Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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AALL Emerging Leader Nominations

AALL is now accepting nominations for the Emerging Leader Award. This award recognizes newer members who have made significant contributions to the profession and have demonstrated the potential for leadership and continuing excellence.

Selection criteria include:
· The nominee must be a member in good standing of AALL
· The nominee must be in his/her first 10 years of law library experience
· The nominee must not have previously received an Emerging Leader Award
· The nominee must have made a significant contribution to the Association and/or the profession.
· The nominee must have shown outstanding promise for continuing service and leadership. Specific examples of his/her continuing activities must be provided.

Self-nominations are accepted and encouraged.

The nomination deadline is February 1. Letters of recommendation can take some time to gather and holidays are approaching, so we encourage you to begin the process as soon as possible in order to meet the deadline.

More details on the award, including a link to the Nomination Form, can be found here: Emerging Leader Award

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November Link Roundup

FDsys Website to be Retired This December Links to additional info on the transition from the GPO’s Federal Digital System (“FDsys”) to Gov Info. FYI (for those of you who’ve somehow made it this far without hearing the news): FDsys will be fully retired this December!


The FY2019-2023 Strategic Plan of the Library of Congress The Library of Congress announced exciting new changes to put “. . . users first.” Click the link to learn more about plans for “. . . expanding access and enhancing services, while applying data and optimizing resources.”


Try the New Experimental Congress.gov Chrome Browser Extension A new open source Google Chrome browser extension (available for download at the link) offers the ability to help ” . . . quickly discover the primary source” of legislation discussed in news stories. By highlighting a bill’s citation on a webpage, the extension will bring a user to the bill summary’s landing page on Congress.gov. Because the extension is still in beta, it’s not yet available on the Google Chrome Web store (hence the download).


In an email sent by Rita Young (and initially spotted by Karen Shepherd), the SLA Solo Librarians Division & Route 66 Chapter presented a session called, “Challenges of Being an Embedded Librarian.” If you’re reading about this for the first time in the Monthly Recap posted on the wplla.org website, you’ve missed it. But if any WPLLA member attended, please reach out to let us know what you thought!


5 Free JPG to PDF Converters: Combine Images Easily Into PDFs If you need to convert an image file to a .pdf, try one of these free websites or services that can help you with the task! Options include JPG2pdf.com, iLovePDF.com, JPG to PDF converter for Mac & Windows, SmallPDF.com, and PDFCandy.com. Click the link for more info on each one.


Harvard Political Review – The 21st Century Library Comparing the traditional memory (or misconception) of the library to the contemporary version (one filled with “. . . students consumed by laptops” and librarians helping patrons “. . . access databases, not . . . retrieve documents”), this Harvard Political Review article, linked by beSpacific, denounces the perceived obsolescence of libraries and instead explains how they’ve evolved to become important in our modern and ever-changing world.


How to Set Follow-up Reminders for Email in Outlook If your Outlook 2016 email account “. . . is set up with the IMAP protocol rather than POP3 or Exchange Server,” you may have difficulty flagging a message for follow-up or setting an email reminder for yourself. Review this blog post at Attorney at Work for a step-by-step instruction on how to set reminders by turning Outlook emails into tasks.


WPLLA member Dr. Joel Fishman forwarded an important announcement from HeinOnline: the U.S. Congressional Serial Set is now available. Any subscriber to the U.S. Academic Core+ package has access to this content at no extra charge, courtesy of the subscription.


New Bots From DoNotPay Includes One That Lets You Sue In Any Small Claims Court At The Press Of A Button DoNotPay (discussed in an October 18, 2018 blog post on the WPLLA.org website) has launched several new “. . . legal and consumer-protection bots, including one “. . . that will enable individuals to file an action in any small claims court in the United States.”


TECH THURSDAY: PASSWORD MANAGERS The Cleveland Law Library links to PCMag.com to identify the best free password managers.


American democracy is fracturing. Libraries say they know how to help Defenders of U.S. public libraries claim that “. . . in a fractured society, libraries are a crucial way to fight the ravages of scorched earth partisanship, rising social discord, and educational inequalities.”


What’s new to Congress.gov in October? There are several new enhancements to Congress.gov, including an Advanced Legislation Search which allows users to see all names associated with a Committee and a Search Results Navigation improvement that lists all amendments for a specific bill.


