Need More Help?
Contact us for help via email, phone, fax or in person. The Washington State Law Library's Reference Staff is here to help. Reference personnel are available Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They can answer basic questions, help you locate materials and provide assitance with using the library's resources in print or electronic. Library staff cannot provide services that might be interpreted as the unauthorized practice of law, such as locating relevant cases, interpreting statutes or giving legal advice. See our Legal Research & Advice Policy for more information.
The best resource for help with legal research is a law library. Below you will find information about other law libraries in Washington including county, academic and court libraries. Other types of libraries may also have legal collections. Many large public libraries have legal collections that include selected primary source material (such as the Revised Code of Washington and the United States Code) as well as a variety of self-help law books written for the general public. Some community colleges have paralegal programs with library collections to support legal research instruction.
County Law Libraries
To locate a county law library near you, consult the Washington Association of County Law Libraries Directory. Collections, services, staffing, and hours vary widely so we recommend you call first.
Academic Law Libraries
- Chastek Law Library
721 North Cincinnati St.
Spokane, WA 99202
- U.S. Courts Library
Thomas S. Foley U.S. Courthouse, Room 650
920 West Riverside Ave
Spokane, WA 99201-1010
- U.S. Courts Library
U.S. Courthouse, Room 19105
700 Stewart St
Seattle, WA 98101-1271
- U.S. Court of Appeals Library
Park Place Bldg.
1200 6th Ave, Suite 404
Seattle, WA 98101
Search the Directory of Washington Libraries (a project of the Washington State Library) for a public, academic, government or special library near you that may have legal materials.
You may want to contact an agency or organization that specializes in your type of problem. The Washington State Office of the Attorney General has compiled a list of topics with links to agencies or organizations that may be better equipped to help you.
If you don't find what you are looking for at the link above, consult the State Agency, Boards and Commissions Directory.
Despite your best efforts, some legal problems may be too complicated or too time consuming for you to handle on your own. Below are links to organizations and resources that may help put you in touch with needed assistance.
The American Bar Association's Consumers' Guide to Legal Help in Washington includes resources on finding a lawyer such as lawyer referral services and ways to find free legal help as well as help with foreclosures.
The Washington State Bar Association does not operate a lawyer referral service, nor do they provide direct legal services. However, on their Find Legal Help page, you will find resources for lawyer referral services and access to services for moderate-to-low-income people including:
- CLEAR – Washington’s toll-free, centralized intake, advice, and referral service for low-income people seeking free legal assistance with civil legal problems.
- Home Foreclosure Legal Aid Project – Volunteer attorneys recruited and trained by the WSBA to help homeowners facing foreclosure.
- Moderate Means Program – A partnership between the WSBA and Washington’s three law schools connecting people within 200-400% of the Federal Poverty Level to lawyers who offer legal help at reduced rates.
Other resources available from the Washington State Bar Association include a consumer information pamphlet on Consulting a Lawyer (Cómo consultar a un abogado); a Lawyer Directory which you can search a number of ways including name, city, area of practice and languages spoken; and a list of County Bar Associations, Minority Bar Associations, and Specialty Bar Associations covering a variety of areas including the arts, criminal law, employment, and immigration. Also on the WSBA website, you will find the steps to take if you want to file a complaint against a lawyer.
Links to other directories, resources, and organizations where you can find legal help:
- Alliance for Equal Justice – Washington's network of organizations providing civil legal aid to the state's low-income and vulnerable people in need. Members include more than 30 Statewide and Specialty Programs and Volunteer Lawyer Programs.
- Northwest Justice Project (NJP) – the largest civil legal aid provider in Washington. NJP operates the state's intake and referral process through CLEAR and 211 hotlines.
- Directory of legal aid programs in Washington by county from Washington LawHelp.
- ImmigrationLawHelp.org – online directory of nonprofit organizations that provide free or low-cost immigration legal help. Search the site by state, county, or detention facility and refine your search by areas and types of legal assistance provided, populations served, and languages spoken.
- Columbia Legal Services – a non-profit law firm that represents people and organizations in Washington State with critical legal needs who have no other legal assistance available to them.
- Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington – drop-in clinics for homeless and at-risk youth (13-25 years old) providing information and education in the areas of housing, education, emancipation, employment, family law, consumer law and public entitlements. Also offers Juvenile Record Sealing Clinics to citizens of any age.
- Team Child – upholding the legal rights of youth to ensure that they have opportunities to succeed. One of the many projects they manage is the Juvenile Record Sealing Project.
- QLaw – the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) Bar Association of Washington. Search their member directory for a GLBT-friendly attorney, legal professional or other QLaw member.
- Northwest Immigrant Rights Project – this organization provides direct legal services to low-income immigrants in order to pursue and defend their legal status.
- ACLU of Washington State – this local affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union handles civil liberties and civil rights matters that happen in the state of Washington.
- Martindale-Hubbell – advanced search for lawyers, law firms and organizations throughout the country. You can also browse by practice area or geographical area.
- Northwest Indian Bar Association – see their Tribal Referral List for a list of lawyers who are familiar with Indian legal issues and tribal court practice and are willing to help Native and non-Native people with legal disputes arising out of Indian Country.
- Latina/o Bar Association of Washington – an association of Latina/o legal professional, Latina/o law students, and their friends who are committed to representing the goals of the Latino people of the State of Washington.
- Neighborhood Legal Clinics – this civil legal aid program through the King County Bar Association offers free, limited legal advice and referrals to King County residents or people with legal issues in King County.
- Courthouse Facilitators – individuals who assist self-represented parties with their family law cases in superior court.
The staff of the Washington State Law Library has prepared a number of Research Guides to help get you started.
Other Washington State Legal Research Guides:
Guides from Other Sources:
(Here are a few suggested titles of the many legal research books available.)
- Washington Legal Researcher’s Deskbook 3d, by Penny A. Hazelton et al., Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library, 2002
- Washington Legal Research, 2nd ed., by Julie Heintz-Cho, Tim Cobb and Mary A. Hotchkiss, Carolina Academic Press, 2009
- Legal Research in a Nutshell, 10th ed., by Morris L. Cohen and Kent C. Olson, West Publications, 2010
- Legal Research Explained, 2nd ed., by Deborah E. Bouchoux, Aspen Publishers, 2010
- The Legal Researcher’s Desk Reference, 2012-13, by Arlene L. Eis, Infosources Publishing, 2011
- Legal Research: How to Find and Understand the Law, 15th ed., by Stephen Elias, Nolo, 2009