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 to see all the ways HVL supports pro bono.

Further Reading

Register to vote... at your local public library

Register by October 9

Tomorrow, October 9, 2018, is the last day Texans can register to vote if they intend to cast a ballot on November 6, 2018 (per the Texas Secretary of State). If you’ve waited until the last minute, your local public libraries, including the Harris County Law Library, are here to help.

Texas Public Libraries = Voter Registration Agencies

Under the National Voter Rights Act of 1993, states can designate “voter registration agencies” to distribute and accept voter registration forms (see NVRA Q&A from the US Dept. of Justice). Texas has designated all public libraries as voter registration agencies in §20.001 of the Texas Election Code. That means you can find voter registration applications on hand at the Harris County Law Library and other libraries open to the public like Harris County Public Library. You can also complete and submit the form in your community at your local library, which makes it easy and convenient to get ready for election day on November 6, 2018.

Further Reading

#Shelfies: Go Astros! and Book O'Lantern, oh my!

For the month of October, the Harris County Law Library will offer a pair of #shelfie opportunities for all to enjoy. Snap a photo, post it on social media, and tag us!

Go Astros

The first celebrates the start of another playoff run for our hometown, World Series champs - The Houston Astros! Best of luck to our down-the-block neighbors as they take on some team from Cleveland today. Everyone cheering for orange and blue is welcome to take a #shelfie with our “H” in the stacks, provided they don’t cheer too loudly while taking it… This is a library, after all…

Getting Spooky in the Stacks

Our very first Book O’Lantern will haunt our shelves now through Halloween. Snap a #shelfie with this bookish ghoul and take a look at our Spirit of the Law exhibit, which showcases early patents for jack o’lantern carving techniques, scary cases, and more! And for the real legal eagles out there, see if you can spot the CFR volume containing a definition of “pumpkin” that makes up part of this festive design. Happy October!

Stacks Donated for HBA Literacy Book Drive

More than 100 books collected at the Harris County Law Library will travel to the Houston Bar Association today in support of the HBA Lawyers for Literacy Committee 25th Annual Book Drive. Donations came from Law Library patrons and staff, and from attorneys and staff at the Harris County Attorney’s Office. Each book will help the Committee reach its goal of 25,000 books and will be distributed in support of literacy programs throughout the Houston area.

An unexpected guest accompanied one donation - a miniature bust of President John F. Kennedy. Here, you can see the tiny monument posing with Law Library Director Mariann Sears and the donated tomes. If he’s yours, he’ll be at the reference desk.