Latest & Greatest – Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Gig Workers of All Types

By Stephen Fishman  Published by Nolo  KF 390 .I54 F57 2018

By Stephen Fishman

Published by Nolo

KF 390 .I54 F57 2018

Are you looking for a career change? Perhaps, you are interested in lending your expertise to a company by working as an independent contractor or consultant. You wouldn’t be alone. A good percentage of the U.S. population is self-employed, meaning that they are working as independent contractors, consultants, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. The question then becomes: where do you begin? A good starting place is Nolo’s Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Gig Workers of All Types, the newest book to join the Law Library’s Self-Help Collection.

Working for Yourself includes necessary current legal and tax basics to assist you on your road to becoming your own boss. Topics include:

  • choosing the type of business entity;

  • obtaining business licenses, employer identification numbers, and sales tax permits;

  • insuring your business;

  • pricing services and getting paid;

  • paying taxes and keeping track of expenses; and

  • preparing written client agreements.

You can also find updates and changes made to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that are beneficial to those who are self-employed. In other words, Working for Yourself has the pertinent information you need to get yourself started on the road to self-employment.

Other books by Nolo in the Law Library’s collection that you might find to be of interest include: Legal Forms for Starting and Running a Small Business and the Small Business Start-Up Kit.

Latest & Greatest – Technology Tips for Seniors

Technology is ubiquitous, pervading every aspect of our lives. From computers to smartphones to activity trackers, technology is an integral and vital part of how we live, work, and play. This technological explosion can leave some members of our communities befuddled, anxious, and even slightly technophobic. To help out in this regard, attorneys Jeffrey Allen and Ashley Hallene have authored Technology Tips for Seniors, a book offering tips and suggestions for adapting to the changes that technology brings to their professional and personal lives and recommendations for embracing, rather than fearing, those changes. Written in simple terms without the use of technical jargon and in an easier-to-read large print, the authors set out providing tips for:

Technology Tips for Seniors  By Jeffrey Allen and Ashley Hallene  Published by American Bar Association. Senior Lawyers Division  QA 76.9 .O43 A45 2016    Technology Tips for Seniors: Volume 2.0  By Jeffrey Allen and Ashley Hallene  Published by American Bar Association. Senior Lawyers Division  QA 76.9 .O43 A45 2018

Technology Tips for Seniors

By Jeffrey Allen and Ashley Hallene

Published by American Bar Association. Senior Lawyers Division

QA 76.9 .O43 A45 2016

Technology Tips for Seniors: Volume 2.0

By Jeffrey Allen and Ashley Hallene

Published by American Bar Association. Senior Lawyers Division

QA 76.9 .O43 A45 2018

  • using mobile devices, including phones and tablets;

  • using PCs and management tools;

  • using the Internet as a means of communication;

  • sharing media, such as photos, videos, and files;

  • using technology for travel;

  • protecting your privacy and identity; and

  • monitoring health.

The second volume, Technology Tips for Seniors: Volume 2.0, offers some more advanced tips, helping seniors navigate the use of technology in certain settings, such as the office, the home, and on the road. Seniors can learn how to set up a Wi-Fi network in their office and/or office, use Smart Home Technology, use the Internet to become more digitally connected, and support their hobbies using technology. As an added bonus, the authors reveal some of their favorite apps. 

You don’t have to be a senior or a person of a “certain age” to benefit from the tips provided in these books. Remember: it’s never too late (or early) to learn something new.

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.

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.

Latest & Greatest – U.S. Congressional Serial Set

Congressional Serial Set.png

HeinOnline has recently announced the release of Phase I of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. The digitization of these documents was and is a vast undertaking, considering that the set spans more than two centuries and includes more than 17,000 bound volumes. The ability to access these documents in one database is of great importance to legislative history researchers and history buffs alike.

For those of you who may not know, the U.S. Congressional Serial Set is comprised of House and Senate documents, reports, and journals, first published in 1817 for the 15th Congress. Examples of congressional documents include letters submitted to the House or Senate, presidential messages, patent decisions, diplomatic papers detailing the foreign relations of the United States at a given time, and Senate treaty documents, to name a few. The release also includes access to the American State Papers, legislative and executive documents published between 1789-1838 in 38 volumes. The documents contained in the American State Papers predate the U.S. Congressional Serial Set and comprise the 1st through 25th Congresses. The papers are divided into 10 classes: Foreign Relations, Indian Affairs, Finances, Commerce and Navigation, Military Affairs, Naval Affairs, Post Office Department, Public Lands, Claims, and Miscellaneous. Of note: the very first document in the set is the inaugural speech of President Washington delivered on Thursday, April 30, 1789.

With the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, researchers also have access to these additional resources:

  • Congressional documents and reports from the 114th-115th Congress (2015-2019);

  • American Indian Documents in the Congressional Serial set 1817-1899;

  • Overview of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set;

  • Using the Congressional Serial Set for Genealogical Research, and

  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set: What It Is and Its History.

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As with other HeinOnline databases and libraries, searching the Serial Set could not be easier. There is a Volume & Citation Quick Locator for those who already know the volume or particular citation. Researchers can also browse through the list of Congress numbers to find the desired volume. You can also search by Congress, document number, keywords, title, volume and/or year and narrow your search to specific sections, including congressional bills, House reports, Senate reports, Senate treaty documents, etc. HeinOnline has also provided direct links to specific Serial Set volumes that are not yet available on its database but have been digitized and are accessible at the HathiTrust Digital Library.

Latest & Greatest – Patent It Yourself: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Filing at the U.S. Patent Office

By David Pressman and David E. Blau  Published by Nolo Press  KF 3144.6 .P74 2018

By David Pressman and David E. Blau

Published by Nolo Press

KF 3144.6 .P74 2018

Do you think that you’ve created the world’s greatest invention, the thing that will be talked about for ages to come? Or perhaps, it’s not something so grandiose, but nevertheless useful. At any rate, no matter the invention, you want to protect it or commercially market it. So, what can you do? A good place to start is Patent It Yourself: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Filing at the U.S. Patent Office. Now in its 19th edition, Patent It Yourself guides its readers through the patent process: from the patentability search through the preparation of the patent application to the filing of the necessary paperwork.

The book begins with an introduction to patents and the other types of intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets before moving onto the nuts and bolts of submitting an application for a patent. The authors, two patent attorneys, also present some questions to consider when filing for a patent or when thinking about filing for one: will the invention sell? Is it patentable? Is a patentability search necessary, and if so, how is it done? The authors also address issues that may arise after a patent is issued, such as supplemental applications; use, maintenance, and infringement; and ownership, assignment, and licensing of the invention.

Aside from the information contained in the text, there is a lot of useful information in the appendices:

  • a list of government publications and patent websites;

  • glossary of technical terms;

  • glossary of legal terms,

  • a quick-reference timing chart, and

  • forms.

There is also a Quick-Start Guide at the front that points readers to specific chapters depending on the task at hand. Before you send that application off to the Patent Office, be sure to have a look at Patent It Yourself: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Filing at the U.S. Patent Office. It can make the process much easier to navigate.