Legal Research News and Information with an Emphasis on Wisconsin

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Today’s post is from UW Law School Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, Susannah Camic Tahk:

My dad, a sociologist of intellectual history, once glumly told me that people doing US intellectual history never seem to find rare archival gems anymore. Regardless of whether he was correct at the time, his always-skeptical daughter now points out that he spoke too soon.
A couple of years ago, BJ Ard, himself a trailblazer in the burgeoning
Continue Reading Professor BJ Ard Finds Lost Manuscript by Willard Hurst; Continues Discussion on Technology & the Law

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time dedicated to celebrating the rich and diverse culture, history, and contributions of Native people.  Each year, the UW–Madison campus cultivates a diverse portfolio of events in recognition of this important heritage month.  One of these events, organized by the UW Law School and the Indigenous Law Students Association (ILSA), was a flag ceremony in which thirteen Native Nations with ancestral ties to Wisconsin presented their flags.  I feel privileged that
Continue Reading Law Libraries Fostering Research & Learning on American Indian Law

The Wisconsin Law Review’s annual symposium is this weekend, October 28 and 29.  The symposium, entitled Controlling the Supreme Court: Now and “far into the future,” features a panel of national constitutional experts who will reflect on the extraordinary events of this past Supreme Court term, from overruling Roe v. Wade to new interpretive approaches in the areas of religion, gun rights, administrative, and Native American law.
More information, including a schedule, list of panelists with biographies, and registration
Continue Reading WI Law Review Hosts Symposium on the Supreme Court Now and “Far into the Future”

Business information can be an important source of intelligence for attorneys.  Carol Hassler from the Wisconsin State Law Library has compiled an excellent guide to “Researching Private and Public Businesses, Specialized Industries” in the latest Inside Track from the State Bar of Wisconsin.

She offers advice on:

  • Requesting Annual Reports
  • Finding Registered Agents and Officers
  • Examining UCC Filings
  • Researching Public Companies
  • Finding Information for Specialized Industries
  • Locating Industry Data

This guide is part of the Legal Research 101 series
Continue Reading Guide to Researching Private and Public Businesses, Specialized Industries

The UW Law Library is pleased to announce the installation of a new exhibit, “Justice for All: The Legacy of Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson.”  On loan from the Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson Legacy Committee, the exhibit will be on display through December 15th.
The exhibit presents the groundbreaking career of Wisconsin’s first woman justice, her impact on the Wisconsin court system, and her place in history. It highlights causes she championed—women’s rights, civil rights, public understanding
Continue Reading UW Law Library Hosts New Exhibit, “Justice for All: The Legacy of Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson” 

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

Two members of the UW Law Library staff have recently taken on new positions with expanded responsibilities.
Liz Manriquez, formerly Scholarly Communications and Reference Librarian, is now Head of Reference and Scholarly Support.  In this new position, Liz will lead our team of reference librarians in providing research support, manage the Law School Digital Repository, and continue to assist law faculty and staff with the distribution and visibility of their scholarship.
BJ Ramsay, formerly Evening/Weekend Circulation
Continue Reading New Positions for Liz Manriquez and BJ Ramsay in the UW Law Library

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