October 2015 Bar Bulletin
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October 2015 Bar Bulletin

Welcome to the Bar - We Are Here To Help

By Rick Stroup - Assistant Director King County Law Library

 

Your law school days, your internship and the bar association's swearing-in ceremony are all behind you. It's time to put into practice what you've studied, argued about and prepared for. Regardless of whether you're starting practice as a member of a large firm, a small practice group, a government agency or flying solo, the pubic law library is here to help you.

Fortunately, finding us is easy; find the courthouse - which may be your home away from home for a while - and you've found us. We have libraries in both the Seattle courthouse and the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. The former is, historically speaking, the "mothership" and the bigger of the two, but we work hard to make sure either location can support your core legal research needs. We encourage you to think of them both as the same bundle of services.

The heart of that bundle is made up of our electronic research materials, our practice-oriented paper collection and our trained staff. We provide free access to WestlawNext, Lexis, HeinOnline, SupportCalc child support calculation software, and the Washington State Bar Association's Deskbook series via Casemaker. Our public PCs also host Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and general web browsing.

More than half of our 90,000-
volume paper collection is devoted to practice-oriented textbooks and treatises, which analyze a wide variety of topics. Use of these materials is completely free for anyone who visits us. If you prefer the convenience of taking print resources back to the office, we charge an annual fee based on the number of attorneys in your firm. Our expert staff works very hard to make sure you don't have to wait to ask a question, whether that's in person, over the phone or via email, and we do our level best to get you to the right resources, regardless of medium, as efficiently as possible.

As important as it is, research is only a part of what you'll do as a new practitioner. The public law library can help here as well. In addition to basic services such as photocopiers, tables where you can spread out to review your work, and free Wi-Fi connections to help you keep in touch, we provide a variety of additional services you may find useful in your work with the courts.

Accessible conference rooms are a rare commodity in either courthouse; we have five in our downtown Seattle location and one in the Maleng Regional Justice Center. They are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis or can be reserved. If you choose to reserve one for a full day or more, you can also choose to add an "amenities" tray, which includes bottled water, portable snacks and basic meeting supplies.

If you need to translate a paper document for e-filing or simply need a digital copy for your records, we can scan it for you and even sell you a thumb drive to store it on. Need to send or receive a fax document? We can do that for you, too. If you need what we librarians call a "known item" - like a specific case or statute citation or a cite to a specific part of a treatise - and a trip to the courthouse isn't convenient, you can use our document delivery service to receive a faxed or emailed copy.

Likewise, if you're stumped by a particular research question, you can send us a heads-up in advance via our QuestionPoint email service and receive feedback from us. This will certainly make your next visit to us more efficient and may save you a trip to the courthouse altogether. If you need something notarized, we have several notaries on staff who can take care of that for you. For a limited time, we can host a video visit with an inmate, so if you're representing a client who is incarcerated or has a family member who is incarcerated, we can help.

Our staff teaches a variety of classes designed to help you improve your electronic research skills and/or your use of our local court systems. These include WestlawNext and Lexis training, "Skip-Tracing and Hiding Your Trail,"" E-filing, and "Finding Personal and Business Information on the Web.""

As you move into this new phase of your professional career, don't forget the Public Law Library of King County is here to help. For more information about the services mentioned above, visit our website at www.kcll.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. To speak with a librarian directly, call 206-447-1305. To submit an email question, please contact us at kcll@kingcounty.gov.

 

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