Open Source “Baby Blue” Project Could Finally Kill the Bluebook

Lisa Needham reports:


The latest turn came this month when open-records activist Carl Malamud tweeted about the coming release of “Baby Blue,” 

the name that he and his project partner New York University law professor Christopher Sprigman are calling their rival guide.

Read entire report here.

See Comment by

Frank Bennett  3 hours ago

Please note that a platform able to generate correct citations to legal materials – across multiple jurisdictions – already exists. 

Juris-M is a third-party project that leverages the Zotero code base, and like Zotero it supports context-sensitive formatting of citations in word-processed documents. I salute the “Baby Blue” project, and look forward to supporting the new guide in Juris-M.

Bankruptcy Forms | United States Courts

Revised Bankruptcy Forms Go Into Effect December 1

U.S. Bankruptcy Court filers and lawyers must use new forms beginning December 1, when the first modernization of bankruptcy forms in two decades takes effect.

The forms are available at, and contain major changes in organization, language and numbering. Because the new forms will be mandatory for all new cases, users of the bankruptcy system are being urged to read the forms before the change-over date. 

The new forms are easier for debtors to understand and complete, and are designed to work with scheduled enhancements to the federal courts’ Case Management/Electronic Case Files system. Together the changes will reduce administrative strains, improve delivery of case information to judges, and protect debtor and creditor rights.

Read more about the new bankruptcy forms.

DIY Law Firm Letterhead, Using Microsoft Word – Lawyerist

by Deborah Savadra

***  Using resources like Typography for Lawyers, a few Word tips, and perhaps a bit of well-placed graphic design help, you can design your own letterhead. Here are step-by-step instructions for designing your own letterhead in Microsoft Word, plus examples from Lawyerist readers who have done just that.1


Click here for the entire “how-to-do-it” article, including videos.

ALTA Settlement Statements

ALTA has developed standardized ALTA Settlement Statements for title insurance and settlement companies to use to itemize all the fees and charges that both the homebuyer and seller must pay during the settlement process of a housing transaction. 

Settlement statements are currently used in the marketplace in conjunction with the federal HUD-1. T

he ALTA Settlement Statement is not meant to replace the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau‘s Closing Disclosure, which goes into effect on Aug. 1, 2015.

Four versions of the ALTA Settlement Statement are available. – 

See more at:

TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule implementation > Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Integrated loan disclosure forms & samples

These are downloadable versions of the models and samples that were published in the rule.

Loan estimate

Blank model loan estimate fields annotated to show rule citations

Blank model loan estimate form that illustrates the application of the rule’s content requirements (en Español)

Blank model loan estimate that illustrates the application of the optional alternative tables for transactions without a seller (en Español)

Sample of completed loan estimate for fixed rate loan

Sample of completed loan estimate for interest only, adjustable rate loan (en Español)

Sample of completed loan estimate for refinance (en Español)

Sample of completed loan estimate for balloon payment (en Español)

Sample of completed loan estimate for negative amortization (en Español)

Closing disclosure

Blank closing disclosure with fields annotated to show rule citations

Blank closing disclosure that illustrates the application of the rule’s content requirements (en Español)

Blank closing disclosure that illustrates the alternative disclosures and modifications permitted for transactions without a seller (en Español)

Blank closing disclosure that illustrates disclosure provided to seller

Blank page 2 of closing disclosure that illustrates modifications to closing cost details

Sample of a completed closing disclosure for fixed rate loan (companion to sample loan estimate above) (en Español)

Sample of a completed closing disclosure for refinance (companion to sample loan estimate above) (en Español)

Sample of the completed closing disclosure for refinance transaction where the closing costs have increased in excess of the good faith requirements

Sample of a completed closing disclosure for refinance in which the consumer must pay additional funds to satisfy the existing mortgage loan securing the property and other existing debt to consummate the transaction

Sample page 3 of closing disclosure (summaries of transactions) for disclosure of consumer funds from a simultaneous second-lien credit transaction

Sample page 3 of closing disclosure (summaries of transactions) for disclosure of funds paid outside of closing

Other blank forms and samples

Blank model form for the written list of settlement service providers

Sample of written list of providers you can shop for

Sample of written list of providers you cannot shop for

Blank model form of the escrow cancellation notice

Go to CFPB page for complete information, including access to webinars.

