Check out the latest on-demand video CLE from the Legal Tech Institute at the Harris County Law Library. Nationally-recognized innovator, Casey Flaherty, Principal at Procertas, LLC, stopped by to talk about the market pressures and ethical duties that make adopting legal tech a priority for all attorneys and allied professionals. Texas attorneys can earn 1.0 hour CLE and 0.5 ethics.
Healthcare is a concern at any stage of life, but as one ages, decisions regarding healthcare take on greater significance, not only because of the concern for and consequences of choices made on behalf of those of diminished capacity but also because of the very nature of end-of-life decisions. The author, a national expert on legal issues affecting older individuals, has written a book, The Law of Later-Life Healthcare and Decision Making, to help answer questions people may have about healthcare decision making and the laws surrounding and regulating this area. Divided into five chapters, this book covers paying for healthcare, long-term care housing options, paying for long-term care, the legal implications of mental incapacity, and end of life decision making. Within each chapter, you will find discussions of significant case law developments and statutory changes and explanations of important topics, such as Medicare and Medicaid, aging in place, nursing homes, long-term care insurance, reverse mortgages, guardianships, living wills, health care powers of attorney, DNR orders, and hospice care.
Published by the Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association in conjunction with the National Guardianship Association, The Fundamentals of Guardianship: What Every Guardian Should Know provides family, professional, and public guardians and conservators with a concise guide of the duties and responsibilities incumbent with these positions. As the title suggests, this book provides a good overview of the guardianship process and all that it entails. You will learn about the different types of guardianships, some less-restrictive alternatives to guardianship, the rights affected by the appointment of a guardian, and the guardian’s role and fiduciary duties, including the the responsibilities and duties of those who are guardians of the estate and of those who are guardians of the person.
Sadly, abuse, neglect, and exploitation are realities in the lives of so many vulnerable people. Thus, it is important for guardians to be able to recognize evidence of such behavior and what to do about it. In the event of a change in the person’s status, the guardian must know the steps to take to terminate or modify the guardianship. A chapter is devoted to this topic. Additionally, the resource materials in the back of the book, including checklists and sample worksheets and inventories, are especially helpful. These resources include checklists and sample worksheets and inventories.
The Fundamentals of Guardianship: What Every Guardian Should Know contains a wealth of information for the novice guardian or someone who needs a refresher on the rights and responsibilities that come with a guardianship.
In the spirit of the Halloween season, Harris County Law Library is exhibiting several spooky selections from our print collection. The sources we uncovered will be on display through the end of the month. Don't miss your chance to see them before they vanish! The following featured items are included in the exhibit.
Burchill v. Hermsmeyer, 212 SW 767 (1919), is the case of the ghost who inspired a contract dispute and a fraud claim. Mr. Hermsmeyer sued to recover the $10,000 he invested in Mrs. Burchill's corporation. She claimed that ghosts, with whom she consulted via a medium, told her there was oil under her land. When no oil was discovered, Mr. Hermsmeyer argued that Ms. Burchill's claim was a fraudulent misrepresentation of facts. The court rejected his argument saying that the existence of ghosts is a matter of belief, not of fact. His claim was, therefore, "insufficient to form a basis for relief for the plaintiff."
Purtell v. Mason, 527 F.3d 615 (2008), involves Halloween yard decorations which caused a neighborhood dispute and raised questions about the right to insult every person on your block. Jeffrey and Vicki Purtell displayed six wooden tombstones in front of their Chicago home, each bearing unflattering references to their neighbors and the details of each person's fictitious demise. One of the neighbors identified on the tombstones argued with Mr. Purtell over the offensive decorations resulting in a call to the police. Officer Bruce Mason arrived at the scene. He arrested Mr. Purtell and ordered the removal of the tombstones. The Purtells asserted their free speech rights, but the Seventh Circuit found no loss of First Amendment Protection under the "fighting words" doctrine.
The Law of Cadavers and of Burial and Burial Places by Percival E. Jackson is the "standard work on the subject of the law pertaining to the care and disposal of bodies of deceased human beings, and the establishment and maintenance of burial places." Included in this volume is a thorough treatment of the law regarding sepulture along with "approximately a hundred pages of forms pertaining to the regulation of cemeteries, the transfer of plots, graves, and monuments therein and the care, transportation, and burial of human corpses as well as some forms of legal proceedings in both tort and contract, germane to the general subject." (Book Review by Charles G. Coster, 2014) This title, 2nd edition, is available in the Harris County Law Library's print collection and also via HeinOnline's Legal Classics Library, which you can access at the Law Library.
In the early 1900s, three creative thinkers designed new and improved lanterns in the category of "decorative and grotesque illuminating devices commonly called jackolanterns." (Andrew B. Heard, Patent No. 715,379) Their patent drawings are featured in the exhibit and shown in in the graphics throughout this post.
To see the rest of the Halloween-themed legal materials on display, visit the Law Library before November 1st. Happy haunting!
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies encourages everyone to take “proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace.” For lawyers in Texas, who have an ethical duty to keep up with technology, that means learning about the practical aspects of delivering legal services and protecting client data in a digital environment. If that sounds like a daunting task when you’re already practicing law, earning CLE credit to maintain your law license, and running the business side of a law firm, the Legal Tech Institute at the Harris County Law Library is here to help!
Visit our Learn On-Demand page to find free video CLE, including Practical Cybersecurity for Lawyers. Guest speaker Dustin Sachs, Senior Forensics Cybersecurity Consultant, provides an overview of cybersecurity considerations and practical advice for protecting data in law firms of all sizes. The recording is accredited by the State Bar of Texas, so Texas attorneys can earn 1.0 hour of CLE as their schedule allows from anywhere.