New GODORT website Though the GODORT wiki is no longer being updated, the main GODORT website just got a new makeover! More pages will be added in the upcoming weeks, but feel free to click through to get a feel for the new experience.


Appeals Court Says Georgia’s Laws (Including Annotations) Are Not Protected By Copyright And Free To Share Quoting a post from techdirt, beSpacific notes that “[t]he 11th Circuit appeals court has just overturned a lower court ruling and said that Georgia’s laws, including annotations, are not covered by copyright, and it is not infringing to post them online.” This in-depth post gives a thoughtful backstory to the saga, complete with multiple links.


100 Websites That Shaped The Internet As We Know It beSpacific links to a Gizmodo article that attempts to define “. . . a canon of the most significant websites of all time.” Some of the sites on the list are “cesspools” and the authors don’t include apps or services; however, this list serves as a pretty good “. . . evaluation of power and who has seized it.”


12 Authors Write About the Libraries They Love “The New York Times asked 12 authors to describe their local public libraries or share a memory of a library from their past.”


LC – Foreign Law Web Archives In a significant compilation first identified at The Signal and later defined in this beSpacific post, experts discuss significant Library of Congress collections, including the Foreign Law Web Archive (“. . . comprised of foreign legal materials, including online gazettes and judicial websites”).


ABA ethics opinion offers guidance on data breaches “Lawyers have to safeguard client data and notify clients of a data breach, and the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has issued a formal opinion that reaffirms that duty.” This beSpacific post links to Formal Opinion 483, as well as several other opinions and posts to provide background information and bolster the framework of the new opinion.


US midterm elections: A guide to everything you need to know Linking to multiple articles posted by CNN, beSpacific provides information on the upcoming midterm elections.



WIPO Lex provides free of charge access to legal information on intellectual property WIPO Lex, is a “. . . a global database that provides free of charge access to legal information on intellectual property (IP) such as treaties administered by WIPO.” Because WIPO is a specialized Agency of the United Nations, it is required to make intellectual property information available to the public. WIPO Lex “. . . also covers IP legal information of the Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO).”


GPO issues digital release of statue compilations The U.S. Government Publishing Office (“GPO”) recently released 40 statute compilations as part of a pilot program on the website govinfo; “[t]hese publications are compilations of public laws that either do not appear in the U.S. Code or that have been classified to a title of the U.S. Code that has not been enacted into positive law.” Expect additional statute compilations on the site in the next few months. Later, the GPO will “. . . convert legacy Statute Compilations file formats into United States Legislative Markup (USLM) XML and provide access to those files as bulk data.”


Navigating Law Librarianship While Black: A Week in the Life of a Black Female Law Librarian In a short yet poignant paper, three law librarians discuss a myriad of micro-aggressions that people of color, and specifically law librarians, suffer due to pervasive implicit biases. WPLLA member Joel Fishman also thoughtfully provided the paper as a /pdf attachment to the email, for those unable to visit the website.


Statistics and Academic Law Library Survival Cross-posted from The RIPS Law Librarian Blog, beSpacific posts inspirational words from a law librarian about the future of law and new opportunities for reinvention.


The Caselaw Access Project expands public access to US law Per beSpacific, the Caselaw Access Project (“CAP”) makes “. . . all published U.S. court decisions freely available to the public online.” The decisions are digitized from a collection housed at the Harvard Law Library. The information discussed on the blog post links to the scope and limits of the project, digitization specs, and usage and access rules, among others.



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AI and the Legal Professional at the Crossroads: Where are we going?


During this program,  a panel of representatives from 3 of the current advanced analytics programs available to the legal profession will demo their program followed by a discussion that considers if we are in danger of violating RPC Rules 1.1 (understanding the law and the technology used) and 5.5 (Unauthorized practice of law) and a look at the Work-Product doctrine.


Angela Chmielewski (Lexis Nexis), Phil Rosenthal (Fastcase), and Anand Upadhye (Casetext)


November 15, 2018, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.


Pepper Hamilton’s new location: 501 Grant St. Suite 300 (Union Trust Building, 3rd floor, Boardroom 1

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October Link Roundup

Do these things to avoid post-vacation stress at work Seven great tips for bringing your sense of “inner peace” back with you post-vacation. Very smart of WPLLA Member Joel Fishman to send this link out the day after Labor Day!


