Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I don't always list out new titles on the blog here but we had one come in I thought might draw some pretty good student reaction.

50 Unique Legal Paths: How to Find the Right Job
KF 297 .F87 2008

It is now available in the library. It is in the Ready Reference section so you have to use it in the library but I think some of you might be quiet interested in what it has to say.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Developing Your Practice

I found this article in the ABA - Young Lawyers Division newsletter that many of you soon to be lawyers might find interesting. Click on the article to see the details but here are the 5 big things to help you reach a quality practice

  1. Avocation as vocation
  2. Mentors
  3. Reputation
  4. Clients
  5. Economics

Friday, December 12, 2008

Job News

If an effort to help keep a pulse on the job market for the law students who read this blog I refer to two ABA Journal online articles

1 - an article discussing how nationwide over 12,000 jobs have been lost in legal employment

2 - and a not directly related article but certainly tied to the same market is an article discussing how law school grads are at times battling for work formerly reserved for paralegals

Not fun news but it is what is out there is a tough legal and job market

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

reading list at the U of C Law School

The ABA Journal also has an interesting note from the University of Chicago where the faculty has compiled a list of books their are reading or recommend. What I found most interesting in the article was this quote from Frank Easterbrook (7th circuit judge and adjunct): "writing is a lawyer's stock in trade, and the best way to learn how to write well is to read well-written literature."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

School Rank and GPA Aren’t the Best Predictors of BigLaw Success

The ABA Journal recently had an article entitled "School Rank and GPA Aren’t the Best Predictors of BigLaw Success" that I wanted to share with you. I have had many a conversation with students about issues such as this and thought you might find it interesting.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Career Related Article

Wanted to share a good, short ABA Journal article entitled: Is a Law Degree a Liability for Nonlaw Job Seekers?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mac Buyers

as I walk through the library I see many students with Mac's and talk to others who want to buy Mac's and here is a handy resource for you: the MacRumors Buyers Guide.

MacRumors is a generally a good place to go for Mac info but now this buyers guide can help you purchase something that is not going out of style.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Election Revisited

In addition to the state judicial elections what may be next most important regarding the election for readers of this blog are presidential appointments. The Clarion Ledger printed a story this morning that has a good recap of some of the impact a President Obama will have on appointments in Mississippi regarding federal judges and federal district attorneys.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Unpublished Opinions

Every year in 1L Legal Research we discuss unpublished opinions very quickly and it seems that every year I have an upperclassmen who kind of knows about it but isn't very clear on them. HERE is an excellent blog post from the Law Librarian Blog discussing unpublished opinions in much more detail than we go into in Legal Research and what the book, at least the version we are currently using, goes into. Below are a couple of excerpts:

Q: What specifically are we talking about when we say “unpublished opinions”?
A: “Unpublished opinions” refers to court opinions that the court withholds from formal publication in the official reporter. In the era before official reporters and universal publication of opinions, from about the thirteenth century to the start of the twentieth century, many court opinions went unpublished. These opinions could still be brought to the court’s attention, though, as evidence of the common law and precedent. Then, for much of the twentieth century, commercial publishers endeavored to publish every appellate opinion, which proved expensive, both from the perspective of the judicial time investment in writing opinions and in the storing, indexing, and researching those opinions. So an attempt was made to limit those expenses by creating a class of opinions that would be designated “unpublished.” The federal circuit courts for example enacted rules limiting the citation of these unpublished opinions and (in most circuits) limiting their precedential value.

Q: What about the idea that some cases make law and should be published, and other cases, which only apply law, need not be published?
A: That notion is plainly mistaken. Every case, even one exactly the same as a prior case adds to the body of precedent. It tells the reader that the rule announced is a current one, a robust one, and one that was not the product of an errant judge or panel. It is these “piles” of cases, as Karl Llewellyn called them, that make up the common law. But most cases differ from other cases in at least some small way, and it is the decision as to whether these differences change the outcome that tells us the contours of the law. It is this process of repeated application of the law that Lord Coke viewed as giving weight and ever greater precision to the law. All decisions have some precedential value in establishing the state of the law. In addition, the idea that a court can determine at the time of decision (or under the present system at the time of filing) whether a case would be of precedential value in a future case makes no sense. The value of court’s decision as precedent is a question for a later court considering whether to apply, distinguish, or overrule the precedent. And on top of these jurisprudential problems, there is a practical problem that this ex ante determination hasn’t worked very well in practice. Courts frequently issue unpublished opinions in cases that are not the easy cases, involving the mere application of the law cases. Many such opinions contain concurrences or dissents, are heard by en banc panels, and are reversed on appeal or upheld by opinions that are dissented from. All of which suggests that these are far from the easy cases and that these are decisions that expand or contract the law and ought to be precedent.

