Category Archives: California Law

How to Succeed on Law School Exams

The law library’s guide, Exam Study Materials at TJSL  lists books on exam taking, and lists study aids available in the library for various courses such as Civil Procedure, Professional Responsibility and Torts.

Law school exam advice from the blogosphere:

Exam Prep Made Simple: Organize Your Thoughts – The Girl’s Guide to Law School
It’s Thanksgiving, Should You Be Flipping Out About Exams? – The Girl’s Guide to Law School
Common Errors in Exam Study – Amy Jarmon, Law School Academic Support Blog
Some Quotes to Keep in Mind - Law School Academic Support Blog

Law School Exam Tips – Law School Academic Support Blog

News You Can Use

Reliable Sources of Legal, Political and Economic News for San Diego Law Students and Legal Professionals

 

There is a new Guide to News sources for law students at TJSL created by Reference Librarian, Catherine Deane that supplements the Current Awareness page created by Interim Library Director, Patrick Meyer.

Let’s think a little about why you might want to pay attention to the news, what kinds of news you should keep an eye on, and how you can incorporate news reading into your day.

As a law student, you have already entered your profession on the first day of law school. Investing time, money and brain cells into a legal education is only the bare minimum, and once you have done this, it makes sense to back that up with an understanding of the lay of the land.

The good news is that even if you have been doing nothing in your free time but reading comic books, watching reality TV and playing Halo for the last four years of college, you still have three years to catch up with the rest of the adult world and to figure out what the lay of the land looks like. You may be a student, but you are not a kid. You are a professional in training.

Politics

This is not to say that you need to set aside Rock Band completely in favor of watching C-SPAN   and listening to NPR 24/7, but if you know what city you intend to live in when you graduate, or at the very least what state, it makes sense to start paying attention to local politics. Figure out who the key players are and what their policies are.

History and Culture

Beyond that, laws are not created in a vacuum. The law, and particularly the common law created as it is by judicial precedent and the decisions of 12 hopefully not-too-angry men, is shaped by history and culture. Not culture in the sense of museums and the ballet, but culture in the anthropological sense of how people think; what people do with their time; how they spend their money and what they think is moral. For instance, there are two sets of genital mutilation laws recently in the news, male and female. One type is culturally accepted in the U.S. the other is not. So it makes sense to pay attention to cultural battles over legal issues. And of course, you want to keep an eye on what the Supreme Court is doing, because their decisions change the law everywhere in the U.S.

Economics and Job Trends

The legal profession also does not exist in a vacuum, it is influenced by the U.S., state, and local economy. It makes sense to keep an eye on the economy, when you are ready to graduate, you may need to move to another state to find an economy that supports lawyers. Also, there are many ways to use a law degree other than being a lawyer at a law firm. You may want to keep an eye on the types of legal jobs that are cropping up. This allows you time to find and network with people who use their JDs in a nontraditional way and to see if this might be a career path that you prefer, and if it is, you can start networking in that field and shoring up the other skills that you would need for that career.

But I’m already so busy, how do I find time to gather and read more information?

Phone

Trade out a small portion of useless activities for a small portion of news acquiring activities. For example, your phone is with you all the time. If you have a smart phone, download a few news apps and trade out 10 minutes of Angry Birds for 10 minutes of listening to NPR.

Facebook

According to nielsenwire individual Facebook users spend an average of just over six hours a month on Facebook. Use 10 minutes of your FB time to read news. Just hit the like button on a few news sources and they will push news to you, all you have to do is scan your feed and read/listen/watch a few news items and you will be better informed than if you spent those ten minutes playing Farmville. It will also irritate your nonfarmville playing friends much less.

Email

You can also have news items delivered into your email by signing up for RSS feeds. Or subscribing to newsletters and blogs.

Bookmark this News Resource

Also, there is a bookmark bar at the top of your browser. I have created, especially for you, a one stop shop for any kinds of news that you might want to read, (yes, I even put some entertainment news on there, it’s important for you to be able to chat about silly things as well as being informed about that War in that far away country that that environmentalist grad student you have a crush on won’t shut up about). When you are networking, people don’t always want to talk about the heavy stuff. So it’s a good idea to bookmark into your Favourites Bar this News Link so that when you are bored, it’s just as easy to pull up the News pages crafted just for you, by your librarians, Catherine Deane and Patrick Meyer as it is to pull up Facebook.

