Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Lawyer’s Almanac 2014

Every once in a while when I’m looking for a topic to blog about I just turn around to my Ready Reference shelves and pick a resource to highlight. In this way I either make a new friend or become reacquainted with an old one. Today I am sharing my discovery of The Lawyer’s Almanac with you.

On the whole, this is a useful resource. It is divided into sections covering the legal profession, the judiciary, government departments and agencies, and the small last section covering commonly used abbreviations.

As an example of potential usefulness, I have been asked about continuing legal education requirements in other jurisdictions, and just discovered that those requirements are listed for every jurisdiction in Section D of the Almanac. That’s useful. The section on the legal profession also reproduces national statistics for bar examination results, including a chart showing bar passage rates by state, for first time takers, over a 10-year period. While it is true that this information is reprinted with permission from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”), and the information on the NCBE website will at certain times of the year be more up-to-date than what’s available in the book, there is something convenient about being able to flip between pages. 

In the judiciary section, I found a complete listing of the judges in a particular circuit, along with contact information. Now, one can probably find that on the circuit’s website, but when I just tried to do it for the Second Circuit, I actually couldn’t come up with a simple list. There’s also a list of salaries for state judges, a list of state supreme court chief justices, and federal litigation statistics. Now, again, these statistics suffer from the same issue expressed above vis-à-vis bar passage rates – at some point in the year the statistics will be more up to date on the website (Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Statistical Tables for the Federal Judiciary), but they are all the same useful to examine in print.

Part III on Government Departments and Agencies has the expected contact information on each agency, with a useful break down between executive and independent agencies but if you want anything more than that, you will still want to use The Federal Regulatory Directory, discussed in an earlier post. The Part IV list of abbreviations appears to be limited to federal agencies, but there is a useful section on abbreviations of state and federal courts using the ALWD style, which I believe mimics The Blue Book in this respect.  

So, as I say, on the whole a useful resource with a few reservations caused by sometimes less than current statistical information.

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