Sunday, June 04, 2017

Dallas City Code Online

The Dallas City Code is online, which saves you time in finding the general language of an ordinance. 

However, if you need historical information you might want to try the 7th floor of the Dallas Public Library (Dallas History and Archives) or the 6th floor (Urban Information). 

If your practice includes a lot of city ordinance work, you might want to consider owning a printed copy.

To reach the online version, use this URL.

http://dallascityhall.com/government/Pages/city-codes.aspx

Here you will find links to the various chapters.

City Charter
City Code - Volumes 1 - 3
City Code - Volume 4 Chapter 51P is located at the City Attorney's website.
City Construction Code is located at the Building Inspection Site
City Council Rules of Procedure.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Online Brexit Resources

The Berkeley Library has created a sound resource collection about BREXIT.
http://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/european-union/brexit

An excerpt for your review...

"Developments surrounding the "Brexit" or vote on the Referendum of the United Kingdom's Membership of the European Union are evolving.  At present most research has been published by think tanks and governments.  Some coverage can be also be found in academic journals from the UK such as International Affairs and Political Quarterly
The European Documentation Centre at Cardiff University has excellent guides to the Brexit Debate as well as several other published Brexit Information guides.  The British Library also has a EU Referendum Information Guide." 

Friday, December 16, 2016

What skills should the new Register of Copyrights have?

Today's question is, "What skills should the new Register of Copyrights have?"

An online survey will run from December 16, 2016 through January 31, 2017. 

Your input will be reviewed and inform development of knowledge, skills, and abilities for fulfilling the Register position. 

The link to the survey is https://www.research.net/r/RegisterOfCopyrights 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Battling Overconfidence in Law Students

Because of the Google-like interfaces of most major databases, the students I work with often approach the database like they are looking for an answer to a question in Google. They open up Westlaw, search for something like: motion to dismiss Texas, get tons of results, and stumble through them. Yet, because this shotgun-to-mosquito approach yields results, they ultimately overestimate their confidence.

I recently read an article* suggested to me by fellow DALL Member Ed Hart. It discusses an appropriately titled “Shock and Awe” technique to teaching legal research. The idea being that one way to combat pervasive overconfidence in law students is to provide an uber-challenging research problem that will almost surely cause them to fail. In effect, this “shock and awe” approach often happens to law students when they start interning somewhere. They are given a research assignment, and they don’t know where to begin; they are stuck in “find a case” mode. In fact, a summer of struggles is one of the more common precursors to law students taking an elective Advanced Legal Research course.

One of the ways that I create challenging problems is by intentionally using plain English terms in a question, although the subject is discussed in resources using more refined legal terminology. For example, recently I wanted students to locate practice materials that discuss emancipation of a minor, but I asked them to find a secondary source that will help an attorney needing to advise a young teenager that wants the same rights as an adult. Perhaps I am hiding the ball, but this will also help them prepare for encountering members of the public that will not use proper legal terminology when seeking legal advice.

The “shock and awe” approach is a good way to battle overconfidence, but at the same time, I don’t want to go so far as to become discouraging. I am happy to hear from librarians that have suggestions for “shock and awe” questions that they have encountered when working with new associates or any other related experiences that you would like to share.


* Karen Skinner, The “Shock and Awe” Approach to Legal Research: Helping Students to Understand Their Research Deficiencies So That They Are Better Prepared to Learn Legal Research, 23 Persp: Teaching Legal Res. & Writing, Fall 2014, at 47.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Facebook for Work

Are we about to see a tidal wave of people start using Workplace, the new "Facebook" for work? That seems to be the question as Facebook releases its new product Workplace today. Previously Workplace has been in beta, but even in this mode it's had over 1,000 businesses and organizations sign up. As of today though, anyone can begin using it. While Workplace will face competitors already out there, it's association with the ever popular social media network Facebook seems like it will provide a clear competitive edge to signing up users.