Monday, November 10, 2008

FOIA requests

In the practice of law some of you may find the occassion to submit a FOIA request. Here is a page that serves as guidance for how agencies are supposed to comply with FOIA and redacting. There are even a couple of examples at the end. If they do not substantially comply with this with regards to your request this could be fairly handy with its statutory references and DOJ publication.

Friday, November 7, 2008


The first floor of the library will be off-limits to general patrons tomorrow morning as it is being used to give the Ethics bar tomorrow morning.

We thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Orders now available from the MS Supreme Court

I'll cut and paste a piece from the MS Bar e-Newsletter you might find interesting:

Orders of the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals filed on or after Sept. 25, 2008, can be viewed via the Internet. Access to copies of court orders is available from the General Docket page on the Court's web site. Go to http://www.mssc.state.ms.us/appellate_courts/generaldocket.html.

Cases are searchable by cause number, party name or attorney name. Point-and-click access to court orders will not be available directly from the weekly hand down lists of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Gaining access to the full text of orders will require one to pull up the docket sheet for the individual case from the General Docket, then click on the link for the order. Orders will be available via the Internet on the day after they are filed. The web site is updated each evening. Appellate court orders filed from Sept. 25, 2008, forward, will be available as digital images. The Court does not plan to link to orders entered before that date.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Windows 7

If you are reading this blog as an MCSOL student it probably means you are at least a bit tech savvy so I wanted to share with you news that the new Windows OS is around the corner, below is a post of mine for another blog you might find of interest:

In the ever annoying advertising battle between Apple and Windows it appears that Windows is not spending all that money on advertising as the commercials imply. Some of it appears to have been spent on Windows 7 which is on the horizon and is nearer than many had thought. This Gizmodo article talks about some of the new features and includes screen caps and even a couple of short videos concerning start-up and shutdown timing. I believe this is the same version that has been referred to as Windows Blackcomb in some reports. This release may even hit the market before the late 2009 date that had been discussed earlier this year.

Nod to David Pogue's blog Pogue's Post where I first found this. For those of you who attended the AALL conference in Portland this past year David was the keynote speaker.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Another Tech Tip

Yes, I know that was the same title as the last post but it still applies to something new.

As I walk through the library daily it seems that at least 1/2 of our students are plugged into their laptops with their earphones with almost all using iTunes. Autobahn is a way to speed up your iTunes downloads. I am fairly new to it but have not seen anything to be fearful of and Friedbeef Tech seems to recommend it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Tech Tip

Friedbeef Tech has a good blog post I want to direct you to if you are interested in speeding up YouTube video loading. The short of it is Speedbit Videoaccelerator but I recommend the post and the blog in general

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tech Tips

Previously we posted some good computer shortcuts but here is a list that David Pogue, tech guru at the NY Times put together on his blog I wanted to share, for the full post see here.

* You can double-click a word to highlight it in any document, e-mail or Web page.

* When you get an e-mail message from eBay or your bank, claiming that you have an account problem or a question from a buyer, it’s probably a “phishing scam” intended to trick you into typing your password. Don’t click the link in the message. If in doubt, go into your browser and type “www.ebay.com” (or whatever) manually.

* Nobody, but nobody, is going to give you half of $80 million to help them liberate the funds of a deceased millionaire…from Nigeria or anywhere else.

* You can hide all windows, revealing only what’s on the computer desktop, with one keystroke: hit the Windows key and “D” simultaneously in Windows, or press F11 on Macs (on recent Mac laptops, Command+F3; Command is the key with the cloverleaf logo). That’s great when you want examine or delete something you’ve just downloaded to the desktop, for example. Press the keystroke again to return to what you were doing.

* You can enlarge the text on any Web page. In Windows, press Ctrl and the plus or minus keys (for bigger or smaller fonts); on the Mac, it’s the Command key and plus or minus.

* You can also enlarge the entire Web page or document by pressing the Control key as you turn the wheel on top of your mouse. On the Mac, this enlarges the entire screen image.

* The number of megapixels does not determine a camera’s picture quality; that’s a marketing myth. The sensor size is far more important. (Use Google to find it. For example, search for “sensor size Nikon D90.”)

