Monday, December 21, 2015

Fred Parks Law Library Holiday Hours

As a reminder the Fred Parks Law Library will close at 5:00pm Tuesday, December 22, 2015 and re-open at 8:30am Monday, January 4, 2016. 

The library staff at the Fred Parks Law Library would like to wish all our students, staff, faculty alumni and friends of of the library Happy Holidays. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

Photo courtesy of Melissa Brawner

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Collection Spotlight - Exam Study Aids

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Now Appearing in the Library!

The Library has many resources
to assist you in preparing for exams.
Many of them can be found in
KF 283 (Reserve and Main4).

There are also online aids -- see
the Student Study Aids Channel
on the Library Tab on STANLEY.

Good luck!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Construction edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

Given the amount of construction in downtown Houston, I thought it fitting that this week's photo is of the library as it was being built in November 2000. Next year is our 15 anniversary!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Collection Spotlight : National Pro Bono Week

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Now Appearing in the Library!

This is National Pro Bono Week.
The Library has materials on incorporating pro bono work
 into legal practice, including these representative titles.
You can find other materials by
searching STELLA by keywords or
by subject (Legal assistance to the poor
OR Public interest law), or by browsing the
Main 4th Floor materials
at KF 336 and KF 299 .P8 respectively.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Library Catalog Down Wednesday

The Fred Parks Law Library online catalog (STELLA) will be down tomorrow, Wednesday 10/14/15 from 2-4pm for scheduled maintenance.  STELLA Plus+ will still be available to use during this period.

Selfies with Stanley Halloween Contest!

Need a break? Need a great Halloween profile picture? Do you like winning things? If the answer to any of those questions is 'yes', then you should take part in the Fred Parks Law Library's Selfies with Suddenly Headless Stanley contest! All you have to do to enter is email your picture to We will post all entries on our Facebook page where the winners will be chosen by you! The picture with the most 'likes' wins. Pictures will be posted started Monday, October 19 and voting will end at noon, Friday, October 30. The winner will be announced via our Facebook page at 12:30, October 30. Winners will be emailed with details on how to collect their prizes.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Groundbreaking edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist
Representatives of the Texas Judiciary at the Tower groundbreaking, October 8, 1982.

Due to the weather, they had to move the ceremony inside.

     Thirty-three years ago today, South Texas College of Law broke ground on our largest expansion project: the construction of our 11-story Tower. It was originally planned as a 5-story addition. Thanks to grants from Houston Endowment, Inc and The Cullen Foundation, as well as sustaining grants from the Rockwell Fund, Inc., the finished product was fully funded and built without putting the school into debt.

     The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by the entire bench of the Texas Supreme Court, with the keynote delivered by Chief Justice Joe R. Greenhill. The Introduction of Judiciary was by Honorable Frank G. Evans, Chief Justice of the First Court of Appeals, which, along with the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, would be housed on the top three floors of the new Tower building. The courts moved out of the tower and into the restored 1910 Harris County Courthouse in 2011.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Collection Spotlight - Supreme Court Begins New Term

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Now Appearing in the Library!

The Supreme Court opens their 2015-2016
term this week. Our spotlight is a new
biography of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
that the library recently acquired.
You can follow the Supreme Court
throughout the term on their website.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Throwback Thursday: First Class Edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist
South Texas School of Law Catalog, 1925-1926, p. 18
The South Texas School of Law welcomed it's first class on September 24, 1923. Our inaugural class consisted of 29 men and 5 women who attended part-time in the evenings. The Law School was part of the United YMCA Schools, and was founded to provide working people with an opportunity to obtain a legal education while continuing to work during the day. The faculty, represented in this photo by Gavin Ulmer, was likewise part-time and was comprised of practicing attorneys and judges. For more information about our early years, check out the chronological history of the Law School.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Collection Spotlight - Preparing for Practice

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Now Appearing in the Library!

