Happy New Year... and, also, Happy Public Domain Day!

Happy New Year!

We’ve made another successful rotation around the Sun, which means two things for sure:

  1. The Law Library is closed today, January 1, 2019, but don’t fret because we’ll be open tomorrow at 8 a.m.; and

  2. New laws go into effect in Texas! While most laws from the last Texas legislative session went into effect in September, some have an effective date of today. Check the Effective Dates for Bills page on the Texas Legislative Reference Library’s website for details.

New Hampshire  by Robert Frost is one of many works from 1923 entering the public domain on Jan. 1, 2019.

New Hampshire by Robert Frost is one of many works from 1923 entering the public domain on Jan. 1, 2019.

Happy Public Domain Day!

For many years, copyrighted works regularly entered the public domain each New Year’s Day. However, in 1998, Disney successfully lobbied Congress to extend existing copyrights by 20 years. Today marks the first time in two decades new works will be released for copyright-free use. Visit the Duke Law School Center for the Study of the Public Domain website for a listing of books, movies, and music published in 1923 that are now available to all.

National Pro Bono Week

This week (Oct. 21-27, 2018) is the 10th Annual National Pro Bono Week! Legal organizations across the country have planned events to celebrate and educate pro bono attorneys in their communities, and the Harris County Law Library is no exception. On Thursday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m., we’ll offer our first session of Free Legal Tech for the Public, which is designed to help pro bono attorneys and self-represented litigants make sense of all the great online resources available to help individuals representing themselves in legal matters. Everyone is welcome to attend this Hands-on Legal Tech Training from the Law Library’s Legal Tech Institute and Texas attorneys can earn 1.0 hour of CLE credit. Click for details and registration information.

Hats Off to Houston Volunteer Lawyers!

In the tradition of celebrating excellence in pro bono work during National Pro Bono Week, the Law Library would like to give a hat tip to Houston Volunteer Lawyers! HVL attorneys staff the “Library Booth,” which is a legal information booth where self-represented litigants with limited means can speak with a licensed attorney for free. The Library Booth is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the lower level of our downtown Houston location. Working in close proximity with HVL attorneys, our law librarians see the positive impact it has on our patrons to have ready access to pro bono attorneys who can answer basic questions. With guidance, self-represented litigants can make better use of the Law Library’s collection and have improved access to justice. Visit www.makejusticehappen.org to see all the ways HVL supports pro bono.

Further Reading

Hispanic Heritage Month

https://www.army.mil/article/87962/army_aims_outreach_at_hispanic_community

https://www.army.mil/article/87962/army_aims_outreach_at_hispanic_community

Saturday, September 15, marks the independence day of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile, and Belize follow shortly after, on the 16th, 18th and 21st. The Harris County Law Library extends Happy Independence Day wishes to the more than 57 million Americans, and roughly 11 million Texans, who claim Hispanic roots. We would also like to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15, by recognizing the contributions of several of our era’s high-profile Hispanic lawyers, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; United States Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio; New Mexico Governor, Susana Martinez; and former Director of Intergovernmental Affairs under President Obama, Cecilia Muñoz. We also honor the trailblazers who came before, including the rich history of Latina and Latino lawyers practicing before the United States Supreme Court.

National Bar Associations

State and Local Bar Associations