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Online Databases in the Limelight – Verdict Search*

Posted by Chi Song on December 31, 2015

Online databases can be invaluable, time-saving  tools to any legal researcher as they provide organized access to a wide array of legal resources as well as sophisticated search tools.  Many online databases, including fee-based databases, are available at the Law Library, free of charge, to library patrons.  This month, the blog will feature six of the online databases available at the Law Library.

Are you looking for assistance with case valuation (i.e., what is the amount of money that you can reasonably expect in damages)?  Then look no further because the Law Library subscribes to VerdictSearch, an online database for verdict and settlement research.  VerdictSearch at the Law Library provides users with access to federal and state cases from Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. Search results may assist you with your trial research and strategy development.

How do I search on VerdictSearch? You can search by keywords (e.g., “car accident”) and then use any of the following filters:

  • Type of Injury (e.g., back, neck, head)
  • Venue (state and/or federal)
  • Case type (e.g., motor vehicle, insurance, wrongful death)
  • Award Type (e.g., verdict-plaintiff, settlement, mediated settlement)
  • Date Range (any range from 1988 to 2015)
  • Award Amount (e.g., less than $10,000, $10,000 to $100,000)

You can further refine their searches by plaintiff type (e.g., age, gender), expert name, attorney name, judge name, and insurance carrier. Once you have your results, VerdictSearch’s document delivery includes printing and email (PDF and Word).

Can I access VerdictSearch at the Library? Yes! The Law Library offers FREE, in-person access to VerdictSearch on a designated computer in our computer room. Please come to the service desk to request assistance in accessing VerdictSearch.

What to do if you need help with VerdictSearch? Please ask for help at the Law Library’s service desk. We can provide technical and research assistance.

Can I access the Law Library’s VerdictSearch subscription from home? No. The Law Library’s current subscription permits in-person use at the library only.

*This blog post is an update of a blog post previously published on December 22, 2014.

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Introducing the Maryland Courts Self-Help Center!

Posted by Chi Song on November 6, 2015

On October 30, 2015, the Maryland Judiciary launched the Maryland Courts Self-Help Center, which expands the FREE self-help services available for self-represented litigants (people representing themselves without an attorney). Phone and online services are available for CIVIL matters in District Court and Circuit Court.

 

HOURS: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

PHONE NUMBER: 410-260-1392

ONLINE CHAT: http://www.mdcourts.gov/legalhelp/selfhelpcenters.html

(Click on this image on the website: reponline)

 

Civil matters include landlord-tenant matters, claims, debt collection, peace orders, protective orders, shielding, expungement, guardianship and family law matters (divorce, custody, child support, etc.). The types of available services include assistance with understanding court documents, assistance completing court forms, information on how to file documents with the court, assistance preparing for your court appearances and assistance preparing for your mediations.
If you’re interested in sharing this information, check out their flyer.

Posted in lawlibrary, Pro Bono, Self Represented | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

What’s a .law domain?

Posted by Chi Song on August 31, 2015

Untitled drawingThe Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)* granted Minds + Machines, a Santa Monica, California company, with an exclusive license to operate .law as a new top-level domain. This new domain is only available to attorneys and law firms. Anyone who applies for a .law domain must certify that he or she is an attorney and submit to a verification process. Minds + Machines started taking orders last month, and some prominent, large law firms have signed up as early adopters.

For more information, check out these sites and articles.

Stay tuned for news regarding other possible new domains in the future, such as .esq and .lawyer.

*Created in 1998, ICANN is a non-profit organization responsible for the coordination of namespaces on the Internet. For more information about ICANN, check out https://www.icann.org/.

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Innovation

Posted by Chi Song on May 28, 2015

There have been a lot of recent articles about innovation in the legal field and legal profession. Innovation topics include embracing the newest technologies available to assist attorneys and non-attorneys through the legal process to innovations in the practice of law itself. Check out these articles, blogs, blog posts, and websites and let us know your thoughts!

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www.circuitcourt.org

Posted by Chi Song on March 16, 2015

Did you know that the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County has a website? You can access the website at www.circuitcourt.org. The Circuit Court’s website provides a wealth of information and referrals.

