Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Fred Parks Law Library is Closed for Winter Break

We will reopen on Tuesday, January 3rd. See the panel to the right for access and services hours in the new year.

The staff of the Fred Parks Law Library wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Important Announcement: Service Interruption of Library Database and Lexis Printer Access

South Texas College of Law Houston will be performing a bandwidth upgrade. This will result in possible service interruptions starting at 6:00 p.m. Monday, December 19th, and continuing through Tuesday, December 20th.  Persons wishing to use the Library’s electronic collection, or to print using the LexisNexis printers, should consider visiting the Library at another time. Please see our holiday hours below.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

It's all Fun and Games until Someone Loses an Eye: Sports Law at the Fred Parks Law Library

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

As you may have heard, Super Bowl LI will be here in Houston. While the game itself will be Sunday, February 5, 2017, the preceding two weeks will see downtown turned into a football fan paradise complete with concerts, events, and family friendly-activities. I would like to take this opportunity to admit my total lack of knowledge on the game of football. I don’t know how many guys are on a team, I don’t know any of the rules, and I don’t know why the Dallas Cowboys are called America’s Team. As far as I can tell the goal of the game, aside from winning, is to kill the quarterback and avoid being squashed. My ignorance of the game aside, Houston hosting the Super Bowl is a pretty big deal and the perfect excuse to take a look at our collection to see what we have on sports law.
                Sports Law is a bit of a misnomer, as it can be argued that there isn’t any such thing.  Sports law is a combination of other areas of law including contract law, administrative law, employment law, torts, antitrust, and intellectual property. However, the increased focus on the health of athletes and drug use in recent years and the growing body of case and statutory law specific to the sports industry has added weight to the idea of sports law as its own specialized area of law.[i]
The history of sports runs parallel to human history. Cave paintings suggest wrestling and foot races as much as 15,300 years ago. Depiction of sports and games have been frequently found in the archaeological evidence of all ancient civilizations, from Sumer to China to Mesoamerica. Following the rise of urban civilization and the political and social structure that accompanied it, competitive sports reflected the complexity of the new social system. Sporting activities “seem to cluster around several basic themes: track and field, combative events, outdoor skills, gymnastics, water sports, and ball games.”[ii] Material from the ruins of Sumer and Egypt also show the presence of several games: board games, nine pins, and marbles.
                Did you know that Chess is recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee? Chess and the card game Bridge have applied for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games. Chess was included in the 2000 games in Sydney as an exhibition sport.[iii] Chances of either game being included in the Olympics are slim, however chess does have a long history. Originating in India in the 6th century, it migrated west along the silk road. By the year 1000 it had spread through Europe. The rules were modified over time and by 1475 it had essentially become the game that we play today. If you are so inclined, you can play a game of chess right now in the library lobby. There’s a set sitting in our reference area. In fact, the Fred Parks Law Library has several games you can check out to play here in the library. To find a full list of games available, search our online catalog STELLA for Puzzles and Games.
In honor of Houston hosting the Super Bowl, The Law of Fun and Games is now on display in the Library lobby. This exhibit showcases some of the sports law titles in our collection, including books on the Olympics, football, baseball, basketball, soccer, horseback riding, golf, and aquatic sports (just to name a few). The exhibit also encompasses games, and the law that has evolved concerning video games and the virtual world.  This exhibit will be on display until March 19, 2017.

[i] Davis, “What is Sports Law?” 11 Marq. Sports L. Rev. 211 (2011).
[ii] Blanchard, Kendall. The Anthropology of Sport: An Introduction. Westport, Conn: Bergin & Garvey, 1995, p. 100.
[iii] Pein, Malcolm. “Chess at the Olympics?” The Telegraph. June 16, 2015. Accessed 12/2/2016

Holiday Hours at the Fred Parks Law Library

For Library Hours during final exams, see the Library Services Hours information on the right.

The last day of finals is Tuesday, December 13th. After that, the Patron Services Desk will open at 8:30 , and close at 9:00 p.m. The Reference Desk schedule will not change, except that there will be no Reference services from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13th, or all day on Thursday, December 15th.

Please note the following days and times that the Library will be closed:

Sunday, December 18
Thursday, December 22 at 5:00 p.m.until Tuesday, January 3

Please see our December Calendar on the right for detailed daily information.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Hours at the Fred Parks Law Library

The Fred Parks Law Library will close for the Thanksgiving Holiday at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 23rd, and remain closed Thanksgiving Day. We will re-open Friday, November 25th at our usual 7:00 a.m. opening time.