Workplace, unlike Facebook, will also have a cost associated with it. Using analytics, Workplace will be charged based upon the number of active users on a monthly basis. 

So the question is -- who will be the early adopters in law firms? Will Workplace be able to get around Facebook's association with distractions and lower productivity in the work place? 

Here are some additional places to read about Workplace: 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Proposed Rules Amendments are Published for Public Comment

On August 12, 2016, the Judicial Conference Advisory Committees on Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Rules published proposed amendments to their respective rules and forms, and requested that the proposals be circulated to the bench, bar, and public for comment. 

The proposed amendments, rules committee reports explaining the proposed changes, and instructions on how to submit comments are posted on uscourts.gov.


The public comment period ends February 15, 2017.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

DALL's New Website & Membership Renewal

We invite you to head over to http://dallnet.org/ to see the new Dallas Association of Law Librarians' website.

We’ve added a section called “DALL Research Corner”. We’re hoping to add research tips or other suggestions that would seem particularly helpful to other DALL members. As you’re researching and have something you would like to share, please email publicity@dallnet.org or submit a tip through the form on the DALL Research Corner page.

Additionally, the Texas Research Center lists many links to Texas case law, statutes, and regulations as well as to courts and law library associations. Lastly the Other Research Resources page provides links to every state’s bar association, federal agencies, and law librarian and other legal blogs.

All three of these resources can be accessed under the “Research” tab on the DALL website.

Also, make sure to renew your DALL membership before August 31 to avoid the $10 late fee. For more information please visit http://dallnet.org/membership/. If you're new to the DFW area or have not participated in DALL before we would love to have you join us!

Monday, June 20, 2016

21 CFR 803 displays "plain language" from 2005 to current

Not many realize that in 2005, the FDA made a significant change in the language about Medical Devices. The  plain language was introduced in the Federal Register February 28, 2005. In essence, the language changed from "statutory" to "plain English, by adding the "plain language" below the "statutory." Then, after 2005, the language is all in "plain language" for 21 CFR 803.

It is in the 2005 CFR that you will see both versions, "statutory" and "plain language." Going forward, the language is "plain language" from 2006 to current.

Here is the rationale from the Federal Register, 70 FR 9516.

"SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is amending its regulation governing reporting of deaths, serious injuries, and certain malfunctions related to medical devices. We are revising the regulation into plain language to make the regulation easier to understand, and we are making technical corrections. Elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, we are publishing a
companion proposed rule, under FDA’s usual procedures for notice and comment, to provide a procedural framework to finalize the rule in the event we receive any significant adverse comment and withdraw the direct final rule. DATES: This rule is effective July 13, 2005,"

What is the General Approach?

"In this direct final rule, FDA does not change the existing regulatory requirements described previously in this document. FDA is revising part 803 solely to ensure that despite the many revisions that have been made, part 803 is clear and easy to understand. To achieve this goal, we have rewritten part 803 into plain language, in accordance with the Presidential Memorandum on Plain Language, issued on June 1, 1998. That memorandum directed the agency to ensure that all of its documents are clear and easy to read. Part of achieving that goal involves having readers of a regulation feel that it is speaking directly to them. Therefore, we have attempted to incorporate plain language in this rule as much as possible. We have tried to make each section of the companion proposed rule easy to understand by using clear and simple language rather than jargon, by keeping sentences short, and by using active voice rather than passive voice whenever possible. We have also made changes to improve the consistency of the format and language used throughout parallel regulations governing user facilities, importers, and manufacturers that were added or amended at different times. We do not intend these changes to have any effect on the substantive requirements of part 803."

So if you don't see the statutory language, but a simpler language for 21 CFR 803 after 2006, you will know why.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Before the Revisor harmonizes the Health and Safety Code 81.046

It happens when bills are being passed quickly and the Texas Legislative Council doesn't have time to harmonize things.

Take a look at Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 81.046 - Confidentiality.

There are two sections "C". 

