Law Day

President Obama followed a tradition established by President Eisenhower by proclaiming May 1, 2011:  Law Day.  In 1961, Congress officially designated May 1 as Law Day.  Each year, the American Bar Association selects a theme for the Law Day celebration.  This year’s theme was The Legacy of John Adams: from Boston to Guantanamo.   

For more information about Law Day, please see the Law Library of Congress Law Day page.

World Intellectual Property Day

Since 2000, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has designated April 26 as “World Intellectual Property Day.”  The WIPO is an agency of the United Nations focused on “developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system.”  It administers a number of international treaties focused on copyright and related rights.  World Intellectual Property Day was established to increase public awareness and understanding of the significant role of IP in fostering “music, arts and entertainments” and “all the products and technological innovations that help to shape our world.”

Resources on the WIPO website include an overview (including links to PDFs) of United States IP-related statutes and regulations, and WIPO-administered treaty membership.  Please consult the law library’s Intellectual Property Research Guide  to locate additional useful resources related to copyright, trademark, and patent law.

Harvard Law Provides Public Access to Old Exams

Harvard Law School has recently made available an archive of exams given between 1871 and 1998.   

It’s interesting to see the progression of exam writing style from the earliest exams to more recent decades.  For example, the first question on a property exam from 1871 asks first years to simply distinguish real from personal property.  Older exams do ask students to analyze some fact patterns, but much shorter than those that will be all too familiar to blog readers. 

There’s also an opportunity to browse exams written by well known former professors such as Felix Frankfurter, Christopher Columbus Langdell, Roscoe Pound, and Samuel Williston

To Celebrate National Library Week: Fine Amnesty!

In honor of National Library Week, the law library’s circulation department is forgiving fines.  Through Friday, April 15, patrons who return all overdue books will be forgiven for up to $10.00 in fines.  Please see Rob, Maya, or Emily if you would like to have your fines forgiven.  

First sponsored by the American Library Assocation in 1958, National Library Week celebrates the important contributions of the nation’s libraries and librarians to our communities and educational institutions. Notably, this year NLW’s honorary chair is John Grisham, the best selling author of legal thrillers.   Check out one of his books in our library!


How Would a Government Shutdown Impact Courts?

An announcement on the U.S. Courts website ( states that in the event of a shutdown, the Federal Judiciary would rely on “non-appropriated fees” to allow the courts to operate for “up to two weeks.”  However, if the shutdown continues beyond this period, the courts would need to eliminate any functions not “necessary and essential to continue the resolution of cases.”  Also payments to jurors, public defenders, and court-appointed attorneys would be deferred. 

Note that is a useful source of information about the operation of the federal court system, rules and procedures, and court careers.  There are also links to other related sites. 



Supreme Court Clinic to begin Fall 2011

George Mason School of Law is launching a Supreme Court Clinic in partnership with the DC firm Wiley Rein LLP. The Clinic will begin Fall 2011 to provide pro bono legal representation before the United States Supreme Court. Students will work with Wiley Rein attorneys to identify cases of interest, research legal issues, and draft Supreme Court briefs on behalf of parties and amici at the certiorari and merits stages. The Supreme Court Clinic will be directed by Wiley Rein attorneys William S. Consovoy and Thomas R. McCarthy. 

For details about the Clinic and the application process, attend an information session with the directors on Wednesday, March 30 at 5:00 in Room 329 or look for instructions on the listservs in April.  

Wiley Rein’s press release is here.

Exceed the Word Limit at Your Peril

As librarians have recently reminded LRWA IV classes:  if there is a required form, make sure you use it!  Indeed, as a recent Seventh Circuit decision stresses, every court rule must be strictly followed.

In an opinion written by Judge Posner, the court blasted the appellant’s attorney for exceeding the mandated word limit by 4,000  words.  Seventh Circuit rules require that attorneys certify compliance with its word limit, which this attorney had done.  The court noted that failure to comply with the word limit without certification would have caused the brief to be rejected.  And, while ultimately holding that the appeal failed on the merits, the court emphasized that certifying a noncompliant brief might also warrant dismissal of the appeal.    

Hat tip to Law Librarian Blog.

Dog as a Law Library Resource

Yes—really!   Yale Law Library has announced that, for a three day period, students may borrow a “certified library therapy dog” named Monty to help relieve stress.   In an email to students (printed in New York Magazine), the law school’s librarian has informed students that they may “check out” Monty for “thirty minute periods.”  Visits with Monty will be restricted to a designated, non-public location in the library.

No plans to launch a similar program at GMU—but the library staff will be happy to help you use any of its non-canine resources.

Spring Break Reference Hours

There will be no Sunday or Evening Reference Services during Spring Break.  Reference librarians will be available to help you Monday, March 14 – Friday, March 18, 9:00AM – 5:00PM.   Regular reference hours will resume on March 20.

Have a wonderful break!

Understanding the Wisconsin Public Sector Labor Dispute

The Blog has posted a resource guide for anyone interested in understanding the issues surrounding the labor dispute involving Wisconsin public sector employees.   An informative video of a forum held at the University of Wisconsin School of Law referenced in the post may be accessed here

For more information about researching labor and employment law, please see the law library’s Labor & Employment Law Research Guide.  (Note that public employees are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act).