Friday, January 28th is Data Privacy Day, an international effort overseen by the National Cyber Security Alliance that calls attention to the importance of privacy and protecting personal information. Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January in 2008, but its origins date back to 1981. On January 28 of that year, the member States of the Council of Europe signed the first international treaty, Convention 108, to address data and data protection. We at the Harris County Law library are observing Data Privacy Day with an exhibit called Data Privacy and Information Security Law. The exhibit will be on display in the Law Library lobby until January 31st.
Today we celebrate the 208th anniversary of the birth of the “Master of Macabre,” Edgar Allan Poe. Born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, and orphaned at the age of three, Poe led a life of relative poverty, unhappiness, and solitude. Yet, he managed to eke out a living as a writer, publishing short stories and becoming a relentless critic of some of the most celebrated writers of his time, including one Rufus Griswold. Although he realized some literary renown with his short stories and book reviews, Poe achieved perhaps his greatest success with his poem The Raven, first published in 1845.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Poe should indeed be pleased that his most celebrated of works has had such a profound effect on not only those in the literary world, but also those in the realm of jurisprudence. Judge A. Jay Cristol from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida was inspired to draft his own poetic version of The Raven as his opinion in the case of In re Love, 61 B.R. 558 (1986). (This case was also highlighted in one of a series of Ex Libris Juris blog posts dedicated to the Poetry of the Bench & Bar during National Poetry Month in April 2016).
Sadly, four years after The Raven was published, Poe died on October 7, 1849, in Baltimore. Interestingly, his relationship with the law did not end with his death. After his passing, Poe became the victim of a libelous obituary written by none other than Rufus Griswold, one of the writers most severely critiqued by Poe. However, Poe had the last laugh. Despite all of the defamatory statements contained in the obituary and a subsequent memoir, Poe’s legend and popularity only flourished.
For more information about Edgar Allan Poe, visit the website of the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia.
January is Employment Law Resource Month at Harris County Law Library. Selected labor and employment law resources are on display in the library, and others are highlighted here on Ex Libris Juris. Another excellent tool for locating our most frequently consulted employment law resources can be found on our website under the Legal Research tab on our homepage. The Labor and Employment Law Research Guide features Practice Essentials, including treatises, form manuals, and pattern jury charges, along with annotated statutes and codes, CLE coursebooks, and legal periodicals. Additional titles on workplace discrimination, labor relations, occupational safety, and workers' compensation are recommended. Access this Guide online, download or print a PDF copy, or pick up a hard copy at the Reference Desk.
On occasion, the Tech Tuesday blog post has focused on podcasts of interest to the legal community. One such podcast, a production of The Center for Investigative Reporting, is worth special mention. This award-winning program is called Reveal. It is broadcast on a number of public radio stations across the nation, but the entire archive of programs can be streamed online.
Ex Libris Juris featured an episode of Reveal in a previous entry last fall, and in today's blog post, the Law Library is recommending another, especially for those interested in access to justice issues. If You Can't Afford a Lawyer is an examination of one man's efforts to change the justice system in New Orleans, where he, Derwyn Bunton, is the Chief Public Defender. His unique approach to instigating change has gotten quite bit of attention, generating controversy and criticism as well as support. Listen to this thought-provoking podcast to consider the challenges of providing legal representation on a limited budget in a high-crime city. For more law- and legal tech-related podcasts and other media, visit our list of LTI Legal Links on the Legal Tech Institute webpage.
On February 4, 1968, exactly two months before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered an impassioned and powerful sermon from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He called on his congregation to embrace humanity in the spirit of service and to achieve greatness through compassion for others. For Dr. King, service was the highest calling and the act for which he himself wished to be remembered. As we celebrate the upcoming holiday and observe the birth of this great man, we honor his wish.
We at the Law Library are proud to serve the citizens of Harris County and to work every day in fulfillment of our mission. It is a privilege to connect with the people we serve, and an honor to meet the legal needs of the community. Providing meaningful service with empathy and understanding is what we are called to do. Thank you for supporting and sustaining us as we work to serve you.
This excerpt from Dr. King's sermon, The Drum Major Instinct, expresses with eloquence and fervor, the mandate of this extraordinary man.
"...recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness...by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve."
Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit organization, established by Congress in 1974, to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income individuals. Every year since 2000, the LSC has sponsored the Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) Conference which has awarded more than 600 grants, totaling $57 million, to civil legal aid organizations across the country. The 17th Annual TIG Conference is being held in San Antonio this week, January 11-13. For the first time, the LSC will live-stream several sessions of the conference via Facebook Live. To view these sessions, visit LSC's Facebook page during the conference. Share what you learn via Twitter using the hashtag #LSCTIG.
National Data Privacy Day, observed annually on January 28th, commemorates the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. The Law Library is recognizing this event all month long with an exhibit, Data Privacy and Information Security Law, which will be on display in the Law Library lobby until January 31st.
Among the items featured in the exhibit are books from the Law Library's collection:
- Locked Down: Practical Information Security for Lawyers and Encryption Made Simple for Lawyers address the need for attorneys to protect their clients' data from security breaches, especially in the age of cloud storage, ransomware, and widespread information-sharing across potentially unsecured networks.
- Wiretapping & Eavesdropping: Surveillance in the Internet Age, a 4-volume loose leaf service, includes chapters on computer evidence, Internet technology, and the Fourth Amendment. Relevant federal and state laws regarding digital communications and surveillance in the information age are also discussed. The Wiretap Act (18 USC §2510) and the Stored Communications Act (18 USCA § 2701-2712) are just two examples, both of which were cited in a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case, Robert C. Konop v. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. (302 F. 3d 868), which is also highlighted in the Law Library's exhibit.
The Legal Tech Institute at the Harris County Law Library will host two free CLEs in January. To register, visit the Course Calendar on the Legal Tech Institute website.
Join us on Thursday, January 12, 12pm to 1pm for a Vendor Visit from our Westlaw representative who will discuss Legislative and Statutory Resources available for free on the Law Library’s Westlaw computers. Texas attorneys can earn 1.0 hour CLE credit.
Join us on Thursday, January 19, 12pm to 1pm for a CLE Replay – Word for Lawyers and Other Law Types. Watch a recording of our Legal Tech Institute CLE from November to earn CLE credit if you missed the live event. Law librarians who taught the live class will also be on hand to help troubleshoot issues with legal drafting and editing in Microsoft Word, so bring your questions and documents (note: please, do not show us confidential documents…). Please note: you can only receive credit for viewing a CLE Replay if you did not attend the live presentation.
You can also watch past CLEs anytime on the Legal Tech Institute On-demand Learning webpage. CLE credit is available in Texas for the video up to a year after the live event for anyone who was unable to attend.
Throughout the month of January, the Harris County Law Library will highlight its collection of labor and employment law resources. Featured items will include form manuals and other practice essentials, CLE coursebooks, treatises, annotated codes, and legal periodicals. Employment discrimination, workers' compensation, and occupational safety law resources will be on display. For specific titles, please see our Labor and Employment Law Research Guide, or search our online catalog.
A new CLE video is now available from the Legal Tech Institute at the Harris County Law Library. Microsoft Word for Lawyers and Other Law Types covers standard features in the most widely-used word processing software that can make drafting, editing, and collaboration more efficient for any legal practice. Individuals performing their own legal work will also find practical tips on how to use Word for preparing documents and converting to PDF for efiling. The live program was well-attended and earned a 4.8 star rating.
As with all training from the Legal Tech Institute at the Harris County Law Library, this CLE is free and available to everyone. Visit the LTI On-demand Learning page to view Word for Lawyers and other videos today!