Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, RPL is offering Curbside Pick-Up Service at all of our locations until further notice.  

Law Library

Main Law Library

Richmond Public Law Library is free and open to the public Monday – Friday, 10 – 5.  The Law Library is located on the first floor of the Main Library at 101 E. Franklin Street.

The  Law Library offers free “Know Your Rights” Community Law Classes, free WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, U.S. News & World Report, and Gale Legal Forms online, and free legal research classes for the public.  All materials in this collection are reference books that cannot be checked out.  Photocopies can be made at a cost of .15 cents per page.

The Law Library collection includes:

  • The Richmond CityVirginia, and United States codes: these are the official legislative laws (or ordinances on the city level) of the jurisdictions.
  • Form books covering many topics. These sample forms are generic and may be adapted to a legal situation and jurisdiction. Series include: American Jurisprudence Legal Forms, American Jurisprudence Pleading and Practice Forms, Nichols Cyclopedia of Legal Forms, West’s Legal Forms, selected Nolo volumes, and Virginia Forms.
  • Federal and Virginia state administrative regulations – The Virginia Administrative Code, which contains regulations promulgated by Virginia administrative agencies.
  • All Virginia state and federal published opinions
  • American Law Reports (ALR), Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS), American Jurisprudence (Am Jur 2d), Restatements, many subject-specific federal treatises and loose-leaf services, several sets of form books, and legal newspapers –
    American Law Reports (ALR), Series 1st-6th, Federal and Federal 2nd. These books show how different jurisdictions have ruled on an issue, and direct you to more information about the topic.
  • Learn about legal topics and find definitions with legal encyclopedias and dictionaries. Our collection includes American Jurisprudence 2d, Corpus Juris Secundum, Michie’s Jurisprudence of Virginia and West Virginia, and Black’s Law Dictionary.
  • Virginia practice materials, including a large selection of CLE’s, Michie’s Jurisprudence, Virginia Forms, Model Jury Instructions, Virginia Practice, and many more continuing education resources including Bryson on Virginia Civil Procedure, Williston on Contracts, A Guide to Evidence in Virginia,  Words and Phrases, and Restatements of the Law.
  • Read the opinion of a case as written by the judge. Reporters include United States Supreme Court Lawyers Ed., Federal, Federal Supplement, South Eastern, Virginia, and Virginia Court of Appeals.
  • Free access to Westlaw’s Civil Rights Legal materials.
  • Free access to Westlaw’s COVID-19 Tookit.
  • Free access to WestlawNext, and Lexis Advance, including state and federal cases, statutes and regulations from all jurisdictions, as well as various secondary sources, forms, and briefs–all online.  Available in the library only.  See below for special temporary access**
  • Free access to BNA’s U. S. News & World Report both online and print.
  • Free access with Richmond Public Library Card to Gale Legal Forms online.

The Law Library reference desk is generally staffed during normal library hours. If you need assistance, we recommend calling ahead to verify that someone will be there to help you.

For more information about our materials, please visit us, call us at (804) 646-6500, or email us at lawlibrary@richmondgov.com.

Special Temporary Access**

As you may know, because of the pandemic, the Richmond Public Library has been closed since March 14, 2020, and will continue to be closed until further notice. However, I am pleased to report that Thomson Reuters has made available Westlaw temporary, restricted access for patron researchers during building closures associated with COVID-19.

You may now choose one of three options as to the type of free Westlaw temporary access you need:

  1. Patron Researcher Temporary Westlaw Passwords:  3 hour / 5 day expiry (for library patrons in need of legal research access). This would allow you to access the Westlaw legal research database from your home computer for up to 3 hours a day, for a maximum of 3 hours. This access would expire after 5 days. In other words, once you log on, you will have Westlaw for a total of 3 hours over 5 days.There is no charge for this access, as it is pursuant to the Law Library’s subscription. To utilize this option, you would need to notify the Law Library. This access is limited to one user only. Restrictions apply.  Contact the Law Library by chat to request a 3 hour / 5 day expiry Temporary Westlaw Password.
  2. Your second option is to contact the Law Library by chat and request that the research be performed by the law librarian on your behalf. This would be limited to up to a limited number of hours within a 2-week period. Restrictions apply.
  3. Patron Self-Registered Complimentary Remote Access:  20 hour / 14 day expiry (for library patrons in need of legal research access).   This would allow you to access the Westlaw legal research database from your home computer for up to 20 hours, for a maximum of 20 hours. This access would expire after 14 days. In other words, once you register, you will have access to Westlaw Patron Access platform for a total of 20 hours over 14 days.  Follow the instructions below to activate a 20 hour / 14 day expiry trial subscription:
  1. Access the Westlaw Patron Access page and enter your email address.
  2. Enter your contact information. In the Organization Type field, please select Government – State or Local.
  3. Skip the “Add Colleagues” page
  4. Click “I agree” to Terms & Conditions and click Create Profile
  5. Create OnePass Profile and Security fields
  6. Confirm your OnePass profile and click Get Started to begin searching on Westlaw Patron Access!