Vol. 77, No. 5, May
The Lawyer's Guide to
Fact Finding on the Internet, Second Edition
By Carole A. Levitt & Mark E. Rosch (Chicago,
IL: ABA, 2004). 640 pgs., with CD-ROM. $79.95. Order, (800) 285-2221. Save
Reviewed by Nicholas C. Zales
The Lawyer's Guide to Fact Finding on the Internet sets a
new standard in Internet legal research books. The authors have scoured
cyberspace to bring you the latest and best the Web has to offer.
Written for busy lawyers in a clear, jargon-free way, this practical and
easy-to-use book compiles the best Web sites and research tips in 19
chapters covering the A-Z of Web-based legal and factual research.
Whether you are a net novice or live in cyberspace, you will find
something valuable in this book. A nice bonus is the included CD-ROM. It
has all the links from the book and useful checklists on legal research
and validation. This makes going to the Web sites reviewed a breeze.
The genius of this book is how easy it is to use. The authors mix
narrative reviews - in outline form - of the pros and cons of
categorized Web sites and search techniques, discussing the best sites
first, and combine these reviews with more than 100 graphic "screen
shots" of the pages they discuss. They use an icon format to quickly
inform you if the site is free, and they show you how to use free
services first, pay services second, and then, if you must pay, how to
pay less. Bolstered by interesting true stories on how lawyers - many
new to the net - used the Web for factual and legal investigation in
preparation for trial and other professional pursuits, this book
provides knowledge that empowers you to make the choices you want.
Starting with a robust discussion of the Internet, various Web
browsers, and search engines, the book moves on to specific, in-depth
categorized coverage of hundreds of excellent Web sites, with chapters
on general facts; finding people; experts and assets; public and
government records; company, medical, and scientific information; law
office management; sources of state, federal, and international law; and
The key to Internet research is finding the best sites in the least
amount of time. This book sets forth in succinct detail the best of the
best on the Internet. Whatever topic you are looking for, there is a
chapter on it or tips on how to find the right sites. Far more than a
book full of lists of links, the book and CD are interactive tools
designed to get you to the Web pages you need by starting you off with
the best advice and direction. This book offers legal links and
commentary on hundreds of excellent Web sites and offers useful tips it
took me years to learn on my own. The CD alone is worth the price of
this book; once you put it in and start clicking on links, you will be
amazed at where they take you.
Kids Going to Court - A Story and Activities
that Prepare Children for Court
By Kidsrights (Indianapolis, IN: JIST Publishing Inc.,
2004). 16 pgs. $39.95 for 10. Order, (800) 648-5478.
Reviewed by Judge Charles B. Schudson
Kids Going to Court could have been a useful book.
Unfortunately, because of serious errors on the final page, it should
not be used.
The booklet is an attractive primer to help child witnesses learn
about courtroom characters and procedures. Illustrated in coloring book
style, it provides clear explanations and simple, engaging activities.
The last page, however, advising adults on preparing kids for court,
"Make certain that children know they are safe. Listen to what
concerns or frightens them. Assure children that they will be safe. Be
specific. For example, the bailiff is a law enforcement person who can
handle almost anything that happens. If children are afraid of the
plaintiff, let them know that this person sits in a special
place that is separated from them and is not allowed to approach them.
Tell children that they do not have to look at this person unless the
judge or lawyers ask them to identify the person. Tell children that the
plaintiff is kept in jail before and after the trial, if this
is the case." (Emphases added.)
Intending to write a favorable review until finding these flaws, I
contacted the publisher to learn whether a corrected edition would be
issued. I received no response.
Thus, unfortunately, Kids Going to Court should not be used
unless it is corrected. Fortunately, however, it is only one of the
growing number of effective court preparation books and brochures
developed for children in recent years. And most fortunately, many
police officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, guardians ad litem, and
other professionals now are using such publications to help make
America's courts fair and safe for children.
Patent Law & Practice,
By Herbert F. Schwartz (Washington, DC: BNA Books, 2003). 330
pgs. $120. Order, (800) 960-1220.
Reviewed by Douglas E. Baker
Admit it. Unless you are a patent attorney, you probably think of
patent law, when you think of it at all, as some arcane nook of
jurisprudence, far beyond the fringe of a traditional civil practice. A
specialized arena, like tax, immigration, and securities law, best left
to those who work there on a daily basis. One that presents the type of
issues for which the more prudent course is to refer than to dabble. I
mean, it even has its own Bar. One can't get more specialized than
At the same time, most nonlawyers probably expect attorneys to have
at least a basic knowledge of patent law. This book makes acquiring such
a foundation relatively painless. Like most BNA books, it furnishes a
fundamental explanation of its subject matter in a well-organized and
accessible format, and is prodigiously annotated. According to the
author's preface, the work began as a monograph for federal judges, who
must serve as arbiters of patent disputes
and who, understandably, needed a concise and solid summary of the
issues with which they would be faced. The book has been considerably
expanded since its beginning, but that basic approach continues to be
reflected throughout the fourth edition, resulting in a work that
remains methodical without being pedantic.
The introduction presents a brief but helpful history of patent law
and its underlying principles. The chapters follow in a roughly
chronological format, starting at the patent office, and proceeding
through the federal courts. Among the subjects covered, in considerable
detail, are the validity and construction of patents, infringement,
defenses, remedies, and damages. In testament to the book's judicial
origins, it also contains a chapter dealing with the nuances of jury
trials in patent cases, a chapter that also provides references to
sources of jury instructions.
The book has a helpful annotated bibliography, an up-to-date table of
cases, and a fairly detailed index. Aside from an occasional lapse into
jargon that is difficult, but not impossible, to sort out, the book
offers an excellent entry into the domain of patent law.
It not only makes it possible for you to make appropriate referrals when
they are warranted, it also can help you appear intelligent and
articulate when your client - or a potential client - presents you with
a patent question. You can't ask a book to do much more than that.
To Review a Book...
The following books are available for review. Please request the book
and writing guidelines from Karlé Lester at the State Bar of
Wisconsin, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158, (608) 250-6127, org klester wisbar wisbar klester org.
Publications and videos available for review
- Common Sense Rules of Advocacy for Lawyers, by
Keith Evans (Alexandria, VA: The Capitol.Net, 2004). 240 pgs.
- Famous and Well-Known Marks, Second Edition, by
Frederick W. Mostert, principal author and editor (New York, NY:
International Trademark Association, 2004). 514 pgs. plus appendices and
table of cases.
- Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want,
by Martin E. Latz (New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 2004).
- Guardianship and Protective Placement for the Elderly in
Wisconsin, Second Edition, by Gretchen Viney (Madison, WI:
State Bar of Wisconsin, CLE Books, 2004). 207 pgs.
- Kill Now, Talk Forever: Debating Sacco and
Vanzetti, edited by Richard Newby (Bloomington, IN:
1stBooks Library, 2003). 662 pgs