Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service February 2021

Jury Instructions Online - Carol Hassler

We're happy to announce that the Wisconsin State Law Library is now hosting current Wisconsin Jury Instructions on our website. https://wilawlibrary.gov/jury/

This is a result of a cooperative effort between the University of Wisconsin Law School, the State Law Library, and the Wisconsin Court System's Office of Judicial Education. A recent press release provides more details.

All three Jury Instructions committees of the Wisconsin Judicial Conference will continue their standard schedules to develop instructions. New instructions will be published online. The Office of Judicial Education will continue to provide update releases indicating revised or new jury instructions for each set.

Every instruction set on the website includes a table of contents with links to download current instructions. Indexes and tables are also linked from each set.

On individual instruction pages (pictured below), get more information about each instruction - including a model citation, download links, relevant dates, and related cases and statutes from the case and statutory comparison tables.

Each instruction set includes an update page, which links to filing releases for recent years.

For those needing to update print sets of instructions, tools are available to help. When an instruction set is updated, a filing release will be created and posted on the set's updates page. Users can use the latest update release to print off new instructions to update their set. In addition, annually-updated printable versions of tables and indexes are linked at the top of each index and table page. A complete, printable copy of each instruction set is linked as a single file from each main instruction page, above the table of contents.

Send questions about the website or superseded jury instruction requests to wsll.ref@wicourts.gov. Other questions about the Wisconsin Jury Instructions or committees may be directed to the reporter.

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2020 in the Rearview - Amy Crowder

Each February, we reflect on the work of the previous year. Recently, I have been thinking about the challenges our predecessors experienced. Created in 1836, the State Law Library has endured through a lot of historical events. During times of uncertainty, such as the 1918 flu epidemic or the 1904 State Capitol building fire, past library staff overcame what must have felt like unprecedented times.

2020 was filled with challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic changed many peoples’ personal and professional lives. Our library users have needed to adapt and change how they work. Like our predecessors, we have had to adapt as well.

Fortunately, we live during a time when we have a number of advantages. For a library which predates the telephone, we can now take advantage of personal computers, smartphones, and the internet to pivot our services to meet our users where they are. From the first day of the Safer at Home order, library staff have been able to answer reference questions on the phone and reply to legal information requests through email. Technology allows us to quickly scan and email pages from books, efficiently research using online databases, create and update resource guides online, and present CLE webinars through Zoom.

The State Law Library has served Wisconsin for almost 200 years. At the library’s inception, as in now, we take pride in our commitment to fast and friendly service. Knowing that we have endured tough times before helps to assure me that we can meet any challenges yet to come. Here’s to 2021 and what we can achieve together!

Highlights of 2020

Our website’s most-visited Legal Topics pages, and the reference questions library staff are asked, often reflect what is happening in society at the time.

Top Topics in 2020
Public records
Court records
Landlord Tenant law
Local ordinances

Child custody and placement
Divorce and legal separation
Smoking & tobacco
Legal assistance
Children home alone
Wills and estate planning

One of the library’s defining services has been our ability to help users wherever they are located.

In May, the library offered our first free webinar - a Public Records class. The response was terrific. Looking to expand upon this success, the library continued to offer webinars through the rest of the year. We estimate that our instructors have reached nearly 800 attendees through the library's webinars and other virtual training opportunities.

2020 Webinars
Public records (May, June)
Alternative search engines
Understanding the WI Circuit Court Access website
Introduction to Legislative History
Dockets throughout the United States
Virtual tours reached agency staff, law clerks, and students

South Central Library System

Understanding the WI Circuit Court Access website
Public records
Madison Area Paralegal Association
Wisconsin Legislative History
WLA's Government Information Day
Legal reference tips and tricks

The library has made numerous updates to our information-packed website this year. Updates include:

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New Books - Kari Zelinka

New Edition! Judicial Conduct and Ethics, 6th ed, 2020, by Charles Gardner Geyh
Call Number: KF 8779 .S52 2020

The new edition of Judicial Conduct and Ethics discusses best practices in the area of judicial conduct, to avoid any questionable behavior on the part of judges. There are substantial updates in the areas of disqualification, personal conduct and social media, regulation of political activities in judicial elections, and the appearance of impropriety. The author leads off with a discussion on the use and abuse of power and wraps up with a new appendix that allows readers to search the work and cross reference rules from the 2007 ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct.

