Wisconsin Lawyer: Book Reviews:

State Bar of Wisconsin

Sign In
    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer

News & Pubs Search


    Book Reviews

    Douglas BakerNicholas ZalesCharles Schudson

    Share This:

    Wisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 77, No. 5, May 2004

    Book Reviews

    Book: The Lawyer's Guide to Fact Finding on 
the InternetThe 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 10%.

    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 more.

    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.

    Nicholas C. Zales, Marquette 1989, is a sole practitioner, practicing in litigation, appeals, and intellectual property. He is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors representing Milwaukee County (Dist. II).

    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, declares:

    "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.

    Charles B. Schudson, U.W. 1974, is a judge on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and the coauthor of On Trial: America's Courts and Their Treatment of Sexually Abused Children. (Beacon Press 1989; 2d ed. 1991).

    Patent Law & Practice, Fourth Edition

    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 that.

    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.

    Douglas E. Baker, Creighton 1989, is a legal editor with the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    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). 376 pgs.
    • 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