Category Archives: Legal Education

Law Library Student Survey — 2017

The Law Library is conducting its annual survey on our collections and services. Please take about a few minutes to give us your feedback.

Take the 2017 Law Library Survey

We promise to read every comment submitted, and we’ll do what we can to act on and respond. Based on feedback in prior years, we added more filtered water stations, purchased additional book scanners, opened a self-service café in the Williams Library, added adjustable standing desks, and released the OneSearch platform which searches the library’s print as well as many of the electronic resources at the same time from one central location.

For the Spring 2017 Georgetown Law Library Survey, we will award four prizes of $50 which will be added to a Georgetown GoCard or given in the form of an Amazon gift card, depending on each winner’s preference. After completing the survey, you’ll have a chance to submit your email address for the drawing. We will keep the survey open through Monday, March 27th and plan to announce student winners soon after this.

You can review a summary of survey responses from 2007 to 2016 on our website.

Law Library Student Survey – 2016

To all current Law Students:

The Law Library is conducting a survey of all Georgetown law students. Please take about 10 minutes to give us your feedback on the law library’s collections, services and any related matters. We promise to read every comment submitted, and we’ll do what we can to act on and respond to your feedback.

Take the 2016 Law Library Survey

For the Spring 2016 Georgetown Law Library Survey, we will award four prizes of $50 to be added to the winners’ Georgetown GoCards. After completing the survey, you’ll have a chance to enter your email address to be entered for the drawing. We will keep the survey open through Monday, March 21st and plan to announce student winners soon after this.

It should only take a few minutes to complete the voluntary survey. Based on feedback in prior years, we released a new Map-It feature for the catalog, provided text transcripts to new video tutorials, purchased additional book scanners, replaced all desktop computers in the public areas in Wolff and Williams, opened a self-service café in the Williams Library, added adjustable standing desks in both libraries, and posted a prominent directory near the elevators as well as smaller signs on every entrance of the Williams Library.

You can review a summary of survey responses from 2007 to 2015 on our website.

Law Library Student Survey – 2015

To all current Law Students:

The Law Library is conducting a survey of all Georgetown law students. Please take about 10 minutes to give us your feedback on the law library’s collections, services and any related matters. We promise to read every comment submitted, and we’ll do what we can to act on and respond to your feedback.

Take the 2015 Law Library Survey

For the Spring 2015 Georgetown Law Library Survey, we will award four prizes of $50 to be added to the winners’ Georgetown GoCards. After completing the survey, you’ll have a chance to enter your email address to be entered for the drawing. We will keep the survey open through Monday, March 23rd and plan to announce student winners soon after this.

It should only take a few minutes to complete the voluntary survey. Based on feedback in prior years, we revised the past exam archive, added additional armchairs and sofas on the 4th floor of the Williams Library, released a new Map-It feature for the catalog, added a flat screen display in severstudy room, purchased additional book scanners, and replaced all desktop computers in the public areas in Wolff and Williams.

In 2104, 540 students replied, with representation from each class as shown here:

2014-year-status

You can review a summary of survey responses from 2007 to 2014 on our website.

 

New Exhibit: Annotated Imprints II: The Jurisprudence of Cannibalism in Fuller’s ‘Case of the Speluncean Explorers’

This is the second in a series of posts about annotated books held by Georgetown Law Library’s Special Collections. This post features an annotated copy of the 1949 Temporary Edition of Lon Fuller’s ‘The Problems of Jurisprudence’ textbook from the Judge Charles E. Wyzanski Collection.

Learning and practicing the law exposes both students and practitioners to difficult issues that sometimes defy easy answers. Law professors regularly craft hypotheticals in attempts to encourage students to discuss such issues. There are surely few more difficult than those faced by survivors of catastrophes struggling to stay alive in the face of insufficient supplies of food and water. Lon Fuller’s now iconic Case of the Speluncean Explorers has become a classic hypothetical for discussion in jurisprudence courses since it was published in the Harvard Law Review in February 1949. Based loosely on the infamous 19th century cannibalism murder trials of shipwreck survivors in Queen v. Dudley and Stephens, 14 L. Rep. 273 (Q.B. Div. 1884), and U.S. v. Holmes, 26 F. Cas. 360, 1 Wall. Jr. 1 (C.C.E.D. Pa. 1842) (No. 15,383), the Case of the Speluncean Explorers asks students to ponder whether a murder has in fact taken place under such circumstances. How might a sitting judge actually rule in such a case?

Georgetown Law Library is fortunate to hold the personal library of Judge Charles E. Wyzanski (1906-1986), which contains a suggestive answer in his annotated copy of Fuller’s Problems of Jurisprudence. Judge Wyzanski began his legal career by clerking for Judge Augustus Noble Hand from 1930-31 and then for Judge Learned Hand in 1932. He then became a leading New Deal lawyer in the Roosevelt administration’s Department of Justice, first as Solicitor of Labor from 1933-35 and then as Special Assistant to the Attorney General in the Office of the Solicitor General from 1935-37. He returned to private practice until 1941 when he was appointed to the District Court for the District of Massachusetts by President Roosevelt. During his tenure on the court from 1941 to 1986 Judge Wyzanski ventured into academia four times. He was a Harvard Lecturer in Government in1942-43, an MIT Lecturer in Law in 1949-50, a Lecturer in Law at Stanford from 1949-1951, and a Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia in 1974. Judge Wyzanski’s annotated copy of Problems of Jurisprudence likely dates from his lectureships at MIT and Stanford.

Judge Wyzanski’s annotated copy of Fuller’s Problems of Jurisprudence

An exhibit containing this book and Judge Wyzanski’s holding is currently in the Special Collections display case outside Williams 210. All of Judge Wyzanski’s books can be found in the library catalog by searching for the collection title – Judge Charles E. Wyzanski Collection.

To access these and other rare and historical acquisitions, contact Erin Kidwell, Curator of Legal History Collections – kidwelle@law.georgetown.edu, or Hannah Miller, Special Collections Librarian – htm@law.georgetown.edu; or, Special Collections – specl@law.georgetown.edu. You can also visit us in Special Collections (Williams 210) Monday – Friday from 10am to 6pm.

1991 oral history interview with Hillary Rodham Clinton focusing on her career in legal services now available online

H_Rodham_Clinton_1991_NEJL_OHIn the videotaped interview, which was conducted by Victor Geminiani in 1991 on behalf of the National Equal Justice Library Oral History Project, Hillary Rodham Clinton recalls her education and career working for legal services from the late 1960s until the early 1980s. Ms. Rodham Clinton got involved with legal services while she was a law student at Yale, where she started volunteering for the New Haven Legal Services organization, one of the first Ford Foundation “Gray Area” model projects. After graduating in 1973, she started working full time as a lawyer for the Children’s Defense Fund, which was founded by Marian Wright Edelman, a fellow Yale graduate whom she had met during her first months in law school. Hillary Rodham had interned for the Washington Research Project, CDF’s parent body, during law school. At CDF, she worked on education and juvenile justice law reform, allowing her to combine her “legal interests and public policy interests.”

In early 1974, Hillary Rodham accepted an offer by John Doar to work on the President Nixon impeachment inquiry staff in Washington, D.C. along with several other young lawyers. After President Nixon’s resignation on August 8th, 1974, she followed Bill Clinton, whom she had been dating, to Arkansas, where he had started teaching at the University of Arkansas Law School in Fayetteville. She got a job at the same law school, and started teaching in the fall of 1974. The dean had asked her to teach criminal law, run a legal aid clinic, and a project providing legal assistance to prisoners in the federal and state penitentiaries. In the interview, she recalled the efforts to gain support for the school’s legal aid program from the Arkansas Bar Association, and the difficulties that legal aid programs in Arkansas faced at the time. After gaining better support for the school’s legal aid program from the Bar Association, she submitted an application to receive federal funding through the Legal Services Corporation. The application was successful, and the program eventually became the Ozark Legal Services. In 1975, she was appointed to the Arkansas State Advisory Committee for the LSC, where she worked on the state-wide expansion of legal services. President Carter appointed Mrs. Rodham Clinton to the LSC Board in 1977 (both she and her husband had worked on Carter’s campaign), and she succeeded Roger C. Cramton as Chairperson of the LSC Board in 1978 and served in this capacity until 1981.