* On most cellphones, press the Send key to open up a list of recent calls. Instead of manually dialing, you can return a call by highlighting one of these calls and pressing Send again.

* When someone sends you some shocking e-mail and suggests that you pass it on, don’t. At least not until you’ve first confirmed its truth at snopes.com, the Internet’s authority on e-mailed myths. This includes get-rich schemes, Microsoft/AOL cash giveaways, and–especially lately–nutty scare-tactic messages about our Presidential candidates.

* You can tap the Space bar to scroll down on a Web page one screenful. Add the Shift key to scroll back up.

* When you’re filling in the boxes on a Web page (like City, State, Zip), you can press the Tab key to jump from box to box, rather than clicking. Add the Shift key to jump through the boxes backwards.

* You can adjust the size and position of any window on your computer. Drag the top strip to move it; drag the lower-right corner (Mac) or any edge (Windows) to resize it.

* Forcing the camera’s flash to go off prevents silhouetted, too-dark faces when you’re outdoors.

* When you’re searching for something on the Web using, say, Google, put quotes around phrases that must be searched together. For example, if you put quotes around “electric curtains,” Google won’t waste your time finding one set of Web pages containing the word “electric” and another set containing the word “curtains.”

* You can use Google to do math for you. Just type the equation, like 23*7+15/3=, and hit Enter.

* Oh, yeah: on the computer, * means “times” and / means “divided by.”

* If you can’t find some obvious command, like Delete in a photo program, try clicking using the right-side mouse button. (On the Mac, you can Control-click instead.)

* Google is also a units-of-measurement and currency converter. Type “teaspoons in 1.3 gallons,” for example, or “euros in 17 dollars.” Click Search to see the answer.

* You can open the Start menu by tapping the key with the Windows logo on it.

* You can switch from one open program to the next by pressing Alt+Tab (Windows) or Command-Tab (Mac).

* You generally can’t send someone more than a couple of full-size digital photos as an e-mail attachment; those files are too big, and they’ll bounce back to you. (Instead, use iPhoto or Picasa–photo-organizing programs that can automatically scale down photos in the process of e-mailing them.)

* Whatever technology you buy today will be obsolete soon, but you can avoid heartache by learning the cycles. New iPods come out every September. New digital cameras come out in February and October.

* Just putting something into the Trash or the Recycle Bin doesn’t actually delete it. You then have to *empty* the Trash or Recycle Bin. (Once a year, I hear about somebody whose hard drive is full, despite having practically no files. It’s because over the years, they’ve put 79 gigabytes’ worth of stuff in the Recycle Bin and never emptied it.)

* You don’t have to type “http://www” into your Web browser. Just type the remainder: “nytimes.com” or “dilbert.com,” for example. (In the Safari browser, you can even leave off the “.com” part.)

* On the iPhone, hit the Space bar twice at the end of a sentence. You get a period, a space, and a capitalized letter at the beginning of the next word.

* Come up with an automated backup system for your computer. There’s no misery quite like the sick feeling of having lost chunks of your life because you didn’t have a safety copy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mississippi - Not Last in Everything

According to the 2008 U.S. Economic Freedom Index Mississippi is the 18th most economically free state in the U.S. This report from the Pacific Research Institute in association with Forbes takes into account many indicators (that can be read in the methodology but not really needed to recant here) that help determine which state are economically free and as such are generally considered citizen and small business friendly.

Friday, October 10, 2008

For you writers out there

I know many law students are writers or at least want to become writers so I pass along this slate interview that I think you may enjoy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ethics Opinions

I just had a reference question from a young attorney who is pretty smart who had no clue where to find Mississippi Ethics opinions. That one is an easy one if you know where to look: The Mississippi Bar has all of the Ethics Opinions and they are even divided up into subject.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Banned Book Week

This is (the end of)Banned Book week and I wanted to give any of you readers a place to comment about some books that are banned and should not be or books you would like for our library to purchase (not that we have banned them but just haven't gotten around to getting yet). Also if you want to ask the librarians a question about banned books this could also be a good place for that.

Monday, September 29, 2008

the Bailout Bill

I know many of you out there are politically aware and at least IMO all Americans should care about the bailout situation that is now being discussed by Congress. Here is a link to the bill pdf from Y'all Politics.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ronnie Musgrove / Roger Wicker Debate

Mississippi College School of Law is proud to be the home of the only debate between the incumbent U.S. Senator Roger Wicker and challenger and former Governor Ronnie Musgrove on Friday, October 3rd. The debate will be held in the Auditorium in the Student Center at 7:00 and will be televised on WLBT in the Jackson Metro area.

