Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service October 2009

What’s New – Connie Von Der Heide

Public Library Initiative Sessions Continue

On September 29, the Wisconsin Court System and the South Central and Arrowhead Library Systems co-sponsored a special training session in Madison for librarians who assist people who represent themselves in court. The project’s goal is to foster communication between local courts and public libraries in an effort to better meet the legal service needs of self-represented litigants.

Leading the initiative were the Fifth Judicial District and the Wisconsin State Law Library in Madison. The South Central and Arrowhead Library Systems generously agreed to co-sponsor and host the program, which was aimed at informing public library staff about the various court-related services and information currently available to assist self-represented litigants. Presenters to the 20 librarians who attended included a local circuit court judge, district court administrator, clerk of circuit court, register in probate, a law professor who supervises local pro se family and small claims legal clinics, the state court pro se coordinator, and Jane Colwin, State Law Librarian, who provided tips on handling legal reference questions and demonstrated a variety of legal research resources available through the Wisconsin State Law Library website.

In addition to the group presentation, the public library initiative has a second component in which the Fifth District Court Administrator and/or Registers in Probate and Clerks of Circuit Court will make personal follow-up visits to each public library in their respective counties. The visits are intended to foster personal working relationships and to provide further information related to available circuit court resources.

Similar training sessions have been and are being co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Court System and other Wisconsin library systems, with the goal of reaching librarians in every Wisconsin county.

(credit: Wisconsin Court System September 24 headline news article)


Upcoming Class in Madison

Ethics Research via Westlaw
Tuesday, November 17, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m., Wisconsin State Law Library Training Room
Review Westlaw sources and learn online searching techniques for researching ethics and professional responsibility questions. Westlaw offers many legal ethics databases, including ABA opinions, case law, and Restatements. This hands-on class will provide you with an opportunity to try searching techniques while learning about specialized databases on Westlaw. This free class will offer 1 Ethics CLE credit. Registration is limited to 8. You may register online or print and submit this registration form.


Upcoming Classes in Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Legal Resource Center (MLRC) will host three FREE Westlaw classes on Thursday, October 8th. The Noon to 1 p.m. session is for attorneys only. General admission sessions will be held from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. Each class is one hour in length. All classes will take place in the MLRC, located in room 307A of the Milwaukee County Courthouse. Classes fill quickly, so pre-register now by signing up at the MLRC, calling the MLRC at (414) 278-4900 or e-mailing Rebecca.Knutson@wicourts.gov . One CLE credit will be applied for.


WSLL, MLRC & DCLRC will be closed on October 12

All three of our libraries will be closed on Monday, October 12. That same date was also selected by the Governor as a mandatory furlough day for nearly all state employees - one of several measures to address the state’s budget shortfall.

The Clerk of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals office will remain open to accept filings. Support staff in the Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) will also be on duty.

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This Just In… – Julie Tessmer

New Editions

The Entrapment Defense, Paul Marcus
LexisNexis, 2009
Call Number: KF9244 .M371

Authored by Haynes Professor of Law Paul Marcus from the College of William and Mary, the fourth edition contains discussion on subjective, objective and hybrid tests for proving entrapment. Professor Marcus is also a member of the ABA Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure and Evidence. In the preface the author explains, “The entrapment defense first appeared in American legal practice more than 100 years ago. Since that time, judges, lawyers and scholars have debated the merits of the defense, the need for it, and the underlying rationale for it as well.”

Structuring Commercial Real Estate Workouts: Alternatives to Bankruptcy and Foreclosure, by W. Wade Berryhill
Aspen Publishers, 2009
Call Number: KF1535.R43 S77

This second edition contains updates on:

  • When to consider a real estate workout over bankruptcy or foreclosure
  • The effect of securitized debt on the workout calculus and process
  • Significant changes in the United States Tax Code due to passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
  • Recent amendments to the Bankruptcy Code

Updated BNA Tax Management Portfolios

The library has received several updated BNA Tax Management Portfolios. These concise guides, written by leading practitioners in the field, can be just the resource you need to help research a specific tax-related issue.

Debt-financed Income (Section 514), by Carla Neeley Freitag
Tax Management, 2009
Call Number: KF 6289 .A1 T35 no. 465

Export Tax Incentives, by Mark Thompson
Tax Management, 2009
Call Number: KF 6289 .A1 T34 no. 934-2nd

Partnerships—Current and Liquidating Distributions; Death or Retirement of a Partner, by Elliott Manning
Tax Management, 2009
Call Number: KF 6289 .A1 T353 no.811-2nd

Personal Life Insurance Trusts, by Georgiana J. Slade
Tax Management, 2009
Call Number: KF 6289 .A1 T353 no.807-2nd


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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Start Here: A Guide to WSLL Services & Resources – Connie Von Der Heide

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.

Document Delivery

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 from our own collection or around the world. 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 Document Delivery webpage.

WSLL Website

The State Law Library website is a virtual “one stop shop” for legal and government information. Our Legal Topics pages contain thousands of links categorized into subjects from Abortion to Zoning Law, plus pages of links to Wisconsin state and local law, Wisconsin county resources, federal law, laws of other states and more. You can also search the library catalog, and electronic databases of journal and newspaper articles.


The State Law Library extends borrowing privileges to Wisconsin judges and court staff, private attorneys, and government employees. To obtain a library card, visit any one of our three libraries. Or, if you’re unable to visit, complete our online library card registration form and we’ll mail a card to you.

