Massachusetts Law

The library subscribes to Masstrac, a platform that tracks bills as they pass through the legislature – providing the closest thing Massachusetts has to online legislative history.  State House News, which updates you on legislative activities, is another library subscription.  Finally, we subscribe to the Social Law Library which has many agency decisions not found anywhere else.

Much of the legal information in Massachusetts is public.  The state legislature provides access to the legislative code (General Laws), session laws (from 1997) and bills from the current and previous two sessions.  The Governor’s office provides access to Executive Orders and legislation, as well as current information on legislation on the governor’s desk for review and action.

The Governor’s office provides access to Executive Orders and legislation, as well as current information on legislation on the governor’s desk for review and action. The state judicial branch provides a range of public information, including a docket search of the Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court; court decisions from the Reporter of Decisions; and a guide to Massachusetts Evidence Law.

Massachusetts Trial Court Libraries, including Massachusetts legal information by topic. MTCL provides access to the entire Code of Massachusetts Regulations (C.M.R.), access to state court rules, topical legal forms and city & town bylaws and ordinances.

The State Library has put together an impressive archive of official documents and its guide to conducting state legislative history research is the go-to source for researchers investigating legislative intent.


Congressional Documents and Legislative History

At some point in your life as a lawyer you will get a legislative history question.  Be prepared.  Find out how to find congressional documents by number and subject.  What was Congress thinking when they passed that law?  Now you will know how to figure out.  We will be using, Proquest Congressional, Legislative Insight, Westlaw and Lexis Advance to find congressional documents.  Come and learn all the tricks of the legislative documents trade.

Federal Legislation


MCLE Online Pass

Looking for resources to help you analyze and keep current on Massachusetts law?  You may want to check out the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) series.  MCLE resources are now available electronically via the MCLE Online Pass, which includes online access to MCLE’s archive of books, articles, and program materials. Searching for more?  Just ask a reference librarian!


Submit to the Eighth Annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition!

Village Lawyer, by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1620). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Legal History and Rare Books Section (LHRB) of the American Association of Law Libraries, in cooperation with Gale Cengage Learning, announces the annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition. The competition is named in honor of Morris L. Cohen, late Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School. Professor Cohen’s scholarly work was in the fields of legal research, rare books, and historical bibliography.

The purpose of the competition is to encourage scholarship in the areas of legal history, rare law books, and legal archives, and to acquaint students with the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and law librarianship. Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. The competition is open to students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in library science, law, history, and related fields. Both full- and part-time students are eligible. Membership in AALL is not required.

The winner will receive a $500.00 prize from Gale Cengage Learning and up to $1,000 for expenses associated with attendance at the AALL Annual Meeting.The winner and runner-up will have the opportunity to publish their essays in LH&RB’s online scholarly journal Unbound: An Annual Review of Legal History and Rare Books.

You can find submission information and read about past winners here.


Certification Class: Social Media & People Research

Social media researchEver needed to find an address, phone number, or social media profile for a person? Come learn how to use public records and  research strategies to locate birth certificates, property records, facebook profiles, and more!

This class will be offered Tuesday, February 9, 2016 from 11AM-12PM and 1PM-2PM. Register for this and other classes at


Certification Class: Regulations


Research in the regulations promulgated by administrative agencies is an important component of U.S. legal work. This class will augment what you learn in law school courses and will include finding regulations, working with the principal publications (Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations), and updating research to locate the most current information.

This class will be offered on Feb. 8th and 10th from 1-2 PM in Room 335

Register for this and other classes here:



Power Searching

Do you know how to craft a search that finds only the 10 relevant cases in your jurisdiction?  WestlawNext and Lexis Advance are now set up to find you lots of results, but those results are not always relevant.  This class will teach you to search more precisely.  What are common features for searching all specialized databases?  Firms pay lots of money for specialized practice area databases – how can you be ready to learn to search them quickly?  Even Google has hacks that make it easier to search Google.  Learn all this at:

Power Searching
Feb. 2nd @ 11am & 1pm
Instructor: Stefanie Weigmann


Bloomberg BNA Student Write-On Competition Just Announced


Bloomberg BNA has just opened its student write-on competition to Boston University Law Students giving you a great opportunity to get your writing published (and possibly win some cash too!) in one of a selected number of BNA Law Reports.

Here are the details:

“Students interested in participating will have to write a short original article, 1000-1600 words, that analyzes trends or developments in the law.  Students with winning articles will work directly with the Executive Editors of each participating BNA Law Report to get their articles ready for publishing in the first edition of that Law Report in April 2016.”
There is also a direct link from the Bloomberg Law homepage.

Sharpen those pens and Good luck!



Upcoming Certification Class: Law & Technology

Did you know listing certain legal skills as specialties on LinkedIn can run afoul of state bar ethics rules? Do you know how to strip metadata from a Word document so opposing counsel can’t see all the editing you did? Find something in a spreadsheet? OCR a PDF?  Can you friend a juror on Facebook? ABA Model Rule 1.1 now requires attorneys keep up with new technology–come to this class to learn more about recent ethics opinions and relevant skill sets.

This class will be offered Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 from 1-2PM and 2:15PM-3:15PM. You can register for this and other great classes at: