Monday, February 11, 2019

I feel your pain

Another sly dog that is here to help
You ever feel like you have no clue what to do next?  You've worked hard all your life, planned, schemed, and plotted and are still at a point where you're stuck?  Happens all the time at my LAW library.

Yesterday, in fact, I had a newly minted lawyer come into our LAW library. Seems new lawyer had recently passed the bar but try as he might, he could not get a job at a law firm and so decided to put out his own shingle.  

Problem was, while law school taught theory to help with passing the bar exam, what he needed now was practice (or tools of a practical nature).  

I suspected he was kicking himself for not paying more attention in his Legal Research and Writing class.  Yeah, that would have really helped him out now (in the real world).

Anyway, I could see the fear in his eyes as he roamed our halls. Heck, I could smell it and he was really freaking out since he had just accepted a new client in a personal injury case and he didn't know where to start. 

Approaching him from behind (because that's what you do when dealing with drowning people), I suggested he take a look at (in this order): 
  1. California Practice Guide: Personal Injury (TR)
  2. California Torts (Lexis)
  3. California Forms of Pleading and Practice (Lexis)
  4. California Civil Discovery Practice (CEB)
  5. Bender's Forms of Discovery (Lexis)
  6. AmJur Trials (TR)
Over the course of a few months, newly minted was able to piece together a strategy and properly serve his client's interests without having to go to trial (and settled for a pretty penny, to boot).  

If you ever find yourself in a bind, know that your local county law Librarian knows their collection like the back of their hand.  We know what you need and can help you look good doing whatever needs doing.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Word of the Month for February 2019: Corroboration

Corroboration means to get a 2nd opinion
Have you ever had the experience where you are talking to a group of people and someone doesn't believe you and they say "prove it?"  I mean, the gall of some people.

What is helpful, in those situations is if someone is standing there and they've got your back saying, "no, she speaks the truth" (thereby shutting down the naysayers).

Yep, always nice to have someone watching your back.  Of course, this all brings us to our word of the month: CORROBORATION.  According to Black's Law Dictionary, CORROBORATION means:
1. Confirmation or support by additional evidence or authority (corroboration of the witness's testimony).  2. Formal confirmation or ratification.  3. Confirmation or support by additional evidence of the date of invention or of a trademarks first use.
So, a funny thing.  The other day I was looking at this definition and while I was thus looking, a young lady came up to me asking an intellectual property issue.

Seems Young Lady had decided to open a store nearby and sell her line of beauty products.  She spent no small amount of cash developing her line and her trademark.  

To her dismay, within the first month of opening shop, she received a cease and desist letter from an attorney informing her that she was using a trademark which was owned by someone else.

Wait a minute.  Even though Young Lady had not actually hung out her shingle, she had been using her Mark for a couple years (after having done her due diligence searching to see if anyone had used her Mark).  So she was not a little befuddled with this letter.

I suggested she take a look at our intellectual property section and read:
and off Young Lady was to strike back at "the man."

Sometimes, just when you think you have your act completely together, life smacks you up side your heal for round two.  Good thing there are law libraries around to help you get up and moving when you get knocked down.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Well, THAT's Embarrassing!

Short skirts are great but they show lots of skin
So, barreling down the road on my way to work this morning, I happened to glance to my right and I see this young woman tugging on a very, very short skirt whilst attempted to put money in a parking meter. 

I'm thinking...if you're embarrassed that you don't have enough material to hide your bare legs (and near-bare bottom), you might want to consider wearing a longer dress.  

I'm just sayin.

Of course, this brought to mind an embarrassing situation involving a young attorney who came in our library a while back.  Seems Young Attorney was preparing to file a complaint in Superior Court.  

Simple enough.  Prepare the complaint, the civil case cover sheet, proof of service, that sort of thing. Of course, I tried to tell Young Attorney about the three things he needed but being young AND an attorney, he kinda didn't have any patience to listen to an omnipotent law Librarian.

