Victor B. Woolley, author of “Practice in Civil Actions and Proceedings in the Law Courts of the State of Delaware”
Currently before the Delaware Supreme Court is Eastern Savings Bank v. CACH (Docket # 88, 2012). In a case reflecting today’s troubled economy, involving a dispute over a lien on a foreclosed property sold at sheriff’s sale, the opinions of the Court of Common Pleas and Superior Court (and again) both cite a 106 year old treatise, Practice in Civil Actions and Proceedings in the Law Courts of the State of Delaware by Victor B. Woolley. Often referred to as Woolley on Delaware Practice or simply, Woolley, this venerable treatise is still cited in Delaware courts. Who was Woolley and why is his treatise still so important?
Born in 1867, Victor Baynard Woolley was a Wilmington attorney. Besides his law practice, he taught Delaware practice at the University of Pennsylvania. As there was no law school in Delaware at that time, he was probably the first person to teach Delaware practice in any law school. He stated in the introduction to his treatise that at that time a “large portion of the practice of the law courts of the State of Delaware … is unwritten law,” so he wrote the treatise for the benefit of young lawyers as well as seasoned practitioners in Delaware.
Woolley was Prothonotary of Superior Court in New Castle County from 1895-1901 and an associate judge on the Supreme Court of Delaware from 1900 to 1914. In 1914 he became a Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He continued in that position until his death in 1945.
Delaware’s small size means that few other treatises on Delaware practice have ever been published. In 1994 David L. and Louis J. Finger published Delaware Trial Handbook, which is now out of print. An online version is available from the Finger & Slanina website. For corporation law, Donald J. Wolfe and Michael A. Pittenger’s Corporate and Commercial Practice in the Delaware Court of Chancery is available.
You can still buy a copy of Woolley in a reprint edition from Gaunt or download a free scan from Google Books, volume one and volume two.
Wilmington law firm Potter Anderson & Corroon has offered eDelaware, featuring full text of Delaware corporation, business entities and Uniform Commercial Code laws and case law summaries for some time now. But I’ve never had the chance to try it out because it was only available for Blackberry.
Now they’ve rolled out an iPhone/iPad version so I installed it out on my iPad to give it a try. The app includes full text of the Delaware General Corporation Law, the Statutory Trust Act, LLC Act, Revised Uniform Partnership Act, Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act and Articles 8 and 9 of the Delaware Uniform Commercial Code. All of these are downloaded onto your iPad so you can easily access them even when you don’t have internet access.
Also included are summaries of recent Delaware cases written by Potter Anderson attorneys. The most recent case summary when I checked today was for a case decided on April 10, 2012 so they are keeping it up to date.
This will be a handy app for anyone interested in Delaware corporation law. And best of all it’s free. You can install it through the iTunes app store.
ProQuest has just rolled out an upgrade to its popular website. The new start page is cleaner and easier to use. No longer do you have to select from a long list of databases to search. You can search everything at once from one search box, or choose by topic.
ProQuest is a great place to search for news and articles on non-legal subjects like business, health, science, technology and literature. If you have any questions or need help with ProQuest or our other databases ask one of our reference librarians.
The Library of Congress has just released an iPad app that brings each day’s Congressional Record to your iPad. Each issue is a PDF file that you can email and share with other people. The new app is available from the iTunes store.
Need to research a foreign law subject? The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals is now available on HeinOnline. The IFLP indexes law journals published outside of the United States. HeinOnline’s IFLP includes records from 1985 to date. Any articles in IFLP that are available in HeinOnline are hot linked directly from the index. If you need a copy of an article that is not available on HeinOnline please contact a reference librarian for help.
Writing a paper and need non-legal sources? The Widener Law Library subscribes to three databases that can be very helpful for non-legal research. EbscoHost, ProQuest, and JSTOR each offer full text articles from many journals different subject areas, including economics, science, medicine and more.
Like many of our other databases, you can access all three from on campus and off. If you are off campus you’ll be asked to enter your name and the barcode number on the back of the Widener ID to log on.
