ambivalent imbroglio home

« February 25, 2005 | Main | February 27, 2005 »

February 26, 2005

Wexis Data, Anyone?

Since I know you're all full of knowledge on all kinds of crazy topics, I have another question for you: I'm writing a journal article (due very very soon) that basically argues that Westlaw/Lexis should be freely available to all, both as a matter of copyright law and public policy. (I recognize that this is quixotic, but I think it's worth making the argument, anyway.) Do you know of any anecdotal or statistical evidence that the cost of online legal research is a burden on solo practitioners, legal aid attorneys, or public defenders? I'm especially interested in any evidence that the cost of legal research can actually affect legal outcomes (e.g., cases where a solo or public defender lost a case b/c he/she was outgunned in the research dept.). If you have stories about this kind of thing yourself, or if you know where I could find this kind of information, please let me know. Um, ASAP. ;-) Thanks! p.s.: Also, if you have any thoughts on the topic generally, I'd certainly be interested in hearing those, as well. Do you see any legal or public policy arguments for/against the current scheme of for-profit legal research?

Posted 02:44 PM | Comments (6) | 2L law general

2L Summer Job Update

Thanks to everyone who threw in their two or twenty cents in response to my question about the 2L summer job. You all gave me a lot to think about and I was able to make the decision feeling confident I'd considered nearly all angles. The decision? I took the job with the PD office where I worked last summer. Although in an ideal world I would be able to get experience with a different PD's office this summer, I think this was the right choice for several reasons:
  1. I know the office and the people and they know me so I can hit the ground running and get more experience and responsibility, hopefully making it into court representing misdemeanor defendents on my own all the sooner.
  2. It's getting a bit late to be looking for summer jobs around here and the GW summer stipend deadline is approaching, so it seemed better to take a job where I knew I'd get good experience rather than holding out for a hypothetical job I might not even get and which might not give me the same level of experience even if I did get it.
  3. While I almost certainly could have found another good PD job somewhere for the summer, I live with my girlfriend and my dog and I'd really rather not leave them for the summer, not to mention the added expense and hassle of doing so.
  4. I'm currently in a civil law clinic and plan to take at least one crimlaw clinic next fall, plus I've been working for a civil law nonprofit for the past six months, so I'll end up with lots of diverse experience, despite working in the same office for two summers.
  5. The next several weeks are going to be busy enough; it will be nice to be relieved of the worry of whether I'm going to have a good job this summer.
There are probably other things I'm forgetting, but that's the gist of it. The decision was complicated a bit by a really great interview with excellent people at the crimlaw policy nonprofit, as well as by a callback from another crimlaw policy place with which I also interviewed a couple of weeks ago. In the end, I realized that, while I do hope someday to work on the policy aspect of criminal justice, right now I feel compelled to work directly with people and do what I can on that level. Again, I thank everyone for helping me consider the options here, which special thanks to Blonde Justice and Arbitrary and Capricious who generously shared their first-hand perspectives. I'll definitely keep you posted on whether this turns out to be the right decision...

Posted 02:32 PM | Comments (5) | 2L law school

Best Simple Browser Shortcut Ever

I don't know where I read this, and it's probably not news to most people, but if you don't know about it and you use a web browser, you're missing out. What is it? Command-L. (Control-L on Windows. Or is it Alt-L? I can never remember.) Command-L is a keyboard shortcut in almost every browser (including Firefox, Safari, and Explorer) that moves the cursor to the browser's address bar and selects everything it finds there. This is incredibly handy when you're finished reading a page and know where you want to go next—just hit Command-L and start typing your next destination. It also makes it simple to copy a URL. For example, if you're creating a blog post and want to link to something you can:
  1. hit command-L (to select the URL in the address bar),
  2. command-c (to copy the URL),
  3. command-tab (to switch from browser to ecto or whatever desktop blogging client you use), and
  4. command-v (to paste the URL).
That might sound complicated, but it's only four keystrokes and once you're used to it, you'll do it in about two seconds. Trust me, it's awesome. It works on Windows, too, but I think with control as the modifier for the L, C, and V, and alt as the modifier for tab (to switch programs). If you're using ecto you don't need to do the last step (command-v) because in ecto you just hit command-u and ecto pastes the contents of the clipboard inside an anchor tag, then leaves the cursor ready for you to add the text for the link. Or if you've already selected some text when you type command-u, that text becomes your link text and the anchor tags appear on either end of the selected text (w/the URL you had on the clipboard pasted properly inside). If that doesn't make sense, download ecto and try it. You will find that it rocks, I promise. If you do not use ecto but you do use a mac, I also highly recommend BlogAssist, which gives you a system-wide drop-down menu containing whatever code you use most frequently. Like ecto, BlogAssist can also automatically insert the contents of the clipboard in the appropriate places. It can be a big time saver.

Posted 01:57 PM | mac geek meta-blogging

about   ∞     ∞   archives   ∞   links   ∞   rss
This template highly modified from The Style Monkey.