Latest & Greatest – A Union List of Appellate Court Records and Briefs: Federal and State

By Michael Whiteman & Peter Scott Campbell  Published by William S. Hein & Co., Inc.  KF 105.9 .W49 2017

By Michael Whiteman & Peter Scott Campbell

Published by William S. Hein & Co., Inc.

KF 105.9 .W49 2017

We all like things that make our life easier, especially if they are things that save us time, money, or effort. In the case of this particular Latest & Greatest post, we have something that quite possibly satisfies all three. A Union List of Appellate Court Records and Briefs: Federal and State is a compilation of sources that a legal researcher can consult when trying to track down court records and briefs. The authors recognize that these resources can be quite valuable, yet quite difficult to locate, so they’ve done the tough work and compiled the addresses and telephone numbers of the clerks of court and court libraries and researched the availability and possible fees associated with accessing any electronic holdings of these documents. Arranged in four sections, A Union List of Appellate Court Records and Briefs: Federal and State includes pertinent contact information for the United States Supreme Court, United States Circuit Courts of Appeals, State Final Appellate Courts, and State Intermediate Appellate Courts.

Next time you are in the need of appellate briefs or records, consult A Union List of Appellate Court Records and Briefs: Federal and State first. It will make your job easier, and who doesn’t like that?

Latest & Greatest – Veterans Benefits: A Legal Research Guide

By Lauren M. Collins  Published by William S. Hein & Co., Inc.  KF 7709 .C65 2017

By Lauren M. Collins

Published by William S. Hein & Co., Inc.

KF 7709 .C65 2017

Throughout the month of February, the Harris County Law Library is featuring legal research and writing resources. Today's blog post highlights a resource that doesn't show you how to perform legal research but rather helps you find specific sources to get you the answers you need. The 69th volume in a collection of research guides, Veterans Benefits: A Legal Research Guide provides researchers with a resource for locating benefits that available to veterans and their families. From the outset, author Lauren M. Collins stresses the need for a research strategy prior to embarking upon a search of this kind because of the difficulty involved with finding information regarding benefits. She notes that the most common resources available are secondary sources, specific federal statutes and laws, and relevant state laws and programs and provides some examples of each type of resource. She briefly explains the procedural steps for filing a claim for benefits and for filing an appeal should the request be denied. She also describes some benefits that are available for family members of veterans and some benefits that are provided by federal agencies other than the Department of Veterans Affairs and how to locate them. Ms. Collins also points out several internet resources, including government websites, websites maintained by advocacy groups, blogs, online training resources, and news alerts.

Although not meant to be a comprehensive guide, Veterans Benefits: A Legal Research Guide provides some of the tools necessary to locate the benefits that veterans need and deserve. Stop by the Harris County Law Library to have a look at this vital research tool.

Legal Research & Writing Resource Month

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February is Legal Research & Writing Resource Month at the Harris County Law Library. Whether you are an attorney drafting a motion or a self-represented litigant navigating the court system, writing is a necessary component of your legal work. Visit the Law Library all month long to find resources on display that you can use to improve and enhance your legal research and writing skills.

To improve your legal writing skills, look for the following: 

To improve your legal research skills, look for the following:

Latest & Greatest – In a Nutshell® Series

Throughout the month of December, Harris County Law Library has been celebrating Self-Help Resources Month and featuring publications that are designed to assist those who are representing themselves in legal matters. Following this theme, we are pleased to announce that the law library has recently acquired several new titles from the In a Nutshell® series. Published by West Academic Publishing, the In a Nutshell® books provide concise summaries and explanations of a particular area of law. Designed as study guides, these small books are loaded with cases and statutes to guide the reader to a better understanding of the topic at hand. Some of our recent acquisitions cover such topics as legal drafting, electronic discovery and digital evidence, mental health law, children and the law, legal malpractice law, Section 1983 litigation, and consumer protection law. Look for these and other titles of interest in our Self-Help Collection or browse our collection using our catalog.

Latest & Greatest – Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law

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The Harris County Law Library is excited about the latest addition to its HeinOnline subscription database: Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law. Consisting of cases, statutes, scholarly articles and much more, this comprehensive library is a one-stop resource for legal and non-legal materials on slavery. Among the highlights are:

  • the complete five-volume set of Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro
  • United States Supreme Court cases from 1786-1880
  • selected federal cases from the circuit courts
  • anti-slavery periodicals covering topics such as abolitionist movements, black authors, colonization, emancipation, and politics
  • records of Congressional debates
  • slavery statutes from all states
  • law review articles and legal commentary
  • histories of slavery from UNC Press Publications.

There are also links to external sources and digital collections documenting American slavery from such institutions as the Library of Congress, the Law Library of Congress, and the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

As with the other libraries found on HeinOnline, Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law is fully searchable. Using HeinOnline’s “Slavery Quick Finder,” you can focus your search by selecting position, e.g. anti-slavery or pro-slavery, document type, jurisdiction, and topic. Document types range from biographies and pamphlets to cases and government reports. Jurisdictional choices include not only the United States and Great Britain but also Africa and Haiti. If you’re simply looking to browse the collection, just click on the category tabs at the top of the page.

The next time you’re visiting the Harris County Law Library, be sure to have a look at this historical collection detailing the history of slavery in America and abroad. Just ask a law librarian if you need assistance.

Latest & Greatest – Strategic Legal Research

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   By Tobin A. Sparling  Published by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business (2015)  KF 240 .S63 2015

By Tobin A. Sparling

Published by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business (2015)

KF 240 .S63 2015

The Harris County Law Library is proud to feature the latest edition of Strategic Legal Research: Finding the Information You Need Efficiently and Cost-Effectively by Tobin A. Sparling, a Professor of Law at Houston College of Law (formerly South Texas College of Law). Sparling’s book stands out from other legal research resources in that he stresses a research methodology that focuses on thinking through the issue before jumping in and simply beginning the research. He suggests ten basic steps that will enable you to perform legal research more efficiently and economically. He identifies the advantages and disadvantages of various resources, such as print, in-house electronic, Bloomberg Law, and other internet research sources. Sparling also discusses the common features found in the major research databases like Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law. The remainder of material in the book is dedicated to researching specific resources, such as statutes, court rules, administrative law, and nonlegal authority. Naturally, Sparling devotes some discussion to researching Texas materials and understanding the Texas legal system.

Latest and Greatest - – Legal Research in a Nutshell

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   By Morris L. Cohen & Kent C. Olson  Published by LEG d/b/a West Academic Publishing (12th Edition 2016)  KF 240 .C54 2016

By Morris L. Cohen & Kent C. Olson

Published by LEG d/b/a West Academic Publishing (12th Edition 2016)

KF 240 .C54 2016

Intimidated by the thought of having to research a legal issue? Not sure how or even where to begin?

Well, you’re not alone. Legal research is a lot more than simply entering some keywords into the search box of a Web browser. It requires an understanding of the research process itself as well as the types of resources commonly used to locate legal information. Legal Research in a Nutshell explains the legal research process and the forms and sources of legal information. You will become familiar with and learn how to locate case law, statutes and constitutions, legislative information, administrative law, and court rules and practice. There is also discussion of specialized and nonlegal resources, such as looseleaf services, legal newspapers, blogs, statistics, and legal directories. If your research is taking you global, don’t fret because the authors also address international law and the laws of other countries.

You can access some of the great features offered by this book on its companion Website through the library’s catalog. Simply click on the “earth” icon at the end of the catalog record under the Media heading and enjoy entering the world of legal research.