So go ahead, check it out, bookmark it today, empower yourself, and take charge of your development as a knowledgeable, professional adult pursuing a career in law.

CA Legal News: Class Action Suit against Sony because of PlayStation Network Breach

What Happened?

Sometime between April 17 and April 19, 2011, hackers broke into the Playstation Network (Bloomberg). On Wednesday, April 20, 2011, Sony shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services in response to the intrusion, but did not inform consumers of the intrusion. (Bloomberg; Seybold 04/26/2011).

Sony lacked the in-house expertise to evaluate the intrusion, but instead of informing consumers about the intrusion so that they might mitigate any possible damage, this information was kept secret.

By Tuesday,  Sony had “reported the breach to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Diego, which specializes in compute r crime”( Stelter & Bilton).  To provide the FBI with information about the case you can call the FBI headquarters at (202) 324-3000.” (Snider).

Although Sony executive Patrick Seybold, Sr. Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media, claims that they “Quickly [took] steps to enhance security and strengthen our network infrastructure” (Seybold). Journalists are questioning how “quick” Sony’s response was given the intrusion occurred around April 18th and clients were not informed about the possibility that their information was compromised until Tuesday April 26th (Theriault).

Moreover, consumers and journalists are not impressed with the fact that Sony did not already have a safe system, but instead waited for this intrusion before “re-building [their] system to provide [users] with greater protection of [their] personal information” (Seybold ). Even Senator Richard Blumenthal, contacted Sony, “saying he was troubled that the company had not notified customers sooner about the breach” (Ogg).

Should Users be Concerned?

Although Ann Carrns, blogging for the New York Times, claims that users should “remain calm”, what she actually means is that those consumers who used credit cards rather than debit cards and who regularly monitor their credit card statements and bank statements and can afford a “limited” debit card loss, should remain calm. Oh and anyway, these types of hackers, Carrns writes, “are often looking for notoriety, rather than to resell financial information” (Carrns).

Wall Street Journal blogger, Ben  Rooney, indicates that the type of data stolen is very valuable, “complete data including billing address, email addresses and personal information like dates of birth, represent the rich data that allow highly targeted attacks against individuals. This sort of data commands much higher prices—and is much sought after by cyber criminals” (Rooney).

“With the sort of data compromised it is possible for criminals to commit identity theft and use your details to open bank accounts, take out mobile phone contracts, and even re-direct your mail. Security professionals suggest obtaining a copy of your credit report which should give a complete account of your status as well as any searches against your credit history” (Rooney).

Graham Cluley, of naked security, the IT security blog of the year, explains how hackers could use the stolen information to “[b]reak into your other online accounts. We know that many people use the same password on multiple websites. So if your password was stolen from the Sony PlayStation Network, it could then be used to unlock many other online accounts – and potentially cause a bigger problem for you” (Cluley).

Carrns optimism seems to be unfounded, given that senior threat researcher, Kevin Stevens from the security firm Trend Micro, “said that the forums indicated the hackers had a database containing the personal information, and that they were hoping to sell it “for upwards of $100,000.” Apparently the hackers had even tried to sell the information back to Sony, but they didn’t receive a reply from the Japanese electronics company” (Mogg). I guess these are the rare hackers that prefer millions of dollars over notoriety.

How are users responding?

Some users have already begun to report  fraudulent charges on their credit and debit cards. One user  said that “a ticket was purchased through a German airline for nearly $600” leaving her with a negative account balance of $500 (Kuchera).

An Alabama user has already filed a class action suit against Sony in the 9th District court, asking among other things for monetary compensation and free credit card monitoring (Ogg) . The complaint asks for:

“1)An order certifying this case as a class action and appointing Plaintiff and his counsel to represent the Class.

2) Restitution and disgorgement of all amounts obtained by Defendant as a result of its misconduct, together with interest thereon from the date of payment, to the victims of such violations.

3) Actual damages for injuries suffered by Plaintiff and the Class.

4) Compensatory money damages according to proof.

5) Statutory damages according to proof.

