"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 2, 2015

Sunlight Foundation’s Criminal Justice Data Inventory


The Sunlight Foundation has undertaken a project to create a free inventory of federal and state criminal justice data.  The inventory provides information regarding where researchers can find the data on the internet (if available) as well as the time period the data covers, whether it has been updated recently, and how often is it updated.  The inventory also includes information regarding whether the data is from a government, private, or non-profit entity and the name of the entity.  

Currently, the inventory contains information about criminal justice topics for 36 states (including Texas), the District of Columbia and the federal government, but they plan to expand the information to all 50 states soon.  The data is available for a number of topics including Law Enforcement, Crime, Courts, Corrections, Victims, Financial, and Juvenile Justice. 

To access the data or to submit a dataset, visit the Criminal Justice Data Project website.  To learn more about what is included in the inventory, try their Data Dictionary website.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Immigration Practice, 15th Edition

The library has now acquired, Immigration Practice, 15th ed by Robert C. Divine and R. Blake Chisam. This source provides an overview of immigration law and is designed for attorneys involved in immigration practice. The first part is helpful for understanding the basics of representing and interacting with clients. There is also a discussion of the different U.S. departments that are involved in regulating immigration practice as well as the rules of practice for those agencies. Researching the sources of immigration law and obtaining government files are also explored. This practice guide also covers the immigration process and focuses on non-immigrant visas and status, permanent residence, U.S. Citizenship, inadmissibility and deportability grounds, and removal proceedings. This source also explores different paths for obtaining permanent residence such as employment, family-based petitions, and asylum. There are informative charts included throughout the book and there are annotations to applicable statutes, rules and regulations, case law, and forms. The appendices contain fee schedules, lists of abbreviations used in immigration practice, government offices, and frequently used government forms. There are also tables of cases, statutes, subject index, and Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and United States Code conversion table. Immigration Practice (KF4819.D58 2014) is now available on the new titles shelf in the law library. The accompanying CD-ROM (available on reserve in the library) contains links to websites and forms.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Advanced Introduction to International Tax Law

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, the Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School has authored, Advanced Introduction to International Tax Law, which provides a summary of international tax law from a global perspective. The book is essentially divided into two parts: an overview of the international tax regime; selected contemporary issues. The first part, begins with a brief introduction and then discusses both territorial and source jurisdiction. Territorial jurisdiction allows a nation to tax an individual or company within its borders and source jurisdiction allows a nation to tax citizens regardless of residence. Inbound taxation (taxation of non-residents on income taxable from sources within that country) and Outbound (taxation of a countries citizens' income from sources outside that country's jurisdiction) is explored in detail for both passive and active income. Tax treaties, source rules, and transfer pricing are also explained. The second part, covers emerging issues in international tax sand includes a discussion of the single tax principle, the challenges related to nondiscrimination (the principle that foreign taxpayers should not be treated differently domestic taxpayers) as well as the future of the international tax regime, among other issues. This book is now available on the law library's new titles shelf (K4460.A935).

Friday, June 19, 2015

2014 Terrorism Report Released


The Department of State has just released the Country Reports on Terrorism 2014, a report reviewing and analyzing international progress against terrorist activities.  It is available online from the state department’s website here; previous years’ reports are available here

The Country Reports on Terrorism reports are mandated by 22 U.S. Code § 2656f.  It has been an annual report since 2004, when it replaced the then-published Patterns of Global Terrorism report.  The new report maintains the non-statistical part of its terrorism review pursuant to the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108–458), which transferred the statistical function to the National Counterterrorism Center.

Friday, June 12, 2015

ECHO Website Adds Air Pollution Data


Back in 2013, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a new version of its Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website. ECHO provides information on environmental regulatory compliance and enforcement for approximately 800,000 facilities across the nation. Since the launch of ECHO 2.0, the site has undergone a number of updates and enhancements, and this month saw the introduction of ECHO Release 2.4.1. The most salient new feature is the addition of air pollution data, compiled from the National Emissions Inventory, Toxic Release Inventory, Greenhouse Gas Reporting Tool, and Acid Rain Program, along with compliance information for individual facilities. To learn more about this and other features recently added to ECHO, see this announcement from EPA Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

New FTC Website for Victims of Identity Theft


It seems as if every day we hear about some new data security breach, whether it involves a bank, an internet service provider, or even the IRS. These breaches can have devastating consequences, including identity theft. Because of these potential dangers, it’s a good idea to have a plan of action in case your identity is stolen. A new website from the Federal Trade Commission, www.identitytheft.gov, can help. It provides instructions on what to do immediately (such as calling the companies where the fraud occurred, getting a credit report, and alerting the authorities) as well as long-term steps you might want to consider (such as an extended credit freeze). The site also includes warning signs of identity theft, rights of identity-theft victims, and sample letters you can use to dispute credit card charges or deal with debt collectors.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Are New Law Graduates Ready to Practice?

LexisNexis recently released the results of a survey commissioned to determine what skills and experience are most needed from new associates, and where their employers find them most lacking. Over 300 hiring partners and senior associates who supervise new attorneys were surveyed about both the relative importance of various skills, and to what extent they believed new attorneys to be lacking in those competencies.

In the area of litigation, the survey found associates lacking in advanced legal research skills required for complex legal issues. The attorneys surveyed placed advanced legal research skills alongside drafting pleadings and motions as the skills both “most needed” and “most lacking” in litigation practice.

For those in transactional practice, new associates are reportedly most lacking in basic understanding of fundamental financial and business concepts. The next most cited problem area for new associates in transactional areas was inability to conduct due diligence and draft simple contracts and agreements.  


The surveyed attorneys recommended what many law schools have begun to implement to satisfy the ABA’s Revised Standards for Approval of Law Schools: increased advanced legal research integration, more experiential learning opportunities, and more writing and drafting exercises that reflect the competencies needed in day-to-day law practice. You can read the complete white paper here