Author: Sean Powers

Job Announcement: Outreach Services Associate

The King County Law Library is pleased to announce that it’s accepting applications for the new and very exciting position of Outreach Services Associate. This is a unique opportunity to put your creativity to work in the service of broadening the public’s understanding of our legal system.  In addition to providing excellent reference service to our patrons, we’re looking for someone who can help us design and implement innovative forms of outreach.  Put your imagination and love of public service to work with us!

Please read the complete posting here.

 

KCLL Wins National Award for Outreach

The Workshops

We launched Civil Lawsuits Without Tears in March of 2018. It was the first workshop in our then new Self-Represented Litigants (SRL) Workshop series. That series now includes three civil procedure workshops, four family law workshops, a small business law workshop and a power of attorney workshop. Plans for a landlord/tenant workshop are in the works.

When we made that first launch we were confident we had created a new, practical, and sustainable mechanism for helping the self-represented litigants we work with become better prepared for their day in court. It was “new” for several reasons. It leveraged partnerships with volunteers from the local bar and the LLLT community, local public libraries like SPL and KCLS, and other community centers. It married face-to-face classroom instruction with follow-up content support on our website. It brought instruction out to where the self-represented litigants live and work in surroundings they are more familiar with. It was “practical” because KCLL staff worked closely with our volunteer instructors to choose content that was focused on the specific areas of civil procedure that most often confound self-represented litigants. It was “sustainable” because the load or weight of content development, instruction, and marketing was spread across all partners.

We had also hoped that workshop attendees would find the content understandable and immediately useful; that they would appreciate being able to attend the workshops in the local libraries or community centers they were already familiar with, and that access to the blank forms and research links on our custom SRL workshop website would continue to provide support down the litigation road.

To date, over 400 self-represented litigants have attended at least one of the workshops. We are hard at work searching for additional volunteer attorneys to help us develop and present relevant content and have plans for expanding the number of public library branches at which the workshops are hosted. Feedback from attendees has been very positive and they often return to KCLL for further research help.

The Award

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is a nation-wide professional association for law librarians who practice in pubic, academic and private firm law libraries. AALL sponsors a number of juried awards that recognize outstanding achievement in various aspects of law library management and services. This year, AALL added a new award called the Excellence in Community Engagement Award. This award focuses on community engagement and public relations and was created to “ …recognize and acknowledge outstanding contributions achieved by the Association’s members in raising the visibility of the profession and its Association.” In February of this year, LeighAnne Thompson and Stephanie Wilson from the Seattle University School of Law Library nominated our Self-Represented Litigants Workshop series. In March, we were overjoyed to receive this communication from Sally Holterhoff, chair of AALL’s Excellence in Community Engagement Award Jury:

“…your library’s Self-Represented Litigant (SRL) Workshops have been selected as one of two recipients of an inaugural AALL Excellence in Community Engagement Award. Congratulations on this honor. Our jury felt that your project does an outstanding job of reaching people in your community at their point of need with practical information. With these workshops, you are involving the legal and library communities in partnering to address the information needs of self-represented litigants and to help them successfully navigate the legal system.”

Many Thanks

We are very grateful to our SRL workshop partners, without whose help the workshop series would not have been possible. KCLL is indebted to the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to the workshop series and is excited to continue the collaboration to support and improve the education of self-represented litigants in King County:

  • Jeff Cowan, Esq.
  • Anthony Gibbs of Moceri Law Group, PLLC
  • Debbie Williams, Esq
  • McKean Evans of Pivotal Law Group
  • Stephanie Wilson, LeighAnne Thompson of the Seattle University School of Law
  • The law student volunteers of the Seattle University School of Law Access to Justice program
  • David Witus, Esq.
  • Jennifer Ortega of Legal Technician Division, PLLC
  • Sarah Bove of Legal Technician Division, PLLC
  • Valerie Wonder and Nika Pratsitsilpsiri of the Seattle Public Library
  • Jose Garcia and Andy Wickens and the staff of the  Kent branch of the King County Library System
  • Julia Gibson and the staff of the Shoreline branch of the King County Library System
  • Maria Arcorace and the staff of the Burien branch of the King County Library System
  • Mason Wiley of the U. Heights Community Center

If you are interested in learning more about our workshops – or the possibility of facilitating them, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us here or  call us at (206) 477-1305.