Other chapters include:

  • Judicial demeanor and competence
  • Disqualification
  • Ex parte communications
  • Case management and administrative imperatives
  • Financial activities
  • Financial disclosure
  • Civic and charitable activities
  • Regulatory organization and procedure
  • Civil and criminal liability
  • Alternate methods of judicial removal
  • Disability and retirement

New Edition! Securities Regulation in a Nutshell, 12th ed., 2021, by Thomas Lee Hazen
Call Number: KF 1440 .R37 2021

If you need a quick overview and introduction to the organization of federal and state securities law, check out the latest edition of Securities Regulation in a Nutshell. This text would be good for a beginner with an interest in business law. The author discusses regulations over public offerings, public companies, securities broker-dealers, the Dodd-Frank Act, the JOBS act, crowdfunding and more.

Topics include:

  • 1933 Act's regulation of public offerings
  • 1934 Act's regulation of publicly-held companies
  • Antifraud provisions
  • Regulation of the securities business
  • Regulation of investment companies and investment advisers
  • Sanctions for violations
  • Civil liabilities
  • Extraterritorial application
  • State regulation


See our latest New Titles list for a list of new books and other resources.

For assistance in accessing these or other resources, please contact our Reference Desk.

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Tech Tip - Jenna Marquardt

Staying Connected

The 2020 Judicial Conference featured several technology trends. The session “Technology, Social Media & Professional Ethics'', discussed the importance of staying connected and growing your knowledge base, especially while working remotely. There are several ways to stay connected with and contribute to your favorite organizations on social media. Here are a few tools for your legal research needs!

Talk Justice, An LSC Podcast, explores ways to expand access to justice and its importance to the legal community, business, government and the general public.

The State Bar of Wisconsin website, under the News & Publications section, offers blogs on a variety of topics for free. Additionally, WisLawNOW is a community of Wisconsin legal bloggers established by the State Bar of Wisconsin in partnership with LexBlog to provide commentary on legal news, law firms, and legislation.

The Milwaukee Justice Center website features several how-to Family Forms Videos. These YouTube videos, although geared to Milwaukee, can be useful in any county.

The HeinOnline Blog posts great research tips on a range of disciplines and is definitely subscription-worthy.

Published by the Research, Instruction, and Patron Services Special Interest Section (RIPS-SIS) of the American Association of Law Libraries, the RIPS Law Librarian Blog covers trends in research, instruction, and patron services within law libraries.

The National Center for State Courts’ Court Technology Bulletin regularly posts technology-related updates geared towards court staff.

If you prefer Facebook, here are pages with valuable information to consider following:

And of course, remember to stay connected with the Wisconsin State Law Library’s newsletter and social media!

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Library News - Carol Hassler

Recognizing the History of Wisconsin Black Lawyers

Last February, we were thrilled to host a celebration of trailblazing African-American attorneys in the David T. Prosser Jr. Library rare book room. The event, The History of Wisconsin's Black Lawyers, featured speakers including Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler and Celia Jackson of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers. Celia Jackson presented Chief Justice Patience Roggensack and State Law Librarian Julie Tessmer Robinson with copies of The History of Wisconsin's Black Lawyers 2019, to add to library collections. The book includes biographies of several African-American lawyers from the late nineteenth century through the 1960s, a history of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers, and a roster of Wisconsin's black lawyers from 1888 through 2019.

The library has 15 copies to give away to our readers looking to add a print copy to their shelves. Send requests to carol.hassler@wicourts.gov.

Librarians Reach Out

In January, Carol Hassler published an article with the State Bar of Wisconsin's InsideTrack: Legal Research: Surf the Discarded Web with the Wayback Machine. Are you stymied by a broken link, or need to look at older copies of local ordinances or a website that has disappeared? In this article, learn about the Wayback Machine - the first place to look for old website content.

Spring Classes

Two free CLE webinars are now open for registration through the Wisconsin State Law Library. Registration for each webinar is limited to 100. Registrations will be approved daily by the moderator. Once your registration is approved, you will get an email confirmation with connection information. Please reach out to carol.hassler@wicourts.gov with questions.

Advanced Wisconsin Legislative History
Wednesday, February 24, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Live webinar - Register for Advanced Wisconsin Legislative History

I need the legislative history of a Wisconsin statute. Where do I start? What do I do? Participants will look at the primary resources used to research Wisconsin legislative history, learn about the online Wisconsin legislative drafting files, and learn some helpful tips and tricks along the way. This advanced class covers additional search strategies, budget bills, advanced use of drafting records, and Supreme Court rule order research.

Registration is free. 1 CLE credit applied for.