With the new HeinOnline iPad app you can search and read law journals, legal classics, session laws, treaties and anything else available on HeinOnline right from your iPad. The app is free, as long as you have access to HeinOnline, as all Widener students and faculty do. You have to authenticate your subscription once every 30 days from the Widener campus but otherwise you can use the HeinOnline app from anywhere.
The state of Delaware has created a free ebook version of the Delaware Code. The Code is available in both ePub and MOBI formats, for iPad, Kindle and other ebook readers. You can download each title of the Code separately or download all of them at once.
BNA’s United States Law Week brings you the latest legal news from across the country. It covers the Supreme Court as well as other federal and state courts and federal agencies. It’s also a great source of ideas for paper topics, including coverage of all the latest cases, circuit splits, and BNA Insights.
US Law Week is free for all Widener students and faculty. You can also register to have US Law Week emailed to you every week.
The Widener law librarians have been busy creating research guides, called LibGuides on a number of subject areas. Each guide tells you how to get started and provides links to online resources or tells you where to find books and treatises on your subject.
New students might enjoy Law School 101: Resources for Succeeding in Law School by Widener law librarian Ed Sonnenberg. We also have Criminal Law by Maggie Adams and Voting Rights and Election Law by Susan Giusti. I’ve created a LibGuide on Food and Drug Law.
You can access the complete list of LibGuides from our LibGuide site or click on “Research Guides” on the Widener Law Library webpage.
The state of Delaware has digitized its session laws and made them available on the Delaware Heritage Collection website. Titled “The Laws of Delaware,” these session laws contain all of the laws of Delaware from 1700 (vol. 1) to 2000 (vol. 72). The session laws are particularly useful for historical research and compiling legislative histories.
There are other sources of the Delaware session laws. More recent volumes of the Delaware session laws are available on the state of Delaware’s webpage. Most of the Delaware session laws have also been scanned by Google Books. They are also on HeinOnline‘s Session Law Library, which is subscription only. But the Delaware Heritage Collection is the most complete and best of all, it’s free.
I’m very pleased to see that the volumes have been scanned but I do have a couple of suggestions for improvement. First, I find the Delaware Heritage Collection website rather unintuitive. It took me quite a while to figure out how to print/download more than one page at a time. How to do that is in the help section under “Viewing Compound Objects” (basically, you have to change the view drop down to “subset of print version” and then print) but that’s not the first place (or maybe even the tenth place) anyone would look for printing instructions. The second problem is finding individual laws in each volume. The Laws of Delaware are commonly cited by chapter number, not by page, and yet the navigation is by page number, which makes it difficult to find a particular law, even when you have a cite.
Finally, I hope the state of Delaware will publicize the Laws of Delaware collection and make it easier to find. I just happened to find it accidentally one day while browsing photos on the Delaware Public Archives website. There is no direct link to the Laws of Delaware collection from the Archives website and as far as I can tell, none from the state’s website either.
Widener Law professor Paul Regan was part of a panel on Delaware: The First State for Corporation Law at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries. Other speakers were: Randy J. Holland, The Supreme Court of Delaware; Robert S. Saunders, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; and Andrea B. Unterberger, Corporation Service Company. The moderator was Leslie Corey Leach of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
We have Leslie’s great handout on sources for Delaware corporation law research available for download in case you missed it.
Follow the latest US Supreme Court cases on your iPhone or other mobile device with OyezToday. OyezToday has easy-to-grasp abstracts for every case granted review, timely and searchable audio of oral arguments + transcripts, and up-to-date summaries of the Court’s most recent decisions including the Court’s full opinions.
The app was created by IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and is available for both iPhone, iPad and Android devices FREE.
The Law Library of Congress has posted a helpful guide for researching the law of the new nation of South Sudan.
The U.S. Dept. of Justice has posted a collection of legislative histories on its website. These were compiled by librarians at the Dept. and were previously only available to Dept. of Justice employees.