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WSLL @ Your Service February 2013

Looking Back, Moving Forward – Julie Tessmer, State Law Librarian

As I write this column it's a cold day here in Madison, the sky is a vibrant blue - and it's statistics week. Once a month we count everything we do at the State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center and Dane County Legal Resource Center: how many questions we answer and about what, how many people visit the library, how many books are used or borrowed, and so much more. By gathering and analyzing these statistics we can spot trends, manage workloads, and improve our services.

Mobile phoneOne trend we spotted in 2012 was the steady increase in the number of library visitors using handheld devices. Whether it's a mobile phone, laptop, iPad or some other "device," everyone wants to connect to the online world in a fast, easy and reliable way. To better meet that demand, the State Law Library's Wi-Fi service was enhanced to improve signal strength throughout the library. To provide fast and reliable access to online caselaw research tools and other legal databases available on our public computers, improvements were also made to the interface on those – meaning that our users can now more easily search Westlaw, HeinOnline, LegalTrac, the internet, and other databases we offer – all at no charge.

Our award winning website was continually updated throughout the year to provide fast, easy access to countless sources of information. With nearly 100 posts in 2012, our Library Highlights blog also kept web users informed of timely topics, new legislation, and library events. Another treasure on our website is the County Legal Resources directory, created in-house and updated on a quarterly basis. WSLL Web Services Librarian Carol Hassler's detailed how-to article, "Case Study: Organizing County Legal Information in Wisconsin," was published in the Sept.-Oct. 2012 issue of the AALL Spectrum magazine.

Other 2012 trends included steadily rising numbers of people connecting with us through Facebook and Google+, a 30% increase in inter-library loan requests received from other libraries, and significant increases in the number of searches performed in the legal research databases we subscribe and provide access to - including LegalTrac, HeinOnline and Westlaw.

Happily, our 2012 statistics also revealed that people are still using our extensive collections of print materials! To make borrowing a little easier, we did away with the 2-day circulation loan period assigned to selected materials. Now all circulating library items may be borrowed for seven days and, if no other borrower has requested them, they can easily be renewed for up to two more 7-day periods. Materials may be renewed online, in person, or over the phone.

Our libraries also offered several top-notch legal research training opportunities last year, nearly all of which offered CLE credit. Class topics ranged from Ethics Research on Westlaw to Legislative History Research, to Public Records Research, just to name a few. And training wasn't offered only at the library. Connie Von Der Heide, Director of Reference & Outreach Services, logged many miles providing legal research instruction and giving presentations about State Law Library materials and services at judicial and court staff conferences, and meetings of local bar associations and civic groups. Branch Librarians Lynne Gehrke (MLRC) and Lisa Winker (DCLRC) each set up Behind the Scenes tours of their respective courthouses for Court, County and Library staff and presented or arranged training opportunities for court and county staff.

Looking forward to 2013, one of our most exciting new initiatives is offering selected legal research training classes in a webinar format – which will eliminate the need to travel to Madison in order to attend. We're also investigating the possibility of providing access to WestlawNext on the public computers in our libraries. Another goal for this year is to add to our menu of remote-access database offerings and include some that are currently accessible on-site only. Watch for announcements about these and other service improvements in future Library Highlights posts and upcoming issues of WSLL @ Your Service.

In closing, I want to thank the people who make everything I've just written about possible – the outstanding staff members of the Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center and Dane County Legal Resource Center. These dedicated individuals are here day-in and day-out to greet you, help you find answers, update, loan, and shelve the library materials you use, teach legal research classes, and help you navigate the various databases we offer.

We look forward to more opportunities to serve your legal information needs in 2013 and beyond.

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MLRC: 2012 Busy as Ever, Exciting Developments in 2013

The Milwaukee Legal Resource Center’s annual statistics bear out what we already know: it’s a very, very busy place. In an average week 1,300 people visit the MLRC, and library staff answers over 150 substantive reference and research questions – all in the confines of a space that’s probably smaller than many Milwaukee apartment units. And they do it professionally and courteously, as evidenced by numerous customer comments such as these, gathered throughout the year: “They were so helpful in answering my questions.” “They are so knowledgeable and friendly, I was extremely satisfied with their service.” “The only negative thing I can say is there isn’t enough space in the library.” “The Legal Resource Center never should have been downsized.”

Needless to say, the most exciting thing in MLRC’s future is their move to larger quarters in the courthouse, slated for late 2013. Meanwhile, Lynne Gehrke, MLRC Librarian, is hosting a library intern during the first half of the year, coordinating several legal research classes to be presented throughout the year, and she and all the MLRC staff continue to serve their many customers efficiently, professionally, and cheerfully.

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Another Good Year @ DCLRC

The Dane County Legal Resource Center is also a very busy library, with nearly 17,000 visitors last year - many of whom needed court forms and procedural information, and some who came to do their own research. DCLRC staff also processed over 1,500 written requests submitted by Dane County jail inmates for copies of statutes and other sources of law relating to their cases.