So, the FIRST time Young Attorney went to the filing window, all he had was the complaint.  Court clerk tells him his forgetting something and back to the law library he went.  Again, Young Attorney wouldn't give me the time of day and after struggling to get his act together, he went back to the courthouse.

So, the SECOND time he went to the filing window, Young Attorney had a complaint and a summons .  Court clerk says, nope, try again.  This time, Young Attorney sought me out and I asked what he was lacking.  Showing compassion, I led Young Attorney over to California Forms of Pleading and Practice (Lexis).

So, THIRD time Young Attorney went to the filing window, he had his complaint, civil case cover sheet, AND the proof of service and......he got his stuff filed....at 3:39PM (with a minute to spare since the window closes at 4:00pm).

Of course, the whole time the clerks were laughing at the Young Attorney who got redder faced each time he had to go back.  Had Young Attorney taken the time to talk to the law Librarian, Young Attorney would not have had to deal with so much grief.

Well, it wasn't a complete loss.  At least I got a blog post out of it.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Hurt Feelings

Stop with the crying, baby.
Like any career, being a law Librarian means that we are often called upon to do things that we really don't like doing. One of those things is having to listen to people who don't have a lawsuit, knowing that they don't have a lawsuit, and not being able to say to them, "YOU REALLY DON'T HAVE LAWSUIT!"

This brings us to the guy who got mad because someone tried to kick him out of his local social club. Guy got miffed because a fellow member tried to kick guy out of the club over an event that occurred outside of a club meeting. OK, never a good thing to bag on someone, but what is done is done, right?  

Well, maybe not so much done since guy went and filed a defamation action against the other guy. Years drag on and on and finally the case is ready to go to trial.  Guy insists that that he has a case and chews on my ear for hours and hours until I've had my fill and say, "ENOUGH! Hurt feelings do not (or should not) a lawsuit make.  Just because you have hurt feelings, that isn't enough to justify the cost of a lawsuit." Good thing I wasn't talking to the Hatfields or McCoys.

Turns out, in California, Civil Jury Instruction 1702 says that having hurt feelings can win you damages in a defamation case.  Sad that.  I mean, what with all the litigation flying around, you'd think someone would at least insist on you having some physical monetary reasons to file a lawsuit other that hurt feelings.  Anyway, guy feels justified that he will be vindicated.

Personally, it matters not to me what happens because I'm not the one being sued and I'm not here to give legal advice (which, I suspect, he was looking for). Only thing I care about is not having to listen to listen to how right guy is. Even if he is, guy is not right, this lawsuit is a waste of judicial time and money and and I'm really done hearing about it. Really, really!

Anyway, this ends today's rant.

Monday, January 14, 2019

He's gonna blow!

Beatnick chicYou may not know this about me but I teach legal research classes to/for the public.  Really dig it, I do.  What I really like is working with people who are hungry for information.

I can work with people like that.  What I can't deal with is whiners who complain that legal research is too hard. Thing is, the first time you do anything it's hard.  

Nothing new, there.

Take, for example, the Beatnik (a real hip and happening dude) who came into the law library the other day. Beatnik starts with the world is out to get him and how he doesn't know anything about legal research and would someone just do the work for him?!

My answer(s) to him: Yes, it is, that's probably true, and no, I won't.  

What I will do is help you out along the way.  Turns out Beatnik is fighting with his neighbor.  Seems neighbor has chickens that squawk at all hours of the day and the rooster starts sounding off around 3AM.  

No amount of pleading will get neighbor to silence his chickens.  Beatnick, cool cat that he is, has had it and wants to silence the chickens.

First, I asked if he had contacted county code enforcement (for a possible noise/code infraction).  Second, I suggested he take a look at:

Funny thing about Beatnik's, I always thought they were the most easy, laid back kind of people. Guess everyone has their breaking point.  

When next you feel the need to snap, know that your local county law library is just around the next corner to help you bring it back in.