Wisconsin Public Records
Thursday, March 18, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Live webinar - Register for Wisconsin Public Records

Learn first hand how to find public records on individuals and businesses in this information packed class. Discover criminal records, state and local court records, business entity records, liens, real estate records, and more. We'll help you find the government agency sources for Wisconsin public records.

Registration is free. 1 CLE credit.

Westlaw Webinars

Thomson Reuters continues to offer free CLE-credit classes to attorneys. The following webinars are offered to users in several states. Please note that some search options and features of these webinars are not included in the law library’s subscription to Westlaw. All registration, attendance verification, and CLE application is handled by Westlaw, not the law library. During each webinar, four attendance codes will be read. Make note of these codes to verify your attendance.

Westlaw Edge (60 minutes; 1 CLE Credit Pending)
Click on the date to visit the registration page by Westlaw:
Wednesday, March 10, 10:00 CST
Wednesday, May 12, 11:30 CDT

In this 60 minute online class, we’ll discuss how to utilize the advanced technology in Westlaw Edge. Westlaw Edge is powered by state-of-the-art artificial intelligence built upon more than 100 years of editorial enhancements. This session will discuss how to use Westsearch Plus, use Overruling Risk to understand if a case has been implicitly overruled, easily compare prior statutes to aid in statutory analysis, research judges and opposing counsel using litigation analytics, and analyze your own brief using Quick Check. We will also touch on user experience improvements that aid in completing your research faster than ever.

Practical Law (60 minutes; 1 CLE Credit Pending)
Click on the date to visit the registration page by Westlaw:
Monday, February 8, 11:00 CST
Wednesday, March 24, 2:00 CDT

In this course you will learn how to effectively navigate Practical Law’s expert guidance and legal know-how. Get up to speed quickly and save time drafting by utilizing:

  • Practice Notes – Practical guidance, nuts and bolts discussion to get you up to speed
  • Standard Documents/Clauses – Forms/policies with built in drafting guidance
  • Presentation Materials – pre-made presentations on a variety of topics
  • Checklists – ensure you’re not missing any steps
  • State comparison charts
Legal Ethics: Attorney Competence with Technology (60 minutes; 1 CLE Credit Pending)
Click on the date to visit the registration page by Westlaw:
Tuesday, March 16, 12:00 CDT
Tuesday, April 20, 1:00 CDT

Tuesday, May 18, 12:30 CDT

Attorney competence in the ever-changing world of technology is a tricky subject. The technology does not remain static, and the attorney’s workload is continually increasing. The ABA has stated that attorneys must keep abreast of changes in technology. In addition, many legal commentators continue to publish articles and other resources regarding the implications of technology competence.

It is essential, therefore, to stay up-to-date with the latest technology. This webinar will follow the rule on keeping up with current technology with a brief tour of Practical Law, Drafting Assistant, and the following Westlaw resources:

  • Court Rules, and Secondary Sources
  • Briefs and Trial Court Documents,
  • Attorney, Judge, and Expert Witness Profiles.
Drafting Assistant Essentials (60 minutes; 1 CLE Credit Pending)

Click on the date to visit the registration page by Westlaw:
Tuesday, February 23, 2:00 CST
Tuesday, April 6, 11:00 CDT

Litigation: locate cases to support your arguments with the click of a button. Ensure your citation formatting is correct. Automatically append the full text of authorities cited to your document. Quickly insert hyperlinks in your documents so others can access the full text citations. Easily compile your list of citations using our efficient TOA builder.

Transactional: Learn how to avoid unintended drafting errors and reduce risk while cutting your proofreading time in half. Deal Proof works within your word processor to intelligently scan your documents in seconds, alerting you to errors, inconsistencies, missing information and more.

Statutes and Legislative History (60 minutes; 1 CLE Credit Pending)
Click on the date to visit the registration page by Westlaw:
Wednesday, March 3, 12:00 CST
Tuesday, April 13, 3:30 CDT

In this class, learn how to conduct statutes and legislative history research on Westlaw. We will review how to retrieve statutes by citation, term searches, or a table of contents, and how to find legislative history in relation to statutory research. We will also review additional statutory tools such as historical statutes, the statutes index, and the popular name table.

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February Snapshot

New Books
Photo by Carol Hassler

New books await labels and circulation stickers. Use our sidewalk pickup and return service, check books out through the mail for $7.50, or ask a librarian to scan and email a section from any of our brand-new books. Check our 2020-2021 new books lists for recent additions in topic areas that interest you.

We are accepting snapshots! Do you have a photo highlighting libraries, attractions or points of historical interest? Send your photo to the editor at carol.hassler@wicourts.gov to be included in a future issue.

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