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Law: QuickStart Guide

This guide is intended to serve as a starting point for finding legal information and is intended for public library users and librarians.

Law About

Click now for "Law About" from The Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries (TCLL), comprised of seventeen (17) law libraries operating under the Massachusetts Court System.  These law libraries serve the bench, the bar and the public.  Becoming familiar with their website will provide many resources on legal topics.  On their left side bar, click on Laws by Subject which takes you to topics under Law About...over 150 topics A-Z.

These libraries are public law libraries.  Their hours and locations are arranged by town.  Apply in person with identification for a library card which will be mailed to you after a waiting period.  Use their databases while you are there.  Remotely, you can Ask a Law Librarian and will receive a response during their hours of service.  Document delivery is also possible. Just fill out the online document request form.

Resources for Educators, and a great overview from the Law Library of Congress

 

Seasonal & Timely Legal Topics

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth: Everyday Topics for the Public

Bias Hotline from the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Any Massachusetts resident who has witnessed or experienced bias-motivated threats, harassment or violence may call the Attorney General’s Hotline at 1-800-994-3228 or fill out a civil rights complaint form at this link. Residents may also contact the AG’s Office through its social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

Consumer Protection

Harassment and Civil Rights

Immigration Specialists

Law Librarian's Blog

Temporary Protected Status Designated Country: Haiti

 

 

Mass.gov Topics

Go to Mass.Gov Home

Table of Contents for Massachusetts Practice Series Forms on Disc

Use the PowerPoint presentation below, "Massachusetts Practice Series Help with Forms on Disc."   Also read the document, "About The Table of Contents: Instructions."  The forms are available in the Newton Free Library only.  Not all volumbes come with a disc, but forms can be found within the volume.  For example, forms can be found for Mechanic's Liens in Construction Law, volume 57.   Please ask a Reference Librarian at the Ready Reference Desk for assistance.  Document Delivery Service Online Request Form is available as permitted from the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Library, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

U.S. Government Topics

USA.gov: Government Made Easy

Legal Topics

This page of the guide offers access to websites with broad coverage of topics.  Be sure to use the Search bar for this guide above to the right, if you need help finding your topic.  Other blue tabs may be useful.

From the eResources page, also use our Gale Virtual Reference Library - Topic Law

Remember to use the State-by-State blue tab then click on the name of a state for laws by topic for that state. 

There is often recent news which affects laws at the local, state, federal and international levels.  Use appropriate blue tabs.

Books on Legal Topics & Research

Self help legal publishers offer titles on legal topics intended for the layperson. Updated editions are published as frequently as new legislation or case law warrants.  The books can be borrowed as hardcopy, or checked out online with a library card if the library subscribes to a database containing a publisher such as Nolo.  Enter a library card number from the Trial Court Law Libraries to search the full text of 100 legal self help books.  Newton residents can try Freeding database remotely.  Click on Categories, and choose Law.

Library Legal Series Handouts

The Newton Free Library Legal Seminar Series, begun in 1994, has covered a broad range of legal topics.  Handouts for library research were prepared, supplementing material presented by private attorneys and Assistant Attorneys General from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Find here samplings of these handouts.  A full compilation is available through the Reference Department.  Handouts reflect resources available at the time of the legal workshop.  Updates or revisions are in progress. 

Animals & Pets

dog car

Automobiles

Online Driver's Manual Cover

Burial

Businesses

Image result for hiring veterans

Children & Families

Citizenship

Get help with your Citizenship Application. 

Civil Liberties & Privacy

Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 438 (1928)

Conservation & Environmental Protection

Conservation Law Foundation: legal work in New England states.  Scroll down and find a map in the left from, then click on your state.

Copyright

Shortly over a year after L. Frank Baum registered the copyright claim for his famous children's book of the same title, he filed another application for copyright “on all musical numbers and lyrics under the title given.” The claim was made in the names of L. Frank Baum as author and Paul Tietjens as composer. The envelope was designed by W. W. Denslow, who illustrated the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book. The colorful lettering of Baum's name and address are flanked by the Mother Goose and Father Goose characters made famous in his earlier children's books.

Although the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film is the best-known dramatization of the Wizard of Oz, it was not the first production. In June 1902, an extravagantly mounted stage version opened in Chicago to great critical acclaim. The 1903 New York production became one of the greatest successes in Broadway history at that time and continued as a road-show for another decade.

Cyber Safety

Are you safe online? Visit the online resource guide to find out. Brought to you by DHS Stop.Think.Connect.

The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign is a national public awareness campaign aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. We each have to do our part to keep the Internet safe. When we all take simple steps to be safer online, it makes using the Internet a more secure experience for everyone.

