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Bar Journal - Winter 2008

Introduction

This issue of the Bar Journal features a smorgasbord of items that we usually don’t have room to publish in an issue with a dominant theme.

First of all, recent improvements to the Casemaker Web Library dictate that the Bar Association make greater efforts to ensure that Bar members are aware of, and comfortable with, this key member benefit and legal resource. Welcome to Casemaker 2.0 - a series of enhancements of the online legal library. This version offers minor navigational improvements to streamline your experience in using Casemaker. For example, when a user logs in to the Casemaker site, he or she will be taken directly to the NH library page, instead of the overall library page, since the vast majority of users are conducting state-specific searches. At the same time, there has been a significant improvement in the search flexibility of Casemaker, and users will find it much easier to conduct searches involving multiple libraries. These enhancements are not immediately apparent – and so we have created a four-page illustrated guide, first published in this issue of the Bar Journal (but also available in color at www.nhbar.org) to highlight these improvements.

The accompanying article discusses these changes to Casemaker, and points to more improvements in the offing, as Casemaker has been acquired by Collexis Holdings, Inc., a company that has expertise in advanced forms of search technology and knowledge retrieval. (It is not connected in any way to Casemaker’s for-profit competitor, Lexis-Nexis.)

In an entirely different vein, readers of this issue are treated to an exploration of the intriguing Charles Doe library, a collection of hundreds of books that was the working library of the man who is not only revered as New Hampshire’s greatest judge, but a figure with a national reputation for innovation. As the explorations in this library show, ably narrated by attorney Jay Surdukowski, Justice Doe was a fascinating personality as well.

The other two features in this issue are in the realm of opinion. Attorney Jason Major explores a stunning inconsistency in New Hampshire jurisprudence – a decision that remains unreversed today – that bars enhanced damages in drunken driving cases.

Russell Engler, a professor of law at New England School of Law, at the invitation of the Bar Journal, has submitted an article that contends that in an era of greater self-representation by litigants, judges and court personnel must take a more active role in assisting litigants. Professor Engler’s article, a condensed version of a longer work that has not yet been published, has written and spoken on this issue for several years, and recently participated in a judicial education seminar for New Hampshire state judges. We urge you to read his article, as his ideas are not only provocative but potentially influential in shaping the policies of many of our judges in response to the pro se challenge.

The issue concludes, as always, with another illuminating tour of recent cases with seasoned Lex Loci author Charles DeGrandpre.

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