Legal Information Service


The Public Law Library of King County will provide information service in support of the legal research need of the courts, the bar, and the public.


This policy defines the information service the Public Law Library staff will offer to the patrons at the Public Law Library of King County. These guidelines ensure that patrons from the legal community, the courts and the general public receive optimum service without violating ethical guidelines on the unauthorized practice of law outlined by the American Bar Association, the Washington State Bar, and the Revised Code of Washington.

Implementation Guidelines:

The Public Law Library staff will assist the judiciary in securing all information they deem necessary to their research of legal issues, and will provide legal information service to all patrons by facilitating access to the materials in the Public Law Library’s collection.

The Public Law Library staff will assist its patrons in locating sources for information not held by the Public Law Library.

The Public Law Library staff will provide finding aids to the collection. The Public Law Library will publish a column in the Seattle – King County Bar Bulletin to keep the legal community informed about collection developments, services offered, and new programs and policies. The Public Law Library will seek to enhance the collection with materials designed for use by the layperson seeking legal information.

The Public Law Library staff will respond to telephone and email inquiries regarding the Public Law Library’s holdings on a particular subject and will suggest alternative sources for materials not in the collection. Time permitting, the staff will respond to specific short answer requests. However, the staff will not read statutes, regulations, court rules, or extended passages from other sources over the phone. Patrons in the Public Law Library receive priority over the telephone and email patron.

Because of the ethical and legal implications surrounding the unauthorized practice of the law, patrons must be advised that the Public Law Library staff may not engage in the following activities: perform legal research; answer a legal question; advise any patron on the status of the law on a particular issue; recommend that any patron contact a particular attorney; explain legal procedure, court rules or jurisdiction; or interpret the text of a statute, legal opinion, or administrative regulation.

It is the policy of the Public Law Library of King County, a public law library, to conform with the copyright requirements for libraries under title 17 section 108 of the United States Code and title 37 section 201.14 of the Code of Federal Regulations. All Public Law Library staff will receive training to ensure compliance with these requirements.

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