How to Create a Professional Online Presence Authentically Marketing expert and entrepreneur Vana Koutsomitis gave a thoughtful Q&A with goop.com. She outlined some interesting suggestions for maintaining an authentic online image and how to promote yourself, your skills, and your brand using social media.


New on LLRX – Three TextExpander Snippets You Should Be Using to Save Time Immediately


Try http://www.textexpander.com to create Snippets that plug in your email address, phone number, and office mailing address. Save some time where-ever and when-ever you can!
Historical California legislative publications Check out the “California Legislative Publications 1850-2009” on HathiTrust for historical bills, statutes, bill histories, constitutional amendments, final calendars, and other materials.


LexisNexis sued for breach of contract by Ohio county law library The Medina County Law Library in Ohio has contracted with LexisNexis since 2002 to provide search services for approximately 100 attorneys not otherwise affiliated with the County or the Law Library. The library paid for access privileges; however, LexisNexis recently cancelled this license because “. . . the listed subscribers were not government professional users employed by the subscriber.” The library, in turn, filed suit.


May I finish? The case against interrupting The author suggests that this is a real problem – especially for women. Learn why people interrupt and how to handle the interruptions.


Save the Date: “The Past, Present, and Future of Libraries,” September 27-29, 2018, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA If you’re reading this on the WPLLA website, the event has already passed – but thanks to WPLLA member Joel Fishman for sending this to our attention! This free event focused on the history of libraries, the present opportunities for libraries, and the potential future for libraries as they continue to evolve in the 21st century. It also featured two keynote events. First, a panel discussion moderated by Sarah E. Thomas (Vice President for the Harvard Library and University Librarian and Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences) with comments from Mary Lee Kennedy (Executive Director, Association of Research Libraries), Khalil Gibran Muhammad (Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and Suzanne Young Murray Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies), and Michael Witmore (Director, Folger Shakespeare Library). Second, a presentation from Deanna Marcum (Senior Advisor, Ithaka S+R) and Donald J. Waters (Senior Program Officer for Scholarly Communications, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation).

If you attended, shoot someone on the WPLLA Board a quick message; we’d love to hear from you.


Supreme Court Appointment Process: Senate Debate and Confirmation Vote beSpacific linked to a timely (and recently updated) CRS Report called, “Supreme Court Appointment Process: Senate Debate and Confirmation Vote.” Though the U.S. Constitution provides instruction for appointment in only a few brief words (“the President ‘shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court'”), the process has undergone many changes over the past two hundred-or-so years. Click through for more info and the link!


12 Things You Absolutely Won’t Regret Doing at Work Today As the article so deftly notes, “Have you ever had one of those days when absolutely everything went wrong? When it felt like the universe was not only against you—but actually laughing in the face of your misfortune?” It then goes on to suggest 12 different quick-and-easy projects to tackle at work when you really need a “win” (like cleaning off your desk or tidying up your email inbox).


Wolters Kluwer Partners with U.S. Legal Forms On September 12, 2018, Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. announced its partnership with U.S. Legal Forms, Inc., “. . . the leading online publisher of state-specific legal documents.” Additional features of Wolters Kluwer’s Legal Forms will now include the following: “[a]ccess to a wide range of forms (mostly state-specific) across many practice areas; [r]emote access to forms, allowing professionals to work on the go and edit the forms according to specific needs,” and customizable options tailored to specific practice areas or specific states.


LII Announces U.S. Constitution Annotated The Legal Information Institute’s (“LII”) U.S. Constitution Annotated “. . . links to Supreme Court opinions, the U.S. Code, and the Code of Federal Regulations” and provides “. . . enhanc[ed] navigation through search, breadcrumbs, linked footnotes and tables of contents.” Though the Congressional Research Service initially prepared the content, LII’s version provides “. . . a hypertext interpretation of the CRS text, updated to the currently published version.”


New bill would finally tear down federal judiciary’s ridiculous paywall ArsTechnica notes that “. . . Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) has introduced legislation that would require that the courts make PACER documents available for download free of charge. . . . [as] federal courts have used PACER revenues as a slush fund to finance other court activities.” The author of the post doesn’t anticipate the proposed legislation to become law during this specific session, but it does indicate Congressional willingness to at least take up the issue.


