The Study and Practice of Law and Stress—A Modest Law Library Response

StressThere is no doubt that a strong correlation exists between the study and practice of law and stress. Stress in the legal profession is prevalent. It’s not a new phenomenon. Stress and related causes in the legal profession have been around ever since I can remember and I am sure even well before I started law school many years ago. Stress can manifest itself in many ways, but arguably the most widespread form is associated with substance abuse. A recent story in the New York Times highlights the fragility of even the most successful and capable attorney. A high-powered Silicon Valley attorney dies. His ex-wife investigates and finds pervasive drug abuse in the legal profession.

However, this does not need to be the case. We all know about the value of eating right, regular exercise, and proper rest to keep the body functioning properly, but a mental or spiritual component is equally important. Mindfulness places a strong emphasis on breathing and meditation, which have proven to be effective stress fighters. Numerous studies have noted the importance and benefits of mindfulness in reducing stress. One recent study notes.

Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.

We previously have written about wellness and stress reducing techniques and available Law Library resources. For example, see

·         Law Library Resources for Stress-Free Law Student and Attorney Careers

·         How to Reduce Stress in Three Minutes

·         5 Ways to De-Stress After Finals

2017 Law Library Refective AreaExperts say that meditation can be done anywhere. However, since many of you spend a good deal of time in the Law Library, we have set aside space on the first floor in the NE corner of the west wing for meditation and breathing, or just plain reflection and rest. We highly encourage its use. Your wellness is paramount.

August 2017 Law Faculty Publications & News

Throughout August 2017, the Law Library received alerts for full-time TTU Law Faculty publications and news. Below is the compilation of daily alerts for August 1 to August 31, 2017.


1. Rishi Batra, Using the Terms Integrative and Distributive Bargaining in the Classroom: Time for Change?, 2017 J. DISP. RESOL. 29 (2017).

2. Gerry W. Beyer, Keeping Current-Probate, PROB. & PROP. 14 (2017).

3. Gerry W. Beyer, Estate Planning Highlights of the 2017 Texas Legislature, EST. PLAN. DEV. FOR TEX. PROF., July 2017, at 1.

4. Vaughn E. James, Planning for Incapacity: Helping Clients Prepare for Potential Future Health Crises, 9 EST. PLAN. & COMMUNITY PROP. L.J. 227 (2017).

1. Arnold Loewy & Charles Moster, It’s Debatable: Can a President pardon himself?, LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-J. (Aug. 18, 2017 08:56 pm),

1. Prof. Murphy’s work on ADMINISTRATIVE LAW: CASES AND MATERIALS was cited in the following article: Kourtney Lanea Kech, Supply and Demand, One and the Same Since When?: The EPA’s Failed Attempt to Find a Loophole in the Renewable Fuel Standard, 5 LSU J. ENERGY L. & RESOURCES 397 (2017).

2. Prof. Beyer’s article Anticipating Will Contests and How to Avoid Them was cited in ESTATE PLANNING FOR UNMARRIED COUPLES Course Materials, June 25 – 30, 2017, CY020 ALI-CLE 1461.

3. Prof. Loewy’s article Police Obtained Evidence and the Constitution: Distinguishing Unconstitutionally Obtained Evidence from Unconstitutionally Used Evidence was cited in the following article: Christopher Slobogin, Manipulation of Suspects and Unrecorded Questioning: After Fifty Years of Miranda Jurisprudence, Still Two (or Maybe Three) Burning Issues, 97 B.U.L. REV. 1157 (2017).

4. Prof. Batra’s article Using the Terms Integrative and Distributive Bargaining in the Classroom: Time for Change? was cited in the following article: John Lande, Moving Negotiation Theory from the Tower of Babel Toward a World of Mutual Understanding, 2017 J. DISP. RESOL. 1 (2017).

5. Prof. Sutton’s article Is There a Doctor (And a Lawyer) In The House? Why Our Good Samaritan Laws Are Doing More Harm Than Good for a National Public Health Strategy: A Fifty-State Survey was cited extensively in the following article: Vincent C. Thomas, Good Samaritan Law: Impact on Physician Rescuers, 17 WYO. L. REV. 149 (2017).

6. Prof. Velte’s article All Fall Down: A Comprehensive Approach to Defeating the Religious Right’s Challenges to Antidiscrimination Statutes was cited in the following article: Terri R. Day and Danielle Weatherby, Contemplating Masterpiece Cakeshop, 74 WASH. & LEE REV. 86 (2017).

7. Prof. Cochran’s article It Takes Two to Tango!: Problems with Community Property Ownership of Copyrights and Patents in Texas was cited in the following article: Loren E. Mulraine, Collision Course: State Community Property Laws and Termination Rights Under the Federal Copryight Act-Who Should Have the Right of Way?, 100 MARQ. L. REV. 1193 (2017).