Here are two recent titles
for students making the transition
from law school to law practice.
You can find other materials by
searching STELLA by keywords or
by subject (practice of law
United States), or by browsing the
Main 4th Floor materials
beginning with KF 296.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Football edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

La Justice, 1974, p. 15. 
To celebrate the return of J.J. Watt... er, I mean football season, this week we go back to 1974 to look at our own football teams. Yes, we had official football teams in the 1970s! I can't find much information on them in the archives, so if you know anything about it or you played on one of the teams, please email me.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Library closed on Labor Day

The Fred Parks Law Library staff would like to remind everyone that the library will be CLOSED on Labor Day Monday, September 7, 2015. We hope you have an enjoyable holiday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Collection Spotlight - Topical Hornbooks

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Now Appearing in the Library!

The Library has Hornbooks covering basic topics
-- Contracts, Torts, Criminal Law, Property, etc. --
in both print and electronic formats.
Both can be located in STELLA, our online catalog,
by a keyword search for the topic "and hornbook".
In addition, the Concise Hornbook series is also
available via the West Study Aids online.
Log into the Study Aids website and
select "Concise Hornbook Series" under
the series tab to see all of the titles.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The 250th anniversary of William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist
     William Blackstone was born in London July 10, 1723. After the deaths of his parents, he was raised by his uncle and received a classical education. While he loved poetry, he decided to study law. He was called to the bar in 1746 and was not what you would call successful. He returned to Oxford when he was elected to the position of bursar of All Souls College. He continued his studies, and in 1750 was awarded the degree of Doctor of Civil Law. After being passed over for a professorship, he was encouraged by William Murray, the future Lord Mansfield, Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench, to give lectures on the English common law.
     The lectures were very well attended, and it was not long after that Blackstone made the observation that students needed textbooks to supplement the lectures. To that end, he published the syllabus for his lectures in 1756 as An Analysis of the Laws of England. Due in large part to the popularity of his lectures, Blackstone was appointed as the first Vinerian Professor at Oxford in 1758. The position required him to give 60 lectures a year on the laws of England. “This marked the first recognition by a university of the importance of instruction in English common law.” (Zeydel p. 307)
      Prior to Blackstone, the common law was a mass of precedents which had not been formalized in to basic principles. The Commentaries not only put the common law into a comprehensible system but also taught readers how to conceptualize legal questions. The four volume set, which totals around 2000 pages, is broken down into the rights of persons; the rights of things (property); private wrongs and their redress (remedies); and public wrongs (criminal law).  By emphasizing the teaching method of clear lecture and teaching content of both substance and procedure, Blackstone suggested the beginning of law schools, and it was from his plan that the first American law schools were built. (ibid, p. 308)
      While the Commentaries met with some criticism in Britain, they were hugely popular in the American colonies. The first printing in the Americas came from Robert Bell, a publisher and book seller in Philadelphia in 1772. The fourth volume contained a list of all the subscribers - over 800 of them. Printing a work such as the Commentaries was a large and expensive undertaking. Because of this, printers would use subscriptions to underwrite the production of a book.   Among those eager to own a copy were 16 future signers of the Declaration of Independence as well as one Captain Thomas Marshall, father of then 16 year old John Marshall, future Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Blackstone had a great influence on American law and government, even though he believed that the American colonists didn’t have the same common law rights as British subjects and voted for the Stamp Act as a Member of Parliament.(ibid, p. 311-312)
      Regardless of his personal feelings about the rights of the colonies, the people themselves were voracious consumers of his Commentaries. According to Lockmiller, it was “instrumental in preparing legal minds to make prompt attacks and resourceful defenses in the relations between the colonies and the mother country prior to the outbreak of hostilities.” (Lockmiller, pp. 172-173) The Constitutional convention used Blackstone's analysis of the English government to set up the structure of the government as set out in Articles I,II, and III of the Constitution.  The fledging nation used the English common law to establish the basis of its legal system, and the Commentaries were its printed representation. Blackstone also influenced generations of legal minds in the United States. From James Kent to Abraham Lincoln, American lawyers read, often several times, Blackstone’s Commentaries. In North Carolina it was the standard text for law students and was, in fact, the most popular textbook in the United States. It was an indispensable tool for law students, lawyers, and judges: between 1789 and 1915 it was cited, and usually approved, in American cases over 10,000 times (ibid, p. 179). It is still consulted today when questions about the meaning of the Constitution arise, and the US Supreme Court still cites the Commentaries in its opinions.
      Two hundred and fifty year ago, William Blackstone did what no other writer had done before: he made the common law understandable to lawyer and layman alike. He created categories and put the common law into a comprehensible system. He taught his readers how to conceptualize legal questions. (Berring, p. 191) His method included a view  that the law could respond to changing needs, that it was part of a social system. This is not to say the work didn’t have its flaws; however, those pale in comparison to what Blackstone achieved.  In the fledgling United States, the Commentaries wasn’t just an explanation of the law, it became the law. (Posner, p. 571) It taught the founding fathers their rights, assisted them in creating our government, and became the bible of the American lawyer for over 100 years.
      On display now in the second floor lobby of the Fred Parks Law Library is a display some of the library’s holdings of the Commentaries, including the first edition, as well as works by American legal scholars inspired by Blackstone and those by his critics. “Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Commentaries on the Laws of England” will be on display until November 19, 2015.

