As the end of the semester approaches and you begin prepping for exams, don’t forget to also take time for the occasional study break! If you can’t decide what to do or you aren’t familiar with the area, we have a helpful guide that includes free activities around Boston, suggestions for fun movies and books, and even tips on health and wellness on campus. Whether you want to go for a bike ride or start meditating, we’ve got you covered! And, check back often because we’ll be adding new ideas all the time.
In honor of Halloween, many lawyers, librarians and bloggers have been considering the legal implications of Halloween-related topics. Here are some of our favorites:
- The Devil and Homer Simpson: This post from the creators of Law and the Multiverse considers the legal implications of Homer Simpson selling his soul to the Devil after first giving it to Marge.
- Jack Skellington and False Impersonation: The Legal Geeks take a look at Nightmare Before Christmas and wonder what defense Jack Skellington could possibly assert for impersonating Santa.
- Ghostbuster & False Imprisonment: Also on The Legal Geeks, check out an analysis of whether the Ghostbusters could be charged with false imprisonment for rounding up ghosts.
For those interested in the actual laws surrounding Halloween and the Paranormal, check out these sources:
- Massachusetts Law About the Paranormal: This guide from the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries will tell you all you need to know about Massachusetts laws related to the Paranormal. Also see their guides on laws pertaining to Dead Bodies and Fortune Telling.
- Case Law from the Crypt: This article from the New York State Bar Association Journal provides an overview of laws and cases related to haunted houses, Halloween costumes and even chainsaw maniacs.
- Revealing the Presence of Ghosts: This post from the Law Library of Congress considers the laws of England to determine whether sellers are required to disclose the presence of ghosts. The post also includes links to past posts on Halloween laws and punishments for witches (and rebellious kids).
- The Salem Witch Trials: A Legal Bibliography for Halloween: For a more sobering look at witchcraft and the law, consider this legal bibliography, prepared by a librarian at the D’Angelo Law Library at the University of Chicago Law School. It includes historical and modern legal sources relating to witchcraft, and specifically the Salem Witch Trials.
Hopefully these sources will give you a fun insight into how law and Halloween intersect. Feel free to post any examples we may have missed in the comments!
Qualtrics, introduced to campus by our own HLS faculty, is a user-friendly survey tool that allows for a wide variety of question and answer types. Qualtrics provides
- Professionally designed templates
- A wide range of question types
- Skip/branch logic
- Distribution to select panels of e-mail recipients or via anonymous links
- Custom reports updated as new responses are received
- Response data in several formats, including CSV, HTML, XML, and SPSS
Log in to begin your survey or poll at http://surveytools.harvard.edu
For questions, contact the Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Solutions group firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the Qualtrics 24/7 support directly at email@example.com or call 800-340-9194 (9am–8pm EST).
There’s an art to being a good lawyer, but did you know that lawyering could also be art?
In the late 1980s, choreographer Ann Carlson worked with four young lawyers from New York to create the dance Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore.
According to a 1989 New York Times review,
The nine-minute dance places the four men in a small confining square where they bend, tilt and perform typical lawyers’ gestures and other autobiographical gestures, spoken phrases and even screams suggested by the events and emotions in their own lives and in the life of Ms. Carlson. -Read More
Twenty years later, Carlson collaborated with artist Mary Ellen Strom to turn the dance into a video art work.
In a video produced by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mary Ellen Strom describes Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore as both a “very serious and deep investigation into these four men and our realtionship to the juridical system” and “hilarious”. – Watch the full video of Mary Ellen Strom.
Take a break from your studies and see Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore and other seriously hilarious, hilariously serious, and otherwise inspiring art in the new Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art at the MFA ( free with your Harvard ID).
Starting earlier this week, court proceedings from Quincy District Court have been streaming live over the internet thanks to OpenCourt, a new pilot program being run by WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station with funding from the Knight News Challenge. The goal of the project is to increase openness and transparency of courts and to serve as a model for other courts that are hoping to modernize. While not all proceedings will be broadcast (among others, juvenile sessions and restraining order hearings won’t be broadcast), this will provide a window into a number of different kinds of court proceedings. And, even if you aren’t interested in watching the court proceedings, the OpenCourt Guidelines and FAQ provide some very interesting background on the types of issues they encountered starting this project and the difficult decisions they had to make along the way.
In addition to the streaming video of court proceedings, the OpenCourt website also includes a blog and a resources page. You can also sign up for their email newsletter or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.
When you are doing serious legislative history on Massachusetts law, or need an obscure Massachusetts government document, there is one place to go: the State Library of Massachusetts. Since 1826, the State Library has collected a wide variety of legal and historical documents, and holds the most world’s comprehensive collection of Massachusetts government documents. Yes, even better than Harvard’s! The library is an invaluable resource not just to lawyers, but to historians, scholars, and citizens as well.
This is why it was worrying to read that Governor Patrick last week included the possibility of closing the State Library in his attempt to close the state’s budget gap.
If you agree that closing the State Library is a bad idea, please sign the petition to support keeping it open. For even more impact, take a few minutes to contact Governor Patrick directly to remind him what an important resource the library is.
|Today marks the 378th anniversary of the site selection for the city of Cambridge. At the time, it was named Newtowne, and would be the colony capital for a total of six years. In 1638, the General Court moved permanently to Boston, but, according to state history website Mass Moments, the General Court gave Newtowne a “consolation prize”: the colony’s first college. Not bad, as far as consolation prizes go! Newtowne was renamed for the alma mater of many of its English clergymen in May of 1638.|
Here’s a contemporary description of Cambridge written by William Wood in a 1634 report to inform English puritans at home about New England:
This is one of the neatest and best compacted towns in New England, having many fair structures, with many handsome contrived streets. The inhabitants, most of them, are very rich and well stored with cattle of all sorts, having many hundred acres of ground paled in with one general fence which is about a mile and a half long, which secures all their weaker cattle from the wild beasts.
A few things have changed since then. I haven’t seen any cattle–though being fairly new to the area, it’s possible they’re hiding somewhere–and the only creatures I’d qualify as wild beasts are the fat squirrels in Holmes Field!
For more local history, check out Mass Moments, a project of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. Courtesy of Google Books, you can also read William Wood’s complete account of the area, New England’s Prospect, described as “a true, lively, and experimental description of that part of American, commonly called New England; discovering the state of that Countrie, both as it stands to our new-come English Planters; and to the old Native Inhabitants. Laying downe that which may both enrich the knowledge of the mind-travelling Reader, or benefit the future Voyager.”
Here’s something yummy. If you’re stuck in town over the holidays and bored, you could do worse than attempt to verify the claims in the Boston Globe’s round-up of the ten best places for hot chocolate in the area. Four of them are conveniently located within a half mile of the law school.
Photo by ciao-chow.