Wisconsin State Law Library

Serving the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State of Wisconsin

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WSLL @ Your Service November 2023

Free Access to Westlaw – Amy Crowder

Did the title grab your attention? Visitors to our library can access Westlaw at no cost. The State Law Library subscribes to Westlaw Classic and provides it as a complimentary service.

At our location in the David T. Prosser Jr. Library in downtown Madison, library visitors can access Westlaw on one of our seven patron access stations or on their personal laptop, tablet, or smartphone when connected to the library's wireless internet.

Besides state and federal appellate case law, you can access additional sources in Westlaw that will help you with your research.

Jury Verdicts & Settlements

Westlaw's Jury Verdicts & Settlements helps you make informed decisions about your case. Support your demand or offer or evaluate your opposition's case by locating related judgments, arbitration awards, jury verdicts, and settlements. Experienced Westlaw editors provide a short synopsis of state and federal court cases, a summary of facts, type of liability and injury, a list of expert witnesses and attorneys, and a breakdown of the award or damages. Related opinions, dockets, and select trial court documents are easily accessible in accompanying tabs.

Keyword search the Jury Verdicts & Settlements database and further refine your results by jurisdiction, practice area, award amount, or by a judge or law firm's name.

Alternatively, browse recent cases by jurisdiction or practice area such as product liability, construction law, and intellectual property.

Dockets, trial court documents, and trial court orders

Selected civil and criminal trial court documents are available from state and federal trial courts. Court filings may include pleadings, motions, jury instructions, interrogatories, and exhibits. Coverage and availability varies by jurisdiction.

If you are interested in a specific case, search Westlaw by case citation or name. While viewing the decision, select the tab labeled Filings to view related dockets and court filings. Monitor the progress of the case by periodically revisiting the docket in Westlaw.

For an example of a motion or pleading, select Trial Court Documents from the Westlaw Classic homepage. You can search by document type, jurisdiction, or topic area. Alternatively, search by keyword and Westlaw will provide search filters to help narrow your results by jurisdiction, document type, and area of law.

Secondary sources

The State Law Library subscribes to more books than are available in our print collection. Through the library's Westlaw subscription, library visitors can read additional books, and find them by legal topic or jurisdiction. Select Secondary Sources from the Westlaw Classic homepage. Search by publication type to access 50 State Surveys, Wolters Kluwer titles, legal encyclopedias, and other practice materials. Select a specific state to locate that jurisdiction's treatises, law reviews, and jury instructions. Scroll down to the section labeled By Publication Series to select other states' practice series similar to the Wisconsin Practice Series.

Free access to Westlaw is a great reason to visit the library. If you need help, one of our knowledgeable reference librarians can get you started with your legal research.

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Consumer Law Display – Chris Schroeder

Consumer law is a crucial area of legal knowledge that governs the relationship between businesses and consumers. With its diverse range of issues, including product liability, contract disputes, and consumer debt, consumer law materials offered at the State Law Library provide valuable resources and guidance for researchers seeking to navigate and understand their legal rights. A comprehensive collection of consumer law materials can equip users with the necessary tools to advocate for themselves and their clients to help make informed decisions in the marketplace. This month's display features new and updated consumer law information in our library.

book display

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New Books - Kari Zelinka

book cover

New Edition! Wisconsin Rules of Evidence: a Courtroom Handbook, 11th edition, 2023
Call Number: KFW 2940 .B37 E992

The eleventh edition of Wisconsin Rules of Evidence: a Courtroom Handbook from the State Bar of Wisconsin is now available for checkout from the library. There are some new developments such as added annotations on recent Wisconsin appellate court cases involving hearsay, relevance, expert witnesses, settlement evidence, and procedures for administering oaths. The topical guide makes it easy to navigate to the correct tab and chapter to locate the pertinent rule and commentary quickly. 

Topics covered include:

  • Judicial notice
  • Presumptions
  • Relevancy
  • Privileges
  • Witnesses
  • Opinions and expert testimony
  • Hearsay
  • Authentication and identification
  • Contents of writings, recordings, and photographs,

book cover

New Edition! Trial Advocacy in a Nutshell, 7th edition, by Paul B. Bergman and Justin Bernstein, 2023
Call Number: KF 8915 .Z9 B47 2023

If you are looking to become more persuasive in the courtroom, the authors of Trial Advocacy in a Nutshell offer skills and strategies that you may find helpful. Bergman and Bernstein dissect historic and recent court cases to illustrate how to form argument centered narratives. They also spend time looking at admissibility of evidence in light of the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Other chapters include:

  • Developing chronologies
  • Developing inferential arguments
  • Developing credibility arguments
  • Courtroom procedural strategies
  • Using technology in the courtroom
  • Opening statements
  • Direct examination
  • Cross examination
  • Expert witnesses
  • Satisfying foundational requirements for tangible evidence

New books

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

Lost your readers? Grab your phone


From flashlights to alarm clocks to cameras, the smart phone has managed to replace many common household objects. Here's one more you may have missed: the magnifying glass.

