Questions? Ask a Librarian
WSLL Reference Assistance
Whether you need a specific piece of information or some guidance in 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 and by email, phone, fax or mail. [Please note that library staff cannot give legal advice.] For judges and attorneys, we also offer case law and citator research services.
MLRC & DCLRC Services
Under contractual arrangements with both Milwaukee and Dane Counties, the State Law Library manages the Milwaukee and Dane County Legal Resource Centers (MLRC & DCLRC) conveniently located in each county's courthouse. These small but bustling resource centers provide a wide array of services to judges and court staff, county employees, attorneys, self-represented litigants and the general public. Both centers maintain core collections of library materials, and both have public computers with access to Westlaw, HeinOnline & LegalTrac. The Dane County Legal Resource Center staff also assists the Dane County Bar Association and University of Wisconsin Law School with the operation of free walk-in legal clinics staffed by volunteer attorneys and supervised law students, and provides reference services to Dane County Jail inmates in cooperation with the Dane County Sheriff's Office. When you're at the Milwaukee or Dane County Courthouse, please stop in and learn more about how these resource centers can assist you.
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 in 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 and FedEx. Find out more by visiting our Order a Document webpage.
The WSLL website is a virtual "one stop shop" for access to authoritative legal and government information. The Legal Topics page alone contains thousands of links arranged into over 450 different topics, from Abortion to Zoning Law. The Wisconsin Law page provides access to free web-based sources of primary law, including the Wisconsin Statutes & Administrative Code, Attorney General opinions, court opinions, local ordinances, and much more. Other pages provide similar access to primary sources of federal law, tribal law and laws of other U.S. states. You can also search the library catalog, databases of journal and newspaper articles, and much, much more.
The State Law Library extends borrowing privileges to Wisconsin judges and court staff, private attorneys and any support staff they so authorize, and government employees. To obtain a library card, simply stop in at any one of our three libraries. If visiting isn't convenient, register online and we'll mail your card. To borrow materials, start by searching our online catalog to find out whether the item you want is currently available. Wisconsin judges and attorneys who are unable to come to the library may borrow materials through our convenient Borrow By Mail service.
After Hours Service for Wisconsin Attorneys & Judges
Wisconsin-licensed attorneys who would like to use the Wisconsin State Law Library during evenings, weekends and 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 webpage. Wisconsin judges who wish to access WSLL outside regular hours may place a request directly with Tammy Keller, WSLL Program Assistant.
Hands-on Legal Research Classes
The library 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. Some classes are presented in demonstration or lecture format in the Rare Book Room. To view the current class schedule, visit our Classes & Tours webpages.
Library Tours & Orientations
Interested in a firsthand look at one of our libraries, for yourself, your law office staff, or another organization you belong to? 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 Lisa Winkler, DCLRC Librarian.
Are you in need of a nice place in downtown Madison to meet with a client or hold a meeting or training session for your staff or legal professional organization? WSLL has a variety of rooms available for hourly rental. Information about each room, including photos and our general room rental policies, is available on our Room Rental page.
Specialized Library Materials
WSLL provides public access to briefs and appendices for cases decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Briefs for cases dated 1992 to the present are available on the web. Earlier ones, dating back to the mid-1850's, are available for use in the library - or copies may be requested by contacting the WSLL Reference Desk or through our Order a Document Service. For more information, please visit this Wisconsin Briefs webpage.
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 (JCC) will be of interest. The JCC contains Council minutes and document associated with its committees' proceedings dating from the 1950's to the present. Detailed information, including a finding aid that lists every committee document we have, is available on our Judicial Council Collection webpage. Full text documents are not available online. For assistance in doing on-site research or obtaining copies of JCC documents, please contact the WSLL Reference Desk.
Wisconsin Administrative Code "Replaced Pages" Collection
WSLL is one of very few libraries that maintain a collection of superseded pages from the Wisconsin Administrative Code. Dating back to the 1950's, the "Replaced Pages Collection" - as we call it - is an invaluable resource for anyone researching state regulatory history or seeking prior language of a particular Admin Code section. For research assistance or to obtain copies of materials in this collection, contact the Reference Desk.