The Patron Services Desk will be staffed at our usual hours while the Library is open:

Friday, November 18th through Tuesday, November 22nd: see “Library Services Hours,” in the right panel.
Wednesday, November 23rd:       8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday (Thanksgiving Day):      CLOSED
Friday, November 25th:                  Regular Hours Resume

The Reference Desk will be staffed as usual until Tuesday, November 22nd. After that, we will be on call only for the rest of the year.

Click the calendars below for our monthly services hours:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Banned Books Week

Stand Up for your Right to Read

Banned Books Week began in 1982, as a way to bring banned books to the attention of the public. It has continued every year since as an annual celebration of the freedom to read.

Some of the most eloquent writing on the importance of intellectual freedom comes from the courts. The following quote is not as well-known as some, but it is one of my particular favorites, as it puts forth a defense of permitting young persons the liberty to read material on adult matters. (It doesn’t hurt that I grew up in a family with three daughters, and with parents that supported our rights to free inquiry.) Justice J. Bok wrote this Opinion and Order while presiding over the Court of Quarter Sessions of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County:

It will be asked whether one would care to have one's young daughter read these books. I suppose that by the time she is old enough to wish to read them she will have learned the biologic facts of life and the words that go with them. There is something seriously wrong at home if those facts have not been met and faced and sorted by then; it is not children so much as parents that should receive our concern about this. I should prefer that my own three daughters meet the facts of life and the literature of the world in my library than behind a neighbor's barn, for I can face the adversary there directly. If the young ladies are appalled by what they read, they can close the book at the bottom of page one; if they read further, they will learn what is in the world and in its people, and no parents who have been discerning with their children need fear the outcome. Nor can they hold it back, for life is a series of little battles and minor issues, and the burden of choice is on us all, every day, young and old. Our daughters must live in the world and decide what sort of women they are to be, and we should be willing to prefer their deliberate and informed choice of decency rather than an innocence that continues to spring from ignorance. If that choice be made in the open sunlight, it is more apt than when made in shadow to fall on the side of honorable behavior. Commonwealth v. Gordon, 66 Pa. D. & C. 101, 110 (1949).
For further information about frequently banned books, and other statistics on censorship, see the American Library Association’s websiteon Banned Books Week. For assistance in researching 1st Amendment issues, please see your Reference Librarian in person, at (713) 646-1712, or

Friday, September 16, 2016

A More Perfect Union: Celebrating the Constitution in an Election Year

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

     On September 17, 1787, the delegates of the Constitutional Convention approved and signed the document they had worked on all summer in Philadelphia. The Convention was convened because our original system of government established under the Articles of Confederation simply did not work. The Constitution is relatively short, but it is a complex document. Due to what is hopefully an obvious reason, this year we’re going to focus is on one particular part of the Constitution: Article II Section 1. For those who don’t read blog posts with their personal copy of the Constitution handy, Article II established the executive branch. Section 1 is almost entirely about how the president and vice president are selected. That’s right – it’s election year!
     2016 is the 58th US presidential election. Ours is an indirect election: registered voters cast ballots for members of the electoral college. The electors then cast direct votes for the President and Vice President. The candidate who then receives an absolute majority wins the office. If there is no majority, then the House of Representatives decides.  It’s been this way since 1804, when the 12th amendment was ratified, changing Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, of the Constitution. Originally, each elector was allowed two votes, and whichever candidate received the most votes became the president, and the runner up became vice president. Electors didn’t specify president or vice president with their votes. This meant that running mates were not guaranteed to be elected and, in fact, were not.
     The first contested presidential election (George Washington ran unopposed) was in 1796, when John Adams, a Federalist, was elected President and Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican, was elected Vice President. Adams’s running mate was Thomas Pickney from South Carolina.  In 1800, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr ran as the Democratic-Republican Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate respectively, but they tied with 73 electoral votes each. The election was sent to the House for a tie-breaking decision as to who would be President. Unfortunately, the House had a Federalist majority and they really didn’t like Jefferson. The House gridlocked, casting 19 identical tie ballots. Finally, the delegates from Vermont and Maryland abstained from the vote, and Jefferson was elected. The 12th amendment was proposed December 9, 1803 and ratified by 3/4th of the states in September 1804. The amendment changed the process, stipulating that electors must cast distinct votes for President and Vice President. Starting in 1804, each presidential election has been conducted under the 12th amendment. However, that does not mean it’s been smooth sailing since then. CNN has a list of the top 10 most bizarre elections in US history – check it out and see if you agree and how you think this year’s election will measure up.  To see election results complete with interactive maps, go to the website 270towin. To get state by state statistics for past elections, go to the US Election Atlas.
     To celebrate our constitution and our right to vote, there is a display in the library lobby of select materials from the Fred Parks Law Library Collection on the Constitution, the electoral college, and the history of Presidential elections. “A More Perfect Union” will be on display until December 1, 2016

