Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service January 2022

Legal Research for Public Librarians - Carol Hassler

Public librarians are part of the network of professionals who help self represented litigants as they navigate the legal system. In November 2021, we spoke to librarians at the Wisconsin Library Association's annual conference about frequent legal topics they may encounter, and sources we often use to help answer questions at our libraries. We've added research guides for librarians to our Legal Research page with more details, but read on for a summary below. For libraries looking for more help, we offer free webinars covering tips for providing legal reference, and sources and strategies for legal research. Contact Carol Hassler (carol.hassler@wicourts.gov) to schedule a session tailored for your staff.

public flyer handout

Half sheet handout

Easy to keep on hand at a public service desk, use our half sheet handout to easily share contact and service information about the Wisconsin State Law Library with your users. Printable handouts are available in full color or black & white.

·  Public service desk handout, Black and white(1 mb)
·  Public service desk handout, Full color(1 mb)

AALL Toolkit

The American Association of Law Libraries created and maintains, along with partner libraries, a public library toolkit listing major sources of legal information for each state. Start with this toolkit to quickly dive into other state materials. The Toolkit also features general tips on how to research a legal problem, and how to build your legal research collection.

Information by topic

Our fall presentation on reference sources includes a topical overview of some of the main sources and books we often turn to when answering questions from self-represented users and other members of the general public. Check out this presentation for ideas on how to build your legal collection and ways to respond to legal questions. Many of our legal topic pages feature articles and books from our collection, and can give researchers a head start on everything from landlord/tenant law to the complicated tapestry of family law.

Ask a Law Librarian

We encourage librarians to reach out to our staff for help at any time. We can help library staff or patrons navigate to the resources they need over the phone or by email and are also open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30-4:30.

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Quickly Edit Jury Instructions - Carol Hassler

The Wisconsin Civil, Criminal, and Children's jury instructions have now been freely available online for a year! We continue to work on this online collection, in partnership with the Wisconsin jury instructions committees and the Office of Judicial Education.

In addition to downloading the fully commented Word and PDF versions of each instruction, we are pleased to announce that you may now download Civil Jury Instructions without commentary for quick editing. Editable instructions may be downloaded through the "Quick edit" links on the tables of contents and individual instruction pages. General law notes do not have a "quick edit" copy available for download; instead view the full instruction for complete notes and commentary.

jury instructions table of contents

The Criminal and Children's editable instructions will be added at a later time.

Updating print sets

Of interest to those maintaining print sets of jury instructions, updated instructions have been uploaded to the Wisconsin State Law Library website https://wilawlibrary.gov/jury/ in the past year. These include annual releases, as well as a few interim updates. Most updated instructions outside of the larger annual releases have been minor formatting fixes and do not have updated revision dates. However, there are three revised and one new instruction published, which will later be included in the next release for each title. You may wish to update your print instructions now, or wait for the next full update release. These updates are listed as interim updates on the "Updates" pages for each title.

Revised or new instructions

We send periodic notices about new jury instructions to an opt-in email list. If you would like to be added to this list and get updates throughout the year about new instruction releases, please send your request to carol.hassler@wicourts.gov

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New Books - Kari Zelinka

New Edition! Human Resource Law Boot Camp, by Dean R. Dietrich, and others. 2021
Call Number: KFW 2731 .A75 H87 2021

The National Business Institute provides online seminars and then publishes the class material to reference later. Recent seminar information included in Human Resource law Boot Camp will help you keep on top of best practices in the field. It includes sample forms such as a HIPAA Employee Confidentiality Agreement, helpful lists like the top 5 job description mistakes, and a detailed discussion of what employee handbooks should and should not include. Get up to speed today on the latest updates in Human Resources Law!

Chapters include:

  • FLSA Essentials: practically applying the most recent legal perspectives
  • Using handbooks to protect against legal liabilities
  • HIPPA best practices for HR: ensuring confidentiality of medical information
  • Hiring and firing: legal do's and don'ts for crucial HR functions
  • Social media policies: balancing employer needs and employee rights
  • Drugs and alcohol in the workplace: marijuana and other considerations
  • Employee relations: legal solutions for sensitive workplace issues

New Update! Legal Citation in a Nutshell, 3rd ed. by Larry L. Tepley, 2021
Call Number: KF 245 .T47 2021

Whether you are an attorney, paralegal or judge, you are likely writing on a regular basis. If you are writing, you'll need to be very familiar with legal citation. While the Bluebook is the gold standard for legal citation, it never hurts to have more examples and explanation. Besides covering the basics, Legal Citation in a Nutshell author Larry L. Tepley has organized appendices that cover geographic designation abbreviations, legislative sources, status of reporters, and much more. Tepley organizes the rules so authors can easily apply them to their writing.

Topics include:

  • The basics of legal citation
  • Case names: inclusions and deletions
  • Citing reporters, texts and treatises, newspapers, etc.


