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Reference Policies

The reference desk, located near the entrance to the library in the center of the 3rd floor of the Beus Center for Law and Society, is staffed by professional librarians who can help you use the Law Library. For a current reference schedule, please check the library hours. The phone number is 480-965-7161.

Our Reference librarians are experts in legal research methodology and are available to answer questions from the public about how to do legal research; however, the librarians cannot do research for others, nor may they answer questions about the law or provide legal advice. If you need to find out what the law is, we encourage you to come into the Law Library where you will have access to the books and computers to conduct your own research. When you come in, we will show you where to find the materials you need and how to use them.

Examples of questions that we CAN answer

  • Suggest specific books, journals, databases, websites or other resources that might be appropriate to your research topic.
  • Show you how a particular books or databses are organized and indexed.
  • Help verify a citation or that we own a particular book, journal, or online resource.
  • Show you how to access and use the library's catalog or the law library's public databases.
  • Show you how to determine what a legal abbreviation stands for using the Cardiff Index To Legal Abbreviations.

For ethical and practical reasons we cannot answer these types of questions:

  • What is the statute of limitations for an automobile accident?
  • What does this case mean?
  • Which court do I go to if I want to sue my boss?
  • Which form do I use, and how do I fill it out?
  • Interpret or explain the meaning of any document, legal or otherwise.
  • Give legal advice.
  • Recommend a lawyer.
  • "Update" cases, statutes, etc., or let you know if they are still good law or have been overruled.

Telephone and Email Reference

What we will do for you over the phone is limited by the above guidelines and staff availability. Also, because of licensing restrictions, we cannot do searches of our subscription databases for people who call or email. We can assist you to use these databases when you are in the library.

Due to the volume, nature, or frequency of research questions, we may request that you come into the library to conduct your research. Our email and phone services are intended to provide information to patrons who have occasional questions regarding legal research rather than to substitute for patrons doing their own research.

Why does the law library have these rules?

As law librarians, we are here to assist you in using and accessing the materials in the law library. Only your lawyer can interpret documents or give you legal advice. If you do need legal advice, we have a referral list of local legal resources, including free and low-cost providers.