July 2013 • Vol. 33 No. 7 | An E-Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

Conducting Research? LA Law Library Is Much Closer Than You Think

By Malinda Muller, Interim Sr. Director Library Services, LA Law Library.

Do you ever need something for your law practice that you don’t have in your office or is outside the scope of your online research plan? What about boilerplate language for that contract you’re drafting, or a sample complaint for that new case you just took? How about a private space across the street from the downtown courthouse to meet a client or hold a deposition? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, LA Law Library can help. 

LACBA member benefit. LA Law Library is the second largest public law library in the United States, second only to the Law Library of Congress, and LACBA members receive full access without having to pay a deposit:

FREE LA Law Library Borrower Card. As a LACBA member, you are entitled to a FREE LA Law Library borrower card (the $140 deposit has been waived). With your card, you can borrow up to seven books at a time from LA Law Library’s extensive California (including MCLE self-study), U.S. (federal and state) and Foreign/International Law materials. The collection is both current and historical, covering all areas of law including an extensive foreign and international law collection.

• Upgrading to the Members Program. The Members Program is an enhanced, fee-based, participation program that offers additional benefits to members of the bar and their affiliates. By upgrading from a “Borrower” to a “Member,” you gain remote access to selected additional databases, on-site parking downtown, discounts on library services, MCLE classes, conference rooms, and a direct to a reference librarian help line, among others.

World recognized print collection. LA Law Library primary materials include case law, statutory, and regulatory law for all federal and state jurisdictions in the United States. Treatises, practice materials, legal forms, and periodicals covering all areas of law are also available. Upwards of 35% of the collection is dedicated to cross border, foreign, tax, and international law, with materials representing more than 200 countries. LA Law Library also boasts one of the largest historical archives of legal materials in California, allowing you access to hard-to-find, older versions of codes, treatises, and statutes.

Legal databases. The library provides free access to Lexis, WestlawNext, CEB OnLaw, and many other legal research databases. Bring a thumb drive with you to save all of the cases, forms, and practice materials you researched. Materials can be downloaded in Word and easily transferred to pleadings and other documents you are drafting.

Circulation. As with any public library, our books can be checked out. You can also call ahead and request materials be pulled from the shelf and placed on hold for you. Too busy to come over? Add a messenger or staff member to your library account, and have them pick up the materials for you. 

Delivery and e-delivery. Most materials can be checked out and delivered to borrowers via overnight carrier, which the library will arrange for you. Any item in the library can also be scanned or downloaded and e-mailed for a small fee. Popular items sent via e-delivery include judicial profiles and selected text from Rutter Guides and other secondary material. Legislative history materials are also in demand. In today’s market, personal libraries are no longer comprehensive. E-delivery is a “just in time” service from the library that effectively expands your personal collection without the prohibitive cost.

If you need research materials but aren’t sure what the library has, or you don’t know the chapter, volume, or even set that you are looking for, try e-mailing the reference desk (express@lawlawlibrary.org) for assistance or searching the library’s catalog online (www.lalawlibrary.org). LA Law Library reference librarians will help find the material you need. 

Branch, e-branch and partnership locations. LA Law Library also maintains a print collection at the Torrance and Long Beach courthouses, the Van Nuys branch of the Los Angeles Public Library (directly across the plaza from the courthouse), the Pasadena Public Library, and the LA County Library in Compton. In addition, LA Law Library provides online access to legal databases at all of its branch and partnership locations, including the Lancaster Regional Library and the new eBranches opening soon in the Norwalk and Pomona courthouses. These services replicate most of the robust online subscriptions available at the main library downtown and include:

Westlaw: Coverage of state and federal statutes and case opinions; selected California secondary sources, dockets, jury verdicts, judgments, and settlements as well as selected motions, pleading, and other civil trial filings from the California state and federal courts. This service includes the entire Rutter Group practice library, adding new titles to the service as they are published, and the full Witkin series, Miller & Starr Real Estate, and Cal Jur.

CEB Onlaw: Complete access to CEB’s California full five practice area libraries covering estate planning, business law, real property, litigation, family, and employment law. The libraries have full-text search capabilities, citation links to primary law, and contain downloadable forms. New titles added in print are added online as well.

HeinOnline: Often a useful place to begin research on an issue, HeinOnline houses the largest collection of full-text law journal and bar association magazines and journals in one searchable location. The service also contains current and historical access to the Federal Register, CFR, U.S. Code, and U.S. Treaties.

Legal Information Resource Center: More than 300 full text publications and thousands of legal forms provided primarily through Nolo. “How-to” instructions addressing a wide range of legal issues including business law, intellectual property, family law, property and real estate, rights and disputes, foreclosure and bankruptcy, immigration, and wills and estate planning.

LegalTrac: Indexing for more than 1,500 law reviews, legal newspapers, and international law journals. Selected titles and years are full text. 

Selected material from cases, forms, and practice materials from databases can be e-mailed or saved for later use or transferred to pleadings and other documents using a thumb drive. 

Online resources available from your home or office. Visit the library’s Web site to access the largest repository of California Supreme Court and appellate court opinions starting in 2008 to the present. The library has digitized up to 75,000 briefs and continues to add more daily. Download a legislative history checklist or retrieve California ballot propositions since 1980. Also available is full-text access to all the publications and forms contained in the nuts-and-bolts suite of Nolo Press legal publications published by EBSCO.

Other services. LA Law Library has services that help to streamline work, promote efficiency, and support a cost-effective business. Is there a role in your practice for any of the following?

Materials set aside for arrival. The library maintains a team of professional reference librarians at the downtown branch, including a foreign law specialist, available to apply their expertise and assist you in extracting the most appropriate resources. Staff will conduct a quick reference interview, pull relevant materials, and hold them at circulation, ready for your arrival.

Continued learning. The Law Library offers live MCLE classes as well as CDs and DVDs that can be checked out for self-study MCLE credit. The library also maintains a speakers bureau that provides networking opportunities and an efficient method for accumulating CLE credits. 

Your downtown office. Library conference rooms available for rental double as “war rooms” for trials or as a place to hold a deposition or mediation. Centrally located near all downtown courthouses, the conference rooms are also used for settlement conferences, conference calls via Skype, and access to legal research databases.

To learn more about how the library can benefit your law practice, to be added to the speakers bureau, to get on the Law Library mailing list, or to order a day pass to try out the Members Program, please visit www.lalawlibrary.org or contact Malinda Muller at mmuller@lalawlibrary.org.

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