Newton Free Library Legal Reference Class Legal Information Literacy Basics in Legal Research: Print and Electronic Resources
Librarians: Limits & Disclaimers
“ Legal reference does not include interpretation or advice.”
“ The patron must read, analyze and interpret the material…”
“ The librarian may direct you to cases, statutes, and sources, but that does not mean those are the only ones that might apply to your situation.”
This class is intended to be a first step for the layman, to begin to learn about legal resources available to the general public.
Understand the origins of law
Define sources: primary and secondary.
Concentrate on Massachusetts and local law.
Review selected print resources.
Find legal information online.
Learn about Newton Free Library resources.
Read a legal citation.
Answer the class exercises.
Find a pending bill and a new law
Find a law by popular name, by text
Find a regulation
Find a case
Find a legal form
Find a lawyer; find the lawyer’s rating
Find a Newton ordinance
Understand the Origins of the Law Governing Documents, Branches of Government
Defining Sources of Law: Primary and Secondary
The Library of Congress Law Library offers a Research Help Guide at http://www.loc.gov/law/help/
“The materials used for legal research are
generally divided into two broad categories:
primary sources and secondary sources. ” --Library of Congress Law Library
What are Primary Sources?
“Primary sources are statements of the law from a governmental entity such as a court, legislature, executive agency, president, or governor.” –Library of Congress Law Library
What are Secondary Sources?
“Secondary sources offer an analysis, commentary or a restatement of primary law. Secondary sources are used to help locate and explain primary sources of law. These sources may influence a legal decision but they do not have the controlling or binding authority like the primary sources of law.” –Library of Congress Law Library.
Find Legal Information Online
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries
Newton Free Library
City of Newton
http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net First click on “Reference”
Find Internet Searching in left column.
Click below on Massachusetts QuickFind!
Scroll topics for Law
Law under Massachusetts QuickFind!
Public Law Libraries
Legal Links in Newton Reference Topics
Hover over Reference
Click on Databases & Websites
Scroll through topics, examples:
Newton Free Library CONSUMER Topic
Massachusetts Attorney General: Consumer Protection Consumer advisories, regulations, consumer tips & questions, how to file a consumer complaint, and other consumer information organized by topic.
Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Regulation Over 20 consumer-related topics from autos to a 30-day demand letter; pamphlets, resources by the Office of Consumer Affairs, federal resources, and other pertinent information.
Newton Free Library GOVERNMENT Topic
Mass.gov The official web site of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Here you will find links to all state agencies, local government links for cities and towns, online services, news & updates, and a wide variety of Massachusetts information on everything from tourism to current Mass. lottery numbers. Free website.
Massachusetts Attorney General Home Page Topics covered include children, civil rights, consumer, elder, employee, health care, insurance and victims rights. Many publications are also available in foreign language translations .
Newton Free Library LAW Topic
Loislaw (in the library only)
Key Website Access
Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries
Newton City Ordinances and Charter
*Home access available to Newton residents only with a Minuteman library card number beginning 21323
Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries www.library.state.ma.us
Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries Information Section
Find information links by headings:
Laws by Subject
Laws by Source
Library Locations & Services
Mass. Law Blog
Laws by Subject: Searching Choices
Laws by Popular Name
Forms for a Legal Topic
Massachusetts Law About
Laws by Popular Name: Homestead Law
Homestead Laws – See
Law about Homesteads
Homesteads MGL c.188
s.1 Traditional homestead law
s.1A Elderly and disabled
s.2 Manufactured homes
Homestead & Bankruptcy MGL c.235, s.34 (cl.14)
Selected Case Law
Nolo.com online books (requires library card)
Laws by Popular Name Lemon Laws
Laws by Source
Search by Citation or Full Text
Chapter 235, s.34
Homestead exempt from seizure
Federal Legislation Pending Bills http://www.govtrack.us/congress/legislation.xpd
Sponsor or Co-sponsor
Public Law Number
Blogs for Popular Bills
Federal Legislation Using The Library of Congress Thomas http://thomas.loc.gov/