Works cited/consulted:
Robert Berring. “The Ultimate Oldie by Goodie: William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England.”, 4 J. L. 189 2014
David A. Lockmiller. Sir William Blackstone. (Gloucester, Mass., Peter Smith. 1970).
Albert S. Miles., David L. Dagley, Christina H. Yau.”Blackstone and His American Legacy,” 5 Austl. & N.Z. J.L. & Educ. 46 2000.
Richard Posner. “Blackstone and Bentham” 19 J. L.  & Econ. 569 1976.
Walter H. Zeydel.  “Sir William Blackstone and His Commentaries,” The Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress, vol 23, no. 4, October 1966.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Dial-up edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

The library's Westlaw terminal, circa 1981. 
The interface has changed a bit over the years.
The fall semester of 1980 saw a big change at the South Texas College of Law Library - we purchased the Westlaw computerized research system. Westlaw and LexisNexis started in the 1970s as dial-up services with dedicated terminals. When South Texas first purchased Westlaw, our license allowed 50 hours of research time a month with unlimited supervised "play time." Play time referred to access limited to learning the functions of the system itself, not to do actual research. In order to use the system you had to set up an appointment. Once trained, students could sign up for half an hour per week of free time. If they went over that 30 minutes they had to pay for the extra time. Once students had entered their search query they could print out the a copy of their retrieved cases as a kind of bibliography (a list of case names). They could then proceed to the proper books to finish their research. It took a while for the system to catch on and gain in popularity - apparently people preferred the books.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Collection Spotlight - How to Locate Resources

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Now Appearing in the Library!

Whether you are looking for a specific title or are researching a topic, the Library has the right tool for you!
STELLA is our online catalog, and contains all of our print materials and a great deal of our electronic resources. STELLA is especially useful when searching for specific titles of any kind or print titles in particular.
STELLAplus+ is our discovery system, and contains everything in STELLA as well as the contents of almost all of the content in our electronic databases (most of the content in Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg being notable exceptions). This includes articles from a variety of sources and all of the content in HeinOnline, much of which is available in full text.
You can access both STELLA and STELLAplus+ from the Library's home page or under the Library tab in STANLEY. As always, if you have any questions, or would like more information, please ask us!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Law Review Edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

Dean Garland Walker meets with the editorial board
 of the South Texas Law Journal, 1984.

On August 13, 1985, the South Texas Law Journal changed its name to the South Texas Law Review. This move was authorized by the Board of Directors of the journal at their annual meeting. The new name reflected a more scholarly image, which would be more accepted by the legal community and advantageous to the review's members. At the time there were 185 law reviews, but only 47 law journals. With few exceptions, law journals cover just one subject per edition. Because the South Texas publication covered more than one subject area, the title South Texas Law Review was considered more appropriate.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Collection Spotlight - How to Succeed in Law School

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Now Appearing in the Library!

We have pulled a collection of books for our new students
and placed them on TOP of the low Reference shelves 
nearest the elevators on the main 2nd floor. 
Topics include study skills, outlining, legal writing, 
exam preparation, and coping with stress.
The collection is designated with a sign,
"How to Succeed in Law School".