Not necessarily a library related plug but important in the life of the law school.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Austin Powers Defense

When someone walks up to you at that random cocktail party and asks you about the Austin Powers defense you should really know what they are talking about. In the Case U.S. v. Kevin Martin, 438 F.3d 621, in Footnote 1 of the opinion Judge Gilman makes the following statement:

See also Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (New Line Cinema 1997).DR. EVIL: Scott, I want you to meet Daddy's nemesis, Austin Powers.SCOTT EVIL: Why are you feeding him? Why don't you just kill him?DR. EVIL: In due time.SCOTT EVIL: But what if he escapes? Why don't you just shoot him? What are you waiting for?DR. EVIL: I have a better idea. I'm going to put him in an easily-escapable situation involving an overly-elaborate and exotic death.SCOTT EVIL: Why don't you just shoot him now? Here, I'll get a gun. We'll just shoot him. Bang! Dead. Done.DR. EVIL: One more peep out of you and you're grounded. Let's begin.Prior to this exchange and then again following it, Dr. Evil describes in great detail the separate crimes necessary to achieve his plan for world domination. Thus, if our Government ever does find Dr. Evil (or chooses to prosecute him despite his recent decision to be “less evil,” see Austin Powers in Goldmember (New Line Cinema 2002)), he will be one of the few, if any, criminal defendants, able to argue, consistent with this Circuit's precedent, that all of his various crimes were “related” for purposes of the Guidelines.

Now you won't be clueless when this nice little oddity comes up at those swanky bars and parties you attend.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, enjoy it.

And if you read this and come up to the Circ Desk and talk like a Pirate to Brian any fines under $10 will be waived. Today only.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Don't be this lawyer when you grow up

In a case out of bankruptcy court in Texas the following Order was issued by the judge


Before the court is a motion entitled “Defendant’s Motion to Discharge Response to Plaintiff’s Response to Defendant’s Response Opposing Objection to Discharge.” Doc. #7. As background, this adversary was commenced on December 14, 2005 with the filing of the plaintiff’s complaint objecting to the debtor’s discharge. (Doc. #1). Defendant answered the complaint on January 12, 2006. Doc. #3. Plaintiff responded to the Defendant’s answer on January 26, 2006. Doc. #6. On February 3, 2006, Defendant filed the above entitled motion. The court cannot determine the substance, if any, of the Defendant’s legal argument, nor can the court even ascertain the relief that the Defendant is requesting. The Defendant’s motion is accordingly denied for being incomprehensible.*

* Or, in the words of the competition judge to Adam Sandler’s title character in the movie, “Billy Madison,” after Billy Madison had responded to a question with an answer that sounded superficially reasonable but lacked any substance,

Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I've ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Deciphering motions like the one presented here wastes valuable chamber staff time, and invites this sort of footnote.


While many of us would agree this judge takes a bit far please be sure not to submit a brief that can be viewed like this to a judge.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Computer Lab Closure

the computer lab will be closed tomorrow, September 12th from 7:30-4:30 for a CLE. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Job Interviewing Article

We wanted to pass along a good but short article from the ABA Journal of some thing to watch out for / prepare for with job interviews. I also recommend the internal link to the Legal Times which is a lot choppier but has actually quotes from some people in "the know".

Friday, September 5, 2008

1L Legal Research Fellow Schedule

I realize not everyone out there reading this is a 1L in legal research but for those of you who are below is the Legal Research Fellow Schedule for Fall 2008.

  • Monday

  • Tuesday

  • Wednesday

  • Thursday

  • Friday

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tips for being more environmental friendly

Top 10 Easiest Ways to Green Your Office

1. Kick the Bottled Water Habit
Every year 1.5 mil barrels of oil go to making plastic water bottles in the United States, and less than a quarter of those bottles are recycled, so choose a reusable bottle instead.

2. Compute This.
Set computers to enter sleep mode after 5 minutes of idle time & you’ll be saving energy during lunchtime & other outings.

3. Zap Your Phantom Energy Loads.
Plug your office electronics into a power strip so that you can easily turn them all off when you’re not using them-you’ll keep your devices from sapping “phantom” electricity loads when they’re off but plugged in.

4. Purify Your Plants.
It doesn’t take a forest to clean the air in your office, only about one plant for every 10 square yards. Plants like philodendrons and peace lilies absorb airborne pollutants, keeping the air you breathe clean and clear.

