The Gallagher Law Library is open to the public and you are welcome to visit us in person to use our legal resources and materials.
If you need help identifying and finding legal resources, you can speak to a Research Services librarian in the Reference Office, located on floor L1 (the first lower level) of William H. Gates Hall. We are open Monday through Friday, closed on the weekends. You can find our hours here.
You may also reach us by phone at (206) 543-6794 or by email via our Ask Us! service. Please allow a 24-48 hour turnaround time for questions asked via this service.
The Research Services librarians provide legal research assistance; that is, we can direct you to resources that you can use to find answers to your legal research questions. We cannot tell you what law applies to your situation or give you legal advice. For similar reasons, it is our policy not to read legal materials over the phone or email the text of legal resources via our Ask Us! service. If you cannot come into the law library, you might want to use our fee-based Copy & Send Service. Many Federal and Washington State laws, cases, and regulations are available for free online, as described in Researching a Legal Issue. Note that the law on many subjects (family law, inheritance and wills, real estate, etc. varies from state to state. We cannot answer questions dealing with states other than Washington or countries other than the United States. Visit lawhelp.org for links to free or low-cost providers and information for U.S. states other than Washington.
Common examples of questions librarians cannot answer:
What does this legal phrase/word mean?
What statute or law applies in my situation?
Could you find and explain this case to me?
Can you help me fill out this form or tell me if I have filled it in correctly?
How a librarian might help you instead:
Where would I learn what this legal term means?
How do I find which law applies in my situation?
Is there a book or article that talks about this case?
Do you have a sample of this form that I could look at or copy?
We have created legal research guides on a number of common topics, such as researching case law, statutes, and secondary sources. Research guides are lists of librarian-recommended resources on your specific topic, and are an excellent starting point for any legal research project. See our research guides here.
Anyone can register as a law library borrower. Registration will allow you to borrow library items, use legal research computers, scanners, and our wireless internet. Public registrations are good for one year. Once your registration expires, you must come back in person to renew it.
To register, you must bring in valid U.S. government ID with a current U.S. address. If the ID does not have your current address please bring some type of proof of current address. Those without proof of address will be sent an Address Verification Letter and must bring the letter back and signed before they can register as a borrower.
If you would like to only use research terminals, scanners, and library WiFi, you can sign up for WiFi-only access registration. A valid photo ID is still required (a current address is not). Please note that the WiFi-only access does not allow you to borrow physical items.
Minors without photo ID and a current address can have a parent or guardian register on their behalf. Minors can sign up for WiFi-only access if they have a photo ID. Foreign and international users must provide a valid government ID and a local address if they would like to register as a library borrower.
For more information, see the state regulations governing the use of the Law Library (WAC 478-168-010 to -096).
Bring your item to the Circulation Desk to check it out. The Circulation Desk closes 15 minutes before the Library closes.
Loan periods vary depending on the status of the borrower and the type of materials checked out.
|Material from Library Locations||Checkout Period (non-UW Borrowers)|
|Classified Stacks||4 weeks|
|Compact Stacks||4 weeks|
|L2 Reporters||4 weeks|
|Good Reads||4 weeks|
|Folio (Located in Special Collections)||4 weeks|
|Microfiche, Microfilm||4 weeks|
|Reference Area||Library Use Only|
|Special Collections (ask staff to retrieve)||Library Use Only|
To renew your item, sign into your Library Account. You can also call the Circulation Desk (206.543.4086) during business hours to renew over the phone. Note: if your item is overdue or if your patron account has expired (1 year from the date of registration), you must renew in person.
Your item may be recalled because it is requested by another borrower. You will receive an email notification with a shortened (typically two weeks) loan period.
Fines & fees accrue when items are late, lost, or damaged. The UW Libraries Fines page has a full explanation of how fines are assessed and how to pay them.
Law Library books can be returned to any UW Libraries book returns on any of our three campuses (Seattle, Bothell, Tacoma). Do not return UW Libraries books to any other library (e.g., King County Library System, Seattle Public Library, etc.). Returning a UW Libraries book to a non-UW Library could result in late fines or a bill for replacement.