8. Prof. Cochran’s article It Takes Two to Tango!: Problems with Community Property Ownership of Copyrights and Patents in Texas was cited in Professional accounts receivables, 4 ARIZ. PRAC., Community Property Law § 6.8 (3d ed.).

9. Prof. Murphy’s article Punitive Damages, Explanatory Verdict, and the Hard Look was cited in General verdict with written interrogatories, 1 FED. JURY PRAC. & INSTR. § 8:8 (6th ed.).

10. Prof. Krahmer’s article Wire Transfers, Good Faith, and Phishing was cited in Vernon’s Okla. Forms 2d, COM. & CONSUMER FORMS § 4A.1 and § 4.16 (August 2017 Update).

11. Prof. Beyer’s work was cited extensively throughout 10-88 THOMPSON ON REAL PROPERTY, Thomas Editions § 88.04 (2017).

12. Several of Prof. Beyer’s articles relative to pet trusts are cited in §§ 5:1.50 & 5.55 of 1 EST. PLAN. FOR FARMERS AND RANCHERS (3d ed.).

13. Prof. Beyer’s articles Target Best Practices for Guns Included in an Estate and New Changes Coming This Summer for Gun Trusts are cited in the following article: Taylor Smith, Rule 41f: Targeting A Gun Trust Loophole, 9 EST. PLAN. & COMMUNITY PROP. L.J. 327 (2017).

14. Prof. Beyer’s forthcoming article Estate Planning Ramifications of Obergefell v. Hodges was cited in the following article: Kaitlin E.L. Gates, Catching the Gold at the End of the Rainbow: The Impacts of Retroactive Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage on Community Property Division, 9 EST. PLAN. & COMMUNITY PROP. L.J. 263 (2017).

15. Prof. Weninger’s article Electronic Discovery and Sanctions for Spoliation: Perspectives from the Classroom was cited in Law review articles and other commentary on discovery, 14 WASH. PRAC., Civil Procedure § 21:38 (2d ed.).

1. Prof. Shannon is quoted in the following news article: 952 With Undergraduate Degrees Receive Bonus Football Season, TARGETED NEWS SERV., Aug. 2, 2017, available at

2. Prof. Beyer was interviewed for and quoted extensively in the following article: Lisa Blanck, Pet Trusts: Planning for Your Pet’s Future, SHELTERME.TV (Aug. 21, 2017), available at

3. Prof. Tracy Pearl and Prof. Bubany were interviewed for and quoted extensively in the following article: Law prohibiting texting while driving affects students’ daily lives, DAILYTORREADOR.COM (Aug. 31, 2017), available at

4. Prof. Humphrey was interviewed and quoted in the following article: Women’s & Gender Studies department discusses gender equity at Texas Tech, DAILYTORREADOR.COM (Aug. 31, 2017), available at

1. Associate Dean Humphrey was a panelist on the topic of “Character in the Classroom” during the 2017 Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) conference.

2. Prof. Beyer’s TEXAS ESTATE PLANNING STATUTES WITH COMMENTARY (2017-2019 ED.) is a compilation of Texas statutes that are significant to law school and paralegal courses related to estate planning, such as wills and estates, trusts, estate administration, probate, elder law, and guardianship. It is currently the “#1 New Release” on in the Estates & Trusts Law category. See

3. Prof. Beyer will be the speaker for the University of Hawaii’s Foundation’s 2017 Professional Advisor Continuing Education Series on October 5, 2017. Topics of his presentations will include “Cyber Estate Planning: Obtaining Optimum Outcomes for Digital Assets and Ethical Practices: Discussing How to Avoid Negligent Estate Planning.” See

4. Prof. Beyer was both acknowledged and cited in Taylor Phillip Willingham & Carla Ann Alston, WHY SHOULD I CARE? I’LL BE DEAD 5, 73 (2017) (e.g., “Gerry Beyer for having a passion of estate planning that was contagious”; “My law professor, Gerry Beyer, who inspired me to become an estate planning attorney, said, ‘Being an executor is like doing drugs, just say no!’”). Taylor is a May 2009 graduate of Tech Law.

5. Prof. Tracy Pearl was in the top 10% of authors on SSRN in the month of August by total new downloads in the past 12 months.

6. Prof. Baker was a New Scholar presenter during the 2017 Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) conference.

7. On August 25, 2017, Prof. Beyer was in San Antonio to speak for the Texas College of Probate Judges at its 2017 Annual Meeting. His presentation and accompanying article were entitled “Recent Cases: Intestacy, Wills, Probate, and Trusts.”

8. Prof. Ross presented at the International Society of Family Law in Amsterdam in July. Her presentation was entitled “Empowering the Dead-Broke Parent: An International Perspective.”

