"Nota Bene" means "note this well" or "take particular notice." We at the O'Quinn Law Library will be posting tips on legal research techniques and resources, developments in the world of legal information, happenings at the Law Library, and legal news reports that deserve your particular attention. We look forward to sharing our thoughts and findings and to hearing from you.
N.B: Make a note to visit "Nota Bene" regularly.

-Spencer L. Simons, Director, O'Quinn Law Library and Associate Professor of Law


Thursday, July 30, 2015

More New Features Added to Congress.gov


As regular readers of this blog will already know, last year Congress.gov replaced THOMAS as the official government website for federal legislative information. Since then, the Library of Congress, which operates the site, has continued to make additions and improvements. The latest update occurred earlier this week, and includes the following new features:

·        A “Listen” feature that allows users to listen to audio files of bill summaries.
·        The addition of bill titles to legislative email alerts.
·        More appropriation tables, now going back to fiscal year 2005.
·        A “search within” feature for committee and member pages.

For a full list of enhancements included in the update, see this blog post from the Law Library of Congress.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Version of Google Patents Launched


Earlier this month, Google launched a new version of its Google Patents search engine. Like the previous version, the new Google Patents combines patent records from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), European Patent Office (EPO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt (DPMA), Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), and China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). What’s different about the new Google Patents is that it uses a machine classification model to integrate Google Scholar’s non-patent materials, which are classified under the Cooperative Patent Classification System. This makes it easier to search for prior art across a wide range of sources, including books and technical journals. The new Google Patents also incorporates Google Translate to allow users to search foreign patent documents using English keywords.

For more information, see “About the new Google Patents” on the Google Help page.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Lexis Advance Tax

Those who have enjoyed using the LexisNexis Tax Center will be happy to know that Lexis Advance now features a tax research tool that provides access to the Internal Revenue Code, the Treasury Regulations, tax cases, and administrative decisions, all available from one page. There are also numerous secondary sources, including practice guides, treatises, handbooks, and news sources such as the following:
  • Lexis Tax Advisor-Federal Code Reporter
  • Federal Tax Legislative Analysis (Matthew Bender)
  • Rabkin & Johnson, Federal Tax Guidebook
  • Tax Analysts Tax Notes Today
  • Tax  Analysts State Tax Today
  • Tax Analysts Worldwide Tax Daily
Browsing under "Treatise & Practice Guides" is the most effective way to peruse the different treatises and practice guides

The same search options that are available for Lexis Advance are available to those using the Lexis Advance Tax tool, and search results can be filtered by date and source and can be refined by further searches. Lexis Advance alert features are also available.

Users can access Lexis Advance Tax by logging on to Lexis Advance, clicking the downward arrow from the top left side of the page, and then by clicking "Lexis Advance Tax." Those who have long used the LexisNexis Tax Center, still available through Lexis.com, will find that there is definitely a learning curve involved with using this new interface but having a tool on Lexis Advance that focuses on tax resources is a giant step forward for this platform.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Mastering Professional Responsibility by Grace M. Giesel

The second edition of Mastering Professional Responsibility by Grace M. Giesel has been recently published by Carolina Academic Press and is now available in the library (KF306.G547 2015). The first section of this book begins with an overview of the different sources of professional responsibility law such as the ABA model rules and ethics opinions and explores the attorney discipline process. The Lawyer-Client relationship is explored fully as issues ranging from competence to malpractice are discussed. Confidentiality, with a entire chapter devoted to the attorney client privilege and the attorney work product doctrine, and conflict of interest matters are also covered. This book is ideal for those desiring a background in professional responsibility, materials to supplement exam preparation, and could be helpful for preparation for the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam)

The library has several sources for those interested in professional responsibility including the following:
  • ABA/BNA Lawyer's Manual on Professional Conduct 2011-2014 (KF305.A8 A23 Reserve)
  • Handbook of Texas Lawyer and Judicial Ethics (Texas Practice Series), 2015 by Professor Emeritus Robert Schuwerk & Lillian Hardwick (KFT1280.T4)
  • The Law of  Lawyering, 4th Edition (2015) by Geoffrey C Hazard, Jr., W. William Hodes & Peter R. Jarvis (KF306.H395 4th ed.)
  • Legal Ethics in a Nutshell, 4th ed. (2013), by Ronald Rotunda (KF306.Z9R668 2013 Reserve/Reference)
  • Legal Ethics: The Lawyer's Deskbook on Professional Responsibility, 2014-15 by Ronald D. Rotunda & John S. Dzienkowski (KF306.R67)
  • Model Rules of Professional Conduct, 2015 ed., ABA (KF306.A7614
  • Professional Responsibility, Examples & Explanations, 4th ed. by W. Bradley Wendel (KF306. W46 2014 Reserve).
  • Texas Legal Malpractice & Lawyer Discipline, 14th ed., 2015 by Charles F. Herring, Jr. (KFT1276.5.A2 H47 Reserve

Thursday, July 9, 2015

20th Edition of The Bluebook Now Available

This week the new edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation arrived at the O'Quinn Law Library. Nearly 50 pages longer than 2010's 19th edition, the rules and structure are largely similar to previous editions, but some important changes have been made. Here are a few of the major revisions:

Bluepages: The Bluepages (for non-academic citation) have been re-formatted to follow the same structure as the white pages (academic citation) and Bluetable BT2 includes revised jurisdiction-specific citation rules.

