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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.

Legal Services and Assistance

Massachusetts Bar Association's Dial-A-Lawyer offers free legal advice on the first Wednesday of each month.

call (617) 338-0610 between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

NOTARY PUBLIC: The City of Newton Office of the City Clerk provides access to a Notary Public, with some restrictions.  Please read the following statement: Available to non-residents as well as residents; 5 notaries available.Restrictions: No house closings or sales, and no wills. These would require an attorney present which they do not have.

LEGAL RESOURCE FINDER: "The Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder - Legal Aid search results will give you contact information for legal aid programs, nonprofits, government agencies and court programs that may be able to help you with your legal issue for free or at a low cost. It will also give you links to legal information and self-help materials."


In Library Login Only: Ask a reference librarian to login for access to the Social Law Library for public libraries.

Ask a Law Librarian from the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries 

Choosing an Attorney

Courts and Alternatives

Pro Se / Self-Represented Litigants

Court Service Center Locations

Edward W. Brooke Courthouse

24 New Chardon Street, 2nd floor
Boston, MA  02114
Hours: 8:30-4:30, Monday – Friday
Public transit: Accessible by MBTA

Franklin County Courthouse

101 Munson Street, ground floor
Greenfield Corporate Center
Greenfield, MA  01301
Hours: 8:30-4:30, Monday – Friday
Phone number: 413-775-7483
Public transit: Accessible by FRTA

Ethics and Discipline

Law About

Massachusetts Attorney General's Resources During COVID-19  Rights for workers, multi-lingual resources on earned sick time, proect yourself from frauds and scams, health care and insurance, child care and other resources for families, resources for immigrant communities, students and student borrowers, protecting your civil rights, small businesses, domestic violence and sexual assault resources.

LEGAL TOPICS A - Z QUICKLY: Click now for "Law About" from The Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries (TCLL), comprised of seventeen (15) law libraries operating under the Massachusetts Court System.  

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

Current Legal Topics from the Library of Congress.

Public Law Libraries

Trial Court Law Libraries HomeMassachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Step 1.  PUBLIC LIBRARY IN YOUR CITY OR TOWN.  Begin your research at your local public library.  With the assistance of your reference librarian, use the library's legal reference collection and bookmarked legal websites.  This will help to find basic information to get your research started.  For a public library near you, or to get directions and contact information, click on the Massachusetts Libraries tab from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners homepage found at

Step 2.  PUBLIC LAW LIBRARY IN MASSACHUSETTS.  Continue your legal research at a public law library, either online with Ask a Law Librarian! or in person, with the assistance of a law librarian.  Use the Ask A Librarian! feature for live chat, e-mail, or contact information. Look for a public law library near you.  Find legal citations, cases, books and online materials that will guide you through the legal research process. 

The seventeen Massachusetts Court System libraries, called The Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries located across the Commonwealth, and The State Library of Massachusetts in the State House in Boston are open to the public.   Document DeliveryDocument Delivery Service is also available.


Step 3.  Finding a Lawyer, Low Cost Legal Assistance, Limited Assistance Representation and Referral Services.  Find practical, easy to understand information about your legal rights in Massachusetts.  You may qualify for legal aide, too. Use  Consult Lawyer Referral Services through the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Boston Bar Association, and the National Lawyers Guild. offers a directory by zip code or town.  Start with the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries web page Massachusetts Legal Referral.

Law School

Image result for law schools

Bar Examiners

Lawyer Directories

Honore Daumier Lithograh "Les Bas Bleurs" -- Brandeis University Digitized Collections

Lawyers & Courthouses Directory

Newton District Court

Legal Referral

Limits and Disclaimers

Librarians: Limits & Disclaimers


n      “Legal reference does not include interpretation or advice.”

n      “The patron must read, analyze and interpret the material…”

n      “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.”

Pro Bono

Events, news and resources from the American Bar Association toward celebrating and promoting pro bono work.


Law and the Movies

Opening Act

Trying to improve your lawyerly skills?  The American Bar Association (ABA) selects lessons for lawyers and top courtroom / lawyer movies.

Massachusetts Public Librarians' Access