May/June 2021

Remote resources for pro bono attorneys

As the covid-19 pandemic fades, at least for the summer, public law libraries remain eager to assist attorneys who volunteer their time to help those in need. Library support may involve access to helpful legal research resources, especially for the attorney who takes pro bono clients with issues outside the attorney’s usual practice area. 

Thomson Reuters has extended remote access to Westlaw during the pandemic. The Minnesota State, Hennepin County, and Ramsey County Law Libraries can help attorneys with remote access to Westlaw. (It’s not known how long Thomson Reuters will continue to offer remote access via public law libraries.)

Pro bono attorneys may contact the following law libraries about remote access: 

  • Minnesota State Law Library: 651-297-7651 
  • Hennepin County Law Library: 612-348-2903 
  • Ramsey County Law Library: 651-266-8391 

Pro bono attorneys in other metro area counties should also contact their local public law library to learn what resources they provide. A full directory of county law libraries is available at bit.ly/2RrRCye

Other remote reference services 

Minnesota State Law Library: Via email, reference and resources from Westlaw, Lexis, HeinOnline, National Consumer Law Center, and print resources like the MNCLE Deskbooks. 

Hennepin County Law Library: Offers temporary offsite access to Lexis and research assistance and emailing resources from the library’s extensive practitioner-oriented collection. Related to last summer’s unrest, the library has robust construction and insurance law collections. Pro bono attorneys in Hennepin County may talk to library director Karen Westwood about getting member access, which allows attorneys access to Hein Online and Wolters Kluwer titles from their offices. This also goes for legal nonprofits. 

Ramsey County Law Library: Contact the library for documents that can be sent via email. This includes text from Minnesota Practice Series and Lexis Minnesota titles. 

For MSBA members 

The following online resources are available to MSBA members: Fastcase for online access to primary legal materials; eBooks; mndocs and practicelaw for online forms templates and practice resources. Attorneys access these resources directly from the MSBA (www.mnbar.org).

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