The legal history of impeachment is on display at the Harris County Law Library and online as a digital exhibit. Learn about the sources of law useful for researching the impeachment process, and historical cases of impeachment under both the U.S. and Texas Constitutions. The exhibit features works from the Law Library’s historical collection, including an original 1868 printing by the U.S. Government Publishing Office of the record of proceedings in the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. You can also find a copy of Record of Proceedings of the High Court of Impeachment on the Trial of Hon. James Ferguson, Governor, which has been a part of the Law Library’s collection for over 100 years and chronicles the only case of impeachment against a sitting governor of Texas.
Alzheimer’s disease is downright terrifying. Sadly, millions (yes, millions) of people are dealing with the physical and mental consequences of this disease every day. Because much of the focus surrounding this illness is on the physical symptoms that ravage its victims, there is a tendency to overlook the legal consequences that are all too real. To assist with an understanding of some of the legal issues faced by those suffering from dementia, attorneys Kerry Peck and Rick L. Law have written Don’t Let Dementia Steal Everything: Avoid Mistakes, Save Money, and Take Control, a guide to help one understand the issues associated with the diagnosis and find some answers and the right legal advice.
The preliminary chapters describe briefly some of the issues to consider when someone receives a diagnosis of dementia. There is a general discussion of Alzheimer’s disease and its course and progression and a discussion of how to find an attorney who understands the specific issues of dementia. The succeeding chapters focus on some of those specific issues, such as advance directives, Medicare and nursing home Medicaid, nursing home contracts, guardianship, and at-home caregiving. The authors have also included a chapter addressing financial exploitation from scammers and family members. The to-do checklists in the chapters are especially useful.
Don’t Let Dementia Steal Everything: Avoid Mistakes, Save Money, and Take Control is a great resource for those seeking assistance and guidance with taking care of the legal issues for those suffering from dementia.
This day, October 1st, marks the 104th Anniversary of the founding of the Harris County Law Library. Every day, we are committed to promoting open and equal access to justice for all, including self-represented litigants and the local legal community.
Since the celebration of our Centennial in 2015, the Law Library has continued grow and evolve. We are especially proud of our expanded digital offerings.
Our Legal Tech Institute (LTI) now provides even greater opportunities for hands-on learning about the effective use of technology in the practice of law. One hour of free CLE instruction is provided every Thursday at 2:00 pm at the Law Library in our Legal Tech Lab. We offer nine classes on rotation, and all are welcome to attend.
Additional learning opportunities are available in our Digital Education Nook or DEN, where library visitors can select from a full menu of videos to watch in a convenient and comfortable setting. There’s something for everyone! Licensed Texas attorneys can earn CLE credit by viewing previously recorded LTI presentations. The general public can get familiar with basic civil procedure and learn about the experience of filing a lawsuit and representing oneself in court.
These are just a few of the resources we offer to our many library visitors. We also provide access to heavily used print resources, including a wide variety of practice guides and form books, as well as an extensive collection of online content. Increasingly, the Law Library has expanded its selection of digital information available through Westlaw and Lexis. We also offer database access to HeinOnline, which includes a comprehensive collection of digitized law reviews and other legal journals. We are especially happy to offer access to the new Lexis eBook Collection, which is available to anyone connected to the Harris County wi-fi network. This Digital Collection contains complete searchable sets of several popular titles, such as the Texas Transaction Guide and the Texas Litigation Guide, along with a wealth of other materials published by Lexis for legal practitioners.
With so much growth in recent years, we are excited to see what the future holds. We are eager to implement a number of new ideas as we begin our next year of service to the Harris County community. As technology and legal technology, in particular, continues to develop and evolve, we will embrace and be responsive to those changes for the legal community and the residents of Harris County.
Does the idea of speaking in front of a group of people turn your knees to jelly and cause you to sweat like a cold beer sitting out in the Houston sun? If so, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. However, public speaking, like legal research or writing, is a key competency for attorneys because there is a good chance that, at some point in your career, you will have to speak in public, whether it be to a group of colleagues at a CLE session or to a trial judge. So, take a deep breath, relax, and read Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys by Faith Pincus.
Advocating her AMI™ method of public speaking, Ms. Pincus, an experienced public speaker, trainer, and attorney, launches into a discussion of how to improve presentation skills by keeping the three key principles of audience, message, and image/delivery at the forefront. She explains why the audience matters and describes how to create a memorable message for that audience. She also talks about the importance of the image you are projecting and the style of your delivery.
While the first part of the book is applicable to anyone looking to improve her presentation skills, the second part of the book addresses attorney-related speaking situations, such as oral arguments, opening statements, and closing arguments. There is even a chapter on media relations.
Still nervous and anxious? Have a look at chapter eight where the author discusses overcoming your fear. (Hint: it involves more than simply picturing your audience in their undergarments). There, Ms. Pincus provides some practical ways to manage and face your fear.
If you are looking to improve your presentation skills, be sure to have a look at Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys.
As a National Voter Registration Day partner, the Harris County Law Library is encouraging all eligible voters to get vote ready! If you are not yet registered to vote, don’t miss your opportunity. Register in September, and vote in November! Keep these important dates handy so you don’t overlook any deadlines or voting days.
Last Day To Register to Vote:
Last Day to Apply for a Ballot by Mail:
October 21-26 | 7am-7pm
October 27 | 1pm-6pm
October 28 - November 1 | 7am-7pm
November 5 |7am-7pm
This November, voters can cast their ballots at any polling location in Harris County during Early Voting and on Election Day. Visit HarrisVotes.com to find a designated location near you or text VOTE to 1-833-YES-0700.