HUD-1 Going Away: Understand New Closing Forms, Procedures – YouTube-NAR

HUD-1 Going Away: Understand New Closing Forms, Procedures

Related articlesThe HUD-1 settlement statement and Good Faith Estimate forms are going away on August 1. The Truth in Lending Act disclosure is going away as well. In their place will be a new closing disclosure and a new loan estimate. There will be changes to the closing process as well, including a new rule requiring everything to be in place three days prior to closing. And last-minute changes face new hurdles. Learn about the changes in this walk-through from the NAR.

Fwd: NYS Form RP-5217–Your Comments Sought

Begin forwarded message:

From: “Wilson, Mark” <MWilson@NYSBA.ORG>

Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 5:08 PM

Subject: NYS Form RP-5217


Good Afternoon, 


I am writing to county bar leaders and directors for input regarding New York State form RP-5217 Equalization & Assessment forms for real property deed transfers.


Concerns regarding the form originated with Kevin Allen, President of the Orleans County Bar Association, who noted that quite a few solo and small-firm practitioners were having issues with county clerks not accepting modified Form RP-5217. 


The RP-5217-PDF Real Property Transfer Report in NYS was originally a four-page carbon-copy form available at the County Clerk’s office and required for recording any deed. In 2013 the form became a one-part downloadable barcoded pdf form used to document the information associated with real property transfers for approved counties within New York State. An original RP-5217-PDF form must still accompany all deeds and correction deeds upon filing. Here is information about the RP-5217, where instructions note no handwritten changes.


The problem noted by the Orleans County Bar is that certain counties are not accepting modified forms: For example, if the phone number is crossed out, the clerk rejects the filing. 


Because the new form is bar coded, the new signed form would be required and the deed cannot be recorded. Only the date of closing can be filled in or handwritten in for certain counties. For closings where the buyer or seller may not be local, or if a senior citizen has to come in and sign and resign this causes inconveniences, especially for solos if the form has to be redone online each time there is a change – both buyer and seller sign this form.


The Orleans County Bar is concerned with the inconsistency among counties and the practice management issues with rekeying the form each time there is a change because of the bar code. It appears certain counties take modified forms without issue while others are rejecting it outright. It was noted that middle initials being added triggers the form to be rejected. 


If your association members have had similar inconsistencies filing Form 5217 with your County Clerk, please let me know. We want to chronicle the concerns of all bar associations regarding this issue. 


Thank you and with best regards,


Mark Wilson  Manager of Bar Services

New York State Bar Association

One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207


direct/fax518.487.5540 |  main518.463.3200 | email: |

Fillable RJI form–NYS Unified Court System

We are pleased to provide and remind you of this link for the  fillable RJI form.

Remember, this is a fillable form; i.e., when you fill it out, you cannot save your data.  You can print a copy if you need one for your records.

NYS Historic Preservation Office Publishes Model Landmarks Preservation Local Law for New York State Municipalities | LAW OF THE LAND

Patricia Salkin:

As part of the State’s Certified Local Government program for historic preservation (see,, the agency has published a model local landmarks preservation law here –

From Dean Salkin’s Law of the Land Blog


Related articles

Lawyers Won’t Lose Clients to DIY Legal Services=Lawyerist

Sam Glover:

Currently, consumers can pick from a range of options for do-it-yourself legal services. You can get a divorce at OfficeMax, a will from Amazon, and dissolve a partnership with LegalZoom. Those are just a few examples, of course. There are hundreds of DIY legal documents available online and offline.

People who want to do their own legal work are, naturally, not likely to hire a lawyer in the first place. And people who hire lawyers do not want to do their own legal work.

Read Sam’s entire piece and find out why he thinks “…now is not the time to panic…”.

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