Lisa Winkler, DCLRC Librarian, was also involved in several court-related projects throughout the year. She continued to assist the walk-in legal clinics with scheduling volunteer attorneys, and she organized two very successful training sessions for current and prospective legal clinic volunteers. She also provided a series of research training workshops for staff of the Dane County District Attorney’s Office to familiarize them with the many online sources available through the State Law Library. As a continuing member of the Dane County Bar Association’s Courthouse Committee, Lisa was especially involved in planning and carrying out Law Day activities in the courthouse and assisting with receptions held for several new judge investitures.

In September, Lisa presented testimony at a public hearing of the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission, held in Madison, to inform the Commission of the important ways DCLRC assists people who need civil legal services but cannot afford them.

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This Just In… – Pete Boll

New Edition! Military Criminal Justice: Practice and Procedure, eighth edition, by David A. Schlueter
Matthew Bender LexisNexis, 2012
KF 7620 .S34

Updated for the first time since 2008, this concise one-volume treatise leads readers through the maze of procedural and substantive military justice rules, military acronyms, and related practices unique to military criminal law. Citations to pertinent case law, statutory and regulatory authority are provided to aid the military justice practitioner and researcher. Especially useful at the end of Chapter 1 is an extensive annotated bibliography of 170 books and journal articles on all aspects of military law history and practice.

Updated! Recovery of Damages for Fraud, third edition, January 2013 supplement, by Robert L. Dunn
Law Press Corporation, 2012
KF 836 .D84 2004

Dunn's single volume treatise is a good starting place for anyone seeking to evaluate and either prove or defend a claim for damages for fraud. The most recent annual supplement, issued in January 2013, discusses several significant recent cases at length, including:

Martin K. Eby Construction Co. v. LAN/STV, 350 S.W.3d 675 (Tex. App. 2011), in which the court rejected the defense that the economic loss rule would bar recovery of damages on a negligent misrepresentation claim by a construction contractor against design professionals who prepared the plans and specifications for a light rail project.

LHC Nashua Partnership, Ltd. v. PDNED Sagamore Nashua, L.L.C., 659 F.3d 450 (5th Cir. 2011), which the court held that lost tax benefits are a valid element of out-of-pocket-loss damages on a fraud claim, permitting recovery of tax liability incurred by the plaintiff when it was unable to close an I.R.C. § 1031 exchange, allegedly as a result of misrepresentations by the defendant regarding a planned sale of real property to the plaintiff.

In addition to the economic loss rule and limitation of fraud damages to out-of-pocket-loss, other topics recently receiving judicial attention and covered in this latest supplement include breach of fiduciary duty, application of the benefit-of-the-bargain rule, and punitive damages for fraud.

New Titles RSS Feed
See our latest New Titles list for a list of new books and other resources.

For assistance in accessing these or other resources, please contact our Reference Desk.

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WSLL Recommends: Immigration Fundamentals

Immigration FundamentalsThis month's recommended title is Immigration Fundamentals: A Guide to Law and Practice, by Austin T. Fragomen, Jr and Steven C. Bell

This concise, one volume treatise serves as a useful guide for any practitioner on immigration legal standards and procedures. With the most recent November 2012 update, the authors have fully incorporated all final rules and procedures resulting from the Immigration Act of 1990, the most comprehensive revision of the nation's immigration laws since the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.

The authors provide in depth coverage of each of the major means to gain permanent residence in the United States:

  • Employment based immigration
  • Family sponsored immigration
  • Diversity based immigration

Also covered are nonimmigrant status, employment of aliens, refugees and asylum, administrative and judicial review, and naturalization and citizenship.

Commentaries throughout the treatise are especially useful in providing practice tips and amplifying information. Also included is an extensive list of annotated immigration forms as well as a table of cases and index.

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Odds 'n' Endings – Amy Crowder

Chocolate Cupcake by jugeminas - Deviant ArtLaw Book Supplements: They're Like Frosting

The cake part of a cupcake is pretty good on its own. Be it chocolate or vanilla, the moist cake is fairly satisfying. But for real flavor, you need to add some frosting. Top that plain ol' cupcake with a buttercream, chocolate ganache, or cream cheese frosting, and you have a most delectably gratifying treat.

Supplements to law books are kind of like frosting. Granted they're not quite as tasty, but they really add that "something extra." Supplements are where you'll find updates to the main text, listings of recent caselaw, and changes to regulations and statutes – information that may just help with your case. Just like frosting, they come in many "flavors" - pocket parts at the back of the book, freestanding bound volumes, interfiled pages in a looseleaf binder, or filings that are completely separate from the rest of the text. Whatever the format, a supplement can be substantively gratifying.

So the next time you check out a legal work, remember to "top-it-off" with a supplement.

Image source: Chocolate cupcake by Kaylin M Rodriquez, Deviant Art

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