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

Flashback Friday: Garland Walker Day

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

On August 26, 1977, the Mayor of Tampa, Florida, William F. Poe, declared the following day, August 27, to be Dr. Garland R. Walker Day, in recognition of Dean Walker's contributions to legal education. Houston College of Law has a large alumni presence in Florida. This proclamation is from the Garland R. Walker Papers, located in the Special Collections Department at Houston College of Law.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Urban growth and renewal edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

Today is the first day of orientation here at the Houston College of Law. The halls are filled with eager students, ready to embark on the next phase of their lives. All around downtown Houston, the sights and sounds of myriad construction projects let us know that when this class graduates in three years, downtown won’t be the same. Like our entering class, it will have grown and flourished.  It is with change and renewal in mind that we start off the 2016-2017 academic year, and give you this photo, taken in 1976, from our student lounge of the corners of San Jacinto and Polk St. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Possible Service Interruptions on Saturday, 7/30. Library Closed Sunday, 7/31.

Our Service Desks are getting some resurfacing done starting Friday afternoon, and continuing Saturday. This may result in some service interruptions due to noise and fumes.

The Library will be closed Sunday, July 31st.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

For your Information

The telephone system will be unavailable this evening (Tuesday, June 19) from approximately 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. for maintenance and repair.

 We apologize for any inconvenience.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Attention all members of the Houston College of Law community with Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg Law access

Since our email domain has changed to, there are certain updates that will need to be made to your research database accounts. Please remember that emails will only be forwarded from email addresses for up to six months. After that, if you do not have a working email address in your account, you will not be able to do password resets, or get password assistance from technical support. If your account has your email address with the old domain, it will have to be updated.

Bloomberg Law and LexisNexis have agreed to do this update for us. Your Bloomberg Law account will be updated this Friday, July 15th. We expect that LexisNexis will be able to complete this update sometime over the next few weeks.

You will have to update your Westlaw account yourself. Emailed instructions on how to do this were sent to all community members on Wednesday, July 13th

If you have any questions, please email, or

Saturday, June 25, 2016

No Printing from Friday, June 24 through Sunday, June 26

Update Saturday, June 25, 2016: Thanks to the speedy work of our carpet installers, printing is now available for  students using webprint. A set of instructions for using webprint is available at the Patron Services Desk.

Carpet on the Library's 3rd floor will be replaced next week starting Friday, June 24th. The work will take three days, ending on Sunday, June 26th. This will prevent access to the Library's 3rd floor north.

While this work is going on, all of our printers will be inaccessible. Patrons will still be able to scan to email or USB, and make copies.

The Fred Parks Law Library apologizes for the inconvenience.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Name Change Edition

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

South Texas School of Law Yearbook Catalog, 1927-1928.

It was announced Wednesday, June 22, 2016, that our name has officially changed to Houston College of Law. It's been a while, but this isn't the first time our name has changed. We started out as the South Texas School of Law in 1923. Our first dean, Judge Joseph C. Hutcheson, Jr., addressed the freshman class which consisted of 5 women and 24 men, telling them that, "we will promise nothing now as to what we will fulfill, for we believe that we can do much more than we can now promise." Now, two names later we find ourselves reflecting back on his sentiment. We began as a "high grade night school" located in the basement of the YMCA with a mission to make legal education accessible and to produce practice ready attorneys that would serve the community and the nation.

Three names and 93 years later, we still have the same mission. We produce some of the best judges, litigators, advocates, negotiators, and transactional lawyers in the country.  As the oldest law school in Houston, our name identifies us with our birth place, the legendary Houston area attorneys and judges who helped found our institution, and reflects our place in this international and diverse city. We're looking froward to the next 90 years!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Remember the administrative law judge who sued his dry cleaner for $65,000,000.00?

Roy Pearson, a member of the D.C. Bar, is back in the news. In 2005, he became famous for bringing a $65,000,000.00 lawsuit against his dry cleaner for losing his pants. Pearson lost at trial, lost at appeal, and lost at a hearing en banc. His conduct during the proceedings led to disciplinary action; and the D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility found that he committed two ethics violations.

For a good summary of Roy Pearson's legal struggles, you can read Kevin Underhill's "Lowering the Bar." The relevant post is here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

No more copy and print cards!

The Fred Parks Law Library is discontinuing the use of copy and print cards. The card vending machines have been removed.
If you have copy and print cards with value on them, don’t worry. We will continue to honor the cards. When the value on them runs out, you can pay for copying and printing by using a PaperCut account. Visitors to the Library can obtain a PaperCut account for their temporary use by requesting a Guest Password at the Patron Services desk. We also have instructions there for adding value to a PaperCut account.
Please feel free to email with any questions or concerns you may have.