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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.

What's New or Timely

30th Anniversary! Americans with Disabilities Act

New England ADA Center

 

COVID-19 RESOURCES

Congress.gov.  New bills, such as H.R. 6800 Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or the HEROES Act

Mass.gov COVID-19 Weekly Public Health Report town/city weekly reports

Schools and Child Care Programs Updated July 24, 2020

Multi-faceted documents and posters for administrators, parents, caregivers, children and teens

TRAVEL ORDER EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1, 2020

All visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, who do not meet an exemption, are required to:

  • Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health.
  • Quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. 

If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arrival, visitors, and residents must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.

Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day.

Please find more information below, including the list of lower-risk states, exemptions, business guidance and other details.

Prior to the effective date, the existing travel policy can be found here

CONTACT TRACING

Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, along with Partners In Health, has created the COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative.

TESTING SITES

Massachusetts Testing Sites Chart Dated August 5

Headings: Site Name Address City Phone Number Drive Through Acctps MassHealth Tests Children

 
UNEMPLOYMENT
 

U.S. Department of Labor.  Unemployment Insurance Relief During COVID-19 Outbreak

Mass.gov.  Pandemic Unemployment Assistance(PUA)  online application

Massachusetts Unemployment and COVID-19

Tool Checker: Choosing an application: UI (Unemployment Insurance) or PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) or PEUA (Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance)

For dislocated worker grants, workplace safety and more, go to DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

For emergency relief bills and others, go to CONGRESS.GOV.

Safer-at-Home Advisory from Mas.gov

USA.gov  Financial Assistance after a Disaster

WORKERS RIGHTS

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.

STATE GOVERNORS

National Governors Association.  Important resource for multiple topics, including COVID-19.

CONSUMER FRAUD AND SCAMS

Massachusetts Attorney Generals; COVID-19 Fraud and Scam Online Resources LIst

eResource: Consumers' Checkbook has new COVID-19 scam alerts.  Use your Newton resident library card to access through the A-Z List under our eResources tab on the homepage.

Federal Trade Commission Coronavirus Advice for Consumers.  Avoid COVID-19 scams

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Fraud Alert: COVID-19 SCAMS,  Scams to be aware to avoid.

U.S. Department of Justice Coronavirus Response.  Report consumer fraud

HELP WITH LEGAL ISSUES
Massachusetts Law About COVID-19 from the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries

MassLegalHelp.org for  help with Massachusetts legal issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic

Massachusetts Court System.  Emergency Guidance regarding Virtual Court Hearings

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Update

 

DialALawyer

New! Trial Court Help Line The Help Line will be staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Call 833-91COURT (912-6878)

Massachusetts Bar Association's Dial-A-Lawyer

Free legal advice is offered on the first Wednesday of each month (occasional exceptions).

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

The next Dial-A-Lawyer Wednesday will be 

2020: June 3, July 1, August 5, September 2 (there may be exceptions)

When you would like to hire an attorney for a fee and need a lawyer referral

 

  1. Get an instant online referral here
  2. Call us to speak to a trained LRS representative*
  3. (Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.) at (617) 654-0400 or (866) 627-7577

Massachusetts: Virtual Court

AALL Logo

American Association of Law Libraries.  Public Library Toolkit. Beginning with a section on general legal research, scroll down for STATE-SPECIFIC PUBLIC LIBRARY TOOLKITS.  Click on the state you need, example: Massachusetts

Receiv

 

If you would like to use Ask a Law Librarian a question, you may chat, send an email, or request a document.

Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries Document Delivery Service 

Locations and Contact Information for Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries

Social Law Library

New! Ask  your Massachusetts public librarian to search Social Law Library databases

Massachusetts Public Libraries: LIBRARIANS LOGIN ONLY.

 

MASSterList - your go-to source for Massachusetts political news and commentary. Every day.

MASSterList.  News stories from Beacon Hill.  ALSO: Job Seekers: On Mondays, check the Job Board Listings!

Law Guide: How to Use

Intended for the public library user and non-law librarian, Law Guide  is a legal resources self- help center providing authoritative and accessible web links.

Teach yourself and teach others. Learn basic legal terms, how to read a citation, review your civics education, and continue to proceed through your search for legal information.  Left Frame: Legal Literacy ; Legal Research Help ; Legal Topics

COURT.  If going to court, two helpful manuals have been published online through the Massachusetts Court System. 

STARTING POINT: Be sure to use the Courts Self-Help web pages.  

The first manual, released in June 2010, is entitled Serving the Self-Represented Litigant: a guide by and for the Massachusetts Court Staff.  A second guide, Representing Yourself in a Civil Case: Things to Consider When Going to Court.  Together they are excellent preparation when faced with the prospect of going to court.

Use the Legal Forms tab if you need additional resources for legal forms.

Trends reported by the National Center for State Courts and the Self Represented Litigation Network show an increase in persons with legal issues representing themselves, that is, going pro se, or cutting costs using limited representation by attorneys, and mediation over having a court determine the outcome. The Access to Justice Initiative is a growing movement, official in over thirty states, including Massachusetts.

1st Base

Lawyers and Legal Help page offers a starting point to finding the assistance you need for finding legal information and a resolution to your situation.

Legal Literacy provides instruction to be used by the public and nonlaw librarians to grasp the basics of looking for legal information.

Use Legal Research Help to find a legal definition, learn to read a legal citation, and find basic websites and books about legal research. 

 

2nd Base

Focus your question by subject area of law

Look through the Legal Topics tab for Massachusetts subjects providing relevant legal citations and links to general laws, regulations, cases and forms. There is also extensive information and links for Federal topics.  Further forms may be found under the Forms tab.

Try to evaluate the governmental authority to get around the bases further. 

For a local City of Newton ordinance, form or permit application, Newton residents see Newton Resources; otherwise residents of other locales consult Massachusetts Cities and Towns for Bylaws and Ordinances, or Laws of Other States and Locales. 

Are you searching for a bill, pending legislation, a session law, an Act & Resolve, or a codified general law?  Consult the Massachusetts General Laws tab.  Have you been given a legal citation for a regulation?  Click on Massachusetts Code of Regulations (CMR).

Going to court and need a form?  Click on Legal Forms and Massachusetts Courts blue tabs to get started.  Find a Court Locator from the Massachusetts Court System and the United States Courts court locator.  Look for forms specific to the court where you will file the form. 

Tracking court decisions or legislation in the news?  See Legal News, Laws of Other States, or Federal Primary Law, or the appropriate Massachusetts tab.   

Cases might have been decided in Massachusetts, but what jurisdiction and what departments?: state or federal?  District Court, Superior Court, Bankruptcy Court, Land Court, Housing Court, Probate and Family Court?  Was the decision appealed?  Did it move on to the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?  to the United States Supreme Court?  To the highest court in another state? See Legal News, Massachusetts Courts, Laws of Other States, Federal Primary Law.

3rd Base

You may now have gathered enough background information to proceed to a city department, have a hearing, consult with an attorney, mediate a problem or go to court.   Find rules of court and related forms under the Massachusetts Court or Federal Primary Law tabs.  Hopefully a resolution will be achieved, and you can return to Home Plate.   The next time you have a legal question, begin again from Home Plate at the Newton Free Library's Legal Information Self Help Center LibGuide.