Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service September 2011

What's New – Connie Von Der Heide

Libraries Closed September 5

WSLL, MLRC and DCLRC will all be closed Monday, September 5 in observance of the Labor Day state holiday.

New Staff @ WSLL

WSLL is pleased to introduce our three new part-time library assistants, Bob Lopez, Danielle Niles and Deena Brazy.

New part-time library assistants, September 2011

Bob, shelver and morning circulation assistant, is a graduate of the Drexel University College of Information Science and Technology, and he brings experience from working at both Borders and Half Price Books. Danielle, Wisconsin Briefs and mid-day circulation assistant, is transferring from Creighton University to UW Madison to finish her BS in Physics and Secondary Education, after which she plans to obtain a Master's in Library and Information Science. Danni was a student supervisor at the Reinhart Alumni Library at Creighton and worked as a library aide for several years at the East Troy, Wis. Public Library. Deena, filer and afternoon circulation assistant, also works in Circulation at the Madison Public Library's Sequoya branch. Her previous experience includes working as a filer at a local law firm and as a pro bono case analyst for a legal aid organization in Utah.

Welcome, Bob, Danni and Deena!

Interim State Law Librarian Attends AALL

Julie Tessmer, Interim State Law Librarian, had the opportunity to attend the American Association of Law Librarians (AALL) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in July, with the help of a travel grant awarded by the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin (LLAW). During the four day conference Julie attended a wide variety of sessions ranging in topic from digital collections, licensing agreements and WikiLeaks, to developing patron satisfaction surveys, providing excellent customer service, and issues surrounding access to information in less populous areas. A particular highlight was joining State Law Librarians from around the country for breakfast and discussion of relevant issues and trends in their libraries.

Upcoming Classes

Our fall schedule of hands-on legal research classes provides a wide variety of learning opportunities! This month, learn all about how to use Google Scholar to find legal information sources. In October, get a firsthand look at WSLL's subscription to HeinOnline, which includes full text libraries of law review & bar journals, primary federal law, congressional and federal agency documents, and sources of federal legislative history. It's an online tool too good to be missed, especially since most WSLL cardholders can access it from any internet-equipped device!

In November, take advantage of two FREE Westlaw training sessions - one on Westlaw advanced searching techniques and the other on using Westlaw for legal ethics research.  And that same month, get hands-on instruction on where to find and how to use Wisconsin Briefs Online.

For additional information about each of these offerings and to register for them, please visit our Classes page. Seating is limited, so sign up today.

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This Just In… – Pete Boll

New Edition! Piercing the Corporate Veil, by Stephen B. Presser
2011 edition.
Thomson Reuters (West), 2011
WSLL Call Number: KF1423.Z95 .P741

In this latest edition, Presser continues to analyze and study the doctrine of "piercing the corporate veil" in which courts ignore the corporate identity and hold individual corporate officers and shareholders liable. This one volume treatise addresses the law in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, each of the Federal Circuits and the Supreme Court – with in-depth analysis of at least one of the leading cases in each jurisdiction. Presser also covers selected topics in the federal common law of veil-piercing, and provides brief discussion of the veil-piercing laws of England, Germany, France, Argentina, and Japan. Contents include:

  • Economics and Democracy: A Historical and Analytical Overview of the Piercing Doctrine
  • State Law on Piercing the Veil
  • Federal Law on Piercing the Veil
  • Related Topics in Limited Liability
  • Piercing the Veil in Other Countries
  • Table of Laws and Rules
  • Table of Cases
  • Index

New Edition! Wisconsin Criminal Defense Manual, by L. Michael Tobin
5th edition
State Bar of Wisconsin, 2011
WSLL Call Number: KFW 2975.D48 C741

The emphasis of this one volume manual is on the practical, how-to aspects of criminal defense practice. Organizational suggestions, practice methods, forms and checklists are all provided as a starting point for defense attorneys. Updates in this new edition include:

  • Advice for clients regarding social networking accounts and activities
  • New motion and order forms for testing by the State Crime Laboratory, with commentary and instructions
  • Motion form to prohibit consideration of a prior conviction, with commentary and instructions
  • Discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2009 holding that the Confrontation Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits admission of scientific test results when the analyst who performed the test is not called as a witness
  • Motion form to withdraw as counsel, with commentary and instructions
  • Discussion of indirect consequences of conviction, such as deportation

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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1836 – 2011: Celebrating Our History – Carol Hassler & Devin Rogers

As our 175th anniversary year has progressed, the history of the Wisconsin State Law Library has come into focus thanks to the efforts of volunteers and staff. Enjoy highlights from our detailed timeline accompanied by historical images in the slideshows below.

Explore the library's role during Wisconsin's early years including key individuals, legislation, and photos of our collection in the Territory to Statehood slideshow. If you missed our historic photos of the library during our April anniversary celebration, be sure to scroll through the Capitol Tour slideshow, featuring old and recent photos of the library and library equipment in the Capitol.

Click the expand slideshow button expand slideshow button on the shows below for easier reading.