New Corpus Linguistics Platform Lets Legal Researchers Explore the Meanings of Words and Phrases The Law and Corpus Linguistics Technology Platform, developed by BYU Law in Provo, Utah, is a “. . . first-of-its-kind technology platform” that “. . . allows legal researchers to examine large collections of historical texts to help determine the meanings of words and phrases in the contexts in which they historically were used.” It launched with three primary text collections:

·         Corpus of Founding Era American English (a collection from years 1760 to 1799);

·         Corpus of Supreme Court of the United States (all SCOTUS opinions through the 2017 term); and

·         Corpus of Early Modern English (a collection from years 1475-1800).

This project is already receiving accolades from distinguished sources, like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; it definitely seems worth a few minutes of curious exploration!


Trending: Congressional Research Service Reports Now Available Online Per the Library of Congress’ blog, “[t]he Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 directs the Library to . . . make CRS reports publicly available online.” The reports are now available at crsreports.congress.gov. Developed by experts, “. . . the reports present a legislative perspective on topics such as agriculture policy, counterterrorism operations, banking regulation, veteran’s issues and much more.” Please note that, “[m]oving forward, all new or updated reports will be added to the website as they are made available to Congress.” The CRS back catalog will be added as quickly as possible.


Cracking Student Silos: Linking Legal Writing And Clinical Learning Through Transference An article linked by TaxProf Blog questions why “. . . highly competent and hard-working law students struggle to apply what they learn in legal writing to later clinical courses and law practice.” Check out the article to find strategies that help students “. . . become reflective practitioners engaged in the life-long learning necessary for excellent legal practice.”


How to Prepare for an Interview: The Ultimate Guide An article published in the “Ask a Boss” column of The Cut (a style blog maintained by New York Magazine, and one of my guiltiest pleasures) promises to be the “. . . ultimate guide on how to prepare for an interview.” If you’re thinking about switching jobs anytime soon, give this a once-over!


Introducing Vincent: the first intelligent legal research assistant of its kind vLex recently introduced Vincent, the first AI-powered intelligent legal research assistant to analyze documents in two languages (English and Spanish) from 9 countries. Vincent can also incorporate content from vLex’s global collection, “. . . but also from internal knowledge management resources, public sources and licensed databases simultaneously.” Software engineers parsed vLex’s global collection of 100 million+ legal documents, and built the program “. . . on top of the Iceberg AI platform.”


Top 9 Writing Tools to Create Your Perfect Legal Resume The quality of a legal resume must be superlative because, “. . . as a lawyer, you are expected to present facts, as well as yourself, in the best way possible, as well as to pay attention to detail.” Review this Legal Research for web-based services and apps to help you get your resume in tip-top shape!


Important update about LC Public Access Portal for CRS Reports An update with important information about the Public Access Portal to Official CRS Reports:

First, “[t]he public versions of the reports are lightly redacted to remove the author’s contact information, and to add some boilerplate language about CRS.”

Second, currently, “. . . CRS is only posting its primary ‘R series’ reports” including reports like American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics and Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies.


Pennsylvania’s Potential Gift to American Democracy As quoted by The Legal Intelligencer:

“On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case of immense political consequence, regarding fairness in elections, that almost no one has heard of. Both the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the basic citizen rights enumerated in Article I of the Constitution of Pennsylvania suggest that the plaintiffs have a very strong case.”


8 ideas for empowering jurors in complex trials Attorneys attempting to persuade jurors during a long and complex product liability trial usually focus on the clarity of their argument and the witness’ testimony. But what about “. . . informing and honing the thinking of the jury?” Some attorneys are now working to “. . .  develop jurors who are better prepared and better equipped to carry out the difficult tasks we place before them.” Click through the article for suggestions on how to better train jurors.



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WPLLA Business Meeting

WHERE: Allegheny County Law Library

WHEN: October 11, 2018: Noon -1:30

WHAT: Lunch will be provided by WPLLA and catered by Eadie’s


1.         Introduction of the New Board
2.         Presentation of state of WPLLA
3.         Treasurer’s Statement
4.         Event planning
5.         Other business