Helpful Information about the Texas Bar CLE Online Library for State Bar College Members
From Pat Nester, Executive Director
Until 2007, the College had arranged a big discount on the State Bar’s “Online Library” service, $100 off for an annual subscription for members, down from $295 retail. Beginning January 1 of 2007, an annual subscription for College members is FREE.
If you have already subscribed to the Online Library, your membership in the College allows you to extend your subscription for an extra year at no additional charge, when your present membership expires.
For those not familiar with the Online Library, here’s a quick description. It is a database, accessible from any computer connected to the Internet, from which you can call up more than 22,000 articles prepared for CLE courses presented by the State Bar since 1998. This includes all the Bar’s advanced courses, almost all other seminars, and all written material prepared for webcasts.
The Online Library is located at www.TexasBarCLE.com. You can read the articles in the Library online, download them to your computer, or print them out on your office printer. State Bar College members are recognized in the Online Library by their bar number – no special codes, or passwords needed.
I hear regular feedback from those who are using the Online Library. From solos to tall building lawyers in big firms, the reports are strongly positive. It is THE PLACE to find the answer.
You can search the Online Library database in several ways. If you can remember what course the article came from, you can quickly scroll through the courses. If you can remember the author’s name, you can search on that. If you can think of a word or phrase that you want information about, type that into the search box.
For example, I typed in the words “good faith and fair dealing” and within a second, the search software found 500 articles discussing it. That’s too many, of course, so I narrowed my search by adding the word “insurance” at the end of the search term, presuming that I was working on an insurance-related case. This brought the number of articles down to a thoroughly manageable ten.
Over the last few years, I have had a running argument with some big vendors of legal research services-whose names all would recognize-about whether lawyers are better off beginning their search by reading the five pounds of cases which their software will gather or whether they are better advised to find CLE articles written by experienced Texas lawyers that discuss their issue. I take the latter view, and it is easy to test in the Online Library.
When you find the explanation of your issue in one of the CLE articles, you are brought instantly up to speed. Then you can check the cases spotted for you in the article that are the authorities most worth reading. You can use the State Bar’s free research service (also on www.TexasBarCLE.com) to find them, read them, print them out, and then to use the “CaseCheck” feature to check for later cases citing the case you’re reading. It is hard to imagine that for a high percentage of legal research issues, the Online Library approach won’t save considerable time.