Territory to Statehood

Capitol Tour

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Start Here: A Guide to State Law Library Services & Specialized Materials

With summer ending soon and schools back in session, it seems the perfect time for a refresher and update on the services we provide, and the specialized materials available in our libraries and through our web site.


WSLL Reference Assistance
Whether you need a specific piece of information or some guidance in navigating a legal research website, our reference staff will do their best to help you. Anyone may use our general reference service, available in person and by email, phone, fax or mail. [Please note that library staff cannot give legal advice.] For judges and attorneys, we also offer case law and citator research services.

MLRC & DCLRC Services
Under contractual arrangements with both Milwaukee and Dane Counties, the State Law Library manages the Milwaukee and Dane County Legal Resource Centers (MLRC & DCLRC) conveniently located in each county's courthouse. These small but bustling resource centers provide a wide array of services to judges and court staff, county employees, attorneys, self-represented litigants and the general public. Both centers maintain core collections of library materials, and both have public computers with access to Westlaw, HeinOnline & LegalTrac. The Dane County Legal Resource Center staff also assists the Dane County Bar Association and University of Wisconsin Law School with the operation of free walk-in legal clinics staffed by volunteer attorneys and supervised law students, and provides reference services to Dane County Jail inmates in cooperation with the Dane County Sheriff's Office. When you're at the Milwaukee or Dane County Courthouse, please stop in and learn more about how these resource centers can assist you.

Order a Document
Our staff can track down and deliver all types of legal information - whether it's a copy of a case, an article, a book, a government publication, or some other print or electronic document in our own collections or elsewhere. If it's published, printed, posted, recorded or videotaped, we can probably locate it for you. Delivery options include email, fax, mail and FedEx. Find out more by visiting our Order a Document webpage.

WSLL Website
The WSLL website is a virtual "one stop shop" for access to authoritative legal and government information. The Legal Topics page alone contains thousands of links arranged into over 450 different topics, from Abortion to Zoning Law. The Wisconsin Law page provides access to free web-based sources of primary law, including the Wisconsin Statutes & Administrative Code, Attorney General opinions, court opinions, local ordinances, and much more. Other pages provide similar access to primary sources of federal law, tribal law and laws of other U.S. states. You can also search the library catalog, databases of journal and newspaper articles, and much, much more.

The State Law Library extends borrowing privileges to Wisconsin judges and court staff, private attorneys and any support staff they so authorize, and government employees. To obtain a library card, simply stop in at any one of our three libraries. If visiting isn't convenient, register online and we'll mail your card. To borrow materials, start by searching our online catalog to find out whether the item you want is currently available. Wisconsin judges and attorneys who are unable to come to the library may borrow materials through our convenient Borrow By Mail service.

After Hours Service for Wisconsin Attorneys & Judges
Wisconsin-licensed attorneys who would like to use the Wisconsin State Law Library during evenings, weekends and holidays may subscribe to our After Hours Service. This convenient service allows subscribers to access the library from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. For complete details and subscription information, please visit our After Hours Service webpage. Wisconsin judges who wish to access WSLL outside regular hours may place a request directly with Tammy Keller, WSLL Program Assistant.

Hands-on Legal Research Classes
The library offers free and fee-based classes covering basic legal research procedures as well as specialized tools and databases. Most classes are held in WSLL's computer training room, equipped with eight computers for hands-on learning. Some classes are presented in demonstration or lecture format in the Rare Book Room. To view the current class schedule, visit our Classes webpage.

Library Tours & Orientations
Interested in a firsthand look at one of our libraries, for yourself, your law office staff, or another organization you belong to? To schedule a tour of WSLL, please contact Tammy Keller, program assistant, at 608-261-7553 or Tammy.Keller@wicourts.gov. To schedule a visit to the Milwaukee or Dane County Legal Resource Center, please contact Lynne Gehrke, MLRC Librarian or Lisa Winkler, DCLRC Librarian.

Room Rentals
Are you in need of a nice place in downtown Madison to meet with a client or hold a meeting or training session for your staff or legal professional organization? WSLL has a variety of rooms available for hourly rental. Information about each room, including photos and our general room rental policies, is available on our Room Rental page.

Specialized Library Materials

Wisconsin Briefs
WSLL provides public access to briefs and appendices for cases decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Briefs for cases dated 1992 to the present are available on the web. Earlier ones, dating back to the mid-1850's, are available for use in the library - or copies may be requested by contacting the WSLL Reference Desk or submitting an Order a Document request. For more information, please visit this Wisconsin Briefs webpage.

TIP: For hands-on instruction in using Wisconsin Briefs online, register now for our November 9 class, Wisconsin Briefs Online.

Judicial Council Collection
If you're researching the history of a Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule, or a Wisconsin statute relating to civil or criminal procedure, WSLL's Judicial Council Collection (JCC) will be of interest. The JCC contains Council minutes and document associated with its committees' proceedings dating from the 1950's to the present. Detailed information, including a finding aid that lists every committee document we have, is available on our Judicial Council Collection webpage. Full text documents are not available online. For assistance in doing on-site research or obtaining copies of JCC documents, please contact the WSLL Reference Desk.

