Legal Education

State Bar of Wisconsin recently launched an improved interface for their Books UnBound online digital library.  The collection includes State Bar treatises, aka “the brown binders,” the Wisconsin Attorney’s Desk Reference, Wisconsin Judicial Benchbooks, and other books previously released in print only.
The new interface is a definite step up over the previous one.  It features an improved dashboard a more robust search engine with the ability to search by Boolean operators (AND, OR), proximity operators (/p, /s,
Continue Reading State Bar of Wisconsin Updates Books UnBound Interface

Over $52 million was spent on lobbying in Wisconsin in 2021. Nationally, total lobbying spending amounted to a whopping $3.73 billion.  You can follow the money with these tools.

Lobbying in Wisconsin from the Wisconsin Ethics Commission allows anyone to search and view public lobbying information.  See who is lobbying, what they are lobbying about, and how much they are spending.  You can also search by legislative proposal to view who is lobbying for or against it and how
Continue Reading Tools for Tracking Federal and Wisconsin Lobbying

Yesterday, I blogged about new scholarship by Rob Willey, Melanie Knapp, and Ashley Matthews at George Mason University Law Library that explores how and why women are frequently underrepresented in law scholarly impact rankings and suggests alternative metrics to mitigate the imbalance.
Toward the end of the paper, the authors consider the merits of a ranking based on SSRN downloads rather than or in addition to law journal citation rankings.  They correctly note that SSRN downloads:

  • capture interest from readers

Continue Reading Pros & Cons of a Law Faculty Scholarly Impact Ranking using SSRN Downloads

Several studies have found that women tend to publish less frequently than men.  However, research also shows that, per publication, women tend to be cited at the same or higher rates than men. New scholarship by Rob Willey, Melanie Knapp, and Ashley Matthews of George Mason University Law Library explores how and why women are frequently underrepresented in law scholarly impact rankings and suggests alternative metrics to mitigate the imbalance.
Most likely, women’s lower career output stems from a combination
Continue Reading New Scholarship Explores Underrepresentation of Women in Law Scholarly Impact Rankings & Proposes Alternative Metric

On the latest episode of the WI Law in Action podcast from the UW Law Library, host Kris Turner interviews UW Law School Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director of the State Democracy Research Initiative, Rob Yablon.  Yablon introduces the concept of “gerrylaundering,” a strategy used by voting district mapmakers to hold on to power by preserving key elements of their existing maps. Yablon newest article, “Gerrylaundering”, was recently published in the NYU Law Review.
Yablon on
Continue Reading WI Law In Action Podcast: Rob Yablon on the Use of “Gerrylaundering” to Lock in Favorable Voting Districts

In a surprise announcement yesterday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released new guidance that starting in 2026, any publications and supporting data resulting from federally funded research must be openly accessible on the day it’s published.
Here’s more from Ars Technica:
The US government is likely to be the world’s largest funder of scientific research… Yet, for decades, the scientific publishing system was set up so that the government (much less the people
Continue Reading All Publications & Supporting Data from Federally Funded Research must be Openly Accessible from First Publication by 2026

Here is the latest faculty scholarship appearing in the University of Wisconsin Law School Legal Studies Research Papers series found on SSRN.

Among the threats to American democracy, the most serious may also be the most banal: that future elections will be compromised by quiet changes to
Continue Reading Recent UW Law Faculty Scholarship: Countering the New Election Subversion: The Democracy Principle and the Role of State Courts; Reliance; and Law and Public Policy: What Is It, Skills of Practitioners and Researchers, Research Designs and Methods, Law School Courses

Today, in the United States, there are 574 federally recognized Native American tribes.  These sovereign Nations produce thousands of statutes, regulations, and judicial opinions each year.  However, there is a lot of uncertainty and misunderstanding regarding the respect for and availability of tribal law.  I recently encountered three resources that offer some insight.

