Non-Profit “Free Law Project” Provides Open Access to US Case Law

September 30, 2013

The official goals for the non-profit are:

  • To provide free, public, and permanent access to primary legal materials on the Internet for educational, charitable, and scientific purposes;
  • To develop, implement, and provide public access to technologies useful for legal research;
  • To create an open ecosystem for legal research and materials; and
  • To support academic research on related technologies, corpora, and legal systems. (via

Although case law is technically public domain, the legal decisions that interpret and apply statutory law are often scattered across the Internet, locked up in proprietary systems, and only available by paying exorbitant fees. A new non-profit launching this week aims to make these legal materials easily and freely available to all.


School of Information assistant professor Brian Carver and alumnus Michael Lissner (MIMS 2010) founded the Free Law Project to support open access to the law and to develop open-source legal research tools.


Unlike most other legal research services, the Free Law Project is committed to the open-source software movement. Not only can users download CourtListener’s entire collection of legal documents, they can also download all the software that runs the site, and can freely edit or re-use that software.

(via Berkeley School of Information)

More information is available at


Lincoln Law Review – Website Change

September 23, 2013

You can now access the Lincoln Law Review at Please update your bookmarks as necessary.

The Lincoln Law Review has been in publication since 1965, founded by Lorraine O. Legg to publish legally relevant articles and to offer Lincoln students with the opportunity to participate in the process of publishing a law review.

If you would like to submit an article for the Law Review, please read our submission guidelines.

If you would to subscribe to the Law Review, please go to our subscriptions page.

All inquiries regarding the Law Review (submissions, subscriptions, articles, etc.) can be emailed to:

You can also locate our Law Review page through the school’s website,

Law Students May Work as Unpaid Interns for Pro Bono Matters for Law Firms, Labor Dept. Says

September 23, 2013

via the ABA Journal

Law students may work as unpaid interns on pro bono matters at law firms, provided certain conditions are met, according to a letter sent to the ABA by the Labor Department.

The letter (PDF) by the Labor Department’s solicitor, M. Patricia Smith, is a response to then-ABA President Laurel Bellows, who sought assurances in May that the agency would interpret the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow such internships. Current ABA President James Silkenat says the ABA appreciates the Labor Department’s stance.

“This clarification will assist law students seeking to gain legal experience and increase their volunteerism,” Silkenat said in a statement released on Monday. “It also will ensure law firms can continue to help the many people in need of legal assistance through pro bono efforts.”

The letter says the FLSA generally requires the payment of minimum wage to anyone who works for a for-profit entity such as law firms. Unpaid internships are allowed, however, in certain circumstances. Among the requirements: The internship must offer training similar to that gained in an educational environment and the experience must be for the benefit of the intern.

According to the letter, addressed to Bellows, the department understands her concern to involve unpaid internships in which a law school places students with law firms and monitors their progress as they work exclusively on non-fee-generating pro bono matters. The internship could be unpaid, the letter says, if:

• The internship involves exclusively non-fee-generating pro bono matters.

• The internship is structured to provide the student with professional experience in furtherance of his or her education.

• The hiring of unpaid law student interns does not displace regular employees.

• The law student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.

• The law firm and the law student agree that the student is not entitled to wages.

A different analysis would apply to law grads, the letter says.

(Posted Sep 17, 2013 11:44 AM CDT By Debra Cassens Weiss)

Reddit Conversation with Council Member Sam Liccardo

September 20, 2013 Sam Liccardo

Some recommended reading on San Jose politics:

This Reddit conversation with District 3 Councilmember Sam Liccardo took place a few weeks ago. He covers a lot of ground regarding San Jose, and the challenges the city faces as well as the progress the city has made as a whole for all of its residents.  Some of the topics he discusses include:

  • Downtown nightlife
  • How to compete with other Downtown areas in the South Bay and SF
  • The homeless
  • Housing costs
  • BART to San Jose & public transportation (ie – the Bike Share program)
  • Crime & increasing police officers
  • The Gold Club
  • The 49ers move
  • Building codes & fees
  • The A’s Ballpark

Its a very entertaining and enlightening read. Well worth a few minutes of your day.

6 Tips About Working and Going to Law School – Alumni TIps

September 18, 2013

Lincoln Law School alum Saba Shakoori shares her thoughts and tips on balancing the work/school situation on the JDSupra Law News website, for her firm, McManis Faulkner. 


