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What You Always Wanted to Know about Legal Research (*But Were Afraid to Ask!)

This guide provides quick tips about common legal research tasks. It was originally prepared for a Bridge the Legal Research Gap program.

Effective Dates

Legal researchers need to know the effective date of new laws.

For federal laws, the effective date is the date on which the President signs the law (unless the bill specifies a different effective date).

For Washington State laws, the effective date is generally 90 days after adjournment of the legislative session, unless the bill has a specified effective date or emergency clause. Refer to Laws of Washington, RCWA tables volume, and RCWA pocket parts for dates of adjournment and 90 days after.