  • Matthew Fletcher, MSU professor of law and leading scholar and contributor to the field of Indian Law, recently posted a piece on SSRN entitled, Reflections

Continue Reading Three Sources on the Respect for and Availability of Tribal Law

If you routinely access federal dockets and court documents, you may already know that you can get some documents free from the RECAP Archive, a database of millions of PACER documents and dockets maintained by the Free Law Project.  These documents are “donated” by users who purchase them on PACER, then automatically send them to the RECAP archive by means of free browser extensions.
Now there is another new way to add PACER documents to RECAP: 
Continue Reading New, Easier Way to Make Federal Court Documents Freely Available via RECAP

Unlike federal and state law which is widely available, municipal law can be difficult to track down.  In Wisconsin alone, there are 585 municipal (city and village) governments and 1,265 town governments and the availability and amount of information available from each varies greatly.  Fortunately, there is a guide to searching municipal law in the latest InsideTrack from the State Bar of Wisconsin.
The guide, by law librarian, Emily Gellings, covers sources of municipal ordinances, including the excellent
Continue Reading Researching Municipal Ordinances in Wisconsin and Beyond

Those of you who follow federal legislation may be familiar with CRS Reports. The Congressional Research Service is a non-partisan legislative branch agency, housed inside the Library of Congress, that provides comprehensive analysis on issues that may come before Congress.  Although created for Congress, these reports can be tremendously insightful on matters of federal policy to attorneys and others.
But you may not be aware that the Law Library of Congress also prepares research reports on legal
Continue Reading Law Library of Congress Releases Collection of Research Reports Offering Comparative Analysis of Foreign & International Law since the 1940s

Last month, the University of WI Law School hosted a weeklong legal boot camp culminating the National Tribal Trial College’s Certificate in Tribal Court Legal Advocacy.  This free, 6-month, skill-building course empowers laypersons to practice law in Tribal Courts across the United States.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The National Trial Tribal College condenses three years of law school into a 20-week online curriculum with students, most of whom are Native women…
Unlike state and federal courts,
Continue Reading National Tribal Trial College Gives Indigenous Advocates the Skills to Work in Tribal Courts

Here is the latest faculty scholarship appearing in the University of Wisconsin Law School Legal Studies Research Papers series found on SSRN.

In a letter dated February 22, 2022, Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed the commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) “to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances” of what he calls “abusive sex
Continue Reading Recent UW Law Faculty Scholarship: Weaponizing Fear; Colonialism, Foreign Investment and Property Rights Reconsidered; Pathology Logics; and Regulating Social Media in the Free-Speech Ecosystem

This afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending an excellent presentation on The Life Cycle of Scholarship Marketing, jointly presented by the UW Law School External Affairs Office and our Law Library.  The session was cleverly organized around the following themes:

  • Birth and childhood
    • Research and literature review
    • Prepping for discoverability
    • Submissions to journals
  • Teenage years
    • Positioning and posting your newly published work
    • Getting the word out
  • Maturity and growing up
    • Being an expert
    • Sharing the news
  • Golden years

Continue Reading Partnering with other Law School Units to Promote Law Faculty Scholarly Visibility

According to The Verge, a free basic version of Photoshop (image editing tool) is coming soon:
Adobe has started testing a free-to-use version of Photoshop on the web and plans to open the service up to everyone as a way to introduce more users to the app….
Adobe describes the service as “freemium” and eventually plans to gate off some features that will be exclusive to paying subscribers. Enough tools will be freely available to perform what Adobe
Continue Reading Free Basic Photoshop Coming Soon

Christopher Shattuck, Law Practice Assistance Manager at the State Bar of Wisconsin has compiled a useful list of tips for law school grads looking to maximize their experiences as new lawyers.  They are:

  • Do Not Be Afraid to Ask Questions
  • Maximize Your Networking
  • Boost Your Experience by Volunteering
  • Attend to Your Own Wellness
  • Explore Resources for Legal Research

All excellent tips, but I was especially pleased to see that exploring legal research tools made the list.  Shattuck recommends several of
Continue Reading Exploring Legal Research Resources Makes WisBar’s “5 Tips to Excel as a New Lawyer”