"In theory there is no difference between theory and
practice. In practice there is,” or so the Yogi Berra-quote goes.
Legal educators have spent a lot of time recently thinking
about that wisdom, and specifically, the best way to produce practice ready
lawyers by connecting classroom theory to real world experiences. Among the
tools that law schools (including UNC) have employed are clinics and other
classroom experiences that simulate practice environments, both of which I
think are critical to better preparing students to start work after graduation.
I’ve seen firsthand how effective practical experiences can
be for in connecting what students learn in the classroom to the real world. For
several years I had the privilege of working with UC Berkeley’s Samuelson
Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic, where I got to see students produce
engage in some amazing, complicated representation. Law libraries have much
that they could do to support practical legal education efforts, especially
clinics. Former UNC Law Library Graduate Assistant and current University of
Michigan Law Faculty Services Librarian Virginia
Neisler explains how in her excellent (award-wining,
in fact) masters
paper on how law libraries can better serve clinics.
So I’m excited when we, as a library, support these efforts.
One way we provide support is by acquiring resources that are tailored to our
school’s practical experiences. Just this past week, for example, we purchased
access to a new looseleaf-like tool by CCH called Trademark
Navigator, in support of our new Intellectual Property Clinic, taught by trademark attorney
Devon White. Trademark Navigator,
similar to other CCH looseleaf-like products available through CCH
Intelliconnect, combines in one place all relevant primary law, expert
analysis and explanation, and practical tools such as checklists, client forms
and letters, and other tools that help streamline trademark representation.
Tools like Trademark Navigator are helpful because
they are tailored to specific areas of practice and provide thorough
explanation of commonly encountered issues. Trademark Navigator, for example,
includes visual segments on its front page for all the categories
of information it has available, which includes a section for high-level
Trademark Process Overview (including guidance on classification of goods and
services), a section devoted to interactions with the U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office (USPTO), another for common activities related to opposition and
cancellation actions, and another for other Trademark Trial and Appeal Board
(TTAB) actions. It also includes centralized search of precedential TTAB cases
and Federal Circuit cases, a segment for commonly-used checklists and forms
(including official USPTO forms), and a segment with links just to commonly
used primary law, such as the relevant sections of the Code of Federal
Regulations and the Lanham Act.
For students who are tasked for the first time with
preparing an application, having a one-stop source for the relevant law, forms,
and guidance on how to interact with the USPTO is an incredible time saver. Though
not true of all practitioner-oriented tools, the Trademark Navigator interface is intuitive too--all content is linked from the front page, and once accessed can be
read and browsed through the main CCH Intelliconnect system.
It’s easy to gravitate toward Google, Westlaw, and
Lexis as the go-to starting points for any given legal research project. But specialized, subject-specific “combo” research tools like Trademark Navigator
can be a much more efficient place to start research. That is especially true for
students who don’t have the practical experience to know where to start (or
stop) in their research and writing. Though the interface is different than
what students may be used to, especially on CCH Intelliconnect, which forces
users to rely heavily on its electronic, cascading table of contents, tools
like these are worth teaching to help students become better, more
efficient researchers. Check it out,
along with the many others available through Intelliconnect. For North
Carolina-specific sources (including in print and digital), the law library
maintains a guide
to our practitioner-oriented sources.
Posted by David R. Hansen (Dave) on Fri. July 10, 2015 12:50 PM