Law Day 2019 - Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society

Today, we celebrate the rule of law.

Today is Law Day. Law Day was established by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 and subsequently codified by Congress in 1961 (see 36 U.S.C. §113) as a day for celebration of the rule of law. Each year, the American Bar Association establishes a theme to help focus our attention on an area of law that is timely and pertinent. This year, the theme is “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.”

Free Speech: A view from the bench

To honor this year’s theme, the Harris County Law Library has created an online exhibit entitled Free Speech: A view from the bench. Visit the exhibit to learn about different factors judges take into account when reviewing issues concerning freedom of speech under the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


Houston Bar Association Law Week Poster Contest

Each year the Houston Bar Association holds a poster contest and encourages area K-12 students to express the meaning of Law Day artistically. The Harris County Law Library is proud to partner with the HBA to display award-winning entries throughout this week-long celebration of the rule of law.

Law Library Recognized by American Association of Law Libraries

Yesterday, the American Association of Law Libraries announced the individuals and institutions honored as part of the organization’s 2019 Awards Program. The Harris County Law Library was recognized with two awards, both of which highlight our work to ensure access to information for those who need it most in Harris County.


JOSEPH L. ANDREWS LEGAL LITERATURE AWARD

The Law Library’s Pro Se Litigant Handbook was recognized with the Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award. The Handbook combines information about sources of forms and local assistance for self-represented litigants with guidance on courtroom procedure and decorum. The Award highlights “a significant textual contribution to legal literature.” Our staff is immensely honored to receive such a prestigious award for our efforts to help those in our community who are unable to afford legal representation access the legal information they need.


EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AWARD

The Law Library was also honored to receive the inaugural Excellence in Community Engagement Award for our Harvey Recovery Resources webpage. When Hurricane Harvey poured record-setting rains on our community, assistance came from all directions. Our law librarians jumped into action - even before our facility reopened - to collect and organize information about programs meant to help our neighbors impacted by the storm with their legal needs. Hundreds in our community accessed the page and community partners shared it with clients. For us, it was a natural way to show the same spirit so many in our community exemplified to pull together and lend a hand to those in need. Our staff is very honored for the recognition and we hope it inspires law librarians throughout the AALL community to lend their talents when their neighbors need access to legal information the most.

For more about the American Association of Law Library and the Annual Awards Program, visit www.aall.org.

National Pro Bono Week

This week (Oct. 21-27, 2018) is the 10th Annual National Pro Bono Week! Legal organizations across the country have planned events to celebrate and educate pro bono attorneys in their communities, and the Harris County Law Library is no exception. On Thursday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m., we’ll offer our first session of Free Legal Tech for the Public, which is designed to help pro bono attorneys and self-represented litigants make sense of all the great online resources available to help individuals representing themselves in legal matters. Everyone is welcome to attend this Hands-on Legal Tech Training from the Law Library’s Legal Tech Institute and Texas attorneys can earn 1.0 hour of CLE credit. Click for details and registration information.

Hats Off to Houston Volunteer Lawyers!

In the tradition of celebrating excellence in pro bono work during National Pro Bono Week, the Law Library would like to give a hat tip to Houston Volunteer Lawyers! HVL attorneys staff the “Library Booth,” which is a legal information booth where self-represented litigants with limited means can speak with a licensed attorney for free. The Library Booth is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the lower level of our downtown Houston location. Working in close proximity with HVL attorneys, our law librarians see the positive impact it has on our patrons to have ready access to pro bono attorneys who can answer basic questions. With guidance, self-represented litigants can make better use of the Law Library’s collection and have improved access to justice. Visit www.makejusticehappen.org to see all the ways HVL supports pro bono.

Further Reading