Free to Roam the Cabin

By Barbara Engstrom, Executive Director King County Law Library

This is your captain speaking:  “We have turned off the fasten seatbelt signs.  You are now free to roam the cabin.”

Back in the Stacks

For those of you who have been itching to get back into the law library stacks to do some browsing, you’ll be happy to know that the King County Law Library has resumed full access the stacks and seating in both wings of the law library.  You are free to roam.

I should note that we still have a few vestiges of our COVID protocols in place.  In order to guard against overcrowding and to ensure we are able to serve those needing our specialized services and resources, use of the law library is limited to patrons engaged in legal research and legal work.  We continue to ask patrons to do a quick check-in at the front desk when they enter.  Masks are no longer required, but we recommend wearing a mask inside the law library.

Longer Computer and Database Access

Computer access, including Westlaw, is now back to a two-hour session.  We have three dedicated Westlaw terminals in Seattle and two in Kent.  It should never be a problem to walk-in and immediately get on a Westlaw computer with no wait.  We have excellent Westlaw law coverage with full 50 state and federal primary law, KeyCite, the complete law review & journal collection, the state and federal court dockets and filings, and of course the full Westlaw treatise collection including Washington Practice.   Our in-house computers also have access to our complete database collection including Hein Online, the WSBA Deskbooks via Fastcase, the National Consumer Law Center, Vital Law, NOLO Press, SupportCalc, and our Lexis Digital eBook collection.

If you are considering becoming a subscriber to gain remote access to the Lexis Digital eBook collection, a visit to the law library will allow you to test drive the eBook collection and see all the great content included with our remote access for subscribers.  The Lexis Digital eBook collection has the WSBA Deskbooks, the KCBA Lawyer’s Practice Manual, the Lexis Washington Practitioner Series, the gold standard treatises for almost any subject area (Collier on Bankruptcy, Corbin on Contracts, Immigration Practice and Procedure, Moore’s Federal Practice, Appleman on Insurance, Page on Wills, and Powell on Real Property just to name a few), and the complete ABA treatise collection.

Conference Rooms

Our conference rooms are available for walk-in use for free on a first come, first serve basis. Just check in at the front desk to confirm availability.  Conference rooms may also be reserved in advance for a fee via our website.   Rooms are already filling up for the fall and winter so be sure to make your reservation well in advance.

Remote Services Still Available

If you would like to access the library’s collection and services, but are not coming into the courthouse much these days, never fear we still have plenty of remote options.  As noted above, subscribers have fantastic remote access to our robust collection of Washington, federal, and general practice materials.  The Washington treatises include perennial favorites such as Defending DUIs in Washington, Washington Insurance Law, Washington Business Entities: Laws and Forms, Employment in Washington, and the Law of Evidence in Washington.  We also have the Annotated Revised Code of Washington, and the Washington Court Rules Annotated. As a subscriber, you can annotate and save sections of the eBooks and download for later, offline use.

For non-subscribers, VitalLaw, the National Consumer Law Center treatises, and NOLO Press Books are all available for remote access.

Researchers at Your Service — Let Us Do Your Research

During the pandemic, many of our subscribers discovered the law library’s Let Us Do Your Research service. For solo and small firm attorneys, it’s like having an on-demand, low-cost research assistant who comes armed with tens of thousands of dollars of legal research resources.

Subscribers submit research projects to us through our website. The first fifteen minutes of research is free as our staff reviews the request and determines: 1) if the question(s) fall within the scope of our expertise and our information resources; and 2) if we can meet the request deadline. Once we determine that the question meets these parameters, the subscriber decides if it makes sense to use the service and how much time she would like us to spend. The current rate for approved Let Us Do Your Research projects is $100 per hour, charged in 15-minute increments. Our researchers will limit the amount of time spent on the question to the predetermined amount. If the question takes less time than projected, we only charge for the time spent on the project. Subscribers receive a detailed research memo that includes references to the resources used, summaries of relevant caselaw as well as the full text of cases relied on in the research memo. This service is available only to subscribers.

Here’s what some of our Let Us Do Your Research service users have said:

I presented a fairly complicated question and didn’t want to spend my time down the rabbit hole. I wanted a pro to help me avoid the hours I would have taken to get to first base. I got a call a day after I sent the question from a gentleman who asked perfect questions and engaged in a fruitful and interesting back and forth on the issue. Three days later I got a clearly written road map memo that got me where I needed and then some. Overall great experience. Thank you, money well spent.

Very helpful! I sometimes forget about other potential legal avenues I might pursue. In this case your research reminded me of Restatement of Judgments 2nd which gave me an excellent argument to hopefully defeat collateral estoppel

This is great and exactly what I was hoping for. As a solo practitioner who has zero staff, this type of assistance is invaluable. Thank you, again!

Making it Easier to Get What You Need Remotely — 5 Free Document Deliveries Per Month

To make it easier to use the law library remotely we offer subscribers 5 free document deliveries per month.  This can be a case, a section of a treatise, a law review article, or any other document we have in our collection.  We’ll shoot you a copy of the requested material over email. For non-subscribers, document deliveries cost $25 per document.

Remote or In-Person KCLL is Here for You

While many of you are thrilled to “roam the cabin” again, some still prefer armchair travel.  Whatever your preference, remote or in-person, KCLL has services and resources to assist with your legal research needs. If you have any questions or would like more information, visit  or email