Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Terri LeClerq and Lydia Brandt, Leading Legal Research and Writing Experts in Texas are Criminal Justice Reformers

By Jessica R. Alexander, J.D., M.L.S.

Terri LeClercq and Lydia Brandt are experts in the legal research and writing field. LeClercq, formerly taught legal writing at the University of Texas Law School. She consults and lectures widely on legal writing, emphasizing a clear and straight forward style.  She is the author of  Expert Legal Writing, (Austin: The University of Texas Press, 1995) and Guide to Legal Writing Style, 4th ed. (New York: Aspen Publishers, 1997) and most recently a graphic novel designed for Texas prisoners on writing prison grievances, Prison Grievances, When to Write, How to Write. She also publishes a blog, Prison Grievances, When to Write, How to Write, (Captive Audiences Publishing, 2013). Just last Friday, I found out that she is a call-in contributor to KPFT Radio, 90.1, Houston, The Prison Show.  Today she has a post on their Facebook page.

Lydia Brandt, is an attorney and the author of the wonderful book called, Texas Legal Research: An Essential Lawyering Skill, (Dallas: Texas Lawyer Press, 1995.)  Although outdated in the sense that it was written pre-web, it contains vital information about the Texas legal system, such as statute and case law publication, precedent and authority, and organization of the courts, both historical and contemporary. She now represents prisoners on Texas death row. One of her clients, Anthony Doyle, was recently executed on March 28, 2014. See a Channel 11 Dallas news article regarding the subject. An example of her advocacy (Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus relief) can be read at the following PACER link in the case of Ronnie Paul Threadgill v. Rick Thaler, No.3:13-CV-1138. He was executed in April, 2013.

It is interesting that these two women who could have rested on their laurels, have undertaken the hard and unpopular task of advocating for the least of us.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Play Ball!

It’s opening day and the cries of ‘play ball’ begin to echo over the diamond shaped fields, it’s my favourite time of the year, baseball season! With all it’s tradition and history, the game known as “America’s pastime” has arrived.

If you don't have time to catch a game, you might want to try:

Courting the Yankees: legal essays on the Bronx bombers.
KF 3989 .A75 C68 2003
John H. Minan & Kevin Cole, Little White Book of Baseball Law.
KF 3989 .M563 2009

or search our catalog with the keyword ‘baseball’ and browse the 165 titles we own.

A League of Their Own
Angels in the Outfield
Bull Durham
Eight Men Out
Field of Dreams
For the Love of the Game
Headin Home (1920 silent movie starring Babe Ruth)
Jackie Robinson Story
Major League
The Natural
The Pride of the Yankees (featuring Babe Ruth)
The Rookie
Stratton Story
Take Me out to the Ballgame
That Touch Of Mink (not about baseball but features Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle & Roger Maris in one scene)
Trouble with the Curve
For more, check out
or view them at

If you want to refresh your memory on the rules (and the new rules on replay) check out

Or you want to write that substantive paper take a look at  SABR – Society for American Baseball Research -

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Guidance on Same Sex Marriages and Federal Tax Law

By Jessica R. Alexander, J.D., M.L.S., Reference Librarian
Tax filing season is upon us. Below are some web resources on same-sex marriage and federal and state income taxes:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Historical Texas Statute Publications

Jessica R. Alexander, J.D., M.L.S., Reference Librarian

Lately I had a personal need to find and understand a repealed Texas statute that was in effect in 1931.  I had never anticipated that I would have to use the Revised Civil Statutes of the State of Texas Adopted at the Regular Session of the Thirty-Ninth Legislature 1925, including Constitution of the United States and Constitution of the State of Texas. (In Two Volumes) Published by Authority of the State of Texas. This information is not available on expensive online paid subscriptions like Westlaw or Lexis. They only indicate that the statute in question was repealed and the date of the repeal.

However, this resource is available in paper in our library's collection and online through the Texas State Law Library. Interestingly, one of our paper sets came from the office of the Criminal District Attorney, Harris County, Texas.  It was sent to him by Emma Grigsby Meharg, Secretary of State, with the exhortation that he "turn the set over to his successor in office, taking his receipt for the same and file such receipt with the County Judge of your county." Obviously, along the way, there was no need for the Harris County DA to comply with the request.

These and earlier statutes are called codifications and re-codifications of Texas law.  They are also called bulk revisions. The publications reflect both substantive and non-substantive changes (reorganization) of the laws. Our paper volumes can be found at on the fifth floor of the library. Our catalog has two links to the digitized version.  One is for use in our library through our Making of Modern Law Subscription and the other is digitized by the Texas State Law Library.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Registration is now open for our next program! Digital Lawyering Toolkit: E-filing and Records Management for Solo & Small Firm Practitioners.

E-filing and records managment are complementary skills. Records management is a necessary component of running an efficient practice, and e-filing, which is required in Harris County and Federal Courts, can be simplified with information organization.
Join us March 7, 2014, from 8 am to noon, in the Emilie Slohm Room on the 6th floor of the library. The course is free for STCL students, faculty & staff (you must use your account when registering), and is only $20 for all others.  The course has been accredited by the State Bar of Texas for 3 MCLE hours.

Register by clicking here or use the link at the top of our blog. Space is limited!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Texas Property Records Online

By Jessica R. Alexander, J.D., M.L.S., Reference Librarian

Some of the smaller Texas counties have their property filings such as deeds and oil and gas leases online for free viewing.  One of these sites is Texas Land Records. You can view records without becoming a subscriber.  If you need copies you can subscribe and get copies of documents for $1.00 per page.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Helpful tools: Study Blue app

Want to keep up with black letter law while on the go?  Well there's an app for that!

StudyBlue is a free iphone and Android app that allows you to create your own flashcards in your phone to practice with even when you aren't at school. The app even keeps score to show whether or not you are improving. Another feature includes an alert you can set up to remind you to study.