Trellis for State Trial Court Records

Our library recently started a trial of Trellis. Trellis is a newer resource that provides researchers access to state trial court data and records. Because of the content, we thought our clinic professors might be interested.

In addition to state trial court data and records, Trellis offers search features such as Judge Analytics, Verdicts, and Motions & Issues. Trellis is also adding state statutes, administrative codes, constitutions, and court rules.

If a student in a legal clinic needed to look up a sample complaint or motion, a Trellis search can locate a similar case with a searchable docket containing pleadings that have been filed. Similarly, the same student looking to apply for a clerkship with a specific judge can utilize Judge Analytics to see what types of cases the judge typically has on their dockets, how often a case goes to trial, and what kinds of motions the judge is ruling on. 

Trellis is still building the database and does not have every state available and does not have every feature available for every state that is currently in the database. For the states that are included, searchers can filter cases by judge, county, practice area, dates, and more. You’ll find the dockets and some of the docket documents. You can track the case and receive email alerts when there are changes.

Because the cases are entered into the state filing systems by the clerks, Trellis is dependent on how those cases have been entered and classified in the state systems.

States included so far are AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, MA, NV, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TX, WA.

Want to Choose Your Content? LexisNexis Digital Library Is a Solution

Our library subscribes to LexisNexis Digital Library which uses the OverDrive platform for content.

The best thing about this product is that it allows us to select individual titles that we think our students, faculty, alumni, or guests will actually use! We don’t have to buy a huge, expensive package full of titles that we do not want or that will not be used just to get the titles that we do want.

Because we have a health law focus, we’ve chosen a handful of American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) titles for our faculty who do research in health compliance areas. For our students, we have selected Carolina Academic Press textbook and study aid titles that we formerly purchased in print for our Course Reserve collection. For our alums and guest attorneys, we have added LexisNexis New Jersey practice content. And, for all our users who are interested in social justice and other interdisciplinary and non-legal content, we have purchased various monograph titles from the OverDrive Advantage marketplace. 

Like every program, there are pros and opportunities for improvement.

For our library, here are some pros:

  • We can select textbook and study aid titles of strong interest to our students.
  • We can access the Advantage program which allows us to purchase non-legal and interdisciplinary content that OverDrive sells.
  • We can purchase audiobooks from OverDrive, and this allows us to offer a solution to auditory learners and those who take advantage of learning while commuting or exercising.
  • OverDrive offers various lending models: one user, simultaneous user, metered access, etc.
  • Borrowing the ebooks and audiobooks is easy.
  • Highlighting, bookmarking, and annotating books is easy and intuitive.
  • Running usage reports is easy.
  • We can switch content if usage is low.
  • OverDrive and LexisNexis reps are quick to respond and answer questions.
  • There is now a link to the platform via the product switcher in Lexis+ which will allow faculty and students to quickly access content in LexisNexis Digital Library.
  • Most titles are available in OverDrive knowledge base collections for discovery in library catalogs (although, LexisNexis provides a custom title ID to replace the OverDrive title ID).

I’ve identified some potential opportunities…

  • The program is a little different from other programs because while you can select the titles you want in the plan, you also pay for each title individually regardless of bibliographic format. For the serial and integrating resource content, it seems normal to pay each year since the content is updated; it’s a normal renewal. For monographs that do not get updated, you must also renew each year, but you don’t get an extra copy like you would if you paid for a print monograph or ebook (from ebook vendors such as Ebsco or ProQuest) a second time.

But, going back to a pro listed above, you can switch out content if a title is not being used. So, if our users are not using Understanding and Mastering the Bluebook, we can switch it out for a title that we think might be used more. Monitoring use of individual titles is insightful and challenges the traditional thinking that a certain title is “used all the time.” Monitoring usage allows for more selective collection development. For us, at this time, it is still worth it to renew monograph titles each year given the convenience of access.

  • The content is not in pdf. However, the Bluebook (Rules 15.9, 16.8, etc.) provides guidance for citing ebooks and content that is not in pdf.
  • While borrowing ebooks is very easy, returning borrowed ebooks is less intuitive. We’ve drafted user instructions to assist.

In looking at the list of pros and potential opportunities, it is clear to see that there are more pros. During this pandemic, access to digital content is most important to our users so we’re happy that LexisNexis allows us to include individual textbook, study aid, and OverDrive Advantage titles in the package.

Review-it: Yelp for Law Libraries

Have you heard of Review-it? Review-it won the 2021 AALL Innovation Showcase in three categories: government, law firm, and law school.

Lindsey Carpino, Legal Content Services Supervisor at BakerHostetler, and Annie Mentkowski, Agency Librarian with the United States Railroad Retirement Board Library, submitted the idea.

As a person who works in collections, I think this product looks fantastic! It is a crowd-sourced review tool that is similar to Yelp. It allows customers to provide anonymous feedback, both positive and negative.

There is an analytics dashboard that allows users to filter by vendor, constituency size (firm size/law school size), legal area (transactional, litigation, or general), or content type (case law, ebook, news/alert services). Users can rate based on satisfaction, customer service, ease of use, and cost.

At some point, the creators foresee having a subscription service add-on where subscribers would also receive quarterly or year-end reports and access to more data. They would also like to add more search and filter features and are hoping to hire a web developer soon to take the website to the next level.

The product is still being beta-tested but Lindsey and Annie plan to officially launch in the spring. Watch for an email!

To learn more, check out the LawSites blog post by Bob Ambrogi.

AILALink Immigration Resources

For the 75th anniversary of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), it’s a good time to check out AILALink. AILALink has been around for several years and is a go-to database for immigration resources. Readers can access key primary and secondary resources such as Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook; AILA’s Immigration Law Practice and Procedure Manual; the USCIS Policy Manual; Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM); court and agency decisions such as BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) and selected cases from BALCA (Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals), United States Supreme Court and Court of Appeals cases, and AAO (USCIS Administrative Appeals Office) adopted decisions. Content also includes conference handbooks, government manuals, “toolboxes” such as AILA’s Immigration Litigation Toolbox, AILA’s Immigration Practice and Professionalism Toolbox, AILA’s U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Law Toolbox; and many other AILA publications. Click here to see a list of all content included in AILALink.

AILA editors have added notes to selected statutes and regulations, including the Immigration & Nationality Act. This year, AILA editors also started highlighting Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provisions that were altered by a rule which may be subject to a court order prohibiting its implementation.

Users can search using a variety of methods: citation, keywords, and Boolean. Fastcase Premium is included and contains curated immigration content which allows users to update case law.

Libraries can subscribe to selected numbers of users (e.g., 1-3, 4-8, etc.). Unlike individual subscribers, libraries will not have access to features such as bookmarks, folders, notes, and saved searches.

AILA provides a title list for the library catalog and quarterly newsletters highlighting new books that have been added to AILALink. They can also provide usage data indicating dates of use and number of sessions.

And, for libraries looking to add immigration monographs and literature to collections, AILA has provided title lists!