6) An order requiring Defendant to immediately cease its wrongful conduct as set forth above; enjoining Defendant from continuing to falsely market and advertise, conceal material information and conduct business via the unlawful and unfair business acts and practices complained of herein; ordering Defendant to engage in a corrective notice campaign; and requiring Defendant to refund to Plaintiff and all members of the Class the funds paid to Defendant for the defective PlayStations and PSN services; ordering Defendant to pay for credit card monitoring for Plaintiff and all members of the Class.

7) Punitive damages.

8) Attorneys’ fees and costs.

9) For statutory prejudgment interest.

10) For such other relief as this Court may deem just and proper” (JOHNS v. SONY).

In short the complaint alleges that Sony did not take “reasonable care to protect, encrypt, and secure the private and sensitive data of its users” and that this precluded consumers from being able to make informed decisions about how to best mitigate the possible damages that could result from having their information stolen (Ogg; Clark).

Senators Dick Blumenthal, and Bobby Rush have both responded to the breach with press releases. Blumenthal berates Sony execs in a letter, for mishandling the breach and for failing to have adequate security precautions. Rush gets to the heart of the matter, and calls for Republican senators to work with democrats to get a bill passed that would require corporations to take better security precautions with users data (Blumenthal; Rush).

What repercussions will this have for Sony?

Sony will likely face staggering legal bills, not to mention that they will likely want to start placating  consumers financially, even before the suit is settled or tried (Clark). Whether or not gamers will vote Sony off the island by, is yet to be seen, but at least one journalist thinks they would be crazy not to. “… the gamer (and any sane consumer) also says this: If you are cavalier with my personal information I will punish you by walking away” (Schiesel).

References

New Titles for the Center for Law & Social Justice

California Criminal Sentencing Enhancements
KFC1172.A15 C35 (California Materials)
ThomCat

Contracting with Sovereignty: State Contracts and International Arbitration
Ivar Alvik
K2400 .A944 2010
ThomCat | Amazon.com

Ecofeminism
Maria Mies & Vandana Shiva
HQ1233 .M53 1993
ThomCat | Amazon.com

Federal Environmental Law: The User’s Guide
Olga L. Moya, Andrew L. Fono
KF3775.Z9 M69 2011
ThomCat | Amazon.com

Human Rights in Europe: Commentary on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
William B.T. Mock, editor; Gianmario Demuro, coordinating editor
KJE5132.A432 H86 2010
ThomCat | Amazon.com

The Law of Products Liability
Marshall S. Shapo
KF1296 .S43 2010
ThomCat

The Lisbon Treaty: Law, Politics, and Treaty Reform
Paul Craig
KJE4443.32007 .C73 2010
ThomCat | Amazon.com

Obesity, Business and Public Policy
edited by Zoltan J. Acs, Alan Lyles; in collaboration with Kenneth R. Stanton
RA645.O23 O22 2009
ThomCat | Amazon.com

Practice Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines
edited by David Debold
KF9685 .P7322 2010-
ThomCat | Amazon.com

Trafficking and Human Rights: European and Asia-Pacific Perspectives
edited by Leslie Holmes
HQ281 .T73 2010
ThomCat | Amazon.com

San Diego Legal News: Medical marijuana dispensaries to be shut down in San Diego

In the news this week, is our own, Alex Kreit, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Law & Social Justice. Professor Kreit is also chairperson of the city of San Diego’s Medical Marijuana Task Force. His remarks, quoted in San Diego CityBeat, suggest that the de facto ban on medical marijuana dispensaries for the next year is the most reasonable compromise that could be made with the current city council members (Lamb). However, in Professor Kreit’s opinion, based on extensive empirical research in the San Diego community, the majority of San Diego residents would likely prefer to have well-regulated and conveniently accessible dispensaries.

In a letter to the City Council, published in San Diego Citybeat, Professor Kreit, on behalf of the City of San Diego’s Medical Marijuana Task Force, urges Council members to reconsider the excessively restrictive zoning regulations that would prohibit medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives from operating in large portions of the City of San Diego, to include central areas where the presence of dispensaries is supported by the majority of the local residents. The letter asks that Council members take into consideration the needs of patients who rely on convenient legal access to doctor-prescribed medication. “Those who will be hurt most by the draft ordinance will be the sickest patients, including the elderly and the disabled, who cannot travel long distances for their medicine and are unable to undertake the time and labor intensive process of attempting to grow medical marijuana for themselves. Indeed, the California legislature adopted the Medical Marijuana Program Act in 2003, which makes medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives legal, in order to protect the rights of patients like these.” (Maass).