During her tenure at the LSC, the budget increased from $96 million during the President Ford administration to over $300 million. The board oversaw the LSC under the presidents Thomas Ehrlich and Dan Bradley during the rapid expansion of legal services into many previously underserved areas, building a broad, yet solid infrastructure. Tied to the expansion, the board worked on improving access to legal services, and focused on quality, ensuring that delivery systems were the best ones available. During this period, the LSC oversaw the 1007 (h) study, which was mandated by Congress to research the access problems of particular constituency groups such as Native Americans, and initiated the Delivery Systems Study, which analyzed a variety of different systems for the delivery of legal services.

The real strength of the program has been the way it “responded to a very significant need in society,” but did so in an “effective and professional manner,” Rodham Clinton emphasized, so that it was able to withstand the political pressures the federally funded program faced throughout much of its history. She concluded the interview by expressing the hope that the program will continue to grow, and that there will be a lot of room for new people and new ideas, while legal services advocates continue to ask the hard questions: “What’s our purpose, how are we doing it, are we doing it the best way we can, are we meeting our clients’ needs?”

The original interview was recorded on VHS. The full-length digitized interview, which also includes a transcript, is part of the NEJL oral history collection.

Reflections on a Bibliography, Fifty Years Later

[Reposted from the NEJL blog]

By Elisa Minoff

“Selected Readings in Law and Poverty” is a remarkable document. bellow_titleGary  Bellow compiled the bibliography with the help of several law students in 1964, for a course he was teaching at Georgetown Law called Poverty and the Administration of Justice. At the time, Bellow was a young public interest lawyer working at the Legal Aid Agency of the District of Columbia. Bellow would later work at two other organizations funded the United Planning Organization (a community action agency in DC) and California Rural Legal Assistance (a pioneering legal services organization serving California’s farm workers)—before leaving legal practice for academia, where he helped found modern clinical legal education.

In 32 well-organized and quickly-digestible pages, the bibliography transports us back in time to those heady early days of the War on Poverty. It reminds us that what we have come to think of as the intellectual influences on the War on Poverty amount to only a sliver of the popular and scholarly writing on poverty at the time. And it gives us a taste of the ambition of practitioners like Bellow who were considering how to use the law in the fight against poverty.

midstofplenty

Ben Bagdikian. In the Midst of Plenty: The Poor in America. Boston: Beacon Press, 1964.

Part I of the Bibliography, “The Elements of Poverty,” is most interesting to the general historian and reader. In it, Bellow and his fellow contributors list some of the most influential works on poverty from the early 1960s. Notably, the list does not stop at Michael Harrington’s The Other America or Ben Bagdikian’s In the Midst of Plenty. Bellow wanted to stimulate “law students in becoming more concerned with the legal problems of the poor and the urban condition,” as he wrote in the introduction. Accordingly, the selections tend to focus on the underlying causes of poverty, especially urban poverty, and the structural conditions that account for its persistence. Subsections on politics, race, class structure, and psychology include works by Saul Alinksy, Seymour Martin Lipset, Herbert Gans, Oscar Lewis, Ralph Ellison and Charles E. Silberman. These books were not low-circulation editions read by a handful of academics and poverty experts, but trade (and in some cases mass-market) paperbacks that became part of the larger public discourse about contemporary social problems.

newcomers

Oscar Handlin. The Newcomers. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959.

