Renewed On-Demand Learning Opportunities from the Legal Tech Institute

The Legal Tech Institute at Harris County Law Library is happy to announce that one of the most popular programs in our LTI Lecture Series is once again available on the LTI On-demand Learning page. The Robot Lawyer: Artificial Intelligence in the Practice of Law can be viewed on our YouTube channel, accessible via our Legal Tech Institute web pages. Licensed Texas attorneys can earn 1.0 hour of CLE credit from now until September 30, 2019. Guest speaker, Saskia Mehlhorn, Director of Knowledge Management & Library Services for Norton Rose Fulbright US, provides a basic overview of AI in the legal profession, gives specific examples of tools that incorporate AI technology, and discusses opportunities for lawyers and other legal professionals to benefit from the power of AI technology.

While visiting our On-demand Learning page, be sure to check out our other recorded CLE programs, which carry a total of 3.0 hours of CLE credit and .75 hours of ethics credit. Included in the series are the following:

Finding & Formatting Legal Forms (1.0 hour CLE)

Legal Practice Technology (1.0 hour CLE)

The Ethics of Cloud Computing (1.0 hoiur CLE, .75 hour ethics)

The Robot Lawyer (1.0 hour CLE)

Don’t forget that we also offer a Hands-on Legal Tech Training session every Thursday at 2:00 pm in the Law Library’s Legal Tech Lab. Join us!

Quiet Spaces in the Law Library

Looking for a quiet place to read, study, think, research the law, or do legal work? The Harris County Law Library is the place for you! We do have a lot of patron traffic at the reference desk — more than 6,000 people visited the Law Library in month of August alone! — and we work hard to give each patron the time, attention, and resources they need. We also receive more than 400 phone calls each month. Each of these interactions generates a certain level of noise that may be disruptive to some library patrons. Fortunately, there is no shortage of quieter work spaces throughout the Law Library.

 Reading tables at the east end of the library provide quiet work spaces away from the action at the reference desk.

Reading tables at the east end of the library provide quiet work spaces away from the action at the reference desk.

 Study carrels in the computer area offer work space with privacy.

Study carrels in the computer area offer work space with privacy.

 The Legal Tech Lab provides nine quiet work spaces tucked into the library stacks.

The Legal Tech Lab provides nine quiet work spaces tucked into the library stacks.

  • Reading tables at the back (east) end of the Law Library are situated quite a distance from the the activity of the reference desk. These tables are popular spots for library patrons who prefer to be away from the activity of the reference desk.

  • Study carrels, available in the computer area, provide a slightly more private work space. Library staff occasionally assist patrons at the computer work stations (helping pro se patrons access and download legal forms on our legal research databases, for example), but the bank of study carrels in the computer area is generally a quiet place to work as well.

  • Nine seats in the area that we’ve designated as the Legal Tech Lab are another quiet work space option. Hands-on Legal Tech Training classes are held in the Legal Tech Lab every Tuesday at 2:00 pm, so this seating area is occupied during that time, but otherwise, this space is accessible and provides a less active work space tucked into the library stacks.

  • Finally, as a courtesy to other patrons, cell phone use is prohibited in the Law Library, helping to maintain a quiet environment for all library visitors.

Be an Einstein. Use the Library.

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Happy Birthday to Albert Einstein, who was born on this day in 1879. Celebrated as a brilliant theoretical physicist and one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, Einstein's very name is synonymous with genius, but in some ways, he was just a regular guy. He enjoyed smoking his pipetook great pleasure in riding his bicycle, and encouraged playfulness as the key to discovery and creative thought. He also placed great value in visiting the library.

Einstein claimed to possess no special talents but described himself as "passionately curious." What better way to satisfy one's curiosity than to visit the library? He once said, "The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library," a sentiment that we at Harris County Law Library share. Knowing where to access accurate, authoritative, and trustworthy sources of legal information is critical for both legal professionals and the public. Those who represent the best interests of their clients need not only information but a supportive environment in which to work, and those representing themselves need unrestricted access to unbiased sources of information to help them address their legal needs.

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In the digital age, libraries have changed tremendously, evolving from the traditional institutions that Einstein would have known to vibrant, dynamic hives of activity where people from all walks of life come in search of not only information but for guidance, services, education, training, support, and community. We at Harris County Law Library take the needs of our visitors very seriously, and we continue to expand our range of offerings on an ongoing basis.

For guidance, we partner with the Houston Volunteer Lawyers to offer our pro se patrons access to attorneys at no expense (Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm). Our reference staff provide services and support 11 hours a day, 5 days a week by assisting self-represented litigants in finding forms for a variety of legal needs. Our Legal Tech Institute, an ongoing series of free learning opportunities for attorneys and the public, provides legal tech education and skills training in both face-to-face and virtual settings. 

We aim to cultivate a sense of community for our regular visitors, both attorneys and the public, and to create an environment conducive to productivity, exploration, problem-solving, and achieving justice. Knowing where to find this kind of environment and the resources it offers is a must. We like to think that Einstein would agree.