Monday, January 22, 2018

It's what I do

Tool belts are for tools
Do you know what a tool belt is used for?  It's to hold tools.  Tools like a hammer or measuring tape or a level.  You use tools to accomplish things - like saving time.  When you use a measuring tape to hammer a nail, you aren't saving time.  When you use a level to measure distance, you aren't saving time.  When you try to do your own research instead of using a Librarian who does this stuff every day, you're not saving time and you're just going to get frustrated.

Wait, what?  See a while back, I got in to an argument with a buddy of mine.  He a real estate broker and he's really good at all things real estate.  He's spouting how worthless Librarians are and how he's the bees knees when it comes to all things research.  Sad, that he hasn't got anything better to do with his time than to try to do his job AND my job at the same time.  

You know, I don't know beans about real estate.  When I bought my house, I didn't try to get it done on my own - I hired a real estate agent (i.e. a professional tool) to do the job.  
  • If I needed to have my appendix removed, I'd hire a surgeon (i.e. a professional tool) to cut me open.
  • If I were being sued, I'd hire a lawyer (i.e. a professional tool) to represent me.
  • If I needed to fly from Los Angeles to New York, I'd charter a plane and hire a pilot (i.e. a professional tool) to fly me there.
So, why is it people think, when they have a problem that they need to research that they are alone in the lone and dreary world?  Why do it yourself when you can save yourself the time and trouble by requesting the services of a professional tool?  

Fact is, when it comes to researching something there is NO ONE who does it better than your local Librarian.  If you're searching for law or legal things, there is NO ONE who does it better than your local county law Librarian.  

Why would mere mortals spend the time futzing on the Internet trying to find what it take me (a Professional Librarian) mere minutes or even seconds to find using either print or online using resources?  It  boggles my mind.

For example, say you were being evicted and needed to know how to defend yourself.  What would you search for online?  I know, but do you?  See, you could do it yourself but you could also save yourself a heap of grief by coming to the law library so that I could show you such wonders as:
Say, instead your Dad died and he left a will but your brother announces that Dad left you out of the will.  What do you do?  Well, you could futz around on the Internet until the cows come home or let me (your local county professional tool) suggest you look at: 
One more?  Say you've discovered that you need your appendix removed and want to draw up a Power of Attorney.  You could futz around on the Internet trying to find something that works (and will stand up in court) OR you could talk to your local professional law Librarian who might suggest you look at:
And how long did it take me to find all this information?  Maaaaaybe 3 minutes, tops.  How?  Well, simply because I practice researching crazy legal questions every day.  I don't practice real estate.  I don't practice medicine.  I don't practice flying airplanes.  I practice helping people find answers to legal problems every single day of the year.

So, to my buddy who thinks he's better than I am at finding things in print or online, I don't know what you're smoking but it's waaaaay above your pay grade, pal.  Maybe time to give it a rest.

Monday, January 15, 2018

No where to go but up

At rock bottom, you can either dig or look up
It's amazing the things people do to mess up their lives. Take, for instance, the young lady who came into my law library the other day.  Seems lady had a husband, beautiful children, and lived in a house.  In summer, they went on vacation back east, in winter they vacationed in Aspen.  It was a great life. Was.

One day, lady met a guy at work.  Guy wasn't anything great except that Guy was new.  Lady wanted new.  Apparently, she wanted it so much that, after work one day, she told her husband that she was moving in with Guy and would be back to pick up her 3-year old son.

Husband was not happy and he filed for divorce the next day. After lady had been served, she flipped out and attacked husband.  Husband called the police, police arrested lady and charges her with domestic violence under California Penal Code 243 and Husband got a restraining order against lady.  The next night, lady came back and was arrested for violating the restraining order.  Lady is now standing in front of me trying to figure out how to get her cake, eat it, and get custody of her kids.

Thing is, it's usually the guy who is standing in front of me trying to get custody of his kids.  Anyway, I'm thinking lady is screwed (what with a misdemeanor hanging over her head like a Sword of Damocles) but I suggest she take a look at:


and off she went [unknowingly) plotting her demise.

Yep, it amazes me sometimes the things people do to get what they think they want.  It's for those times that your local county law library is open and at the ready to help you when you hit rock bottom.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Confessions of an ex-Facebook Junkie

Social Media Addict
A few year back, I was an avid Facebook user.  That's "user" as in a hard-core junkie.  It was a visceral need to log on and check out the world.  OH COME ON, don't roll your eyes at me.  You (or most of you) do/did it, too.  You'd log on, post stuff that your closest friends don't care about hoping that someone in the world will listen, like, and respond.

Thing is, the only reason I was even on Facebook was because it allowed me to upload my blog posts every week.  Then, one day, I got an error message and Facebook began blocking my posts resulting in my turning off my Facebook account.  Cold turkey, I did.  

For the first couple of weeks, I went through withdrawals.  Then came the emails from friends asking me where I went.  My sister even called to make sure I wasn't sick or dead (true story).  The funny thing is that Facebook had become a drug (more like a time suck) and initially it was hard to stay away.  I mean, what do I do with all my newfound "free" time?  