What do you think about the new regulations?

References

Find things in the new Library

The Subject Guides to find print items in the new library are ready:

CA Subject Guide (png)

CA Subject Guide (pdf)

General Subject Guide (pdf)

If you need more assistance finding things, stop by the reference desk and a librarian will assist you.

The reference desk is located next to the circulation desk on the 4th floor.

CA News: Prop 8 in the news

Let’s say you have not been following the Prop 8 news, this visual timeline from MSN’s Good News Blog, last updated in August, will help you to get up to speed: Proposition 8: A Timeline

If you are interested in hearing the oral argument on Prop 8 that took place recently on December 06, 2010,  in the San Francisco, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, C-Span is hosting video of the arguments.     Perry v. Schwarzenegger, (Prop. 8 )

NPR has been reporting on Prop 8, and you can read or listen to four recent articles online.

The following article by Karen Grigsby Bates, highlights the attitudes of proponents and opponents of Prop 8, demonstrating  how difficult is has been and continues to be for these opposing groups to negotiate. Their value systems are divergent, and in some cases are rooted in religious and cultural beliefs that cannot be countered with logic. This has meant that the tone of the debates and discussions have been infused with emotion, and rarely is there a meeting of the minds.

In Calif., Prop. 8 Debate Tests Limits Of Tolerance by Karen Grigsby Bates

Also from NPR, Ted Olson, Gay Marriage’s Unlikely Legal Warrior by Nina Totenberg

This story presents an interesting perspective on why a Conservative would want marriage to be more inclusive rather than less. In part, we are reminded that only 40 years ago, President Obama’s parents would have been committing a felony if they had gotten married in Virginia.

Beyond these policy issues are the true legal issues involved in this case, issues such as who has standing, and whether anyone who actually does have standing to defend Prop 8, would even want to. These issues are discussed by Richard Gonzales, and you can read or  listen online to his two recent NPR articles Expect More Legal Twists In Battle Over Prop. 8 and Legal Standing Among Issues In Proposition 8 Appeal.

Should you want to see what one New York Times writer has to say about Prop. 8, check out this Dec 10 editorial, entitled Civil Rights in California, the author’s opinion is that “The proponents of the discriminatory proposition should be granted standing, and they should lose.”

California News: Do Californians want to legalize Marijuana?

Even those who support the already legal industry in its current incarnation, may not support Prop 19.

As if the law as it stands were not confusing enough since it contradicts Federal law, which as we know trumps State law, the culture, in places like Humbolt County makes  it challenging to obey the law. Amy Steward explains in the New York Times Article Leaves of Grass, the difficulty she had returning “eight ounces of premium bud” to the local police.

 

MCLE: People’s Money (Ethics credit)

As previously announced, the TJSL Library now has a collection of MCLE materials available for checkout by all TJSL Alumni.  Stop by the Library and take advantage of this opportunity for free MCLE credits! Here’s just one of our new MCLE holdings:

People’s Money

Learn the perils of the use and abuse of client funds. What funds should be deposited into a client trust account and what funds should not be? When should money stay in a client trust account, and when should it be withdrawn? This program includes practical suggestions on proper trust accounting, including compliance with record-keeping standards.

Shawn M. Harpen, Esq., Irvine
Edward J. McIntyre, Esq., San Diego
Dianne Jackson McLean, Esq., Oakland

1.5 Hours MCLE Credit Legal Ethics

MCLE: California Criminal Sentencing Laws

As previously announced, the TJSL Library now has a collection of MCLE materials available for checkout by all TJSL Alumni.  Stop by the Library and take advantage of this opportunity for free MCLE credits! Here’s just one of our new MCLE holdings:

California Criminal Sentencing Laws

Prosecutors, judges and criminal defense attorneys must accurately calculate and advise defendants on possible sentencing consequences of a plea to criminal charges. This Panel will navigate the California determinate and indeterminate sentencing laws. Recorded September 2009.

Michael Begovich, Esq., San Diego
Peter E. Flores, Jr., Esq., San Francisco
Judge Philip H. Pennypacker, San Jose

1.5 MCLE Credits Legal Specialization;
1.5 MCLE Credits Criminal Law (Good through 9/9/10)