Is the courthouse closed? How do I get to the courthouse? Where can I park? If you are wondering about these and related questions, check out the links available under the website’s “About” section. Here’s a small sample.

Which courtroom should I be in? Check the daily docket. However, parties should verify this information on the day of the court proceeding by viewing the docket monitors physically located in the courthouse.

How do I find an official court interpreter? How do I obtain a transcript? Can I appear in court by telephone? If you are wondering about these and other “How Do I” questions, check out the links available under the website’s “How do I” section.

I have jury duty. What do I do? Check out the website’s section for Jurors at http://www.circuitcourt.org/for-jurors.

I need legal help. Who can help me? Where can I find more information? Check out the website’s “Legal Help” section at http://www.circuitcourt.org/legal-help for links and information about Civil Case Management, Family Law Self Help Center, Forms, the Law Library, the Ask a Lawyer in the Library program and other legal links. The website’s “Learn About…” section also provides more information on topics such as Civil Cases, Drug Court, and Family Law.

This post provides only a quick guide to the Circuit Court’s website. For more detailed information, check out the Circuit Court’s website, or you can always contact us!

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Legal Research in the Blogosphere – SCOTUSblog

Posted by Chi Song on February 9, 2015

Legal research can be challenging, even for experienced attorneys; however, there are many resources available to assist both attorneys and non-attorneys with their legal research needs. The Legal Research in the Blogosphere series will share blog posts and online sites that legal researchers may find useful.

Scotusblog was founded in 2002 by the wife and husband team of Amy Howe and Tom Goldstein. Currently, the blog has over twenty writers who publish posts on issues closely related to the Supreme Court, such as posts on every merits case before the Supreme Court (prior to argument, after argument and after decision). This can be a great resource for those legal researchers interested in following the Supreme Court’s current events.

For non-attorney readers, the blog publishes “Plain English” posts where cases are drafted in plain language. The blog also includes an introduction to Supreme Court procedure, a glossary of legal terms, and biographies of the Supreme Court Justices. For visual learners, the blog has a multimedia library with videos of interviews with the Supreme Court Justices, news footage, presentations, and other resources. You can read about the blog’s vision here.

Please note that the blog is not the official website for the Supreme Court. The official Supreme Court website is available at http://www.supremecourt.gov/default.aspx.  On the Supreme Court’s website you will also find a wealth of information, including biographies of the Supreme Court Justices, opinions, calendars for oral arguments, Court Rules, and guidance for attorneys. If you are interested in learning more about the Supreme Court and Supreme Court practice, please stop by the Law Library.

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An Introduction to UELMA

Posted by Chi Song on January 16, 2015

Untitled drawing (5)

This Enactment Status Map as well as other resources are available at http://www.uniformlaws.org.

What is UELMA? UELMA (“yoo-el-mah”) is the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act, a uniform law* that addresses the issues of trustworthiness and access raised by the increased electronic distribution of state primary legal materials through the provision of an “outcomes-based approach to the authentication and preservation of electronic legal material . . . to enable end-users to verify the trustworthiness of the legal material they are using and to provide a framework for states to preserve legal material in perpetuity in a manner that allows for permanent access.”**  UELMA requires legal material that are only published in electronic form to be designated as official.  Official information must then be (1) capable of authentication (i.e., the appointed government agency or official provides the user with a way to determine that the legal information is trustworthy as an accurate copy), (2) preserved (i.e., in print and/or electronic formats)  and (3) permanently accessible to the public.

As of October 2014, the following twelve states have adopted the act:  California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon and Pennsylvania.  UELMA was introduced in the Maryland General Assembly in January 2014 (HB 46 / SB 275), but was withdrawn from further consideration in February 2014.  The full text of UELMA is available at http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/2011Oct-UniformElectronicLegalMaterialAct-Final.pdf. If you are interested in learning more about UELMA, check out the UELMA Resources page (http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/UELMA), available on the American Association of Law Libraries’ website.

