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 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.

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.

Latest & Greatest – Blockchain for Business Lawyers

Edited by James A. Cox and Mark W. Rasmussen  Published by American Bar Association. Section of Science & Technology Law  KF 1030 .E4 C69 2018

Edited by James A. Cox and Mark W. Rasmussen

Published by American Bar Association. Section of Science & Technology Law

KF 1030 .E4 C69 2018

You’ve probably heard the term “blockchain” before. You also probably know that it is one of the newer and constantly evolving technologies that can change the way business is conducted. But, do you really know what it is and what it can do for you and your law practice? Co-editors James A. Cox and Mark W. Rasmussen have teamed up with a host of experts to explain and (hopefully) demystify this innovative technology in their new book, Blockchain for Business Lawyers

To do this, the authors begin with an introduction to blockchain technology, discussing its origin, its implications, and its advantages and disadvantages for business. Succeeding chapters define cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, describe some other financial blockchain applications, and discuss smart contracts, their ramifications and their enforceability. From a legal perspective, the authors examine securities and commodities laws and regulations, antitrust regulation and key antitrust issues, federal and state regulation of money transmitters, state laws addressing blockchain technology, and the means of resolving disputes arising from use of blockchain. No discussion of technology would ever be complete without an explanation of data security and privacy. 

So, if you want to know what all the buzz is about blockchain, be sure to have a look at Blockchain for Business Lawyers. Find it in our Legal Tech Collection.