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Moritz Law  /  Law Library  /  Opinio Juris  / September 2011


Opinio Juris - September 2011

Scroll down to read about Old Bailey Trials Online, SCOTUSblog's arbitration symposium, Federal Rules ebooks from CALI and the Legal Information Institute, Google's investment in Rocket Lawyer, and Bloomberg Law. For information on other topics, see the Moritz Legal Information Blog and the Moritz Law Library Facebook page.

Old Bailey Trials Online

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey is a freely available digital archive containing reports and summaries from trials in London's Old Bailey Central Criminal Court. Coverage is for the years 1674-1913. The archive is fully searchable by keyword in addition to other categories such as type of offense, time period, surname, and type of punishment (which includes public whipping, private whipping, hard labor, and hanging in chains). The site describes its contents as "the largest body of texts detailing the lives of the non-elite ever published." The New York Times featured the site in a recent article. Three UK history professors direct the archive project, assisted by a host of data developers.

SCOTUSblog Arbitration Symposium

In its last online symposium before the October term, SCOTUSblog is providing guest commentaries on the subject of arbitration. Guest writers will discuss various subtopics including the recent Supreme Court decision in AT&T v. Concepcion and the possibility of Congressional action to effectively overturn the decision. Twelve commentaries are currently available with more to follow. As with SCOTUSblog's other symposiums, all commentaries will be archived on the site. SCOTUSblog provides a list of contributors to the symposium.

Federal Rules ebooks from CALI/LII

CALI and Cornell's Legal Information Institute (LII) recently released freely downloadable ebook versions of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The ebooks are based on versions of the rules available on the LII website and incorporate the revisions that took effect December 1, 2010. The rules include advisory committee notes, internal hyperlinks to referenced rules, and hyperlinks to the U.S. Code on the LII website. The ebooks are in .epub format and compatible with iPhones and iPads. CALI provides a help page for downloading ebook files.

Google and Rocket Lawyer

Google's venture capital arm, Google Ventures, recently announced that it was part of a group investing $18.5 million in online legal services provider, Rocket Lawyer. Rocket Lawyer provides legal documents such as wills and articles of incorporation to customers who agree to monthly or yearly fee plans. The service is similar to LegalZoom but offers the opportunity to have actual attorneys review documents. Forbes reports that Rocket Lawyer has over 70,000 users per day and has doubled revenue for four straight years. In its column "The New Normal," ABA Journal speculates on what Google's involvement in the online legal services industry might mean for the business of law.

Bloomberg Law

As most are likely aware, Bloomberg Law is now accessible. Bloomberg has positioned itself as a bonafide competitor to the major players of high-end legal research: Lexis and Westlaw. Bloomberg provides comprehensive primary source coverage at the state and federal levels, in addition to the business news and market databases on which it built its name. Robust docket searching options and a viable citator are also available. One way in which Bloomberg differentiates itself from its competitors is with its flat-rate, all-inclusive pricing. Apparent weaknesses include a lesser number of secondary sources such as treatises and practice guides, though this may change with Bloomberg's recent acquisition of Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) in a deal valued at a mere $990 million.