Free public access to law library material being offered

By DAVID BROOKS

Monitor staff

Published: 01-29-2023 4:26 PM

Free online access is being offered to Westlaw, a database for legal reference materials that is widely used by attorneys to research state and federal laws, regulations and court cases. 

The New Hampshire Law Library is participating in a pilot project “to improve access to justice for those who cannot afford a lawyer or want to represent themselves in court,” according to a press release.

Westlaw has a wide range of online resources that can help prepare a case including previous court decisions that relate to their claim, laws and statutes that might apply, as well as newspaper and magazine articles, public records, law journals, law reviews and legal forms. 

“Access to Westlaw can help people representing themselves obtain the legal materials to explain their concerns and support their arguments,” law librarian Mary Searles said in the release.  “Rather than Googling and hoping the information you find is correct, Westlaw guarantees accuracy and reliability.”

The one-year pilot project is funded with $37,500 in existing reserves in the Law Library Revolving Fund. That fund is supported by fees on out-of-state lawyers seeking temporary admission to appear in individual cases. The pilot project will be monitored by the Judicial Branch and assessed for effectiveness.

Unlimited use of Westlaw, for free, is available at public libraries in Derry, Portsmouth and Littleton, or in person at the NH Law Library in Concord at the Supreme Court Building.

Remote access to Westlaw is available through a link on the Law Library.  Users are required to complete a OnePass registration and validate their email address before accessing the online content. Research sessions time out after 90 minutes and there are limitations on the number of free downloads.

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