As a historian of migration and social welfare, I was particularly excited to see Oscar Handlin’s The Newcomers listed among the “General Considerations.” Handlin was a prolific historian of immigration who had written the pulitzer-prize winning The Uprooted in 1951. In the late 1950s, he had turned to the study of contemporary internal migration. In The Newcomers, Handlin chronicles the experiences of Puerto Ricans and African Americans who had recently moved to New York City. When Handlin published The Newcomers, popular commentators had begun to blame migrants for the struggles of America’s inner cities, and social workers had come to believe that helping migrants “adjust” or “assimilate” to urban life was a prerequisite to solving urban poverty. Migration, in other words, was very much a part of the debate about poverty in the years leading up to Lyndon Johnson’s declaration, and Bellow’s bibliography manages to capture this too.

Considering the trends in anti-poverty research over the last several decades, the subsection on “The Psychology of Poverty” is particularly interesting. Psychology is yet another subject that has been largely missing from discussions of poverty, but was very much a part of the debates in the 1960s. Historian Alice O’Connor describes the “behavioral sciences revolution” that infused poverty research in the 1950s and 60s.  During these years, the National Institute of
Mental Health funded a number of influential studies and conferences on poverty. Bellows himself admitted to being especially concerned with the psychology of the poor. As he observed in a fascinating interview in 1964: ”It seems to me that poverty is something more than just economic deprivation. It seems to be characterized by a psychological dimension,
a feeling of hopelessness, of powerlessness, of an inability among the poor as we call them to belong to any institution or feel a part of our society.” (Bellows and others involved in the legal services movement, believed that the law could help the poor combat this feeling of
powerlessness bring them into the fold of American society.) In later years, anti-poverty activists became disenchanted with psychology as a subject that could help explain poverty’s persistence and gravity. After decades of marginalization, however, psychology is once again a part of
the discussion, as researchers have started to unveil the long-lasting repercussions of phenomena like poverty-induced toxic stress in early childhood.

children_of_sanchez

Oscar Lewis. The Children of Sanchez: Autobiography of a Mexican Family. New York: Random House, 1964.

(As a footnote on the subject of psychology and poverty, Bellow includes Oscar Lewis’ book, The Children of Sanchez, in the list of works on psychology. In this book, Lewis develops his idea of a culture of poverty—another concept that has recently enjoyed something of a rebirth).

What is most notable about Part II of the bibliography, “The Legal Problems of the Poor,” is how broadly Bellow conceived these problems. Among the legal problems of the poor highlighted in the bibliography are housing issues, such as urban renewal and relocation, zoning, and landlord tenant disputes; consumer protection issues, such as loan and debt problems and purchasing on credit; criminal justice issues, such as arrest and the right to counsel; as well as, to randomly select just a few: juvenile delinquency, unemployment compensation, and discrimination. Part II, which primarily consists of law review articles, includes much more technical works than Part I, which is populated with books by academics, journalists, and activists written for a general audience. But the technicality does not suggest narrow or small mindedness. Poverty law, a la Bellow, addressed any and all issues that arose in the everyday lives of America’s poor. It was far more than the law of public assistance benefits.

Bellow’s bibliography poses something of a challenge to scholars concerned with poverty today: to think broadly, and ambitiously, about the problems of the poor, and to circulate our ideas widely so that they too may become part of the public discourse—fifty years after the War
on Poverty.

bibliography_quote1

About the author: Elisa Minoff is a political and legal historian, who will be teaching as an Assistant Professor of History at the University of South Florida beginning in the fall of 2014. She has  conceptualized and developed the collaborative War on Poverty bibliography, which is available as a google doc.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1K7euJxKGRVSxR_A9CTknfmKVSfWPhj66R-rSv2j3c74/edit?usp=sharing

More information about the bibliography can be found on NEJL’s War on Poverty — Legal Services Resources Center website.

Related resources:

Selected Readings in Law and Poverty,” prepared by Gary Bellow for a seminar at Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and the Administration of Justice taught in 1964-1965.