One was passed by Acts 2015, 84th Legislature, Chapter 789 (House Bill 2646) Section 1. This has 7 items. The first 5 items passed by the House are identical to the five items passed by the Senate.

The second "C" was passed by Act 2015, 84th Legislature, chapter 1278 (Senate Bill 1574) Section 6. Items 6 of each bill are different, and there is no item 7.

Obviously, this needs to be looked at and harmonized during the next legislature, but until then, both sections must be followed. Here is the link to 81.046.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 789 (H.B. 2646), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015
(c) Medical or epidemiological information, including information linking a person who is exposed to a person with a communicable disease, may be released:
(1) for statistical purposes if released in a manner that prevents the identification of any person;
(2) with the consent of each person identified in the information;
(3) to medical personnel treating the individual, appropriate state agencies in this state or another state, a health authority or local health department in this state or another state, or federal, county, or district courts to comply with this chapter and related rules relating to the control and treatment of communicable diseases and health conditions or under another state or federal law that expressly authorizes the disclosure of this information;
(4) to appropriate federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States Public Health Service, but the information must be limited to the name, address, sex, race, and occupation of the patient, the date of disease onset, the probable source of infection, and other requested information relating to the case or suspected case of a communicable disease or health condition;
(5) to medical personnel to the extent necessary in a medical emergency to protect the health or life of the person identified in the information;
(6) to governmental entities that provide first responders who may respond to a situation involving a potential communicable disease of concern and need the information to properly respond to the situation; or
(7) to a local health department or health authority for a designated monitoring period based on the potential risk for developing symptoms of a communicable disease of concern.

Text of subsection as amended by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1278 (S.B. 1574), Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2015
(c) Medical or epidemiological information may be released:
(1) for statistical purposes if released in a manner that prevents the identification of any person;
(2) with the consent of each person identified in the information;
(3) to medical personnel treating the individual, appropriate state agencies in this state or another state, a health authority or local health department in this state or another state, or federal, county, or district courts to comply with this chapter and related rules relating to the control and treatment of communicable diseases and health conditions or under another state or federal law that expressly authorizes the disclosure of this information;
(4) to appropriate federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the Unites States Public Health Service, but the information must be limited to the name, address, sex, race, and occupation of the patient, the date of disease onset, the probable source of infection, and other requested information relating to the case or suspected case of a communicable disease or health condition;
(5) to medical personnel to the extent necessary in a medical emergency to protect the health or life of the person identified in the information; or
(6) to a designated infection control officer.
(c-1) A local health department or health authority shall provide to first responders the physical address of a person who is being monitored by the local department or authority for a communicable disease for the duration of the disease's incubation period. The local health department, health authority, or other governmental entity, as applicable, shall remove the person's physical address from any computer-aided dispatch system after the monitoring period expires.
(c-2) Only the minimum necessary information may be released under Subsections (c)(6) and (7) and (c-1), as determined by a health authority, local health department, governmental entity, or department.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Dodd-Frank Act Information

If you have ever had to research the Dodd-Frank Act, you know that it can take some time determining where to begin your journey.

Here are four useful resources that are not behind a paywall, so you don't need credentials to access the information.

Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C.
http://www.llsdc.org/dodd-frank-legislative-history
This resource was last updated July 29, 2015 and provides links to bill versions and hearings.

U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission
http://www.cftc.gov/LawRegulation/DoddFrankAct/index.htm
This resource is organized within a drop down menu from the Dodd-Frank Act, and a page with topics such as Rule-Writing Process and External Meetings, to name just two. For current and historic documents organized in one place.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
https://www.stlouisfed.org/federal-banking-regulations/
Search 'Dodd-Frank' in the search window for all banking regulations that relate to Dodd-Frank.

Securities and Exchange Commission
https://www.sec.gov/spotlight/dodd-frank.shtml
'Implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act' is organized into four categories: Mandatory Rule Making Provisions; Public Comments; New Offices; and Reports & Studies.