institute provides previews of the 2014-2015 term with commentary on upcoming individual cases.
  • The American Bar Association has an aptly titled publication called Preview that provides analysis of the term and also provides copies of all available briefs.
  • PBS does a great job of covering the Court, posting both articles and commentary from the Newshour.
  • SCOTUSblog – considered one of the premier destinations for up to date information and analysis.
  • For many years, Nina Totenberg has been recognized for her coverage of the Court. Follow her on Twitter at @NinaTotenberg.
  • Jeffrey Toobin’s commentary can be found on a variety of platforms and does much of his Court writing for the New Yorker.

 

The Cornell Law Library is pleased to announce the 2014 recipients of The Cornell Law Library Robert Cantwell Prize for Exemplary Student Research:

First Prize:

The Religion of Alcoholics Anonymous (“AA”): Applying the Clergy Privilege to Certain AA Communications, by Ari Diaconis, 3L

d_diaconis_ari_ajd256Ari Diaconis cast a wide net in compiling his research, drawing from over 180 sources including in-person interviews, Bible scripture and empirical studies while also using traditional legal research and analysis.

Diaconis argued for the application of the clergy privilege to Alcoholics Anonymous (“AA”) by constructing a detailed history of AA from its origins to present day, relying on a variety of primary and secondary sources including interviews with current members. He then used that historical research to argue that AA constitutes a religion under Supreme Court precedent, providing analysis of the Court’s jurisprudence dating to the 19th Century.

“I learned a tremendous amount from conducting the research necessary for this Note,” he said of the process. “The most important of which include: (1) take things one piece at a time (even sentence by sentence at times); (2) pick topics that genuinely interest you; (3) do not always look for sources that support your thesis; rather, seek the truth; (4) do not trust everything you read; and (5) ask for help.”

Second Prize:

The Law Review Divide: A Study of Gender Diversity on the Top Twenty Law Reviews, by Lynne Kolodinsky, 3L

d_kolodinsky_lynne_lnk29Lynne Kolodinsky used empirical analysis as the basis for her research in examining gender diversity in law review membership.

Kolodinsky designed an original study seeking to explore the apparent gender disparity among top law review journals and possible explanations for that gap. Building on previous scholarship on gender diversity in legal academia, her goal was to produce “the first comprehensive statistical analysis of independently reported and verified data on the gender diversity of law review membership.”

Kolodinsky collected school enrollment data from the archives of the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools and also gathered information on law review admissions processes as the basis for her study. She then combined her findings with a broader discussion of women’s evolving experiences in the traditionally male-dominated law school setting using a variety of more traditional legal scholarship sources.

“Without this experience, I doubt I would have had any exposure to [statistical] software in law school,” she said. “I also learned how to effectively synthesize empirics with theory to make an original argument that contributes to the broader sphere of academic studies relating to women’s experiences in the legal field.”

About the Cantwell Prize:

A review panel comprised of Librarians Amy Emerson, Nina Scholtz and Mark Williams selected the winners from among 29 competitive entries.

Funding for the Prize is provided by an endowment given to the Law Library by Barbara Cantwell in honor of her late husband, Robert Cantwell, a 1956 graduate of Cornell Law School.

In addition to receiving a monetary award, the winners are also invited to publish their papers in Scholarship@Cornell Law, the Law Library’s digital repository, and to feature their papers in Reading Room displays.

 

The Law Library is pleased to announce that our HeinOnline databases now include four new titles:

  • The American Law Institute Library includes the Restatements of the Law and associated drafts.  Restatement topics include Agency, Business Associations, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Economic Torts and Related Wrongs, Employment Law, Foreign Relations Law, Information Privacy Principles, Judgments, Law Governing Lawyers, Law of American Indians, Property, Restatement in the Courts, Restitution and Unjust Enrichment, Sales of Land, Security, Suretyship and Guaranty, Torts, Trusts, Unfair Competition, and U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration.  Some topics are still in draft form only – but those drafts are included!  This Library also includes ALI Annual Reports (1937-2010), Proceedings of ALI Annual Meetings (1923-2011), ALI Annual Meeting Speeches (1923-current), ALI Reporter (vols. 1-33), Statement of Essential Human Rights Archive, Principles of the Law, Uniform Commercial Code (including drafts), Model Penal Code (including drafts and other miscellaneous documents, 1951-2011), ALI-ABA Periodicals and other ALI documents.
  • History of Bankruptcy: Taxation and Economic Reform in America, Part III includes legislative histories, treatises, documents, and other materials related to bankruptcy law in America; books dating back to the late 1700s; and links to scholarly articles useful in the study of bankruptcy law.
  • The U.S. International Trade Library includes more than 4,000 publications from the U.S. International Trade Commission, dating back to 1951; legislative histories of free trade agreements and trade statutes; more than 200 books about international trade; United States Court of International Trade Reports (1980-current), and other materials.
  • Women and the Law contains nearly 500,000 pages from books, biographies, and periodicals about women’s roles in society and the law.  It also includes more than 70 titles from Emory University Law School’s Feminism and Legal Theory Project.

Remember that HeinOnline databases include images of the original publications and allow full-text searching across each library.

We’ve also just purchased a large collection of law e-books from the publisher Edward Elgar.  They’re full-text searchable and include easy PDF downloads of chapters using the platform ElgarOnline. Click “Law-Academic” in the left column for the full list of over 400 e-books, then narrow to your chosen subject using the subject list in the left column.  New titles will be added throughout the year.

