It's Access to Legal Information Week!

Harris County Commissioners Court recognized July 14-20 as “Access to Legal Information Week” with a July 9 resolution to encourage all to visit the Harris County Law Library to learn about the valuable resources and services available. Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan and the Law Library are celebrating “Access to Legal Information Week” with a week’s worth of event to raise awareness about legal research resources available to all at our downtown Houston location. Stop by the Law Library Reference Desk Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 7:00 pm to request a tour and learn about legal information resources available to the people of Harris County. Access to Legal Information Week events will include the following:

Sunday, July 14

Our law librarians kicked off the week in Washington, D.C. at the 112th Annual Conference of the American Association of Law Libraries to receive the inaugural Excellence in Community Engagement Award for our Harvey Recovery Resources webpage.

Monday, July 15

The Law Library will begin offering tours for patrons at 8 a.m. Stop by all week to learn about the resources and services available for legal researchers and self-represented litigants. Plan your visit with driving directions and parking information on our Contact Us page.

Tuesday, July 16

Our law librarians will be recognized at the AALL Annual Meeting with the Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award for our work on the Pro Se Litigant Handbook and Manual para Litigantes Pro Se, which connect Harris County’s self-represented litigants with current, accurate information about a wealth of local legal aid resources. Stop by the Law Library to pick up a copy or visit our Self-Help page to access the digital version.

Wednesday, July 17

Join us Wednesday starting at 8 a.m. to receive a copy of our limited edition Digital Destination Passport. The Law Library has greatly expanded the digital resources available to all legal researchers in Harris County. The Passport takes patrons on a journey through eight new resources available for free at the Law Library and provides an opportunity for public and attorney patrons to learn about all the information available at your fingertips within steps of the courthouses at our downtown Houston location. Visit our Digital Destinations Passport page to learn more.

Thursday, July 18

Join us for a Hands-On Legal Tech Training on Thursday at 2 p.m. to learn how to Find & Format Legal Forms using the free databases available at the Harris County Law Library. Each Thursday, our law librarians offers classes accredited by the State Bar of Texas to all of our patrons for free to increase access to legal resources through our Legal Tech Institute. Visit our Legal Tech Institute Course Calendar to sign up for a free session today!

Friday, July 19

Deputy Director Joe Lawson will visit the 1910 Courthouse to lead an advanced legal research class for interns of the 1st and 14th Texas Courts of Appeals. Each summer interns from the Courts and Harris County Attorney’s Office have the opportunity to sharpen their legal research skills with training sessions from the Harris County Law Library to ensure our newest legal professionals have access to the legal information they need to move our justice system forward in their careers.

Saturday, July 20

The Harris County Law Library is closed on Saturdays, but that doesn’t mean access to legal information stops. Visit our Legal Tech Institute On-Demand Learning page to find videos about legal tech topics and access to legal information. Several videos are accredited by the State Bar of Texas and there is something for everyone.

Latest & Greatest – Special Needs Trusts: Protect Your Child’s Financial Future

By Kevin Urbatsch & Michele Fuller-Urbatsch  Published by Nolo  KF 480 .Z9 E45 2017

By Kevin Urbatsch & Michele Fuller-Urbatsch

Published by Nolo

KF 480 .Z9 E45 2017

Parents of children with special needs understand that their loved ones require not only special care but also special planning. In most, if not in all, cases, individuals with special needs receive benefits under governmental programs, such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. However, unless arrangements are made, any funds the child will receive by way of inheritance will affect the provision of any governmental benefits. Special needs trusts (SNT) are a legal mechanism that permits the leaving of money to a loved one without jeopardizing the receipt of governmental benefits. If you are unfamiliar with SNTs or are unsure of how to establish one, have a look at Nolo’s Special Needs Trusts: Protect Your Child’s Financial Future. This book explains the nuts and bolts of how SNTs work and who can benefit from them. It also addresses how the trust funds can and cannot be used, how to create and draft the SNT, and how to and finalize and fund the trust. Of course, you also need to determine who will administer the trust and act as trustee. For this important topic, the authors use two chapters to explain how to choose a trustee and what the duties of that trustee will be. Other topics of interest include ABLE accounts, pooled trusts, and letters of intent. 

If you or someone you know has a loved one with disabilities, be sure to read Nolo’s Special Needs Trusts: Protect Your Child’s Financial Future. It could allow you to rest easy knowing that your child or loved one will be provided for when you are no longer here. You can find it in the Law Library’s Self-Help Collection.

Also, the Law Library has developed a Special Needs Legal Resource Guide with a listing of self-help resources, in-depth legal research materials, and resources available from the Texas State Law Library, the government, and Houston Bar Association.

Happy National Space Day

As the public law library for Space City, we’ve taken a special interest in space law. And there are plenty of interesting things in Texas law about space, including the Texas Administrative Code provision pictured here on procedures for astronauts to vote from outer space! Celebrate National Space Day by taking a look at the Harris County Law Library’s accumulated knowledge of space law via the links below:

Space Laws

  • The Outer Space Treaty, the multilateral agreement that established the governance of state activities in the exploration and use of outer space, was signed by more than 100 countries. It was first proposed by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in August of 1966, making this the 50th anniversary of its conception.

Space Law Collection

Further Reading