· The major commercial legal research services offer e-mail alerts that signal you when a new case matches your search — for a fee. A new website offers the same type of service — but entirely for free. It is one of several recently launched websites.
· Court monitoring is useful for any number of reasons, from keeping on top of a field of law, to tracking the latest developments in specific litigation. CourtListener (courtlistener.com) offers an alternative to commercial services with its free alert tool covering the federal circuit courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. To create an alert, simply enter a search query. The results page lists the matching cases and includes the option, "Save this as an alert." Assign a name and specify how often you want deliveries (daily, weekly, or monthly) and you are done. Once you set up an alert, you can also receive it as an RSS feed.
· The search interface includes filters that help narrow searches to specific courts — and to search only the case name or case number. You can also use search operators to exclude words, search alternative versions of words, create wildcard searches, create proximity searches, and search phrases.
· The site is the creation of Michael Lissner as part of a master's thesis at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information. His goal was to create a free and competitive real-time alert tool for the U.S. judicial system.
· At present, the site covers all precedential and non-precedential opinions issued by the 13 federal circuit courts and the Supreme Court (except for non-precedential opinions from the D.C. Circuit). The database is updated by 5:10 p.m. PST each day, with alerts sent out shortly thereafter. The site plans to add other courts in the future.
· GOOGLE REFINES CASE SEARCH
· A year ago, when Google Scholar first added case law research, it was a bit "rough around the edges," as I wrote then. Even so, I described it as "more than just a good start," adding, "I expect there will be further refinements and enhancements to come."
· open a menu that lets you pick individual courts. You can even "mix and match" specific courts from across multiple jurisdictions. Thus, you could conduct a single search of just the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts and the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, or any other combination. Needless to say, this enhances the ability to use Google Scholar for targeted research.
· You can also create e-mail alerts with Google Scholar. Simply run your search and then click the button at the top of the page, "Create e-mail alert."
· LAUDING EXEMPLARY ATTORNEYS
· The Xemplar shines a spotlight on "independent attorneys" who stand as examples of the best of the profession. Each month, the site features one attorney, generally from a solo or small firm, nominated and selected by a legal advisory board.
· Full disclosure : I am a member of the advisory board that selects the lawyers to be profiled. I receive no compensation, but I do get the satisfaction of helping to recognize attorneys who stand out, whether for public service, innovative use of technology, or other reasons.
· The Xemplar launched in January with a profile of Stephanie Kimbro, a North Carolina lawyer who developed an innovative virtual law office. The site is exclusively sponsored by the practice management division of LexisNexis, but is independently operated.
· ONLINE COURSE IN E-DISCOVERY
· Ralph Losey is considered by many to be one of the nation's leading experts on electronic data discovery law. A partner at Jackson Lewis, he is the firm's national e-discovery counsel and writes the blog e-Discovery Team.
· Losey is spearheading a new project: e-Discovery Law Training, an intensive, online training in EDD law, on a par with a three-credit course in law school. It consists of 61 classes, called modules, that cover all key EDD topics. Courses include content written by Losey and video seminars taught by a faculty that includes current and former U.S. magistrate judges (e.g., Paul Grimm and Ronald Hedges), practicing lawyers, consultants (e.g., George Socha and Craig Ball), and educators (such as Richard Braman, executive director of the Sedona Conference).
· Full curriculum is available on the website.
· Because the program is online, you can take the classes when convenient. The first 15 classes are free to anyone; for the remaining 46 classes, the cost is $500.
· If you want to communicate with instructors and receive their feedback, that requires a higher-level registration of another $500. For yet another $500, registrants are eligible to be tested when they complete the program and, if they pass, to receive a certificate of completion.
· The program has been approved by the state bars of California and Florida for 20 hours of CLE, Losey advises.
· NEW BLOGS OF NOTE
· Among recently launched blogs of interest to the legal community:
· • From Loyola Law School in Los Angeles comes Summary Judgments. A clearinghouse for faculty commentary on a range of issues, it highlights faculty scholarship. The blog kicked off the new year with "11 on '11" — a series of posts with professors forecasting what lies ahead for 2011.
· • If you are enough of an international law geek to deal with letters rogatory, then Letters Blogatory is the blog for you. Author Theodore Folkman, a lawyer at Murphy & King in Boston, says his goal is to provide a practical resource for practitioners to keep up with developments in international law.
· • Crowell & Moring has debuted Retail Law Observer. Topics include property leasing and development, labor and employment, consumer protections, and bankruptcy.
· • The latest addition to the Law Professor Blogs Network, Legal Skills Prof Blog, provides a forum for discussion among the law professors who teach legal skills, the practitioners who hire their students, and the students themselves. The blog's editor, James Levy, is associate professor at Nova Southeastern University Law Center.
· Among the contributing editors are two well-known legal technology bloggers, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.
· A reminder that, if you have a website of interest to legal professionals that you think should be mentioned here, let me know about it. Drop me a note!