August 2017 New Books

2017 August new books

In August 2017, the Law Library added the following new titles to the collection to support the research and curricular needs of our faculty and students.


  1. Rosalind Dixon and Tom Ginsburg, eds., Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America (2017).


  1. John D. Inazu, Confident Pluralism: surviving and thriving through deep difference (2016).


  1. Daniel S. Medwed, ed., Wrongful Convictions and the DNA Revolution: twenty-five years of freeing the innocent (2017).


  1. J. Kim Wright, Lawyers as Changemakers: the global integrative law movement (2016).


  1. Gregory P. Magarian, Managed Speech: the Roberts court’s First Amendment (2017).
  2. Neil Richards, Intellectual Privacy: rethinking civil liberties in the digital age (2015).


  1. Patricia Illingworth and Wendy E. Parmet, The Health of Newcomers: immigration, health policy, and the case for global solidarity (2017).


  1. Sital Kalantry, Women’s Human Rights and Migration: sex-selective abortion laws in the United States and India (2017).


  1. Lee Epstein and Stefanie A. Lindquist, eds., The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Judicial Behavior (2017).


  1. Marion G. Crain, Winifred R. Poster, and Miriam A. Cherry, eds., Invisible Labor: hidden work in the contemporary world (2016).


  1. Brian Z. Tamanaha, A Realistic Theory of Law (2017).


  1. Daniel P. Barbezat and Mirabai Bush, Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: powerful methods to transform teaching and learning (2014).
  2. Jane Bloom Grise, Critical Reading for Success in Law School and Beyond (2017).


  1. Bruce W. Frier, general ed., The Codex of Justinian : a new annotated translation, with parallel Latin and Greek text based on a translation by Justice Fred H. Blume (2016).


  1. Rebecca Dresser, Silent Partners: human subjects and research ethics (2017).


  1. Kate Fagan, What made Maddy Run: the secret struggles and tragic death of an all-American teen (2017).


  1. Kimberly Jade Norwood, ed., Ferguson’s Fault Lines: the race quake that rocked a nation (2016).


  1. Holly Fernandez Lynch, I. Glenn Cohen, and Elizabeth Sepper, eds., Law, Religion, and Health in the United States (2017).

All of these books are available from the Law Library.  If you would like to check out any of these titles, please contact the circulation desk at either 806-742-3957 or  Library staff will be able to assist in locating and checking out any of these items.

The Duty of Tech Competence & AI


The use of artificial intelligence has many potential pitfalls regarding attorney professional responsibility rules. One such pitfall concerns the duty of technology competence.

imagesAs Robert Ambrogi points out over on Law Sites, a majority of states have now adopted the duty of technology competence for lawyers – first noted in Comment 8 to ABA Model Rule 1.1.

The ABA version states:
To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject. (Emphasis added.)

While the states may differ in the exact language of their rules, these rules will likely have an ongoing effect on a lawyer’s duty to learn various aspects of ever-changing technology.

Down the road, there may be a time when attorneys must know and understand how artificial intelligence works to be able to rely on technology to perform the more sophisticated functions of law practice.

As lawyers begin to use ROSS, say, to perform legal research or even draft simple memos, it is not unreasonable to presume that a lawyer would need to understand how ROSS decided a particular issue to have true algorithmic accountability. Because a technology like ROSS cannot be subject to the same professional responsibility rules as a living, breathing lawyer, it is up to the lawyer to maintain a duty of technological competence to understand and vet the work of the software.

This is tricky because we are currently at a point where most algorithms are proprietary and there is little transparency about the results that are generated. It is unlikely that this competing issue with be resolved anytime soon.

Until such time when the AI developers release the very decision trees for how an algorithm came to a particular result, law librarians will be helpful in teaching lawyers to understand the current state of AI technology. During our legal research instruction, we should offer pointers to lawyers on the results generated and how to spot possible issues, such as bias.

Ethics and Law Libraries

Sources from the Bible and Confucius to Shakespeare and Dickens, among countless others, have had negative things to say about lawyers. There is even a term, pettifogger, that means a “lawyer whose methods are petty, underhanded, or disreputable.”  Perhaps beaconSaul Goodman (aka Jimmy McGill), the often shady attorney in the current TV series Better Call Saul comes to mind.

Standing firm in the midst of the stinging criticism of lawyers are law libraries–mighty beacons for the rule of law and ethical conduct.  The tradition of law libraries has been to make our great legal system–and its accompanying ethical directives, such as Justinian’s edict to “[l]ive honestly, hurt no one, and render to every one his due”–available to both professionals and laypeople.  These are guiding principles that serve as the underpinnings of contemporary legal ethics.

Want to learn more about Justinian and other ethical directives that form the fundamental basis of today’s Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct?  For information and resources on the rule of law and legal ethics, visit or contact the Texas Tech University School of Law Library.