To borrow materials, start by searching our online catalog to find out whether the item you want is currently available. To help you get started, we’ve created a very brief online tutorial about using the Quick Search feature on our website. Wisconsin judges and attorneys who are unable to come to the library may borrow materials through our Circulation By Mail service.

After Hours Service for Attorneys

Wisconsin-licensed attorneys who would prefer to use the State Law Library during evenings and weekends may wish to subscribe to our After Hours Service. This convenient service allows subscribers to access the library from 5 to 10 p.m. M-F and 8 to 6 on Saturdays and Sundays. For complete details and subscription information, see our After Hours Service webpage.

Hands-on Legal Research Classes

The library offers free and fee-based classes on a variety of legal research topics, many of which include instruction in using electronic resources in the legal research process. Most classes are held in the library's computer training room, which is equipped with eight computers for hands-on learning. Others are presented in demonstration or lecture format in the Rare Book Room. To find out what classes are being offered at any time, visit our Classes & Tours webpage.

Library Tours & Orientations

Would you like a firsthand, guided look at the State Law Library? To schedule a tour for your group or an orientation session for new law firm or government agency staff, contact Connie Von Der Heide at 608-267-2202 or Connie.VonDerHeide@wicourts.gov

Room Rentals

Are you in need of a nice place in downtown Madison to meet with a client or hold a training session for your staff? The State Law Library has a variety of rooms available for hourly rental. Information about each room, including photos, may be found on our Room Rental webpage.

Specialized Resources Available @ WSLL

Wisconsin Briefs

The State Law Library provides public access to the briefs and appendices for cases decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Briefs for many cases dated 1992 to the present are available on the web. Earlier ones may be used in the library, and copies may be requested through our Reference Service. For more information, visit our Wisconsin Briefs webpage.

Judicial Council Collection

If you’re researching the legislative history or intent of a Supreme Court Rule or a Wisconsin Statute relating to court procedures, the State Law Library’s Judicial Council Collection might be of interest. It contains Judicial Council minutes and committee-related documents from the 1950’s to the present. Detailed information and a finding aid for the committee documents are available on our Judicial Council Collection webpage.

Wisconsin Administrative Code “Replaced Pages”

The State Law Library is one of very few libraries that maintains 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 Wisconsin regulatory history or needing the previous language of a particular Admin Code section. For assistance or to obtain copies from this collection, contact our Reference Desk.

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Tech Tip in Brief – Carol Hassler

Firefox Add-Ons

Other browsers may be faster, but I remain devoted to Firefox for the extensive and largely free add-on library maintained by Firefox’s developer community.

What Is an Add-On?

Add-ons are optional components that enhance the functionality of Firefox. Add-ons give you more tools for viewing, saving, searching, and downloading web content than the standard web browser may provide.

Legal Add-Ons

Jureeka pinpoints legal citations on webpages and dynamically adds links to online sources. CiteGenie allows for quick copying of legal citations from online services like Westlaw and Lexis. (CiteGenie does require registration.)

Use Recap to save PACER documents in a shared, free archive – or check to see if the documents you seek have already been added to the archive.

Research Add-Ons

For more a more general citation tool, try Zotero, which allows for citation capture, but also stores files, images, links and whole web pages. Zotero also has note-taking and tag options. Save pages for reading another time – online or offline – with Read It Later.

One of my favorite add-ons, Add to Search Bar, allows you to add nearly any web search engine to Firefox’s search bar. For example, I have added Wisconsin Lawyer’s search as well as our website’s search to mine.

For general reference, pick from a number of dictionaries, encyclopedias, conversion tools, and more. If you’re lost, consider a bundle, like Reference Desk, which includes charts, dictionaries, translation tools, and more.

Other Useful Add-Ons

  • AdBlock Plus: Block ads and banners. You’ll forget what ads look like!
  • Echofon: Get notified of Twitter friends’ tweets and send your own tweets.
  • FireShot: Capture screenshots of webpages and add annotations
  • Forecastbar Enhanced: Embed weather information in your statusbar.
  • Lazarus Form Recovery: Auto-save web forms so you won’t lose what you type.
  • No Script: Block unknown scripts from executing without your permission.
  • QuickDrag: Use drag-and-drop to load URLs, do a web search of selected text, or save images.

Adding Add-Ons

Many web services and social networking sites have add-ons you can use to tweak your online experience. To get started, search for add-ons. Still have questions? Learn more about customizing Firefox with add-ons at Mozilla’s support site.

For more add-on suggestions for the legal professional, see Bonnie Schucha's WisBlawg post:"Firefox Add-ons for Research, Communication, Current Awareness, Privacy & More."

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Odds ‘n’ Endings – Heidi Yelk

Notables for October

National Fire Prevention Week kicks off the month, running October 4-10. Watch for special events in your community, such as fire truck parades and special services honoring firefighters.

Several Wisconsin-born figures in popular culture celebrate October birthdays. Musician Steve Miller was born in Milwaukee October 5; actor and Madison native Bradley Whitford was born on October 10; movie producer, writer and director David Zucker was born in Milwaukee on October 16, and soap opera actress Deidre Hall was born in Milwaukee on October 31.

From your school days, you may remember studying the coincidental events occurring on October 8, 1871. The Peshtigo Fire and the Chicago Fire occurred on the same day, starting at about the same time. On October 8, 1997, the 126th anniversary of the fires, the Chicago Fire, a professional soccer team, announced its name, logo, colors and uniform at Navy Pier.

National Pro Bono Celebration takes place October 25-31. Check the website to find or register an event.

Don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors when you set your clocks back on Saturday, October 31. Daylight Saving Time ends November 1 at 2:00 a.m. local time.

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