Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service March 2021

Milwaukee County Law Library Services - Jamie Neuendorf

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented obstacles to providing services for many libraries. Despite these challenges, the Milwaukee County Law Library (MCLL) continues to offer safe and convenient access to our collection of legal texts, as well as legal forms, copiers and legal databases. Whenever possible, we provide these services remotely. Using our remote services is not only safe, but often more convenient than a trip to the courthouse.

MCLL is located in room G-8 on the ground floor of the Milwaukee County Courthouse at 901 N. 9th Street in Milwaukee. Librarians are assisting users from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m, Monday - Thursday by telephone at (414) 278-4900, and by email at mcll.ref@wicourts.gov. While our doors are closed, library users may call for in-person services, like picking up forms or requesting photocopies. Patrons may also call or email during regular hours for help accessing our remote services.

For users seeking legal forms, we offer our version of curbside pick up as well as providing forms by email. Library users who prefer to pick up forms in person may call to request them during our business hours. The forms will be placed on a cart in the main hallway for pick up any time during regular courthouse hours, from 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday. In addition to copying documents dropped off in person, users may email their legal forms to us to be copied and retrieve the copies from our pick up cart.

While the library does not offer assistance with court forms or legal advice, we are happy to direct patrons to the Milwaukee Justice Center, the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics, and other organizations offering legal help and assistance with forms. We also help direct patrons to other departments within the courthouse and inform them of service limitations and closures related to the pandemic.

Library users seeking access to our collection of books and legal databases can choose from our remote options. Library card holders may call or email to check out books for contactless pick up from our cart. We can also provide sections of books and jury instructions by email. We are happy to provide resources from our databases, including Westlaw, LexisNexis, and others, by email or for no-contact pick up. Legal reference questions may be sent at any time to mcll.ref@wicourts.gov and will be answered within 48 hours. While we currently provide only remote services, we may offer in-person legal research appointments in the future.

While COVID-related closures have presented challenges to attorneys and pro se patrons, the Milwaukee County Law Library strives to provide safe and convenient access to the resources our patrons need. For more information about the services we provide, please call during our business hours listed above.

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Dane County Law Library Year in Review - Bob Lopez

2020 was a year that will not soon be forgotten. For the Dane County Law Library, it was a year that saw us transition to almost exclusively remote services. Even though the Library closed to the public due to the pandemic, library staff has responded to hundreds of phone and email reference queries throughout the year, often from home. Reference and information requests from the two local jails remained an in-demand service, with requests on par with 2019. Despite the fact that the Library halted book lending services to the jails, printed materials for the inmates neared 20,000 pages over the course of the year.

Library staff participated in the Courthouse Reopening Committee in the early stages of the closure and continues to participate whenever the Committee meets.

Since closure, the Law Library has provided the Clerk of Courts with materials and court forms for free distribution to the public, providing a much-needed support for the staff.

In early 2020, we had a strong start with our legal clinics as we’d welcomed over a dozen new attorneys and paralegals to the assistance programs. Once the shutdown began, the programs shifted to weekly phone and web assistance to self-represented litigants. The UW Law School is currently coordinating the three legal clinics: Small Claims, Family Law, and Veterans.

Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, the Library provided services and forms to the public. Research or court forms questions can be sent to dcll.ref@wicourts.gov. Book checkouts from the Dane County Law Library collection are coordinated with the sidewalk service at the main library. The Library looks forward to helping you in 2021!

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New Books - Kari Zelinka

New Edition! Drug Abuse and the Law Sourcebook, 2021 by Gerald F. Uelmen
Call Number: KF 3890 .A15 D77 2021

If you need a reference source with definitions and classifications of controlled substances, look no further than the Drug Abuse and the Law Sourcebook. Narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, inhalants, cannabis, alcohol, and nicotine are all covered. In the 2021 annual update, the growth and regulation of the cannabis industry is discussed as well as regulation changes to controlled substances during the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates on drug testing of private employees are also featured.

Chapters include:

  • The Controlled Substances Act
  • Proving the identity of drugs
  • Competency, mens rea, insanity
  • Possessory offenses
  • Trafficking offenses
  • Law enforcement techniques
  • Affirmative defenses in drug cases
  • Forfeiture
  • Immigration consequences
  • Civil sanctions
  • Sentencing alternatives
  • Federal sentencing
  • Drug courts

New Book! School Law: Handling Mental Health Issues, 2020 by Alana M. Leffler and others
Call Number: KFW 2790 .A75 S36 2020

In this time of virtual and in-person school and COVID-19, mental health is a subject forefront in parents’ minds. School law: Handling Mental Health Issues was the subject of a recent NBI seminar. Even if you missed the seminar, you can still learn a lot from this single volume. All seminar materials have been bound together including presenter notes and slides. The Wisconsin-based attorneys begin with an overview on federal and state legislation on student mental health and then dive into topics of interest to schools, parents, and the attorneys representing either party.

Sections include:

  • >School legal obligations regarding student mental health
  • Balancing special education and mental health concerns
  • Threats, violence, crises, trauma, and mental health: how to prevent and respond
  • Student suicide and the law: what schools need to know
  • Mental health and student privacy: what can be disclosed?
  • Parents and mental health: how schools must communicate
  • Disciplining students with student mental health in mind


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 - Heidi Yelk

Spotting Differences

If you like books and using statutes in print form, you're probably aware that newly printed 2019-2020 Wisconsin statute books are arriving at law firms, courthouses, and libraries all over the state. It's exciting to get new printed volumes. However, thanks to the constant updating of Wisconsin Statutes on the legislature's website, printed statutes are out of date as the legislative session moves on.

As you add the new printed statutes to your bookshelf, you may be wondering what legislative changes lie within the new pages. A fast and free method of seeing legislative changes can be had by using one of the many "text compare" websites. These tools allow you to "copy and paste" or "click and drag" two sections of text and compare them with a click of a button.

I recently used diffchecker.com to compare all 55 pages of Chapter 767 Actions Affecting the Family (2017-2018) to Chapter 767 (2019-2020). I downloaded each chapter in PDF format and then uploaded them to the Compare PDFs checker on diffchecker.com. The website quickly returned a side-by-side comparison of the changes. The result is not perfect. In some cases, the highlighted text was the same, leading me to wonder why the text was flagged in the first place. However, the comparison also quickly allowed me to identify new legislation, text corrections (minor changes) and additions to the annotations section such as new cases and new law review articles.

Diffchecker.com allows comparison of text files, images, PDF, and Excel documents. There's also a folder compare feature. This website is just one of many text comparison tools available free on the web.

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Library News - Carol Hassler

Spring CLE 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.

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

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.

Google Scholar
Thursday, April 15, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Live webinar - Register for Google Scholar
Registration is free. 1 CLE credit applied for.

Looking for free, full-text case law searching? Hoping it will be easy to use and accessible from any computer? Try Google Scholar! Google Scholar includes both federal and state case law. You'll find recent cases as well as an extensive archive. In addition, Scholar can be used to search law reviews and legal journals. Participants will learn basic and advanced search techniques and discuss the strengths and limitations of the Google Scholar database.

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:
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, 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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March Snapshot

On the Plight of Office Plants
Photo by Jamie Neuendorf

The desk plant at the Milwaukee County Law Library is a symbol of bouncing back for the pandemic for me. This plant was down to 2 shriveled leaves after spending the lockdown in the library without light or water. It’s now healthy and growing!

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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