Legal Research

“We Take Your Privacy Very Seriously. Really, We Do.”

June 6, 2014 The University of Virginia Law School places a substantial number of its graduates in judicial clerkships.  Of the 364 graduates in the class of 2013, 70 of them, or nearly one-fifth, were in judicial clerkships within nine months after graduation.  Students interested in clerkships participate in a listserv discussing judicial clerkships.  In(…)

How Many Cases Should I Cite?

June 5, 2014 You’ve just finished your research, you have a long list of pertinent search results, and now you’re ready to put together your brief or memo.  The next step is to go through all of those results and pick out the ones you’re going to use.  The question that may be on your(…)

Reiterating Repeated Redundancy: Concise Legal Writing

January 24, 2014 Legalese—defined as the “formal and technical language of legal documents that is often hard to understand”—has no defenders, even in the legal profession.  Law students and lawyers get frequent reminders that they should learn to write legal documents without it.  Courts have dismissed cases when attorneys have filed overly verbose documents, and(…)

Lines of Cite: Citation Rules

November 20, 2013 One of the first topics that was addressed in a traditional legal research course was how to cite a case.  The rules were intricate, and often made little sense to those just starting to learn the ways of the law, but there was simplicity to the instruction:  everything was set out in(…)

Insurance for a Moving Earth

Around 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 22, a mudslide hit a neighborhood just outside of Oso, Washington. Forty-two people are known to have died because of the slide, and as of May 23, two people were still missing or unaccounted for. In addition to the tragic human loss, the neighborhood was destroyed. Governor Jay Inslee(…)

When the Lion and the Law Lay Down Together

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 56% of all U.S. households have pets, or “companion animals.” Cats and dogs are the most popular species, followed by fish, poultry, and other birds. Where there is close interaction, the possibility of injury follows. Animals do not always act the way humans expect. There are no(…)

Packed With Vitamins, Minerals – and an Arbitration Clause!

Many consumer-product companies invite customers to subscribe to an e-newsletter or offer discount coupons on their websites. Sometimes, a customer is given the opportunity to subscribe to a mailing list when visiting the retailer’s brick-and-mortar stores. These newsletters are an effective way of getting promotional information out to potential customers who have already expressed an(…)

I Don’t Have Anything I’m Allowed to Wear!

September 4, 2013 According to the commercials for department store and discount store chains, back-to-school shopping is just a matter of finding this year’s coolest brands. The biggest challenge would seem to be making sure you buy the correct licensed cartoon character. In real life, we know that isn’t true. In many families, the start(…)

Take This Job, and…

September 3, 2013 “Cessation of work is not accompanied by cessation of expenses.“ – Cato the Elder (234 – 149 BCE) The slow-but-steady recovery of the U.S. economy has improved the employment outlook. The good news for many is that they no longer have to worry about losing their jobs. A lot of employees are, however,(…)

Let the Intern Do It!

August 13, 2013 Internships have become an integral part of the education of American college students. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 63.2 % of the members of the graduating class of 2013 participated in some sort of internship, co-operative learning program (a program in which students(…)

What is the Public Domain?

October 18, 2013 A friend sends you a copy of a picture she finds funny. You do, too, and you want to put it on your blog to illustrate a point you’re making. You’ve decided, though, that you want to be careful about using the picture, so you ask your friend where she found it.(…)

Who Owns the Law?

Public access to the law would seem a non-controversial proposition.  The practice of allowing the people to read and familiarize themselves with their legal rights and obligations started in 449 BCE, when the Twelve Tables of Roman law were posted in the forum.  Today, laws and codes are posted online, and are available to anyone(…)

The Right to Dry

For most Americans, drying our clothes after we wash them is a routine matter.  It is, both literally and figuratively, mechanical.  But many are opting out of technologized laundry.  The backyard clothesline, a symbol of domesticity many of us grew up with, is experiencing a revival. What’s behind this retro laundry revolution? Concern for the(…)

Where Will Your Downloads Go After You’re Gone?

“That’s all I want, that’s all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff, ya know. . . That’s all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time.”—George Carlin We all(…)

Keep it Between the Two of You

It sounds like one of those “guilty pleasure” true crime cable TV shows. A prominent and charismatic clergyman fills the pews of his mega-church every Sunday. Parishioners are drawn in by the clergyman’s preaching style which combines plain, everyday speaking with acts of flamboyant showmanship. The clergyman becomes nationally and internationally known not only for(…)


Today, you’ve become one of those fabulously lucky people we’re always hearing about.  While playing in a local golf tournament, you hit a hole-in-one!  You did this in full view of the other members of your group, so you have plenty of witnesses to back you up when you tell the story.  To top it(…)

Catfish Blues

It was the most inspiring story to come out of the 2012 college football season.  As you probably recall, Manti Te’o—a star linebacker for the University of Notre Dame—became famous for his courage and perseverance after he continued playing for his team even after his grandmother and his girlfriend died, both on September 11, 2012. (…)