Are you considering attending law school, but do not know if you can swing it and keep that full time job you have at a law firm?  Let me assure you, it is possible to work full time at a firm and attend law school.  But you have to be prepared.  Just as a tri-athlete prepares to undertake an Ironman challenge, so should you prepare.  Having done this myself, here are the top six things to know before you embark on this rewarding journey…

Organization Is Vital

When working with limited time, every minute counts.  Setting schedules and planning your time is key.  Before each term, look ahead.  Plan your weeks and stick to the plan.  A normal schedule will usually consist of working from 8:30am to 6:00pm and then going to class from 6:30 to 9:45pm.  After class: cook dinner, review class notes and then go to sleep.  Weekends will be devoted to reading and briefing cases for the week ahead.

Health and Sleep Are Essential to Success

When your day does not end after a full day at the office, sleep is often a luxury.  While the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep may be out of reach, you do need to make sure that you still get a decent night’s rest.  Be sure you listen to your body and don’t exhaust yourself.  The schedule is grueling, but you still need to make sure you catch some zzz’s.  It is very easy for your health and wellness to be put on the back burner with such a hectic schedule.  Eat well, exercise, and if you can fit in even five minutes of meditation in your day, you will be well-served.

Sacrifices Are Mandatory

Whatever schedule or social activities you currently enjoy, once you start law school, they will cease to exist.  You have to make sacrifices in every sector of your life.  You may have to spend less time with friends or family.  Sacrifices are inevitable, but take heart: it’s only for a limited time.  It’s just a three to four year sentence with possibly some time off in the summer for good behavior.

Relationships Will Be Tested.

It must be said working and going to law school will strain all of your relationships – with family, friends, significant others.  Keep in mind however, that although you won’t have energy or time for large gestures, you can do small things to keep those who love you from feeling entirely out of the loop – a quick note or text from time to time to let them know you are thinking of them can work wonders.  It also helps to prepare those around you before the journey begins.  If you do this at the beginning, they will be there celebrating your success at the end.

There Are Times Where You Will Want To Quit, but Save Time For Some Fun

Law school requires a lot of time and energy, but in order to succeed, you will need your sanity.  Set aside some time for yourself.  I scheduled all of my studying for weekends.  But I made a point to reserve weekend nights to spend time with family or friends or just to have some time to myself to watch a movie or read a book – but, not a case book!  If I included a few non-law-school activities in my week’s schedule in advance, I felt no guilt taking time for just me – it was all part of the plan!

You Will Have an Advantage

Being a law student while working in a law firm provides you with a great advantage.  You will learn about abstract legal principles in class and then recognize the practical application at work.  In addition, not only will you be familiar with legal principles, but you will know people working in the legal profession.  These connections will serve you well upon graduation as well as throughout your career.

Remember, it will all be worth it in the end.  Walking across the stage to get your diploma, you will be overwhelmed with joy.  I know.  I was.  Not only will you have graduated from law school, you will have done it while working full-time.  It will be hard work and you will make a lot of sacrifices, but it is all worth it.  You will have a Juris Doctorate and no one can take that away from you.  The possibilities are endless…

Saba Shakoori works at McManis Faulkner.  She has extensive experience in handling complex business litigation and appellate matters.  For more information, please visit


Understanding Sources of Tax Law – Online Tutorial

September 16, 2013


screen clip from CCH page - picture of Capitol and title
There are a number of tax sources and they can be confusing to someone new to the field. The friendly folks from CCH (Wolters Kluwer CCH, a legal publisher), have put together a series of tutorials to help you wade through everything.
Tax Research: Understanding Sources of Tax Law (Why my IRC beats your Rev Proc!).
There are five lessons:
  • Overview of Sources of Federal Tax Laws (13:33)
  • Federal Statutes and Legislation (16:22)
  • Treasury Regulations (14:06)
  • Judicial System (12:02)
  • IRS Rulings and Pronouncements (21:16)

You have the option of either listening to the tutorial, or reading the PDFs with the same information.

These CCH tax law tutorials are designed to help tax practitioners learn about tax law and the hierarchy of federal tax law sources, such as the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and IRS rules.

2,700 New Jobs Added to Legal Sector

September 10, 2013

via Washington Street Journal

The legal services sector added 2,700 jobs in August, the second highest single-month jump in the past year but still well below pre-recession employment levels, according to U.S. Labor Department’s latest monthly report.

The August jobs gain in the sector was an improvement compared to the average monthly gain of about 500 jobs over the prior 12 months. Overall, the sector has added 6,300 jobs over the past year.

The total number of jobs  is still about 50,000 jobs fewer than the 10-year high of 1,180,000 set in May 2007.

The wider economy added 169,000 jobs in August, with the nation’s unemployment rate standing at 7.3% in August.