Disabilities: Physical and Mental under the ADA

PACER Center Logo: Champions for Children with Disabilities

Discrimination

DRONES/UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)

Education

Elder Law: Estate Planning, Homestead Act, Probate an Estate, Wills, Trusts, Retirement, Medicare, Social Security, Elder Abuse

Your money AND your life!

Logo, National Center for Creative Aging

Consult the Massachusetts Practice Series, Volumes 23 & 24 for topics and forms on disc related to Elder Law such as durable power of attorney, health care proxy, etc., made specific to Massachusetts law.  Ask to see the volumes at the Reference Desk.  LIBRARY USE ONLY. 

Employment, Unemployment, Retirement, Labor Law and Cases

Environment

MyAir icon

Food Safety

Gender Equality

Family & Medical Leave

Health

Housing & Home Ownership

Whether you are a homeowner, tenant or property owner, this block will help direct you to need-to-know legal information.

Identity

Immigration

New policies and other information.

Insurance Law

insurance

Explore the varied kinds of insurance that you can purchase and the rules that insurers must follow.  See HealthCare for more health related insurance.

Intellectual Freedom

Landlord-Tenant

  The Trial Court Law Libraries and MassLegalHelp along with the Attorney General's Office of the Commonwealth should help answer your landlord-tenant questions. 

Law for Libraries

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Legal resources related to Massachusetts libraries and librarians.

http://mblc.state.ma.us/mblc/laws/other_laws.php

Massachusetts Friends of Libraries Organization

Legal Aid and Help

Massachusetts legal aid programs put together MassLegalHelp.org to help you find practical information about your legal rights. Topics include: Children and Families; Consumer; Domestic Violence; Employment and Unemployment; Health and Mental Health; Housing; Immigration; School; Income and Benefits; CORI; and Disability.

Licensed Professionals & Companies

Not all categories are covered in the Check a Professional link, so be sure to try other links below.  For example, to verify the license(s) of a Mortgage Broker, Mortgage Lender, Mortgage Loan Originator, or Third Party Loan Servicer, please click on the Mortgage Brokers link below.

Marriage Law

Want a "prenup"? Look for "antenuptial agreements".  Ask for v. 16 in the Massachusetts Practice Series at the Ready Reference Desk for forms, such as:

  • Part III. Domestic Relations
    1. Introduction and Court Forms
    2. Antenuptial Agreements
    3. Cohabitation Agreements
    4. Separation Agreements
    5. Reconciliation Agreements

Massachusetts Practice Topics + Forms & Cases

Legal
topics are covered in the Massachusetts Practice
series which offers Table of Laws and Rules with relevant U.S. and Massachusetts statutes and procedural rules on areas of legal practice, plus Massachusetts state-specific legal forms, some on CD-ROM, and Table of Cases, federal, other states and Massachusetts, including recent cases (in the pocket part) in the back of the volume, before the index, for each area of law. Ask for these volumes at our Ready Reference Desk.  Use the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries' Document Delivery System Form in order to receive texts of cases, if available, from the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Librarians.  Plan ahead, as their hours of service are daytime, Monday-Friday, approximately 8 AM - 4 PM. There are 17 libraries.  Check each location for exact hours.

Mental Health Care

Motor Vehicle Law

-When windshield wipers are on

-When low light or weather conditions prevent other vehicles or persons from being seen at 500 feet

-From ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise

Wipers-HeadlighTaillights

Neighbor Law

Open Meeting Law

Image result for open meeting laws

Organ and Tissue Donation

Patents

Patent Lens

A free public resource for patent system navigation worldwide.

Pharmacy Law

Privacy

Picture of Social Media Icons

National Conference of State Legislatures posts laws and bills, state-by-state.

Public Libraries

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Real Estate

Shopping

Shopping Online

Unclaimed & Abandoned Property

Victims of Crime

... minimum of 10 lawsuits from the families of the Sandy Hook victims

Vital Records

Birth, marriage death, divorce and other records

Voting Laws, Ballot Questions, Voters Guides

Find laws related to voting.  See voting records of U.S. Senators and Representatives under the Federal Law tab's Legislation box.

 

Federal Election Commission, United States of America (logo). Link to FEC Home PageFederal Election Commission

http://www.fec.gov/

 Florence Harding becomes the first First Lady to vote.

I'm interested in finding voting records for members of Congress. Can THOMAS help?

There are several different ways of voting in the House and the Senate, one of which is the roll call vote, where the vote of each member is recorded. Not all bills, in fact, the minority of bills, receive a roll call vote.

The THOMAS home page has a link to roll call votes from 1990 in the House and 1989 in the Senate. Each link lists the roll call votes by sequential roll call number. This number is unrelated to the bill number. You can browse the list of roll call numbers, or you can go to Bill Status in Bill Summary & Status for the given bill and find the vote number (and often a direct link to the roll call vote).

THOMAS does not compile votes by members of Congress. However, the Government Resources page contains resources related to congressional votes.