Packets for the People (Including Attorneys)

By Barbara Engstrom, Executive Director

Prior to the pandemic, the law library hosted three in-person legal clinics per week.  While there were sometimes long lines for the walk-in clinics and perhaps a wait time of a week or two for the clinics that required appointments, generally pro-ses could get timely assistance at one of our clinics or at another clinics hosted elsewhere in King County.   As with most things, the pandemic curtailed in-person clinics and getting assistance via telephone clinics has become significantly harder.

For county law libraries and legal aid providers, one of the best workarounds for the lack of in-person legal clinics are the form packets available from the King County Law Library, Washington Law Help, and various legal aid organizations.  Although packet formats tend to vary by the organization producing them, they generally contain easy to follow instructions written with non-attorneys in mind, and include the required forms for whatever action the person is pursuing.  In this article we’ll take a quick tour of the self-help packets available at KCLL and Washington Law Help.  While most of the packets are geared to pro ses, the King County Law Library has several packets that attorneys regularly pick up and find quite useful.

King County Law Library

For Self-Represented Litigants (SRLs)

The law library has a very robust collection of civil litigation packets that spun off from our award winning Self-Represented Litigant Workshop series.  In the SRL series we cover the basics of civil litigation presented in the framework of the associated court rules.  There is a basic civil lawsuit class followed by more advanced classes on filing motions, the process of civil discovery, basic issues of evidence, and pre-trial preparation.   For those undaunted by the prospect of representing themselves, the law library has a self-help packet for each of these areas.  The packets go into further detail with step-by-step instructions  and a discussion of the process in King County. As an added bonus, the law library has fantastic companion videos to help further illustrate some of the common problem areas that SRLs run into.  (Use the drop down to filter for civil litigation.)

Civil Litigation Packets

  • Starting a Civil Lawsuit in Superior Court
  • Responding to a Civil Lawsuit in Superior Court
  • Making a Civil Motion in Superior Court (Case With Assigned Judge)
  • Ask for a Default Judgment in Superior Court (Civil Case)
  • Starting an Appeal from Superior Court to Court of Appeals

In addition to the civil litigation packets, the law library has compiled form kits for family law issues using the King County Family Law Instructions and the associated forms.  These packets provide an easy and convenient way for SRLs to have all the instructions and forms in one place without having to bounce back and forth between the Family Law Instructions page, the Washington Courts forms page, and the King County Superior Courts forms page.   As with the civil litigation packets, KCLL has developed short, easy to understand videos to help family law SRLs navigate various issues.  (Use the drop down to filter for family law.)

Family Law Packets

  • Divorce
  • Parenting Plans
  • Family Law Motions
    • Default
    • Contempt
  • Temporary Orders
  • Service of Process
  • Guardianship
    • Adult
    • Minor

Probate and Other Packets of Interest to Attorneys

We also have several probate and estate packets that both SRLs and attorneys find useful.  Our Transfer on Death Deed and Replevin packets are frequently requested by attorneys.

Probate Packets

  • Opening & Closing Probate WITH a Will
  • Opening & Closing Probate WITHOUT a Will

Estate Packets

  • Filing a Will without Opening Probate
  • Will in a Safe Deposit Box
  • Transfer on Death Deed (TODD)
  • Small Estate Affidavit

Other Packets of Interest

  • Replevin (How to Get Your Stuff Back by Court Order)
  • Appeal a Driver’s License Suspension
  • Claim Against a Contractor’s Bond

Washington Law Help

The form packets available via the law library are specifically tailored to King County rules and procedures.  For packets with general Washington application, Washington Law Help is a great resource.  For almost any topic a self-represented party is pursuing, it is worth running a search on Washington Law Help to see if they have it covered.  A fantastic new resource on Washington Law Help that I encourage you to look at and point self-represented parties to, is their “Do It Yourself” forms depot.  The DIY Forms resource takes users through a Turbo Tax-like interview process which then auto-populates forms sets based on those answers.  For computer savvy SRLs, it takes away a lot of the frustration and uncertainty of drafting legal forms.

WA Law Help DIY-Forms Topic Areas:

  • Filing Fee Waivers
  • Answering a Debt Collection Lawsuit
  • Filing for or Responding to Divorce
  • Parenting Plans
  • Healthcare Directives
  • Vacating Drug Possession Conviction Post-Blake


This is not an exhaustive list of the forms available on either the King County Law Library’s website or Washington Law Help.  If you have questions about locating form packets on either site, please reach out to the law library.  If there is a form packet you think would be of use to SRLs, (or attorneys) let us know.  If you need other non-SRL oriented forms, we can also cover you there.  We have an extensive array of forms sets available in both print and electronic resources. Contact the law library:

Finally, a big thanks to Stephen Seely, our former Outreach Services Attorney and now Director of the Pierce County Law Library, for doing such an incredible job of creating KCLL form packets that are thorough, yet easy for lay person to understand.