Buried amongst the utilities on the iPhone is the magnifying glass. It uses your phone's camera to zoom in on small objects. This is very handy for daily life - reading menus, seeing the small print of a nutrition label, removing slivers, identifying bugs, etc. For some tasks you could simply use the zoom on your camera. However, the magnifier utility provides quick access to the flashlight as well as color filters which can help people who have color blindness.

For a review of the best magnifying glass apps for iOS and Android, check out this Lifewire review: The 8 Best Magnifying Glass Apps of 2023.

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Library News – Carol Hassler

Thanksgiving closures

All three libraries will be closed on Thursday, November 23rd for the state holiday. The Dane County Law Library and Milwaukee County Law Library will also be closed on Friday, November 24th. To ask a question while we are closed, please send an email to wsll.ref@wicourts.gov or leave a voicemail at 608-267-9696.

Welcome new program associate

Last month we welcomed our new Program Associate Jaden Henneman to the library. Jaden graduated with a BS in Psychology and Agricultural Business Management from UW-Madison, and has a certificate in criminal justice. She brings extensive customer service and administrative experience to the library. Welcome, Jaden!

Ethics CLE opportunity

The Office of Lawyer Regulation is offering in-person Ethics School at locations throughout Wisconsin this November and December. Cost of attendance is $50.00 (paralegal students may attend at no cost). 4 CLE credits (3 EPR, 1 LAU). For more details and registration information, please see the Ethics School brochure on wicourts.gov.

Dates and locations for the seminars are:

November 17 - Madison College (Madison)
December 5 - Fox Valley Technical College (Appleton)
December 12 - Chippewa Valley Technical College (Eau Claire)
December 13 - North Central Technical College (Wausau)

Fall webinars

There is still space in our last webinar for 2023. Registration for is limited to 100. Registrations will be approved weekly by the moderator. Once your registration is approved, you will get an email confirmation with connection information. Please reach out to Heidi Yelk with questions.

Missing or Repealed Statutes and other special problems in Wisconsin Legislative Research
Thursday, November 16, noon-1:00 p.m.
Location: Live webinar - Register for Missing or Repealed Statutes and other special problems in Wisconsin Legislative Research
This class introduces sources that can untangle unusual problems that can be quite vexing when they come up, such as finding repealed statutes, tracing non-statutory laws, and determining when and to what extent a non-codified session law has been amended.

After Hours service in 2024

It's time to renew your After Hours Service for 2024! The Wisconsin State Law Library offers After Hours access to the David T. Prosser Jr. State Law Library to any attorney licensed to practice in this state. After Hours Service includes the hours of 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, including holidays.

Subscribers have access to the library's print and microform materials, public access computer stations and Wi-Fi. Subscribers may make photocopies, use the public scanner to email documents, and check out library materials after hours.

After Hours Service is offered on a calendar year subscription basis. Each attorney must maintain their own individual subscription. Current subscribers may renew (with an existing key fob) for $100 or sign up for new access for $108.

Renew or subscribe online, or complete an After Hours Service first-time subscription or renewal application form and mail it with a check or money order payable to Wisconsin State Law Library, to:

After Hours Service
Wisconsin State Law Library
P.O. Box 7881
Madison, WI 53707-7881

For more information, contact Jaden Henneman at 608-261-7553 or at Jaden.Henneman@wicourts.gov.

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November Snapshot

Virginia court seal

Seal of the Supreme Court of Virginia
Photo by Julie Tessmer Robinson

Former Wisconsin State Law Librarian Julie Tessmer Robinson sent in this photo after a recent visit to Virginia. The seal of the Supreme Court of Virginia was adopted in 1935 and features an ostrich. Library and court staff researched the origin of the seal, discovering that it had been used on court documents since the early twentieth century. It's believed that the seal's symbolism was derived from a 1519 image of Justice with an ostrich, painted by Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. Learn more about the origin of the seal and its symbolism.

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

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