How to Research a Legal Problem: A Guide for Non-Lawyers
This guide was created by members of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). It is intended to help a person with a legal problem find legal rules that can resolve or prevent conflict. It is most useful to work through the steps and sources in the order given.
Legal Information Institute
The Legal Information Institute (LII) is an independently-funded project of the Cornell Law School. Popular collections include: the U.S. Code, Supreme Court opinions, Uniform Commercial Code, and Wex - a law dictionary and encyclopedia.
FindLaw, from publisher Thomson Reuters, contains free, up-to-date, and easily understandable legal information and tools for consumers and legal professionals. The website's Learn About the Law section features informational articles about a wide variety of legal topics.
Nolo's legal encyclopedia
This legal encyclopedia is from Nolo Press, one of the largest publishers of legal self-help books. The encyclopedia has thousands of free, current articles on everyday legal topics.
Nolo's legal self-help books
Nolo is one of the largest publishers of legal self-help books and there are titles covering a variety of topics. King County Law Library has created a short video about using Nolo. After watching, return here to use the Clark County Law Library login.
Washington LawHelp provides legal education materials and tools that give you basic information on a number of legal problems, and in some cases, detailed instructions and forms to help you represent yourself in court. The website is maintained by staff at the Northwest Justice Project (NJP), a not-for-profit statewide organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income people from 18 offices throughout the state of Washington.
King County Law Library Research Guides
The King County Law Library (KCLL) has created infographics and in-depth research guides on a variety of topics including administrative appeals, bankruptcy, clearing criminal records, family law, and estate planning. There is also a guide to finding Washington case law that can help you get started finding previously decided cases that may be similar to yours.
Washington State Law Library
The State Law Library's legal research page has links to some websites that may provide useful starting places for legal research online.
Washington State Judicial Opinions
The Washington State Judicial Opinions website from LexisNexis provides free public access to the precedential, published appellate decisions from the Washington State Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.
Casemaker Libra is a searchable library of Washington State secondary source titles on common legal topics. After logging in, click on the Libra Books link on the menu and then click My Books. Then click on the + sign to access the titles available through the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA).
LexisAdvance is a comprehensive law database that includes primary law, secondary sources, and practical guidance. It also includes Shepard's, a citator which helps you verify whether a case or statute is still "good law," and which expands your search by helping you find additional primary law related to your issue. Use of LexisAdvance is normally allowed only in the Law Library, but Lexis is offering free remote access for a 3-day period. To request access, contact the law library and provide your first and last name and your email address. The library will send your information to Lexis and Lexis will send you a welcome e-mail. This process may take one business day. Your 3-day access begins when Lexis creates your account. You can make this request more than once. This guide shows you how to search and browse LexisAdvance.
Westlaw is a legal research database from Thomson Reuters that contains case law, statutes, treatises, and other secondary sources including the Washington Practice series. It also includes KeyCite, a citator which helps you verify whether a case or statute is still "good law," and which expands your search by helping you find additional primary law related to your issue. Use of Westlaw is normally allowed only in the Law Library, however Thomson Reuters is offering patron access passwords that will be good for 20 hours of use over 14 days. You need to register in order to use the service. This guide shows you how to find cases in Westlaw.