Resolve to Learn Legal Tech in 2019 with Free CLE from the Legal Tech Institute

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Resolve to build your legal tech proficiency by watching free CLEs in 2019! The Harris County Law Library’s Legal Tech Institute provides access, via its web pages and the Law Library’s YouTube channel, to several on-demand learning opportunities. Watch videos from the comfort of your home or office and earn CLE credit, including ethics credit, as you learn.

Visit our Legal Tech Institute On-demand Learning page to view the following videos:

Additional videos, which no are no longer accredited by the State Bar of Texas but are still useful tools for learning about legal tech, are available at the same link.

Supplement your online learning with in-person, hands-on legal tech training every Thursday at 2:00 pm in the Law Library’s Legal Tech Lab. View our new 2019 Course Catalog to find the right class for you!

Explore the rest of the LTI page to register for our latest installment of the Legal Tech Institute Lecture Series, Blending Your Legal Research, which will be offered on January 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm at Congress Plaza.

Law Library Legal Tech Institute Publishes 2019 Course Catalog

The Harris County Law Library’s Legal Tech Institute today released the 2019 Course Catalog for its Hands-on Legal Tech Training Program. This year, law librarians will teach nine courses on rotation at the Law Library’s Legal Tech Lab. Each course will focus on tech skills needed for legal work in a digital environment. Training sessions are free and open to all, and most carry free continuing legal education credit for Texas attorneys courtesy of the CLE Committee for the Office of Vince Ryan, Harris County Attorney.

“Since the Law Library joined our Office, we have worked to make it a destination where all residents of Harris County can connect with their government and access legal information,” County Attorney Ryan said. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of the free educational programs at the Law Library and to never hesitate to ask to use ‘our’ resources – they are your resources.”

Two instructors lead small classes of nine participants to ensure an interactive environment where students can ask questions and practice skills as they learn. Laptops funded by a 2017 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation are provided or participants can bring their own devices. Each class also touches on skills for all in attendance, from beginners to pros.

“Technology has clearly been a disruptive force in the legal community,” Legal Tech Institute Director Joe Lawson said. “While that presents competitive opportunities for some, it also creates barriers for others. For example, solo attorneys and self-represented litigants, who do not have in-house trainers and support staff like large law firms, may find it difficult to learn each new legal research platform or to use Microsoft Word in a way that complies with the new, tech-heavy procedural rules. As a public law library, our mission is to eliminate barriers to legal information. Offering these free, hands-on training opportunities to all is a big step in the right direction.”

Visit the Legal Tech Institute website at www.harriscountylawlibrary.org/tech to download a copy of the Course Catalog and to register for an upcoming training session. Anyone who is unable to register on the website can find assistance from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Law Library’s reference desk, located at 1019 Congress Street, 1st floor, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713)755-8153.

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!

Ethics of Storing and Sharing Information in the Cloud

Fluffy clouds over happy trees.

Fluffy clouds over happy trees.

In yesterday's Tech Tuesday blog post, we looked at news stories about the consequences of not knowing how to use basic technology. Keeping pace with current events, we draw your attention to another example from Paul Manafort's woe. While out on bail and awaiting trial on his federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges, Mr. Manafort was further indicted for obstructing justice and conspiring to do so by influencing the testimony of potential witnesses. He was caught using the encrypted messaging app WhatsApp in order to secretly communicate with people he expected to testify in his case. Unintentionally documenting his deception, he accidentally automatically backed up those WhatsApp communications to his iCloud account, providing an access point for authorities to obtain the messages. The end-to-end encryption capabilities of WhatsApp were rendered pointless when he uploaded an unencrypted copy of the transcript to the cloud.

"The Cloud" refers to shared storage and system resources made commercially available through the magic of the Internet. Essentially, rather than using your own space and materials to store information, either electronically or in physical files, you can store your information using someone else's space and materials. But unlike the old days when your file boxes might be hauled off in a truck to a warehouse where you could request to have them pulled on demand and driven back to your office, information stored in the cloud is available immediately, 24/7, as long you have Internet access and your login credentials. 

This has obvious appeal for lawyers, especially attorneys in small practices, who in the past were forced to dedicate a substantial portion of office space to document retention. Still, the ethical implications of simply passing client materials off to the control of a third part gives pause. As state bar associations weigh in, cloud computing is an increasingly legitimate way to retain attorney work product, but lawyers must know how to vet cloud services and otherwise hold up their end of the bargain.

A great way to learn more, and to earn free Texas Ethics CLE credit from the comfort of your own home, is to watch "The Ethics of Cloud Computing" as part of the Harris County Law Library Legal Tech Institute "Learn on Demand" series. Check it out today!