Someone Keeps Photocopying Their Cat at the UW Library

Ok – this has nothing to do with law, but it was too good not to share.  Headline from TIME:  Someone Keeps Photocopying Their Cat at the University of Wisconsin Library.

From the post:

A staffer at the university’s Badger Herald newspaper stumbled upon the following photo while studying at the Steenbock Library Tuesday:


I had not heard about this until I saw the post in TIME.  How funny.  We’ll see if the cat-culprit makes his or her way to the Law Library.

Another Female Wisconsin Legal Pioneer Featured this Women’s History Month

The history of Wisconsin first female lawyers is represented well this Women’s History Month.

This weekend, the Bartell Theatre in Madison is featuring a play about Lavinia Goodell, the first female lawyer in Wisconsin.  I posted about that a few weeks ago.

Today, I call your attention to an article about another of Wisconsin’s female legal pioneers, Kate Kane.  Kane was a fierce advocate for the rights of women and the poor and wasn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers to be heard.  Like Goodell, she faced severe discrimination in her legal practice.


In fact, she became so frustrated with her treatment in the courtroom that in 1883 she threw a glass of water right in the face of a Milwaukee judge.  “Judge Mallory has been trying to drive me out of this court; he has continually insulted and misused me, but I bore it.  Today, I wanted to insult Judge Mallory just where he had insulted me – in open court.”

And insult him she did.  The judge was furious and Kane was hauled off to jail for contempt of court.  “I shall stay here for ten years before I pay that fine,” Kane declared defiantly.  The story made national news and Kane was driven out of practice and forced to relocate to Chicago.

The article is entitled “Citizen Kane: The Everyday Ordeals and Self-Fashioned Citizenship of Wisconsin’s ‘Lady Lawyer'” and is available in the February 2015 issue of the Law and History Review.

Old Law School Building featured among other UW Madison campus buildings in On Wisconsin

The spring 2015 edition of On Wisconsin, the UW Madison alumni magazine, has a fascinating look at some of the original buildings on campus.  The old Law School building, constructed in 1891, is one of the featured buildings.


Ever wonder why the gargoyle is the UW Law School’s mascot?  It all has to do with those two gargoyles that sit atop the old building.

From the Law School Legends and Lore website:

Until that building was torn down in 1962, these two sentinels watched the comings and goings of students, faculty and staff. When the wrecking ball hit the building, no one thought of saving them until then-Dean George Young, walking up Bascom Hill, noticed that one had survived its fall and lay intact on the grass. Dean Young immediately decided that it should be preserved. When the new building opened, Dean Young had it installed outside the main entrance.  Over the next thirty years, the Gargoyle once again watched over the School….

In the years since Dean Young rescued the original, the Gargoyle has become the symbol of the School: it lends its name to our alumni magazine, it graces the cover of the Wisconsin Law Review, and its image has been applied to ties, coffee cups, tee shirts and even wrist watches. While few would call it handsome, its strength, longevity and good fortune are appropriate to lend to one of the oldest and finest law schools in the country.

GPO turns 154 today and celebrates with a new name and logo


From the FDLP News:

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) marks its 154th anniversary of opening for business today. Since March 4, 1861, GPO has seen many changes as the agency continually adapted to changing technologies. In the ink-on-paper era, this meant moving from hand-set to machine typesetting, from slower to high-speed presses, and from hand to automated bookbinding. While these changes were significant for their time, they pale by comparison with the transformation that accompanied GPO’s adoption of electronic information technologies, which began over 50 years ago with a plan to develop a new system of computer-based typesetting. By the early 1980s this system had completely supplanted machine-based hot metal typesetting. By the early 1990s, the databases generated by GPO’s typesetting system were uploaded to the Internet via the agency’s first Web site, GPO Access, vastly expanding the agency’s information dissemination capabilities. Those functions continue today with GPO’s Federal Digital System on a more complex and comprehensive scale, which last year registered its one billionth document download.

As a result of these sweeping technology changes, GPO is now fundamentally different from what it was as recently as a generation ago. It is smaller, leaner, and equipped with digital production capabilities that are the bedrock of the information systems relied upon daily by Congress, Federal agencies, and the public to ensure open and transparent Government in the digital era. As GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks has pointed out, GPO is not just for printing anymore. Late last year, Congress and the President recognized GPO’s technology transformation by changing the agency’s name to the Government Publishing Office.

GPO’s new name provides an opportunity to introduce a new, modern logo representative of the 21st century. Based on the Lubalin Graph typeface, the G forms an arrow pointing forward, showing the direction the agency is moving. The arrow points to the P, which stands for publishing and conveys the significance of the communication services GPO provides today. The new logo will be phased in throughout the agency.