The Librarians and library staff are here to help
-- if you have any questions about resources,
services, the Law School, the downtown area, 
or anything else, just ask us!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Alumni Edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

South Texas School of Law Yearbook, 1928-1929.
As we get ready for the new school year in a few short weeks, we look back to our first graduating class (pictured above). Out of our initial Freshman class of 34 students in 1923, we had 11 graduates in 1927. On August 8, 1927, the Alumni Association was formed. The officers were William K. Hall, president; Glenn M. Green, vice-president; and E.S. Morris, secretary.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Library Intersession Hours

This is just a friendly reminder that the Fred Parks Law Library has begun Intersession hours. From August 1-August 15, 2015 our hours will be as follows:

Opening Hours
Mon.-Sat.-- 8:30am-9:00pm
Sunday-- CLOSED

Patron Services Hours
Mon.-Sat.-- 8:30am-9:00pm
Sunday-- CLOSED

Reference Hours
Mon. -Thurs.-- 9:00am-6:00pm
Fri.-- 9:00am-5:00pm
Sat.-- No Reference

Special Collection Hours
Call for an appointment 713.646.1720

Regular Fall hours will begin on August 16, 2015. As always, be sure to check the right side bar of our Fred Parks Law Library Blog for any changes to our regular library hours. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Borders of Technology - Modria Resolution Center

Modria is a company that's working on developing innovations in dispute resolution.  This much is clear, and so far there's nothing controversial.  EBay uses their systems to act as online dispute resolution - Modria's systems guide the user through a series of questions, and determines which procedure is best.  It then pushes that procedure to the next step.  If it requires human involvement, it notifies the appropriate human.  In many cases, it does not require human involvement - instead, it automates results.

This is some of the value added for Modria's automated dispute resolution.  However, Modria has higher goals, and these are being implemented today.  In Ohio, tax assessment disputes run through Modria's dispute resolution system, automating a subset of the tax court.  A New York arbitration association is using it to automate settlements on medical claims for a subset of car wrecks.

Perhaps most unusual, in the Netherlands Modria's system automates divorce proceedings.  Essentially, both members of the soon-to-be former marriage answer questions about desired child custodianship, apportionment of assets, and other factors, and the system determines agreement and disagreement.  It prompts to see if a resolution can be discovered.  If resolution occurs, the results go to an attorney who confirms that neither party has given up too much, and the divorce decree then gets passed.  Presumably, if there is an irreconcilable dispute, it gets handed over to the court for a judge to preside.

Modria is looking forward to seeing this in more courts, including divorce proceedings, moving violations, tax disputes, and other factors.  According to Colin Rule, CEO of Modria, the purpose of this is to provide self-service for "simpler" legal scenarios, giving attorneys who would normally serve those roles the opportunity to serve more of the underserved.  (One may question how "simple" a divorce proceeding might be.)

There remains the outstanding question - exactly how much automation is good for the court?  Is a judgment valid if it is determined by a machine, even if a judge or court-approved attorney looks it over and says it looks okay?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Supreme Play - Scalia/Ginsburg, Opera

Don't know what you're doing in the middle of  July?  Why not attend Scalia/Ginsburg at the Castleton Festival in Virginia, an opera covering the rather turbulent relationship between these two pillars of the American legal establishment.  Can't make it to Virginia?  Watch it online!

Although the July 11 performance (which will include a talk by Justice Ginsburg on law and opera) is sold out, there is a waitlist.  There will be a livestream of the July 11 performance along with L'heure espagnole on July 11 from 6:00 p.m. CST to 8:30 p.m. CST, viewable here.  Additionally, the next live performances will be July 17 & 19.

On review of the merits of the opera, Justice Ginsburg delivered the judgment of "quite funny" and an opinion of its creator Derrick Wang as "very talented."  Justice Scalia took no part in the consideration or decision of this opera.

Read the facts of the opera here.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

The members of the Fred Parks Law Library would like to wish everyone a happy, fun and safe 4th of July!

 Happy 4th of July from Fred Parks!