Interview with Gary Bellow on the “Role of the Lawyer and the Problem of Poverty” by Richard D. Capparella, District Roundtable, WWDC, May 9, 1964. Gary Bellow collection, NEJL. The reformatted vinyl recording is available as a streaming mp3 file at: https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/handle/10822/707482

Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law – From a Georgetown Law Grad

Georgetown Law Center graduate Nathaniel Burney (L ’97) recently published The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law, which is available from Jones McClure Publishing.  Started as as a series of online comics to debunk popular myths about criminal law, the collection of writings and illustrations now covers seventeen chapters across more than 300 pages.

Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law

The five parts in the book cover an introduction, purposes of punishment, guilt, inchoate crimes, defenses and a summary of related topics.

Here’s an example illustration from a series of comics relating to questions of police entrapment: 

Entrapment comic

Stop by the library to check out a copy, read the Tumblr site where this all began, or pick up a copy online.

The Bluebook now available in an iOS App

The Bluebook is now available for iPad and iPhone users for $40 to download for use in the app called rulebook, from Ready Reference Apps. This contains the full text of the entire 19th edition of the book, which is fully searchable.  You can bookmark sections, add notes and highligt sections. There’s been an online version of the Bluebook for a while, but this is the first time this content is available in a native mobile app.  You can’t get it on an Android or Windows Phone device, but if you own an iPhone and an iPad, you can get it on both devices with a single purchase, as long as they share the same iTunes account.

Bluebook App screenshot

Because it’s available as an app, this version of the Bluebook gets you easy access to the book’s contents.  Searches are quick, and it should be easy to get to find what you need. Following is a view of the search results for “parallel citation” with the iPhone and iPad results shown together. Text in the iPhone display is understandably truncated, but it shows rule number or bluepage reference.  By comparison, the web-based version of the Bluebook lets you sort search results by table, rules, bluepages and personal notes.  Both are pretty easy to scan.

Bluebook App search display

In terms of pricing, the Bluebook app cost is comparable to the other electronic version.  For $40, you get the 19th edition to keep. By comparison, current price for the other version is: $32 for 1 year, $42 for 2 and $50 for 3 years. On that system, you get access to the 18th and 19th edition, and there are differences to the way materials are browsed and searched. In print, it costs around $34.

The app version is very useful, but there are a few small features not yet fully implemeted. Though you can highlight text, you cannot copy and paste it yet.  The app designer says that this feature is expected in an update soon. This will be especially helpful if you use this app platform for other content, such as court rules.

 Bluebook App screenshot 2

One quirk to the rulebook app is that moving from section to section isn’t a smooth reading experience, like you find in a Kindle or iBooks.  Sometimes it works to browse from one section to the next, but the app is a bit finicky right now. Admittedly, the Bluebook isn’t exactly a “pager turner” kind of publication, so this is probably okay.   Also, this might be something addressed in a future update to the rulebook app.

If you use an iPhone or iPad and have to reference the Bluebook, consider this app as an option.  To explore the rulebook app platform before buying, you can dowload the free app and get a version of the Federal Rules of Evidence for free to try the platform.

Georgetown Law students are reminded that we’ve got a comprehensive Bluebook Guide to help understand many of the features of this citation resource.

 

 

 

Yale Law School creates first American Ph.D. in Law

Many leading European universities offer the Ph.D. in law; now Yale, another one of the leading world institutions in legal scholarship, announces that it is offering the United States’ first Ph.D. in law.

Dean Robert Post observes that “…increasing numbers of law professors now pursue Ph.D.’s in allied disciplines like economics, history, philosophy, or political science. Because such disciplines train students in standards and questions that are different from those of the law, the natural next step for the legal academy is to create our own Ph.D. program that can focus on the questions and practices of the law itself. “

Law Degrees in State Legislatures

The Chronicle of Higher Education released a major study on the education levels of members of state legislatures. The study looked at where state lawmakers reported going to school and produced an interactive map which highlights the highest level of education achieved by state.  A click on the "Law School" tab shows that 17.2% of state legislators have a law degree. The Texas legislature has the most lawyers and North Dakota has the lowest percentage of lawyers.