Inter Alia: Minnesota State Law Library Newsletter November 2019

Inter Alia

Research Tip: Finding Forms

We get a lot of requests from our patrons for help finding forms. Forms are wonderful starting points for creating legal documents: they show the expected structure and the types of information you will need to provide to the court (or other organization you are working with). In this issue, we're looking at some of our favorite resources for finding legal forms. 

  • Minnesota Judicial Branch. The courts' website provides access to forms for family court, expungement, landlord/tenant, probate, and more. For some forms, such as divorce, conciliation court, and orders for protection, you can use a guided interview that will build a form based on your answers to questions. 
  • Uniform Conveyancing Blanks. If you want to transfer the title of your house or establish a lien on someone's property, the Uniform Conveyancing Blanks are a wonderful free resource. 
  • Practitioner Treatises. Many of our practitioner treatises and loose-leaf treatises provide samples of Minnesota forms. The Minnesota Family Law Practice ManualMinnesota Civil Practice, and Minnesota Estate Administration Deskbook are some of our favorite resources for forms.
  • Westlaw. Our Westlaw subscription includes access to a large library of forms. This is a good way to find forms not available in treatises or on the courts' website, or for other states and federal courts. 
  • Nolo Materials. Nolo publishes several books containing useful legal forms. 101 Law Forms for Personal Use provides forms for family issues, estate planning, financial issues, and housing issues. This resource is also available online at the State Law Library through the Legal Information Reference Center. 

Remember, if you aren't sure where to find a form, you can always ask a librarian!  

Open to the Public: How Law Libraries Serve Their Communities

Open to the Public Story Map Screenshot

Many people assume law libraries are only for lawyers and judges. This may have been true in the past, but today's law libraries bear little resemblance to this description. Recently, the Self-Represented Litigation Network (aided by our friends at the Ramsey County Law Library) prepared a video and a story map showing the unique services law libraries provide for members of our communities. The goal of the project is to highlight how law libraries help the general public and people taking on the challenge of representing themselves in court. 

Quick Links

New Resources

We have added a number of new resource guides to our website this quarter: 

News and Events

Holiday Closings

The library will be closed on the following dates:

  • Thursday November 28
  • Friday November 29
  • Wednesday December 25
  • Wednesday January 1
  • Monday January 20

We wish you all happy holidays and a happy new year!


Emojis and the Law

Emojis are popping up in ad campaigns, movies, pop culture - and court cases. This is creating some interesting challenges for courts because it isn't always clear what is meant by a particular emoji. Learn more about some of the challenges of handling emojis in legal cases with these articles: 

Emoji are showing up in court cases exponentially, and courts aren't prepared, The Verge (February 18, 2019)

Emojis are increasingly coming up in court cases. Judges are struggling with how to interpret them, CNN Business (July 8, 2019)

Emojis Have Unsettled Grammar Rules (and Why Lawyers Should Care), LLRX (September 15, 2019)