Another newly available database is voxgov. As the publisher explains, voxgov provides access to “unfiltered original source news, media and information direct from all branches of the U.S. Federal Government,”  including Facebook and Twitter posts from legislators and others.  Save your searches and set up email alerts by registering for a free myvoxgov account.

prizelogoJust a few more days to submit papers for the annual Cornell Law Library Robert Cantwell Prize for Exemplary Student Research.

Papers will be accepted on an ongoing basis through May 1, 2014.  The winners will be announced May 8, 2014.

Entries may include, but are not limited to, papers written for a class or journal notes.  All papers must have been written in the time period spanning May, 2013 – May, 2014.  Work product generated through summer or other employment will not be accepted.  Papers must be a minimum of 10 pages in length, must be written in proper Bluebook format, and must be properly footnoted.

First prize is $500, second prize is $250, and both winners will be invited to publish their papers in Scholarship@Cornell Law, a digital repository of the Cornell Law Library.  For submission procedure and selection criteria, please see here:  http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/library/WhatWeDo/HelpStudents/PrizeStudentResearch.cfm

The Law Library invites 2Ls, 3Ls, and LLMs to submit scholarly research papers to be considered for the annual Cornell Law Library Robert Cantwell Prize for Exemplary Student Research.prizelogo

Entries may include, but are not limited to, papers written for a class or journal notes.  All papers must have been written in the time period spanning May, 2013 – May, 2014.  Work product generated through summer or other employment will not be accepted.  Papers must be a minimum of 10 pages in length, must be written in proper Bluebook format, and must be properly footnoted.

First prize is $500, second prize is $250, and both winners will be invited to publish their papers in Scholarship@Cornell Law, a digital repository of the Cornell Law Library.  For submission procedure and selection criteria, please see here:  http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/library/WhatWeDo/HelpStudents/PrizeStudentResearch.cfm

Papers will be accepted on an ongoing basis through May 1, 2014.  The winners will be announced May 8, 2014.

 

HOLlogo_fullcolorJust in time to catch the end of Women’s History Month we’re unveiling our latest database from HeinOnline: Women and the Law (Peggy). From the publisher:

“This unique collection of materials provides a platform to research the progression of women’s roles and rights in society over the past 200 years.  Also included are more than 70 titles from Emory University Law School’s Feminism and Legal Theory Project, which provide a platform to view the effect of law and culture on the female gender.”

For more information on what’s included in the collection check the brochure provided in the link above or contact Nina Scholtz (nes78@cornell.edu), Digital Resources Librarian.

eisenberg_2000As the Cornell Law School mourns the death of Professor Theodore Eisenberg, the Law Library is taking a moment to feature his groundbreaking legal scholarship.

A pioneer in the field of empirical legal studies, the uniqueness of his scholarship was equally matched by his productivity, authoring or coauthoring over 125 scholarly articles and writing or contributing to over 20 books. Additionally he founded the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies in 2004, which is consistently regarded as one of the most influential publications in the field.

Many of Professor Eisenberg’s works are currently featured on our Scholarship@Cornell Law repository, where his use of statistical methodology to gain new insights into punitive damages, capital juries and myriad of other diverse topics is on full display and serves as a tribute to the legacy of one of Cornell Law’s true intellectual and creative forces.

The library has recently acquired the EBSCOhost database Criminal Justice Abstracts with Full Text. The database features close to 500,000 records from the most influential publications in the discipline, including full text for nearly 300 journals and magazines, according to the publisher.

The database may be used by all Cornell students, faculty, and staff both on and off campus with the link given above.

Questions? Contact Nina Scholtz, Digital Resources Librarian, or Law Library Reference.

Today we’re featuring one of the most recent additions to our repository with Professor Charles K. Whitehead’s January 2014 article “Lawyers and Fools: Lawyer-Directors in Public Corporations” appearing in the Georgetown Law Review and co-authored with Lubomir P. Litov and Simone M. Sepe of the University of Arizona.

From the abstract:

The accepted wisdom—that a lawyer who becomes a corporate director has a fool for a client—is outdated. The benefits of lawyer-directors in today’s world significantly outweigh the costs. Beyond monitoring, they help manage litigation and regulation, as well as structure compensation to align CEO and shareholder interests. The results have been an average 9.5% increase in firm value and an almost doubling in the percentage of public companies with lawyer-directors.

This Article is the first to analyze the rise of lawyer-directors. It makes a variety of other empirical contributions, each of which is statistically significant and large in magnitude. First, it explains why the number of lawyer-directors has increased. Among other reasons, businesses subject to greater litigation and regulation as well as firms with significant intangible assets, such as patents, value a lawyer-director’s expertise. Second, this Article describes the impact of lawyer-directors on corporate monitoring. Among other results, it shows that lawyer-directors are more likely to favor a board structure and takeover defenses that potentially reduce shareholder value—balanced, however, by the benefits of lawyer-directors, such as the valuable advice they can provide. Finally, this Article analyzes the significant reduction in risk-taking and the increase in firm value that results from having a lawyer on the board.

Our findings fly in the face of requirements that focus on director independence. Our results show that board composition—and the training, skills, and experience that directors bring to managing a business—can be at least as valuable to the firm and its shareholders.

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

Would you like to enhance your resume?  The Law Library Research Fellow Program has an opening for a second or third-year Cornell Law student.  Fellows conduct research for faculty who do not have their own research assistant, or who need additional help with a project.  Research Fellow’s hours are flexible, and they have the same pay rate as other Law School faculty RAs.  To apply, send your resume to Matt Morrison, mmm72@cornell.edu.

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