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Other Important Things Supreme Court Ruled

Although gay rights and healthcare are of critical importance to many Americans, there were a number of decisions passed by the Supreme Court this term.  Because they generally haven't gotten attention, here is a list of them, with summaries and links to the decisions.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Supreme Court Rules 5-4 on Texas Ban on Confederate License Plates

The Sons of Confederate Veterans plate design that started the issue.
The Supreme Court ruled today that license plate designs represent state speech and not personal speech, and consequentially that the Texas DMV has the right to reject submitted specialty plate designs for ideological reasons.  In a truly rare turn, the swing vote was not Kennedy, who voted with the conservatives.  Instead it was Thomas, who voted against the conservatives and with the liberals for possibly the first time in his life.

In April 2011, the Texas DMB board did something it rarely does – it rejected a specialty plate design.  In this case, it was offered by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, ("SCV") and it featured a “Confederate battle flag” (incorrectly asserted as such – it was the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia).  They were initially deadlocked, but then civil rights groups caught wind and it rapidly turned to a unanimous rejection.  Then the SCV sued.

SCV was good to go on the appeal, as the appellate court ruled that the rejection amounted to the state inserting its own speech into the speech of its citizens.  The Supreme Court reversal is an unusual one, in that it distinguishes itself from many precedents preventing the government from asserting its own speech into the speech of its citizens.  In this case, license plates, which are a feature of a vehicle, must have a design approved of by the State.

The New York Times reports that the flag does appear on license plates in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.  It is not clear if any of those states will ban those designs now that the Federal Supreme Court has made clear that doing so passes First Amendment review.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pro Doc Summer Edition 2015 Ready for Downloading

The Summer 2015 access to ProDoc is available for download now.  Current students, staff and faculty of South Texas College of Law can access the download information in Stanley under the library tab in the Electronic Resources channel.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Solutions to the end of the Texas Subsequent History Table

This is just a reminder that as of October 2014 Thomson Reuters ceased publication of the Texas Subsequent History Table. Practicing attorneys may be accustomed to using this publication to determine how the Texas Supreme Court or Court of Criminal Appeals disposed of an appeal from an intermediate appellate court. The Fred Parks Library has the publication up to the most recent edition, which was 2014.

So what are your options now?

While not everyone will see the solution as ideal, Thomson Reuters is recommending attorneys use KeyCite. The Fred Parks Law Library staff would like to remind our alumni that we have a limited version of WestlawNext available for in-library use where one can use KeyCite to find the disposition of a case. The Harris County Law Library also has public patron access to WestlawNext and, both of which have citator services that allow individuals to find the disposition of a case.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Flood Filled Friday!

Just when we all thought the worst of the flooding was over, we here at the Fred Parks Law Library found a wet surprise this morning!  Apparently excess water from the 6th floor terrace leaked through to the fifth floor tile and right onto a small segment of our 5th floor collection.

Not to worry though! Our trusty staff and librarians went to work right away to help salvage the materials, clean up the mess, and protect the area from further damage. Our maintenance department also chipped in to help eliminate the leakage and protect our materials.

The only materials that were directly affected by the leakage include Spanish-language legal periodicals. In the meantime rows 26-35 on the 5th floor (incorporating call numbers KFT 1294-KKA 39) of the south side of the library will be temporarily covered to protect the materials in those sections.  This section ranges from the end of the Texas materials through German Law.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

So You Think You Know Microsoft Office?

Why not test your skills?

Just because you have been using Microsoft Word and Excel for years doesn't mean that you are an expert.  In fact, there may be a lot of shortcuts and features that you have no idea exist! Do you know how to insert a footnote into a document?  Do you know how to create headings and styles? Both could save you countless hours when you are a practicing attorney.

Now is the chance to see how well you actually know these programs, for free!

LTECH is a site that gives you a short skills course on Microsoft Office, and then allows you to test your skills.  You can train on either Microsoft Office 2010 or 2013.

Website: LTECH:

To begin the program, simply set up an account and go.

Other resources available through the library that might be helpful are:

Throwback Thursday: Graduation edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

Chief Justice John Hill speaks to STCL graduates, May 15, 1985.

