Questions? Ask a Librarian
The Wisconsin State Law Library exists to serve the legal information needs of the officers and employees of this state, attorneys, and the public by providing the highest quality of professional expertise in the selection, maintenance, and use of materials, information and technology in order to facilitate equal access to the law. To carry out our mission, we offer a wide array of services.
MLRC & DCLRC
Under contractual arrangements with Milwaukee and Dane Counties, the State Law Library manages the Milwaukee and Dane County Legal Resource Centers (MLRC & DCLRC). These libraries are conveniently located in each county's courthouse. Small but bustling, our county branches provide a wide array of reference and information services to judges and court staff, county employees, attorneys, and self-represented litigants. Both maintain core print collections of primary and secondary Wisconsin resources and have public computers with access to WestlawNext, Books Unbound (State Bar of Wisconsin's database), HeinOnline, and Index to Legal Periodicals.
The WSLL website is a virtual one stop shop for access to authoritative sources of legal and government information. The Legal Topics page alone contains thousands of links arranged in over 450 different topics, from Abandoned Property to Zoning Law. The Wisconsin Law page provides access to free, reliable sources of primary law such as statutes & administrative code, Supreme Court & Court of Appeals opinions, Attorney General Opinions, and local ordinances. You will also find federal law, tribal law and laws of other states. Search the library catalog, which includes records for print materials at all three of our libraries. Use our databases for journal and newspaper articles, county legal resources database, and much, much more to find what you are looking for faster, all from one website.
Electronic Legal Research Tools
Access subscription legal research tools without a charge from our public computers. We offer WestlawNext, Index to Legal Periodicals, HeinOnline, LLMC Digital, and League of Wisconsin Municipalities opinions and manuals at each of our library locations.
Whether you need a specific piece of information or some guidance in finding materials in the library or navigating a legal research website, our reference staff will do their best to help you. Anyone may use our general reference service, available in person as well as by email, phone, fax, and mail. (Please note that library staff cannot give legal advice.) For judges and attorneys, we also offer case law and citator research services.
Legal Research Classes
WSLL offers free and fee-based classes covering basic legal research procedures as well as specialized tools and databases. Most classes are held in WSLL's computer training room, equipped with eight computers for hands-on learning. Others are presented in a demonstration or lecture format in our Rare Book Room, and we now offer some classes in webinar format. To view the current class schedule, visit our Classes page.
MLRC also offers legal research classes in the training room of the nearby Milwaukee Public Library. Upcoming classes in Milwaukee will also be listed on our Classes page.
Use our Start Here library guides to find print resources in our library on certain topics, watch video tutorials on library resources, and download helpful legal research guides at any time by visiting our Learning Center.
Order a Document
Our staff can track down and deliver all types of legal information - whether it's a copy of a case, an article, a book, a government publication, or some other print or electronic document from our own collections or elsewhere. If it's published, printed, posted, recorded, or videotaped, we can probably locate it for you. Delivery options include email, fax, mail, UPS, and FedEx. Visit our Order a Document page for more information.
Are you in need of a convenient place in downtown Madison to hold a meeting or training session for your staff, legal professional organization, or client? WSLL has a variety of rooms available for hourly rental. To see photos of each room and read the rental policy, please visit our Room Rental page.
After Hours Service
Wisconsin-licensed attorneys who would like to use the Wisconsin State Law Library during evenings, weekends, or holidays may subscribe to our After Hours Service. This convenient service allows subscribers to access the library from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. For complete details and subscription information, please visit our After Hours Service page. Wisconsin judges who wish to access WSLL outside regular hours may place a request directly with Tammy Keller, WSLL Program Assistant.
Library Tours & Orientations
Interested in a firsthand look at one of our libraries for yourself, your law office staff, or an organization to which you belong? To schedule a tour of WSLL, please contact Tammy Keller, program assistant, at 608-261-7553 or Tammy.Keller@wicourts.gov. To schedule a visit to the Milwaukee or Dane County Legal Resource Center, please contact Lynne Gehrke, MLRC Librarian or Bob Lopez, DCLRC Librarian.
Treatises, Seminar Manuals, Law Reviews and More
The State Law Library extends borrowing privileges to Wisconsin judges and court staff, attorneys and authorized support staff, and government employees. To obtain a library card, simply stop in at any one of our three libraries, or register online and we'll mail your card to you.
To borrow materials, start by searching our online catalog to find an item you want and check its availability. Or, use our Start Here guides to find leading treatises on different subjects effortlessly. Wisconsin judges and attorneys who are unable to come to the library may borrow materials through our convenient Borrow By Mail service.
Specialized Wisconsin Materials
In addition to our extensive collection of standard primary law sources and leading treatises in every practice area, WSLL houses several specialized Wisconsin collections.
WSLL provides public access to briefs and appendices for cases decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Briefs filed electronically (July 2009 forward) are available through the Wisconsin Supreme Court & Court of Appeals Access (WSCCA) database. Briefs for cases from 1992 to the inception of e-filing are available in the UW Law Library's Wisconsin Briefs database. Briefs for earlier Wisconsin appellate cases dating back to 1839 are available in the library. Copies may be requested by contacting the WSLL Reference Desk or submitting an Order a Document request. For more information, please visit our Wisconsin Briefs page.
Judicial Council Collection
If you're researching the history of a Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule or a Wisconsin statute relating to civil or criminal procedure, WSLL's Judicial Council Collection may be of interest. This collection contains Council meeting minutes and committee documents dating back to the 1950s. Detailed information, including an index that lists every committee document we have, is available on our Judicial Council Collection page. Full text documents are not available online. For assistance in doing onsite research or obtaining copies of JCC documents, please contact the Reference Desk.
Replaced Pages Collections
We maintain two separate replaced pages collections. The first consists of superseded chapters and sections of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. Dating back to Register 27 (1958), our Administrative Code Replaced Pages Collection is an invaluable resource for any researcher of state regulatory history or prior language of a particular Administrative Code section. We also maintain superseded Wisconsin Jury Instructions: Children, Civil and Criminal. See this Library Highlight article about How to Find Wisconsin Jury Instructions for more information.