Well, being a Librarian with mad research skills, I threw myself into my work and started putting together research scenarios based on problems people I'd helped at the library told me about (hot unlike the posts I blog about every week).  

For instance, picture it:  middle-aged woman is in her back yard and a military jet flies overhead creating a loud sonic boom.  Her ears start to bleed and turns out her eardrums had burst resulting in hearing loss.  What could she do?  What would you do?  Well, what she did was to come to my library, so I could suggest she look at:
Pretty good, huh?  Thing is, though, how many people actually have to deal with bleeding ears and sonic booms?  So, how about another, more down to earth, scenario? 

So this 20-something guy comes in and says his female cougar-aged boss is an avid football fan.  Seems almost daily boss smacks guys' backside "like football players do."  Guy doesn't like it and tells boss to stop.  Boss says guy is too sensitive and continues to have her way with him.  Guy complains to HR and weeks later, guy (who had heretofore had high marks on his work product) is fired.  What is guy to do?  What would you do?  Well, in front of me he stands and I suggest guy look at:
and off went guy to plan his attack against former employer.

Thing is, as former social media junkie I'm just saying that if you take all the time you waste(d) dinkering around on social media sites and apply that to something other than the time you spend dinkering around on social media sites, there's no telling how much good you can do in this world.

Of course, If you want to stay in denial about your social media addiction, well, that's a whole other blog post.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Word of the Month for January 2018: Process Server

Service of Process
Once upon a time, long before I became an omnipotent law Librarian, I was a process server.  I dodged bullets, cars, and swinging fists of fury and I learned pretty quick that people really don't like process servers.  They don't like them because most process servers are handing out bad news (i.e. you're being sued).  

One time I had to server process on a police officer whose wife was divorcing him.  He hid behind his badge for weeks.  Finally, I was able to catch up to him and as I handed him the legal documents, he opened his car door to let his service dog out to attack me.  Luckily for me, his 3 year-old boy also jumped out of the car and he had to hold on to the dog as he watched me run away.

So, what is a process server?  According to Black's Law Dictionary (10th Edition), a PROCESS SERVER is:
A person authorized by law or by a court to formally deliver process to a defendant or respondent.
In layman's terms, a PROCESS SERVER is the person who serves notice of process on people. In this case, "process" can be any legal document which gives notice to the other party that something legal is happening.  "Process" can be the initial papers in a lawsuit; or notice that injunction has been filed against them; or that a motion is to be heard in a case they are involved in; or that they are being defaulted. So, a PROCESS SERVER's job is a very important job - but it has its risks, like
If the PROCESS SERVER can't deliver the legal document to the intended party, then the intended party won't get notice that an action is pending against them (or can claim they never received notice). If they don't get notice, then the complaint, motion, or whatever can be dismissed or taken off calendar (for lack of notice).

For example, once, when I was serving notice on a guy who had left his front door wide open.  I announced who I was, and dropped the process just inside his front door.  He asked if it mattered it he didn't pick it up and I said, "Probably not - you've been served," and walked away.  Thing is people always think they have to have the documents physically placed in their hands to be "served" notice.

While each state has their own way of doing things, in California, the rules relating to service of process can be found in 
If you've ever been served or think you might be served or think you might want to be a process server and want to know what you're up against, head on over to your local county law library and bone up on what it takes to run with the big dogs.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Dear Santa

Sears 1963 Christmas Catalog
Years ago, I remember my mom demanding that we kids write letters to Santa.  We'd rummage through the Sears catalogs searching for toys that we'd never get.  I mean, we'd write down whole pages and never see any of it.  Got great stuff every Christmas, great memories of Christmas morning, but nothing I ever asked for.

I don't know what it was with Santa but I can't remember a single thing I asked for that I ever got - until I got a credit card.  Things changed after that.  Oh, yeah - Nerf, here I come.  After a while, though, I learned that while having a credit card was all fun and games, you had to pay off the balance - eventually.  What with December being the month of debt, I can already see the line of people coming into my law library with legal problems.

Take, for instance, the couple that came in just the other day.  Now that was a couple that understood the power of a credit card!  They had 23 credit cards between them for a combined total debt of $438,201.32 (for which they were now being sued).  So, couple, standing in front of me tells me they're being sued for money had and received. This is a common law count that credit card companies use all the time to get their money.  Basically, the complaint says 
  • You asked for a credit card, 
  • We gave you a credit limit (i.e. virtual money), 
  • You bought a lot of stuff on credit (i.e. a loan), 
  • We now want our money (plus all that interest that has been built-up over time)
So, now, couple is in front of me, their local county law Librarian, trying to find a way to have their cake and eat it too (i.e. get out of having to pay for their spending sprees). I noted that they might have a hard time with that but suggested they take a look at:
and off they went crafting their strategies.  Yep, they were in for a long haul but good thing they knew better than to rely on Google for their legal research efforts.  Good thing they knew that utilizing the mad legal research skills possessed by their local county law Librarian was their best chance at having a merry ho, ho, ho.

And to all, a good night.  Merry Christmas, everyone!