See the new logo here.

“GPO is on the move as a publishing operation. With publishing as our new middle name, GPO is offering a broad range of products and services to Federal agencies, ranging from conventional print to digital apps, eBooks, and bulk data downloads,” said GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks. “In our mission to Keep America Informed, we will continue to adapt to the new technologies that the Government and the public have come to expect from us.”

Lavinia, Play about First Female Lawyer in Wisconsin, Debuts this Month

This  month, the Bartell Theatre is featuring a  new play about the first female lawyer in Wisconsin.  “Lavinia” debuts March 19-21 in Madison before moving on to Janesville, Wausau, and Superior.

From the State Bar of Wisconsin announcement:

In 1879, Lavinia Goodell made history by becoming the first female lawyer admitted to the bar in Wisconsin. To celebrate her accomplishments and the impact on the legal profession and gender equality movement, four cities will host the production or reading of Lavinia, written by Madison playwright Betty Diamond.

The play explores the challenges Goodell faced including a Wisconsin Supreme Court convinced that women belonged in their traditional roles. It also honors the support she received from the Rock County bar, which had admitted her in 1874, and John Cassoday who introduced the legislation that prohibited gender-based discrimination in bar admissions.

Madison performances include a talk-back after the show with UW Law School Professor Linda Greene.

Update 3/4/15:  Today’s Inside Track has good article about the play with more background on Goodell’s struggle for admittance to the bar as well as some comments from Chief Justice Abrahamson.

Article: Why digital natives prefer reading in print

There is a very interesting article in the Washington Post on Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right.

According to the article:

Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally.

What’s behind this preference?  According to the author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, readers tend to skim on screens so distraction is inevitable and comprehension suffers.

I thought this article was quite interesting and very much concur with the findings.  As a law student, I much preferred print texts to electronic texts.  It encourages the reader to slow down and think more critically and makes it easy to add notes and highlights for later review.

When I’m doing research, I tend to prefer the electronic for quickly locating small bits of information.  However, if I find a book or journal that I want to read more critically or in its entirety, I’d rather have it in print.

I wasn’t sure if my preference was due to my own experience as a print native or if it was something more universal.  I’m glad to know that it was the latter.

I’m also pleased that these findings support our collection policy at the UW Law Library.  While we’ve moved electronically with many reference titles and other materials in which one may one want quick access to a section or two, we still purchase a lot of monographs in print.  Journals remain somewhat of a hybrid – many of our subscriptions are electronic, but patrons can easily print out articles if they prefer.

The ABA launches the collateral consequences of criminal conviction database

A great new addition the world of legal research is the recently launched Collateral Consequences database from the ABA. With it, legal researchers can search across all 50 states and federal jurisdictions to discover and analyze how collateral consequences impact individuals with criminal convictions. These consequences can be hard to nail down and were certainly not available all in one place, so this database is welcome to fill that gap.


Check out the free database at: and read more about the development of the database here.

Track Federal Legislation with

Recently, launched several email alert services that allow you to track federal legislative information.

First, the legislation alert allows you to track action on a particular bill.  When viewing a bill in, click on the “Get alerts” link under the title to set up your alert.

Next, you can get an alert when a specific Member of Congress (from the current Congress) has either sponsored or cosponsored legislation.  To set up this alert, go to the member’s page and select “Get alerts” from the menu at the far right.


Finally, you can also receive an alert when a new issue of the Congressional Record is available on  To set this up, click on “Get alerts” at the far right on the CR page.


For more information on setting up these alerts, see In Custodia Legis from the Law Librarians of Congress.

ACI Scholarly Blog Index

Scholarly blogs can be a very good source for legal and other research but identifying them from among the multitude of web content can be difficult.  A new search engine called the ACI Scholarly Blog Index now makes that task a little easier.

The site indexes scholarly and authoritative blogs from experts in all fields of science, social sciences, and the humanities, including law.   WisBlawg is among those indexed.  From the FAQ:

All blogs are individually curated by researchers with expertise in that blog’s topic or field of study.  Care is taken in determining subject coverage, Library of Congress Classifications for accuracy, and enforcing editorial and product policies and guidelines to ensure high standards in data quality and blog content.

Some advanced search and filtering tools are available to help you refine your search also as explained in the FAQ.

While keyword searches to explore blog content are probably the most common type of search, web researchers can also find blogs using the blog title, blog author, and other variables. Search results can then be further refined with the facets located on the left; for example, to filter results by Library of Congress Classification, publication, author degree, and many others.

For more on the advanced search features, check out this tutorial.