Wisconsin Administrative Code "Replaced Pages" Collection
WSLL is one of very few libraries that maintain a collection of superseded pages from the Wisconsin Administrative Code. Dating back to the 1950's, the "Replaced Pages Collection" - as we call it - is an invaluable resource for anyone researching state regulatory history or seeking prior language of a particular Admin Code section. For research assistance or to obtain copies of materials in this collection, contact the Reference Desk.


To access all of our Start Here library guides, video tutorials and legal research guides at any time, visit our Learning Center web page.

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Tech Tip in Brief – Heidi Yelk

Q: What's the best way to create a Table of Authorities?
A: Get someone else to do it for you.

Creating the Table of Authorities (TOA) cited in a legal brief is a bit of a chore, and depending on your situation, getting someone else to do it for you may not be an option. I went in search of tricks and tools to create a TOA and found this blog posting by Stuart G. Friedman that lays out various tools (there are no tricks) for creating a TOA. Players in the specialized field of legal support software change often. Below, I've expanded upon the content in Friedman's post.

Microsoft Word (2007 & 2003) - Word processing allows for a semi-automated process to create the TOA. This requires moving through the document and marking each citation, giving it a category, choosing short forms if necessary, and finally generating the TOA. Of the automated systems listed on Friedman's blog, MS Word is the only one available to me - so I tried the task using a moot court brief as my working document. With several steps involved, some of which seem confusing, it's a bit daunting at first. However, I did succeed at creating a TOA, albeit a less-than-perfect one. I spoke with one legal assistant at a local law firm who assured me that it gets much easier with practice. Fortunately, in addition to the official help from Microsoft (Word 2003) (Word 2007, 2010), there are several good web tutorials covering both Word 2007 and Word 2003. Two examples are by Susan Wolford, librarian at West Virginia University College of Law, and Mary Whisner, librarian at the University of Washington's Gallagher Law Library.

WordPerfect / Corel - I don't have access to Corel's WordPerfect, but documentation from Corel indicates that its method of TOA creation is very similar to that used in MS Word. In addition, Corel sells an add-on product, Perfect Authority which can be downloaded for free trial.

Options from Westlaw and LexisNexis - Both companies offer ad-on products specifically geared towards generating TOAs. Westlaw's CiteAdvisor is available for an extra charge to Westlaw subscribers. The demo video on the webpage shows off the product quite well. LexisNexis has teamed with software company Levit & James to offer Lexis customers Best Authority.

Other options - Best Authority, mentioned above, is also available as an add-on to MS Word. Cite It! by Sidebar Software and CitationWare are two more tools for TOA creation.

Evaluating software - Ian Levit, Vice President of Levit & James, Inc. (makers of Best Authority) recently authored "The Silver Bullet: The Benefits of Table of Authorities Production Software" (Legal Management, Sept. 2009). The article provides a checklist of what to consider when reviewing TOA software - lightly sprinkled with a convincing argument in favor of choosing specialized software over word processing options.

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WSLL Recommends… Real Estate Finance Law

This monthly column highlights a legal research tool, in print and/or electronic format, that is not freely available on the internet. We hope it will increase your knowledge of sources with which you might already be familiar and help to expand your legal research toolkit.

Nelson & Whitman's Real Estate Finance LawNelson and Whitman's Real Estate Finance Law is a two volume set published by Thomson Reuters that provides broad coverage of real estate finance law practice, including sample commercial financing forms.

Topics covered include:

  • The law of mortgages
  • The necessity and nature of obligation
  • Mortgage substitutes
  • Foreclosure
  • Rights and duties of the parties prior to foreclosure
  • Potential liability for cleaning up hazardous waste and the impact of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • Statutory impacts on foreclosure
  • Subrogation, contribution, and marshaling
  • Financing real estate construction
  • Financing condominiums and cooperatives
The appendix of this set contains a brief overview to Researching Real Estate Finance Law on Westlaw, which includes a long listing of legal texts and practice materials for further research in real estate finance law.

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Odds 'n' Endings – Amy Crowder

In an article in the August issue of the ABA Journal, thirty prominent attorneys were asked to name a book that every lawyer should read. While many of the recommended titles may be ones you would most likely find in a public library, a few of them are law-related and available at the State Law Library. Take the recommendation of these attorneys and check out the following:

In that same vein, the latest issue of The Third Branch, the Wisconsin Court System's quarterly newsletter, includes a list of Great Summer Reads recommended by Wisconsin judges.

If you'd like to recommend a book, please share it on our Facebook page! If you're not on Facebook, simply email your recommendation to WSLL Web and we'll add it for you.

September Notables

5th – The First U.S. Continental Congress convened in 1774.

23rd – First day of autumn

30th – In 1859, Abraham Lincoln spoke at the Wisconsin State Fair.

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