|Oregon State Bar Bulletin DECEMBER 2007|
New Sustainability Blog
Tonkon Torp has launched a legal blog focused on sustainability. It will cover issues critical to businesses that aim to create a sustainable future for their organizations, their communities and the environment.
Located at www.sustainabilitylawblog. com, the blog features posts from attorneys in the firm’s interdisciplinary sustainability practice group. Topics range from climate change and renewable energy issues to commentary on green building requirements, tax credits for sustainable forestry practices, and issues regarding the environment and sustainable business practices.
Database of Legal Threats
The Citizen Media Law Project unveiled its new Legal Threats Database Nov. 7. The project, located at www.citmedialaw. org/database, is a catalog of the growing number of lawsuits, cease-and-desist letters and other legal challenges faced by those engaged in online speech. This database, already containing hundreds of entries, will provide lawyers, journalists and everyday citizens a valuable resource for assessing the validity and possible outcomes of legal threats to online speech, based on actual cases and legal actions.
The database currently has threats ranging from copyright infringement lawsuits against bloggers, to cease-and-desist letters claiming defamation sent to MySpace users. Visitors to the CMLP website can input new threat entries, comment on existing threats and search the database using many different criteria.
The CMLP, which is jointly affiliated with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Center for Citizen Media, focuses on legal education and training, collection and analysis of legal threats, community building and advocacy on behalf of citizen media.
Casemaker’s Thesaurus Function
Did you know that Casemaker incorporates a thesaurus function in its search engine?
The little-known thesaurus function can provide users with expanded search capabilities. By placing a tilde (~) immediately before a word (no spaces allowed), users can find synonyms for keywords. Because the thesaurus allows for the expansion of the number of searchable cases with similar dialogue, this greatly increases the chance of finding case law that is most applicable to your challenges. For example, entering "~alcohol" into the Full Document Search Query box will yield case law containing the words liquor, whiskey, intoxicant, spirits and more.
Entering "~car" will yield the words car, automobile, auto, vehicle, train and others. But users need to be careful. Because the word vehicle can also mean conveyance, this word may also appear in the search. When searching for "~animal," the surnames Hare and Hunter may appear.
The thesaurus function can also be used in conjunction with other search parameters such as "and," "or," "not," "phrase" and suffix expansion searches.
Four New Books to Consider
The National Institute for Trial Advocacy has released Winning at Trial, by D. Shane Read. The book analyzes various techniques of prosecution and defense by using transcripts and DVD footage from infamous civil and criminal cases. The book is now available at retailers or online at www.nita.org.
The ABA has recently published A Practical Guide to Drafting Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (with Sample Forms and Checklists), 2nd Edition. This 952-page volume by attorney Sebastian V. Grassi Jr., is designed to be a practical aid for lawyers dealing with ILITs.
Also from the ABA is The Creative Lawyer: A Practical Guide to Authentic Professional Satisfaction, by Michael Melcher. The book is a self-help guide for lawyers for building and maintaining a life that is personally and professionally satisfying.
Also available: Risk Management: Survival Tools for Law Firms, 2nd Edition, jointly published by the ABA Sections of Law Practice Management and the Center for Professional Responsibility. It is designed to provide a complete overview of risk management, while offering a practical approach to evaluating the state of risk management within a firm. ABA books can be purchased through www.abanet.org.
Lawtunes CD of Music and Comedy
New York lawyer Lawrence Savell has created another allegedly humorous, law-related music CD, "The Lawtunes: Live At Blackacre." Breaking a bit from his prior albums —"Merry Lexmas From The Lawtunes" (2006), "Legal Holidaze" (2004) and "The Lawyer’s Holiday Humor Album" (1998) — the new CD is a broader take on the law, lawyers and legal practice through 10 original rock ’n roll tunes in an album not limited by content or style to any particular season. It even includes a few love songs, although expressed in the language of an attorney.
To hear samples of the songs or order a CD, visit www.lawtunes.com.