5. Forgo Bad Chems.
Just one 10 oz can of chem. Duster has the same greenhouse gas-creating effect as burning 100 gallons of gas. Take CTRL: Just turn your keyboard upside down, give it a little shake, and slide a piece of 2 sided adhesive tape between the keys.

6. Dodge the Drafts.
Unless you’re printing something superimportant, save ink and paper by tracking your changes in electronic document. If you absolutely need to print something, print it double-sided.

7. Pay the Piper Online.
Lessen your paper clutter at the office too by banking and paying bills online.

8. Get Inked.
Ink cartridges can take up to 450 years to decompose. Recycle your old ones, and next time you buy, go with refilled cartridges, which work just like conventional ones and cost up to 75% less than new ones.

9.Safeguard Your Lunch.
Reduce waste by taking your lunch in reusable, safe containers.

10. Climb Your Way to Green.
Take the stairs instead. Climbing stairs burns up to 10 times more calories. And keep in mind an elevator’s yearly energy usage can equal the energy used to power seven homes annually.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Notice about Library Hours

The library will be closed this upcoming weekend for the Labor Day Holiday. Labor Hours are:

Friday, August 29: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 30: Closed
Sunday, August 31: Closed
Monday, September 1: 1:00 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Watcha Goina Do?

In this case it would more appropriate to say bad girl but a Wisconsin woman, Heidi Dalibor, was arrested and booked for failure to pay library fines (and failure to appear in court when summonsed on the charges). The grand total to get her out of the clink was around $200 (numbers seem to vary) for unreturned copies of Angels & Demons (a personal favorite of this blogger) and White Oleander.

On the bright side I bet the Graphton Library has more returns on time this month than ever before and the young lady seemed in a pretty good mood during her mug shot.

I will also note that upon showing this to my boss she told me not to get any ideas as I have previously pitched the idea that we take people to Justice Court (what we in Mississippi have as a small claims court). If anyone else proceeds in this manner please let us know in the comments and tell us if there are other successful book/$$$ recovery stories out there. {bb}

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ways to be Greener

the MCSOL tries to be "green" when it can and as part of this these suggestions for a more "paperless office" might can help, full post found here

  • reuse paper by sending it back through on the other side when it is not sensitive information

  • use recycled paper

  • Use the edit mode in Word like nobody's business. As just one example, our tips go through about 5 rounds of edits...imagine if we printed each of our 260+ tips a year at least 5 times.

  • Ask that firms send any info they want to get to us in e-form, so: "Instead of a brochure, just point us to your e-brochure," etc.

if you have any other helpful hints here please leave them in the comments section

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

5 Indispensible Tips for Law Students

The easy way of blogging is to find a good job someone else has done and to refer to it, so ....

Here is a post from The Legal Underground that I think could be helpful to law students. I don't necessarily back some of the products, as the article is a bit dated, but the ideas of what to do are still as true as ever.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Please help us out a bit

Some of you may recognize that the library webpage has undergone some changes in the past couple of weeks, mostly for the better I hope. Where you come in is we are asking for suggestions, tips, referrals to pages you like or would like ours to be more like. The goal of our library is service to students and faculty so let us know how we can best help you with the webpage.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Summer / Fall Update

As the new crop of 1L's sit in orientation as I write this I wanted to let you current subscribers know that we begin regular fall hours on Wednesday, August 20th, the first day of classes. At that time (except for the exceptions) we run 7:30 - midnight Monday - Thursday, 7:30 - 9 p.m. on Friday, 9-9 on Saturday and noon - midnight on Sunday.

Please see the MCSOL Library webpage for details on the exceptions and more information.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cards: Debit v. Credits

Many of you law students are under what will soon be a heavy student loan debt and this article discussing the value and pitfalls of both debit and credit cards might be useful reading. USATODAY

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tech Tip of the Week

Couple of Windows shortcuts that many don't know about but are nice to have:

Windows + M = Minimize the window

Alt F4 = Close the window you are looking at

Alt Tab = Bounce through all the windows you have open

If you have any other tips you would like to share feel free to put them in the comments.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama's Law Exams

Wanted to pass along this Slate article concerning law school exams the Barak Obama gave while at the U of Chicago. I realize that many of you do not support Obama but the historical value of a presidential candidates old exams is interesting to many law students.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First Post

For the ease of posting and to provide updates and news to our students the Mississippi College School of Law Library has created this blog. Feel free to comment and please let us know what content you would like to see in this forum.

This blog will replace the previous RSS feed available from the MCSOL Library.