Articles Posted in April, 2011


CALI (Computer Assisted Legal Instruction) introduced the Free Law Reporter this week.  The FLR is a database housing published (official) legal opinions that provides a simple search interface for research.  According to CALI, “The goal of FLR is to develop a freely available, unencumbered law reporter that is capable of serving as a resource for education, research, and practice.”

The FLR is populated with opinions from the RECOP service. There’s been a little bit of controversy over whether the opinions are being used or adopted. The archive itself is not designed for caselaw research, it’s just a repository. The goal is to make the data freely accessible in bulk access. RECOP is not a research tool, in other words. It’s where sites that run research tools get the opinions.

Posted in: Legal Research


Unless your head has been stuck in the sand over the last week, you’ve probably spent some time wondering about how 77 million Sony PlayStation Network gamers had their online data hacked, and their credit card information possibly stolen.

What if a hacker got a hold of your law firm data. You know: client names, addresses, and social security numbers, their bank information, your bank account, your court calendar, and — Holy $&@*#%! — your time and billing information.

Yeah, we know: you’d scream like a 2-year-old. But then what?


Courtney and I wanted to update you on our latest free law offering, Justia Daily Opinion Summaries. When we announced the launch last week, we noted that our jurisdictional coverage included all Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and select state supreme courts. The team has been working hard to expand to even more jurisdictions and we’re pleased to say that we now offer summaries for over half the 50 U.S. states.  To see a complete list of our current offerings by jurisdiction and by practice area, go to our subscription page at  For the few remaining states that aren’t available yet, stay tuned. We’ll be adding more in the upcoming weeks.


There’s been a huge hullabaloo this week about a discovery by two engineers that Apple iPhones and 3G iPads log  users’ locations with geo-coordinates and time stamps. A day later, it was revealed that Google’s Android operating system can store two files tracking users’ travels: one based on WiFi, and the other based on cell tower triangulation.

Oh, and one more thing. There is no federal law concerning GPS tracking, and state laws on location tracking vary.

But doesn’t turning off any location-based settings on your phone take care of the problem? Maybe.


Who is an American? For a “corporate person,” does the answer depend on where the corporation is headquartered? Or, should we look at the composition of its workforce? Last week, I looked at some tax data found in various securities filings to calculate the tax rate paid by various corporations. Today, I wanted to see how “American” some American companies really were by digging through employment data from the SEC EDGAR System.

EDGAR features a repository of financial data that companies have filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. From registration statements to annual reports, EDGAR offers a detailed glimpse at the state of various domestic and foreign businesses.

Posted in: Laws, Legal Research


Hi Friends!

Today Cicely and I are pleased to announce Justia’s newest free law offering:   FREE Daily Opinion Summaries of all Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and select State Supreme Courts!

Our Daily Opinion Summaries deliver clear, concise summaries of breaking court opinions right to your in-box. The summaries are tagged by practice area so that readers can quickly identify which opinions are relevant to their practice. This is a powerful tool for attorneys, journalists, and others looking to keep up with latest developments in the law. All summaries are written by licensed attorneys.

How to subscribe

To subscribe, visit the Justia Subscriptions Page at If you already have a Justia account, sign in to subscribe right away. If you are not yet registered, it’s fast and free!  Once registered, simply choose the jurisdictions and practice areas of interest to you.


OyezToday Home ScreenTwice, I’ve reviewed PocketJustice by our friends at Oyez: a great app for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices for researching US Supreme Court Cases. Despite the strengths of PocketJustice, it lacked an easy way to follow current Supreme Court developments. It seems our friends at Oyez were aware of that, and have decided to release another app called OyezToday. This app for the iPhone and iPod touch is completely free through a sponsorship from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Much of the app works just like PocketJustice in that it shares the same features: bios of Supreme Court Judges, an archive of cases, and oral arguments with transcripts that follow along with playback. Unlike PocketJustice, however, this app is limited to much more current cases.


The High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University and the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Institute at UC Berkeley School of Law have teamed up on a new site, The site was formed to provide consumers with information about medical contracts that purport to censor or prevent negative patient reviews online. If you have been presented with one of these contracts, this site is a great resource to understand your rights. It’s an interesting legal issue, where HIPAA intersects with Section 230 and the First Amendment.

According to DoctoredReviews, doctors are using a company called Medical Justice to source the “anti-review” contracts. Medical Justice bills itself as “Relentlessly Protecting Physicians from Frivolous Lawsuits.” They offer a variety of services, including those designed to “Prevent Internet defamation.”


Last month, the New York Times featured an article on how G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether. With Tax Day, just around the corner, I wanted to take a closer look at how much corporations were exactly paying in taxes.

The starting point for this exercise begins with the Instructions for Form 1120, where the Internal Revenue Service lists the income tax rates for U.S. corporations.

Tax Rate Schedule
If taxable income is:
Over But not over Tax is: Of the amount over
$0 $50,000 15% $0
50,000 75,000 $7,500 + 25% 50,000
75,000 100,000 13,750 + 34% 75,000
100,000 335,000 22,250 + 39% 100,000
335,000 10,000,000 113,900 + 34% 335,000
10,000,000 15,000,000 3,400,000 + 35% 10,000,000
15,000,000 18,333,333 5,150,000 + 38% 15,000,000
18,333,333 35% 0

$18.3 million in taxable income is a relatively low threshold, at least when referring to major corporations. How many of them pay any where close to the 35% tax rate? Let’s take a look. Unlike the new York Times article, I will show my calculations so that you can comment on my methodology.

Posted in: Laws


I want to follow up on a previous post I wrote back in October that, in part, discussed open access in scholarship and The Durham Statement.  As a reminder, and for those of you who might be new to this party, The Durham Statement, “calls for all law schools to stop publishing their journals in print format and to rely instead on electronic publication coupled with a commitment to keep the electronic versions available in stable, open, digital formats.”

An article was published recently as a part of The University of Georgia Law School Research Paper Series, “Citation Advantage of Open Access Legal Scholarship,” which helps to further promote the proposition that opening up this secondary source material in digital format provides real benefits. Not only does this advance the greater philosophical principals of knowledge as a human right and a public good, but open access can positively impact the work and reputation of law faculty by supporting their professional goals to get their work published and, more specifically, cited, which is now a common benchmark used in tenure review.

Posted in: Legal Research