Today in Legal History: Committee of Secret Correspondence Formed

November 29, 1775

The Committee of Secret Correspondence was created by the Second Continental Congress to correspond with, and gather foreign intelligence from, allies including Britain, Scotland and France.  Benjamin Franklin was one of its original members.  The Committee ran spy operations abroad, cracked codes, funded propaganda, set up a courier system, and had its own naval capability.  Later, the Committee’s responsibilities fell to the Department of Foreign Affairs and then, to the State Department.

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Today in Legal History: Coffee Rationed

To aid the war effort, the United States rationed coffee on November 28, 1942.  After a long eight months, the ration ended on July 28, 1943.  While Americans generally had it much easier than residents of other Allied countries, rationing was challenging.  To obtain a rationed item, you had to have coupons and hope it was in stock.  Coffee was not rationed in Britain, but tea was.  Britons were allotted two ounces per week.

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Today in Legal History: Thanksgiving

In 1777, the Continental Congress passed the first official Thanksgiving Day proclamation.  In 1817, New York proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving, soon followed by many other states.  Abraham Lincoln set the day as the last Thursday in November.  FDR changed it to the fourth Thursday in November in 1939 (approved by Congress in 1941).

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Job Search Resources

The Law Library has a number of books that can help you identify possible careers, market yourself as a candidate, and keep your job once you get it. Check out the Researching Legal Careers Guide for more information.

students studying

Check it Out: Judgment at Nuremberg

Judgment at Nuremberg is a fictionalized account of the post World War II Nuremberg trials. In 1948 Judge Hayward and two other American judges are in Nuremberg to preside over the trial of the Ministry of Justice for their involvement in the holocaust. Judge Hayward has to make the most difficult decision of his life as he decides the responsibility of the German judges who followed orders and legalized Nazi crimes against humanity.

New and Notable: Buried Treasure

Cecil Kuhne, Buried Treasure: Finders, Keepers and the Law (ABA 2013)
New Books Collection KF713.T7K84 2013

“The traditional definition of a treasure trove followed the old rule of finders keepers for those lucky enough to discover it. The finder of this abandoned or lost property is often allowed to keep it. But in the case of mislaid or embedded property, possession usually goes to the owner of the premises where the treasure was found. The greatest difficulty, of course, is making the determination of whether the property was lost or whether it was merely mislaid.  Understandably, the legal battles over competing claims can be very intense.” (Summary from


The Green Gold Rush

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsThe legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado has made the west attractive to entrepreneurs seeking their fortune in a new and potentially lucrative industry. See the Yakima Herald Republic article “Washington Prospectors Seek Fortune in Legal Pot” to see some of the faces of this new gold rush.

Today in Legal History: Reagan and Gorbachev Meet

On November 19, 1985, President Ronald Reagan met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for the first time in Geneva, Switzerland.  Reagan was no friend of the Soviet Union, referring to it as the “Evil Empire,” but Gorbachev was newly in power, with great plans for his country.  The two hit it off.  It was, perhaps, the start of something beautiful.  Within five years, the Cold War would be over.

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Great Expectations for Female Lawyers

8679769318_fe2e377484_mIn 2001 the New York Times profiled  “21 women, most just out of law school (where women graduate in roughly equal numbers as men) who were recruited to a big New York law firm. The article asked them to elaborate on the gender gap and on their life and work prospects. ” The paper revisited the women  12 years later, to find out how their careers have progressed.

New and Notable: MaddAddam

9780385528788_custom-26444f31157ec38e02209b674dbdfa0fadac6373-s2-c85Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam (Doubleday 2013) McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PR9199.3.A8M34 2013

“With her weird, wistful new novel MaddAddam, Margaret Atwood completes the apocalyptic trilogy she began with Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Like its predecessors, MaddAddam is a blend of satiric futurism and magic realism, a snarky but soulful peek at what happens to the world after a mad scientist decimates humanity with a designer disease. That mad scientist is the brilliant bioengineer Crake, whose story is retold in this novel by the Crakers, the post-humans he designed to experience no sexual jealousy, and to eat nothing but plants.

What’s delightful about this novel is that Atwood always balances philosophically weighty topics with a humorous realism….Thoughtful, sardonic, and full of touches that almost resemble a fairy tale, MaddAddam will stick with you long after you’ve put it down. It’s an apocalypse story about new life, and a condemnation of humanity that ends, however uneasily, with a celebration of it.”  From NPR review