Marginal Use or Immediate Need?

Rules of Thumb are very handy ways to quantify, without measuring. They are useful for general purposes and for discussion or example. In libraries the Rule of Thumb is that 90% of the questions can be answered with 10% of the collection. This applies to specialized collections as well as general collections. In a law library, there are core materials which answer most questions. Core materials are different for each legal practice area. In county court, the local laws and cases usually suffice. The 10% of questions which can not be answered by the core collection are the marginal uses.

Since required for only 10% of questions, 90% of the collection seems expensive. Every attorney, judge or politician has immediately at hand the materials that they require daily. They have nearby those required weekly. But even the most narrow specialist has questions which are not covered by most used materials. Then they need something from the 90%.

The Cincinnati Law Library Association meets marginal uses daily. Attorneys confronting questions just on the edge of their area of expertise need materials not in their office collections. Firm librarians who have selected their collections conservatively need materials from another jurisdiction or era. Judges, who think that they have seen it all, see a new issue or problem. All these questions come to the CLLA.

At the Cincinnati Law Library Association we obtain, organize and retain materials for the time when someone’s core collection is insufficient. Consequently, member law firms can make the decision to purchase narrowly, knowing they can use CLLA. The Judges’ office collections can be focused, because they use CLLA. County and State offices keep only the few books or CDs specific to their mission.

For example, as a result of Ohio Senate Bill 2

the crimes committed before July 2, 1996 are handled differently than those committed later. The books concerning older matters will be required until all the crimes committed before July 2, 1996 have been finally adjudicated. A verdict which is overturned on appeal can return a case to the trial judge many years later. When a key piece of evidence breaks an old murder or a high profile case has to be retried, where will the information applying to crimes committed before July 2, 1996 be found? The Cincinnati Law Library Association will be the first place to look, and it will be there.

How does one value access to that 90% which is only needed 10% of the time? Is the value set when a marginal question arises or when all the questions have been normal? On an ordinary day the 10% seems quite sufficient and there is no reason to fund the other 90%. But, which piece of that 90% will you need tomorrow or next week?

Totidem Verbis?

Reason to rule, mercy to forgive: The first is law, the last prerogative. John Dryden The Hind and the Panther [1687], Part I, line 261

$ $ It’s that time again $ $

To help you file tax returns, the Library has BNA’S Federal Tax Management series. The series contains samples of all IRS forms and most publications. In addition, the Tax Management Portfolios provide examples of completed IRS forms.

HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Closed on Legal Holidays

TELEPHONE: (513) 632-8371

FAX: (513) 632-6899

Had you noticed...?

In order to inform you of the Cincinnati Law Library’s holdings, this column will feature brief reviews of new, important, or under-utilized material. We hope this will help you to take full advantage of the Library.

Professional Responsibility of the Criminal Lawyer. 2d ed. John Wesley Hall, Jr. Deerfield, IL: Clark Boardman Callaghan, 1996. Text Room KF306 .H25 1996.

In the rapidly changing area of ethical considerations for criminal practitioners, this research tool addresses contemporary issues and offers practical advice. The author discusses such "hot" topics as client perjury, the effect of US Sentencing Guidelines, contacting represented parties, and the differences between the various codes of professional conduct. In one interesting chapter the author discusses how filing a mandatory currency transaction report with the IRS may violate the principles of attorney confidentiality and attorney-client privilege.

Each chapter in this well-written book contains brief Practice Pointers, Comments, and Observations. There is a Table of Authorities and a Table of Cases. In addition, the book is updated with Cumulative Supplements. This valuable resource describes many situations where a lawyer’s ethics may conflict with the constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel.

Modern Litigation and Professional Responsibility Handbook. William H. Fortune, Richard H. Underwood, and Edward J. Imwinkelried. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1996. Text Room KF306 .F67 1996.

The subtitle of this handbook is "The Limits of Zealous Advocacy." In their Preface, the authors explain that since most jurisdictions codify the rules of professional responsibility, the purpose of the book is to "dissect the statutory language to highlight ambiguities and pitfalls." They begin with proceedings before trial and continue through the trial itself. The final section covers negotiation and settlement, withdrawal, and appeal. Each chapter ends with a comprehensive Preventive Ethics Checklist. There is an extensive Bibliography directing the reader to additional articles and books.

This is a timely, practical handbook for today’s litigators. The authors even include a chapter on the ethics of "trying one’s case in the media."

Practical Issues of Professional Responsibility in the Practice of Law. Rev. ed. Charles P. Kindregan, Jr. Boston: Legal-Medical Studies, Inc. 1995. Copy Room KF306 .P881.

The author of this loose-leaf begins each chapter with an analysis of applicable provisions of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the Model Code of Professional Responsibility. He proceeds to cite and discuss reported cases covering such issues as admission to practice, lawyer advertising, specialization, fees for legal services, and ending the attorney-client relationship. The chapters are well-organized and give the reader an effective overview of how Courts are interpreting ethical standards throughout the country. The loose-leaf is updated with supplements incorporating recent decisions.

This publication allows Ohio lawyers to track national trends in the judicial interpretation of ethical norms.

Major legal publishers are continuing to change hands.

For example:

Reed Elsevier has acquired:

Shepard’s Citators



Matthew Bender



CCH Tax Titles


West/Thomson has acquired:

Shepard’s topical publications



Clark Boardman Callaghan


Bancroft-Whitney (Calif.)

Barclay’s (Calif.)