New Titles RSS Feed 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

Many licensed attorneys are familiar with using Fastcase for legal research. Fastcase is provided with membership in the State Bar. The Fastcase database is also available on HeinOnline, a database available to most library card holders. While the Fastcase content is the same, HeinOnline offers a different interface and different search tools. Here are three tips when using Fastcase via HeinOnline from the State Law Library.

After logging on to the HeinOnline database with your library card, click on the "Fastcase Premium" database:

Enter search terms and be sure to restrict your search to Wisconsin (leave blank to search all states or select other states as needed).

Once you have a results list, Fastcase Premium makes it easy to refine and sort that list to narrow or expand your research. Use the "Refine Your Search" area on the left side of the screen to narrow the result list by court and/or date.

Use the "sort by" drop down menu above the results list to sort by most recent, most cited, relevance, etc.

When viewing a case, use the "Cited By" link to the right of the case to see how your case has been cited by other cases.


Finally, when you've displayed a long list of "cited by" cases, HeinOnline allows you to search within those cases for keywords relevant to your research. 

HeinOnline is available in our libraries, and remotely to library cardholders from firms with fewer than 25 attorneys. Sign up for a library card to access this valuable resource today!

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Spotlight on Landlord / Tenant Research

This past fall has seen an increase in the number of evictions filed in Wisconsin and we have received a number of landlord/tenant or eviction related questions at our libraries. Questions we get at our libraries can range from navigating small claims forms to rent increases or bed bugs.

To answer these types of questions, we frequently refer people to the sources on our Landlord/Tenant legal topic page, which aggregates helpful online sources and links to statewide forms or county instructions. Many rental information sources are available for free online. We also help individuals use books from our collection, including:

Wisconsin landlord & tenant manual
Geared towards landlords and attorneys, this manual includes information about evictions with sample notice forms, pests, discrimination, and more.

Every landlord's legal guide
A general guide for landlords on common rental issues, rights, and responsibilities.

Every tenant's legal guide
A general guide for tenants on common rental issues and communication strategies.

Friedman on leases
Analyzes a range of lease provisions and landlord/tenant issues, including residential and commercial lease concerns.

HUD housing programs: tenants rights
Explanation of HUD housing protections and solutions.

Renter's rights
A general guide for tenants on residential rental rights and protections.

Wisconsin real estate clauses
Includes sample lease language.

Check our lists of landlord/tenant and commercial lease treatises
These research guides cover major sources for forms and information on rental law.

This month's display features books from our collection on rental law - with Wisconsin and general interest books included. Stop by the library to browse the display, or contact a librarian for help borrowing any of these books.

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Library News - Carol Hassler

Winter CLE Classes

Webinars for 2022 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.

NEW! Tax Research Sources and Strategies
Thursday, March 10, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Live webinar - Register for Tax Research Sources and Strategies
1 CLE credit applied for

Tax research is always in season! Get an overview of major tax law databases available in the library or remotely with a library card. Learn about major sources for understanding federal and state tax law. Get tips for topical research using CCH AnswerConnect and major treatises. This class will survey tax decision sources and go over research strategies to find opinions by subject or citation.


Introduction to Wisconsin Legislative History
Wednesday, January 12, 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Location: Live webinar - The January Introduction to Legislative History class has been canceled. Watch our newsletter for a new date and registration link.
1 CLE credit applied for

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 introductory class covers basic research strategies and sources.


Advanced Wisconsin Legislative History
Wednesday, February 9, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Live webinar - Register for Advanced Wisconsin Legislative History
1 CLE credit applied for

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.


Job openings at branch libraries

The Dane County Law Library, located in the Dane County Courthouse, is seeking a candidate for Library Associate Limited Term Employee (LTE) position. The successful applicant must be available to fill the 20 hour per week requirements during the normal business hours of 8:30 AM-4:30 PM, Monday-Friday. This specific position will be expected to work 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM.  Learn more and apply for this position.

The Milwaukee County Law Library, located in the Milwaukee County Courthouse, is seeking one candidate for Library Associate Limited Term Employee (LTE) position. The successful applicant must be available to fill the 24 hour per week requirements during the normal business hours of 8:30 AM-4:30 PM, Monday-Friday. Learn more and apply for this position.

State holiday closures

All three library locations will be closed on Monday, January 17 in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. state holiday. Call the Reference Desk at 608-267-9696 and leave a voicemail, or Ask a Librarian online while we are closed. We will respond to you the next day.

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January Snapshot

After Hours, Quiet Hours
Photo by Carol Hassler

Would you like the convenience of using the Wisconsin State Law Library later in the evening or on weekends? If so, subscribe now to our After Hours Service. Are you already a subscriber? Now is the time to renew for 2022! Our After Hours service is available to all attorneys licensed to practice in Wisconsin. See our After Hours page for more details, or download a first-time subscription or renewal form now.

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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