Debt Collection Laws in Washington Make It Easy for Collectors

An in-depth article in the Seattle Times takes a look the laws and rules that permit collections firms to make life painful for debtors in Washington State.  With the addition of court-sanctioned fees and the highest post-judgment interest rates in the county, lawmakers are finally taking another look the industry.

The Library hosts a Debt Defense Clinic that is put on by the Northwest Justice Project.

A lot of helpful information can also be found on the WashingtonLawHelp.org website.

Public Defenders to Help Vacating Eligible Convictions

The King County Office of Public Defense has announced a new initiative to help people remove eligible convictions from their record.  Eligibility depends on the type of conviction (many misdemeanors and non-violent Class B & Class C felonies) as well as the amount of time that has passed since the conviction – among other things.

 

The Seattle Times published a good article on the announcement, which can be found HERE.

Information on the Office of Public Defense can be found HERE.

WSBA Members To Get Access to Fastcase!

Beginning in “early 2019,” the Washington State Bar Association is going to give all active members access to Fastcase as part of their bar membership.  Once it goes live, bar members will have full access to their extensive collection of caselaw, statutes, regulations, court rules, and other materials.  The arrangement will allow unlimited research and includes webinar training and customer support from Fastcase reference attorneys.  You can read the full press release HERE.

How to Nullify Your Property’s Discriminatory Covenants

Many Seattle homeowners are unaware that their property may have restrictive covenants (dictating what types of people can own the property) attached to it that are based on outdated, unenforceable and racist policies from the past.  But beginning January 1st of 2019, homeowners can ask the King County Recorder’s Office to modify any of their deeds that contain such language.  Read the Seattle Times article HERE.

Announcing New Subscriber Benefits

Big changes are afoot in the law library’s subscriber program, making it one of the best deals around.

Beginning on November 15th subscribers receive the following new subscriber-only benefits:

 

“Let Us Do Your Research!”

With this new service you can hand off your research question to our skilled reference staff and we will provide a research memorandum with references to applicable law and resources.

Research services are billed at a rate of $100 per hour, in 15 minute increments.

More information can be found HERE.

 

One Hour of Additional Westlaw Time

You may have noticed that the law library significantly expanded our Westlaw subscription in 2017. In addition to our previous coverage of primary law from all state and federal jurisdictions, Washington Practice, law reviews and jury verdicts, we now have state and federal court filings, and the bulk of the West treatise collection.

Current rules limit all patrons to two hours of Westlaw time per day. As a subscriber you will now be able to request an extra hour of Westlaw time. Just come to the desk to request your additional hour.

 

Three Free Document Deliveries Per Year

Give us your known citation to a case, statute, law review or other document in our collection and we will deliver a copy to you electronically. Restrictions on the size of documents will apply.

More information can be found HERE.

This is a $60 dollar value based on current subscriber pricing!

New Library Catalog!

We have migrated to a new, more user-friendly library catalog! Check it out here.

New features include:

  • Mobile Friendly: A responsive mobile-friendly interface, so you can use the catalog on your smart phone.
  • Two-Week Loan Period for Book Checkouts: We have also changed our loan periods – books are now checked out, automatically, for two weeks, with no renewals. Instead of checking out a book for one-week and then having to call to renew the book, subscribers now check out books for two weeks at a time.
  • List of New Titles: Are you interested in the newest titles the library has to offer? Every month, the library will update its list of New Titles on the Catalog homepage with the most recent acquisitions, keeping you up-to-date on the law.
  • Purchase Suggestions: Not finding the book that you want or need? You can now make purchase suggestions to the library, letting us know what you would like us to include in our collection. If a suggested book is popular or highly relevant to the majority of our subscribers, we will take it into consideration when completing our acquisitions process.

Are you having trouble using our new catalog? Do you have questions about the services we offer? Feel free to call and speak with a librarian: (206) 477-1305.