Texas lawyers have a rich legal history to draw upon in their work. This history is also inextricably linked to the larger history of the Republic and State of Texas. Historical court records provide important examples of not only how the Texas judicial system has worked and evolved, but also of the lives of everyday Texans — as well as some of Texas’ more famous denizens — who found themselves accessing the courts. Some of these records have been preserved, but many still sit waiting in dusty storerooms to one day be examined and recognized for the invaluable information they contain. In this issue of the Texas Bar Journal, we examine the efforts of the Texas Supreme Court-appointed Texas Court Records Preservation Task Force to build awareness of the importance of preserving the state’s vast collection of historical court documents. Task Force members, as well as Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, Justice David Medina, and retired Chief Justice Thomas Phillips, provide essays on 21 historic records that were selected by the Task Force for preservation. In addition, Laura Saegart of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and Task Force member James W. Paulsen look at the issue of recovering stolen Texas court documents, and John Anderson and Sarah Norris, both with the Archives Commission, offer important records preservation tips. Finally, we highlight the work of the State Bar of Texas Archives Department and the ways State Bar members can utilize this important resource. Let us know your thoughts. We especially would like to hear your stories about finding or using some of Texas’ historical court records. Email us at email@example.com.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
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