Quotations, Rule 5.2(d)(i): No longer requires indication of the ommission of internal quotation marks.

Short Forms of Cases, Rule 10.9(iii): Addition guidance provided for short forms of cites for slip opinions.

Administrative & Executive Materials, Rule 14:
  • Rule 14.2(b) has been expanded to include detailed information on citing comments to agencies.
  • Rule 14.2(d) gives more detailed information on citing guidance documents.
  • Rule 14.4 provides information of citing administrative sources found on commercial electronic databases.

 Books, Reports, and Other Nonperiodic Materials, Rule 15:
  • Rule 15.9 removes language that requires the use of “available at” in parallel citations.
  • Rule 15.9(c)  introduces a citation format for ebooks.

Periodical Materials, Rule 16.6(f) : Clarifies that online newspapers may be used in place of print newspapers.

The Internet, Electronic Media, and Other Non-Print Resources, Rule 18:
  • Rule 18 no longer separately categorizes Internet citations as either direct or parallel; all citations are treated as direct.
  • Rule 18.2.1(b)(ii) provides for the direct citation of Internet sources that share the characteristics of a print source such that they can be fully cited according to another rule, whether or not the source is in print.
  • Rule 18.2.1(d) provides guidance on how to cite Internet sources using archival tools.
  • Rule 18.2.2(a) provides guidance on citing author information on social media platforms.
  • Rules 18.2.2(b)(iii) and 18.2.2(b)(v) detail how to cite titles for blogs contained within a larger website and titles for social media posts, respectively.
  • Rule 18.3 now catalogs where within The Bluebook guidance is provided for citing various sources found on commercial electronic databases.

You can check out copies of the new edition of The Bluebook at the Law Library Reserve desk, or view copies in the Library's Reference Section (KF250.U54). For more information, see the catalog record, or ask one of the reference librarians.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Practice Pages Introduced for Lexis Advance

Since Lexis Advance launched in December 2011, the structure and user-interface of the legal research platform has taken many forms. The 2014 Lexis Advance updates included additional content, improved browsing features, and a more user-friendly home screen. Recently, LexisNexis released its newest research tool, Practice Pages.

The major legal research systems have in the last few years placed increased emphasis on customized pages centered around key practice areas like bankruptcy or intellectual property. WestlawNext provides an increasing number of customized pages through its Practitioner Insights, and Bloomberg Law covers a similar range of topics through its Practice Centers. Generally, these pages offer links to the leading primary and secondary sources as well as legal news and other tools. The Practice Pages introduced in Lexis Advance offer similar resources in its collection of topics.

The more interesting feature of the Lexis Advance Practice Pages is the jurisdictional pages, currently available for Texas, California, New York, and Florida.  One of the frequent complaints about earlier iterations of Lexis Advance was the difficulty in finding related materials in a single jurisdiction. The Texas Practice Page brings together direct links to case law, statutes, regulations in addition to the most used secondary sources like Dorsaneo's Texas Litigation Guide. To access these practice pages users can simply click on the "Browse" menu at the top of any Lexis Advance page and then  "Practice Pages." Users can also select any of these pages to serve as their home screen.

These jurisdiction-based Practice Pages are a welcome improvement to Lexis Advance and will allow for more efficient searching. It is interesting to note though that these jurisdictional practice pages are eerily similar to those formerly available on LexisNexis and Westlaw classic. Whether or not this is a result of the realization that a single search option for all legal material is less than optimal, the change makes for an improved product. You can learn more about this enhancement here.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

ShalePlay App


Attorneys at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP have created an app providing helpful information on shale gas and hydraulic fracturing.  It aggregates news from a variety of news sources as well as energy law specific publications such as the Energy Law Blog and FuelFix.  Users can also select from approximately 50 countries to view news and a list of active oil and gas companies in that nation.  The app also provides an interactive map of the United States, showing the location of a number of shale plays as well as news from each state.  Finally, the app also provides a glossary of shale gas terms and a timeline showing the history of hydraulic fracturing.

The app is free and available for both Apple and Android devices.