California becomes fifth state to legalize assisted suicide

California becomes 5th state to legalize assisted suicide by Legal Affairs Writer, Victor Li

California Gov. Jerry Brown ended weeks of speculation by signing a controversial assisted suicide bill into law.

On Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported Brown had officially signed the bill, which allows patients to end their lives with doctor-prescribed drugs. The bill had passed Sept. 11, but Brown, a devout Catholic and former seminary student, had given no indication whether he would sign it. California is now the fifth state in the country to allow assisted suicide, joining Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Vermont.

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Brown stated. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”

According to the Times, California’s law was modeled after Oregon’s and allows doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients who are diagnosed with a terminal illness and told they will die in less than six months. The law would take effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session, which is scheduled to run into early 2016.

Read the entire article here.

The “Intern Case”: Intern Protection Laws May Be Hurting Interns

Intern Protection Laws May Be Hurting Interns by third year law student at UCLA School of Law, Harrison Thorne. 

Employees are entitled to many benefits, including minimum wage, overtime wage, social security tax contributions, insurance (disability, unemployment), Family and Medical Leave and workers’ compensation. Interns generally do not receive benefits, nor are they paid. Accordingly, some businesses have relied on interns as a source of free labor. The businesses exploiting interns typically claim that they are providing the interns with intangible benefits such as access to high-level professionals, practical experience and resume value. The interns respond that they are performing tasks for which they should receive compensation. Interns have generally lost this battle.

All that could change, based on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., also known as the “intern case”. The plaintiffs were college graduates working as interns for Fox Searchlight. Several worked well over 40 hours per week, and all of them performed tasks typically associated with entry-level paid positions. They argued that they were “employees” under the Fair Labor and Standards Act (the “FLSA”), and must be compensated for the work they performed.

The FLSA itself was of little assistance in the case, as it defines employees as, “individual[s] employed by an employer”, and “employ” as “to suffer or permit to work.”  29 U.S.C. § 203. Rather, the plaintiffs relied on the Department of Labor’s six-factor test to determine whether a worker is an intern or employee. Applying the DOL’s six-factor test, the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, finding that they had been improperly classified as unpaid interns rather than employees. Fox Searchlight appealed, and the Second Circuit granted its petition for leave to file an interlocutory appeal from the district court’s order.

Read the entire article here.

Staying Sane, Before and After Graduation

Law Schools Special Report: Staying Sane, Before and After Graduation by the National Law Journal 

This week, we present a “how-to” for students and for lawyers starting their careers. Amid a tight job market and the high cost of legal education, entering the profession is not a decision to make lightly. But success, as you’ll read, is not just getting good grades and nailing the interview. It’s about finding balance, enjoying the learning process and setting in motion a career that will cultivate a sense of purpose and professional fulfillment. It really is possible.

How to Clinch That ‘A’ and Not Lose Your Mind

Avoid procrastination, staying organized, and balancing courses are keys to success.

Before Going to Law School, Live Your Life

Gaining experience prior to pursuing a Juris Doctor degree made a KPMG executive a better student.

‘Soft Skills’ Are What Make Good Lawyers Great

The vast majority of job candidates know the law. Those who shine know themselves even better.

Stressing Out in Law School Is A Matter of Choice

You can decide whether to merely survive the experience or thrive by refusing to “compare and despair”.

Click here to read the entire article.

The Importance of Getting a Mentor

Navigating the Mentor-Mentee Relationship by Director for Career Planning at Marquette University Law School, Erin Binns 

Depending on the relationship and the moment, they may serve as your cheerleader, coach, reality check, therapist, and/or teacher – and who doesn’t need one or all of those from time to time?

I find four compelling reasons, among many others, that make it particularly important for you to establish mentor-mentee relationships:

The legal market. Getting and keeping legal positions is a competitive business. You need direction, connections and endorsements throughout your job search and career. Having go-to people who know your strengths and potential and who are invested in your well-being and successes gives you an advantage. This is particularly true when you consider the number of graduates each year citing “referrals” as their job source.

The other stuff lawyers do. You’ll leave law school equipped to tackle nearly any set of facts a client delivers, but practicing involves a lot more than finding answers to legal matters. Client development and marketing, supervising staff, managing your calendar, traversing office politics, and handling client payments are examples among myriad other tasks and responsibilities that may befall you early in your career. Mentors can model for you and guide you through the how-tos of managing and running your practice.

Lack of perspective. All of us lack perspective as we approach new experiences. This is definitely true as a law student and young lawyer. It’s easy to misinterpret an assignment or misjudge a professor’s or partner’s expectations. You need someone to talk you off the proverbial ledge the first ten times you convince yourself you committed malpractice or made a career-ending mistake. Having a trusted adviser providing context to your missteps and successes can alleviate or keep in check anxiety and stress. A mentor who is willing to be an honest assessor of your work and professional development is a gift.

Read the entire article here.

Meet the newest justices of the Supreme Court of California

In 2014, for the second time in Gov. Jerry Brown’s historic four-term career, he was presented with the chance to reshape the California Supreme Court.

The first “Jerry Brown Court” became better known as the Bird Court and ended with the disastrous retention election of 1986, in which voters removed three of Brown’s appointees, including Chief Justice Rose Bird.

But decades after that debacle, opportunity knocked again for Brown with the retirements of Justices Marvin Baxter and Joyce Kennard – the two longest-serving appointees of Gov. George Deukmejian. Together with his previous appointment of Justice Goodwin Liu in 2011, Brown appointees are again the largest segment of the seven-member court. Meanwhile, California has seen the mellowing of the remaining appointees of Gov. Pete Wilson (Justices Kathryn Werdegar and Ming Chin) and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Justice Carol Corrigan and Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye).

Read the entire article here.

Need help using the Bluebook? Come to the library for the Bluebook trainings!

The training provides an overview of The Bluebook and and citation rules. Specifically:

  • Introduction/structure of the Bluebook;
  • Tabbing the Bluebook;
  • Elements of basic citation form, rules, and exercises;
  • Use of introductory signals and short form;
  • Citations of other sources and the internet; and
  • Reinforce lesson learned through multiple practice exercises.

For the training to be effective, any student participating must bring his or her copy of the Bluebook (19th ed. or 20th ed.) and different colored tabs or something similar. Here’s the link where you can view an example.

Please sign up through the “Bluebook Training” TWEN page.


New Law Students: Make Friends With A Librarian

New Law Students: Make Friends With A Librarian by Reference Librarian and Lecturer in Law at DePaul University Law Library, Mark Giangrande 

U.S. News & World Report has a short post out for new law students who will start their law school career in the next few weeks. It offers four points for navigating law school:

  1. Come prepared
  2. Focus on finals
  3. Make friends
  4. Remove distractions

I’d like to focus for a moment on the third one. The author suggests making connections within the law school and the wider university through activities and other diversions as a break from the law school routine. That’s great advice as law school can be a highly competitive grind. I’d like to make one other suggestion that may help the new student: get to know a librarian. Why? Because we know stuff that students do not.

Read the entire article here.