The Washington State Law Library collects legal materials in various formats to meet the diverse needs of its patrons. The library welcomes suggestions for materials to be acquired by the library. The following are an example of the types of material provided in the library but is not a complete list of what is available.
Our audio/visual collection includes TVW tapes/DVDs (Supreme Court oral arguments, swearing in ceremonies), instructional videos, court interpreter materials, and oral histories. Equipment to view VHS tapes and listen to audiotapes is available in the library.
Search George, the Law Library’s online public access catalog, for books, self-help titles, government documents, statistical reports, treatises, and other catalogued items by title, author, subject or keyword.
The Washington State Law Library maintains one of the most comprehensive print collections of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals briefs, dating back to the establishment of the state. Online access to Supreme Court briefs is available for briefs filed with the court since June 2006. Briefs filed in the Court of Appeals are available online for Division I from June 2009; Division II from June 2006; and Division III from August 2010.
We collect the printed versions of the official Washington Reports (Territorial, 1st and 2nd series) and Washington Appellate Reports, including the latest advance sheets and slip opinions. We also collect all Regional (Atlantic, Northeastern, Northwestern, Pacific, Southeastern, Southern and Southwestern), Federal (including Federal Supplement and Federal Rules Decisions), Supreme Court (by West and LexisNexis) and Bankruptcy (through 2011) reports, as well as U.S. Reports (through slip opinion) and American Law Reports in print. All of these as well as those cases not covered by our print collection are available electronically through Westlaw at our public workstations. See our list of databases below.
Our digests include West’s Washington Digest 2d, General and Decennial digests, Federal Practice Digest, United States Supreme Court Digest, and Pacific Digest. Only West’s Washington Digest 2d is currently being updated in print. Click here for the Washington State Law Library’s research guide on using digests.
Determine what has happened to your case, statute or regulation since it was released with Shepard’s (via LexisNexis.com) or KeyCite (via Westlaw). We also have Shepard’s Washington Case Names Citator in print. See the Washington State Law Library’s research guide on using citators.
View a tutorial on how to use Shepard's or View a tutorial on using KeyCite.
The law library provides eight public workstations, one in the Main Reading Room next to the reference desk and seven in our Computer Center on the lower level, with in-library access to the following databases:
|CCH Intelliconnect - Labor and Employment Library (includes Labor Arbitration Reports, Employment Practices Guide and employment/labor treatises such as Employee Dismisal Law & Practice and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace).|
|Gale Legal Forms - Editable and customizable legal forms available in a variety of formats (Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, WordPerfect, Rich Text) for a wide range of subjects including bankruptcy, divorce, incorporation, landlord tenant, name change, power of attorney, real estate, wills & estates, and much more. Also includes a legal dictionary, legal Q&A, and an attorney directory.|
|HeinOnline - Full-image access to over 1600 law reviews and journals, all state session laws from inception, the Federal Register, Congressional Record, U.S. Statutes at Large, and more. View a complete list of the libraries we subscribe to through HeinOnline.|
|Loislaw - Contains the complete library of Washington State Bar Association deskbooks including estate planning, family law, real property and more.|
|Shepard’s Citation Service - Online citator from LexisNexis.|
|Westlaw - Westlaw Patron Access allows users to research federal and state cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, attorney general opinions, journal articles, legal texts, and more. Resources includes Washington Practice, Jury Verdicts Northwest, Wright and Miller’s Federal Practice and Procedure, Black’s Law Dictionary, Corpus Juris Secundum, American Jurisprudence 2d, and American Law Reports, just to name a few. Also includes KeyCite citation service.|
Patrons may view information online, save to a flash drive provided by the patron, or print to a connected printer. The first ten pages are free. Any additional pages are $.25 per page. Databases are not accessible remotely or through the wifi available at the Temple of Justice.
We have an extensive collection of Federal primary source materials – historical and current – from all three branches of government including federal court opinions, court rules, United States Code, Statutes at Large (including the latest slip laws), Code of Federal Regulations, and Federal Register. We also have the United States Code Annotated (West), United States Code Service (Lexis), and the U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News (West).
As a selective depository library for federal government documents, we receive documents primarily of interest to the legal community including laws, regulations, administrative decisions, Congressional documents, court rules, and other publications appropriate to our collection. Our selected documents are in a variety of formats including print, electronic, and microform. Learn more about the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) or view a list of participating depository libraries in Washington.
The federal government is increasingly providing information via the Internet. The Government Printing Office manages an extensive collection of resources from all three branches of government on its Federal Digital System website, including many familiar government document titles. See our Legal Research page for more information.
The Law Library maintains a comprehensive collection of law reviews and periodicals, either in print or electronic format (through subscription databases HeinOnline and Westlaw). Search George, our online public access catalog, for a particular title. If the location listed in our catalog is “HeinOnline,” we have in-library access to it through our subscription to the HeinOnline database.
The Law Library has certain resources that may be available only in microfilm or microfiche format including U.S. Congressional documents and U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs.
A microform reader/printer is available in the library on the lower level. The fee for printing is $.25 per page.
We collect a variety of daily newspapers, both local and national, as well as legal newspapers. Dailies include The Olympian, News Tribune (Tacoma), Seattle Times, and New York Times. Legal newspapers include the King County Bar Bulletin, Lawyers USA and National Law Journal.
The library maintains a pro se collection of books written for non-lawyers that explain the general law relating to specific legal topics.
More resources for the self-represented litigant.
Our reference materials include dictionaries (legal, medical, general), legal encyclopedias (American Jurisprudence 2d and Corpus Juris Secundum), government directories and yearbooks.
The Washington State Law Library has traditionally maintained an extensive print collection of material from other states including case law, session laws and statutes. As we trend toward more electronic access, the nature of this collection is changing. Patrons can access case law from other states through Westlaw at our public workstations. We will continue to maintain historical case law from other states that is not covered by star pagination on Westlaw, allowing for pinpoint citations. Additionally, session laws from all 50 states as well as U.S. territories are available in pdf format on HeinOnline at our public workstations. See our Legal Research page for online resources from other states under “Other Jurisdictions.”
We are proud to hold in our collection a number of books from the Washington Territorial Library. The Territorial Library was created by the Organic Act of the Territory of Washington (10 Stat. 172) which was passed by the United States Congress on March 2, 1853. Section 17 of the Act provided five thousand dollars to be expended by the Governor of the new Territory in purchasing a library to be kept at the seat of government. After his appointment as the Governor of Washington Territory on March 17, 1853, Isaac Ingalls Stevens made a trip to New York and made the initial purchases for the library, carefully selecting the best books in each field of learning. Governor Stevens also wrote the executives of the states and territories and many learned societies requesting gifts of their publications for the new library. The books were shipped around Cape Horn, arriving in Olympia in February 1854. By the time the original funds appropriated by Congress had been expended in 1855, the Territorial Library had 2, 852 books in its collection, over 1200 of which were of a legal nature. Many of the law books that Governor Stevens acquired for the Territorial Library remain in the Washington State Law Library’s collection today.
The Law Library collects and retains all print editions of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and Court Rules. We also have codes that pre-date the RCW including the Code of 1881, Ballinger’s Code, Pierce’s Code, Hill’s Code, Remington and Ballinger’s Code and Remington’s Revised Statutes.
Our print collection also includes, but is not limited to, bills (1913-), all session laws, House and Senate Journals, Washington State Registers, and Final Legislative Reports (back to 1975).