Congratulations to the class of 2015, which will graduate this Saturday, May 16. Thirty years ago, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice John L. Hill, Jr. spoke to our graduates at Temple Emanu-El, where the graduation ceremony was held. Hill was elected chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court the previous year, and took office in January of 1985.  Hill raised $1 million to support his campaign; however, he felt it was scandalous that lawyers were allowed to donate to judicial campaigns when they may have cases before those same judges. He resigned from office in 1988 to advocate election reform for Supreme Court justices. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Law Day 2015: Celebrating 800 years of Magna Carta

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist
This year marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta at Runnymede.  The barons of England forced King John to sign it to address their many grievances (specifically his high taxes and exploitation of feudal rights as he attempted to raise money to wage war in France) in order to avoid civil war.  The Great Charter, however, was promptly nullified by Pope Innocent III.  It therefore failed to resolve any of England’s internal issues and, instead, the country descended into the war that it was supposed to prevent.  King John died in October 1216, allowing for a compromise to be reached with his son and successor, Henry III. Magna Carta was issued several times, but it wasn’t until 1297, during the reign of Edward I, that it was entered into the official Statute Rolls of England.  
Magna Carta is one of the most famous documents in the world. It established for the first time the principle that everyone – king included - was subject to the law. While the 1215 Magna Carta was essentially a failed peace treaty, the 1225 version, issued by Henry III, became the definitive version.  Of the 63 original clauses, only three remain part of English law today: one defends the liberties and rights of the Church of England, one confirms the liberties and customs of London and other towns, and the final one, the most famous, states “no man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send other to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.” (
This is the clause that gives us the right to due process and a fair trial. Magna Carta has a special status as the cornerstone of English liberties and remains a symbol of defense against tyranny. In the United States, Magna Carta inspired and justified action during the American Revolution as the colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen. Those rights were enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The American colonies were founded during a time when Magna Carta was experiencing a legal revival. Sir Edward Coke used it to oppose the Stuart kings, and his commentary on the Great Charter in his second Institute was printed by order of the Long Parliament. The charters for the colonies included the guarantee that the New World occupants would have the same rights as Englishmen. Legal codes developed in the colonies included the liberties provided by Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights. Coke’s Institutes of the Laws of England were widely studied by American law students, including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison. It is not surprising, then, that those same men should look to Coke and his interpretation of Magna Carta when preparing for revolution and the creation of a new nation.

To celebrate Law Day 2015, visit the Fred Parks Law Library to view a display on Magna Carta and its influence on American law from our collection. Also, for a bit of fun, visit the British Library’s webpage to view an animated video on Magna Carta narrated by Monty Python’s Terry Jones.
Sources cited:
The British Library. (Accessed 4/28/2015)
Pound, Roscoe. ,”A Foreward to the Pageant of Magna Carta.” 14 A.B.A.  J. 526 1928.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Collection Spotlight - Exam Study Aids

by Barbara Szalkowski, Senior Catalog Librarian

Now Appearing in the Library!

The Library has many resources
to assist you in preparing for exams.
Many of them can be found in
KF 283 (Reserve and Main4).
There are also online aids -- see
the Study Study Aids Channel on STANLEY.

Good luck!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Texian Edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

On April 21, 1836, the Texian Army, headed by General Sam Houston, engaged in battle with the Mexican Army, led by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Roughly twenty minutes later the phrases "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" would take their place in history and the Battle of San Jacinto would be over, with the Texians emerging victorious. This was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution and cemented our independence from Mexico.

Texas law is unique in many ways. When we became our own country we did adopt the Common Law but we kept a few things from our days as a Spanish colony and Mexican state. As a result, lawyers and judges sometimes have  to take a look at land grant maps like this one from John Sayles' Early laws of Texas.  This copy was donated to the library by the late Judge Spurgeon Bell, former Chief Justice of the First Court of Appeals and long-time South Texas Faculty member.
Map of Spanish Texas, 1835, from Early laws of Texas: General laws from 1836 to 1879, relating to public lands, colonial contracts, headrights, pre-emptions, grants of land to railroads and other corporations, conveyances, descent, distribution, marital rights, registration of wills, laws relating to jurisdiction, powers and procedure of courts, and all other laws of general interest... Compiled and arranged by John Sayles and Henry Sayles. St. Louis, Mo: The Gilbert Book Co., 1891.