Legal Research News and Information with an Emphasis on Wisconsin

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Thinking of filing a public records request but aren’t sure where to start? Wisconsin Watch has compiled a helpful primer.  Here’s a selection:
First, determine what you want to know and who has that record. The person in charge of keeping and managing these documents at an agency or department is known as the “custodian” of public records. It doesn’t hurt to call the agency to find out who that custodian is.

In crafting your request, it may
Continue Reading How to Request Public Records in Wisconsin

Just released, Legal Realism to Law in Action documents the University of Wisconsin Law School’s distinctive approach to teaching and research.  The book, edited by William H. Clune, Voss-Bascom Professor of Law Emeritus, is a collection of papers and interviews describing the innovative law school courses developed by UW Law School faculty from 1950 to 1970.  These courses, which forged a path from legal realism to law and social science, took a “law in action” approach to the
Continue Reading New Book Recounts Distinctive Approach to Teaching & Research at UW Law School

Interested in UW Law School’s new State Democracy Research Initiative?  Sign up for their free newsletter for news on the latest research, happenings, and events.  Issues will be published at the end of each semester.  Here are some highlights from the inaugural issue:


With a decennial redistricting cycle in full swing, we have been actively sharing our expertise. Faculty Co-Director Robert Yablon released a new law review article, Gerrylaundering (NYU Law Review, forthcoming 2022), which has
Continue Reading UW Law’s State Democracy Research Initiative Newsletter Showcases Restricting & State Constitutional Law Expertise, State Supreme Courts Research

On the latest episode of the WI Law in Action podcast from the UW Law Library, host Kris Turner interviews UW Law’s David M. Trubek, Voss-Bascom Professor of Law and Dean of International Studies Emeritus and Richard Abel, Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus at UCLA Law.  Profs. Trubek and Abel discuss their recent symposium issue, “The Short Happy Life of the Yale Program in Law and Modernization: From the Cold War to Comparative Legal
Continue Reading WI Law In Action Podcast: David Trubek & Richard Abel on the Short Happy Life of the Yale Program in Law and Modernization

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to make U.S. court documents free to the general public.  The bipartisan legislation would require the federal judiciary to create a new PACER system that would be free for public use.  PACER, which stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records, is run by the Judicial Conference of the United States. Users currently pay $0.10 per page with a cap of $3 per document, excluding transcripts.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted
Continue Reading Bill to Make PACER Free Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee

Developed by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Lumen tracks cease and desist letters concerning online content.  The project documents the notice-and-takedown process and ecology by reporting that a notice or request was sent and received, by and to whom, and regarding what online content.
The Lumen database collects and analyzes legal complaints and requests for removal of online materials, helping Internet users to know their rights and understand the law. These data enable
Continue Reading Lumen Compiles Cease & Desist Letters for Online Content

The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the armed Illinois teenager who killed two people and wounded another during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has captured the nation’s attention and garnered extensive media coverage. Experts from the University of Wisconsin Law School have provided in-depth commentary and insights as the trial develops. The Law School has compiled a listing of media coverage provided by these faculty experts:

  • Keith Findley, a professor of law, is an expert in evidence, wrongful convictions,

Continue Reading UW Law Faculty Provide Context on Criminal Law During Rittenhouse Trial

A cardboard concept of a statue of Vel Phillips stands on the Capitol Square in Madison prior to the announcement of the statue’s approval
Earlier this week, plans were announced for a statue in honor of civil rights activist Vel Phillips on the Wisconsin State Capitol square at the corner of West Main and South Carroll streets.  Phillips was the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin Law School and to be elected to a
Continue Reading Vel Phillips Statue Planned for Wisconsin State Capitol

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

Continue Reading Recent UW Law Faculty Scholarship: Meaning of the Constitution’s Preamble, Authority of the Constitutional Committee of Style, Territory as a Victim of Armed Conflict, & Plea Bargaining’s Innocence Problem

Next week, November 5th and 6th, the Wisconsin Law Review will host a Symposium on the newly completed, Restatement of the Law of American Indians. This Restatement cements the foundational principles of American Indian law. Topics include federal/tribal relations, state/tribal relations, tribal jurisdiction and authority, and Indian Country business law.
The Restatement of the Law of American Indians (“the Restatement”) is the product of the largest collection of experts in federal Indian law ever assembled, working collaboratively over
Continue Reading WI Law Review Hosts Symposium & Podcast on New Restatement of the Law of American Indians

An excellent new article by Karen L. Wallace & Rebecca Lutkenhaus, Professors of Law Librarianship at Drake University Law School takes a deep dive into the practice and implications of ranking law faculty scholarly impact.  In their article, “Measuring Scholarly Impact in Law,” forthcoming in the Widener Law Review, the authors argue that “although the U.S. News [scholarly impact ranking] proposal died, legal bibliometric studies will persist and the academy should develop standards for the responsible creation and use
Continue Reading New Work Recommends Standards for Law Scholarly Impact Analyses

If you’re a Badgerlink user, take note that the URL has changed to https://badgerlink.dpi.wi.gov.  The old URLs badgerlink.net and badgerlink.org no longer work.

If you’re not a Badgerlink user, what are you waiting for?  Badgerlink is a collection of amazing resources available for free to all state residents via Wisconsin’s libraries through funding from the DPI.  Badgerlink databases contain over 11,000 periodical titles and over 700 newspapers (including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and many Wisconsin
Continue Reading URL Change for Badgerlink, a Collection of Subscription Databases Available to All Wisconsinites

Legal blogs and law firm websites can be great sources of legal insight and current awareness, especially on local issues.  However, this content is easy to miss if you’re not a subscriber.  Fortunately, there are a couple of useful tools to help you find this content:

Continue Reading Searching Legal Blogs & Law Firm Websites

On the latest episode of the WI Law in Action podcast from the UW Law Library, host Kris Turner interviews Professor S. Lisa Washington, the 2021-22 William H. Hastie Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Prof. Washington previously worked as a public defender in New York City, defending clients in family court. She also supervised students in the family court defense clinic at the Cardozo School of Law. Her article, “Survived and Coerced: Epistemic Injustice
Continue Reading WI Law In Action Podcast: S. Lisa Washington on Epistemic Injustice in the Family Regulation System

As a legal historian, I’m a big fan of Hein’s Session Law Library which contains the session laws of all 50 U.S. states as well as Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and the D.C. Register. All states are current within 60 days of the printed publication, and all states are available back to inception.  This database was instrumental to my research on sex trafficking in Wisconsin in the late 19th century.

The availability of this database was a
Continue Reading Hein Completes Indexing of WI Sessions Laws from Inception (1836-2019)

Yesterday, the Free Law Project announced the release of a new, first-of-its-kind database of federal judicial financial records:
The Ethics in Government Act was passed in 1978 in the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal and mandated the filing of these disclosures. From then until now, there has never been a database like the one we are announcing today.
Our financial disclosure database is a collection of over 250,000 pages of financial records drawn from over 26,000 tiff and PDF
Continue Reading New Database of Federal Judicial Financial Disclosures Reveals Conflicts of Interest