Why is UELMA important? UELMA will help ensure that online legal information deemed official will be publicly accessible, free and reliable.  This, in turn, will promote government transparency, promote acceptance by the courts of online legal sources and assist legal researchers.  For more reasons why UELMA is important, check out this article by Judy Janes, the director of the University of California, Davis, Mable Law Library – http://aallnet.org/mm/Publications/spectrum/Spectrum-Online/uelma.html.  Advocacy materials are available at http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/UELMA.  UELMA supporters include the American Association of Law Libraries (http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/UELMA/testimonychart.pdf)  and the American Bar Association (http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/Formal-Statements/2012/lt013112ABA.pdf).

*In the United States, multiple legislative bodies may address the same area of law.  The goal of uniform laws is to encourage uniformity throughout the United States by encouraging state legislatures to enact the same law. A uniform law is only a proposal until it is adopted by a legislative body.

**Prefatory Note of the Uniform Electronic Material Act.

Posted in lawlibrary, Maryland Law, UELMA | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Online Databases in the Limelight

Posted by Chi Song on January 6, 2015

Online databases can be invaluable, time-saving tools to any legal researcher as they provide organized access to a wide array of legal resources as well as sophisticated search functions.  Many online databases, including fee-based databases, are available at the Law Library, free of charge, to library patrons.

Throughout the month of December 2014, this blog featured a series on online databases available at the Law Library for patrons’ use.  The featured databases include Bloomberg BNA, HeinOnline, LexisNexis, VerdictSearch and Westlaw, which are all subscription-based databases that the Law Library offers to its patrons free of charge.  However, this is just a small sampling of the legal databases that may be available for your use.  If you are interested in learning more about online legal databases, including databases that are available without subscription, please contact us!

Many other law libraries also provide their library patrons with access to online legal databases free of charge.  For other local access points to online legal databases, you can check out these libraries.

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Online Databases in the Limelight – HeinOnline

Posted by Chi Song on December 9, 2014

Computer Room Photo

Access to HeinOnline is available in our computer room.

Online databases can be invaluable, time-saving  tools to any legal researcher as they provide organized access to a wide array of legal resources as well as sophisticated search tools.  Many online databases, including fee-based databases, are available at the Law Library, free of charge, to library patrons.  Each Tuesday of this month, this blog will highlight one of the many databases available at the Law Library.

Last week, this blog published a post about the Westlaw and Lexis databases available at the Law Library. This week, we would like to introduce you to another great database, HeinOnline. HeinOnline is the largest, image-based legal research database with full-text and page images of law review articles, treatises and primary sources of law. HeinOnline users can search for specific resources or browse one of the database’s many collections. For example, you can browse the Law Journal Library collection and see a listing of a specific Law Review’s articles, organized chronologically. Library patrons can access HeinOnline in the library’s computer room.

There is overlap between the resources available on HeinOnline and the resources available on the Westlaw and Lexis. However, there are two big reasons why users may prefer to use HeinOnline over Westlaw and Lexis. First, HeinOnline is an image-based database. This means that users can see page images of documents, including graphics, which match the print versions of the resources. Second, HeinOnline has a greater focus on retrospective historical coverage, meaning that users will be able to find older documents that may be unavailable in the other databases. For example, are you interested in railroad case law from the 1800s?  You can find many cases in HeinOnline’s Early American Case Law collection.

For more information about understanding legal research, including the difference between primary and secondary legal resources, check out these research guides.

Posted in lawlibrary, Legal Technology | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Legal Research in the Blogosphere – Law Review Commons

Posted by Chi Song on December 8, 2014

Legal research can be challenging, even for experienced attorneys; however, there are many resources available to assist both attorneys and non-attorneys with their legal research needs.  The Legal Research in the Blogosphere series will share blog posts and online sites that legal researchers may find useful.

The Law Review Commons (http://lawreviewcommons.com/) is a free, online collection of law reviews and legal journals.  (A law review is a scholarly journal focused on legal issues, which is most commonly published through a law school or a bar association.)  Users can both search and browse the collection of current and archival content.  Check out the Law Review Commons and let us know what you think!

The Law Sites blog (http://www.lawsitesblog.com/) provides a short review fo the Law Review Commons at http://www.lawsitesblog.com/2014/11/largest-free-collection-law-reviews-web.html.

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