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LEXIS

Photo of Alameda County Law Library inside the building

LEXIS provides searching, printing and e-mailing of federal primary law such as federal cases, USCS (United States Code Service), and federal regulations as well as all 50 states' codes and cases.

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Reference Assistance v. Legal Advice


The Reference Desk, located on the first floor of the library, is staffed by a team of professional reference librarians, a circulation assistant, and an evening reference assistant. Reference staff can help patrons define research questions and use the library’s print and electronic materials.

Reference staff are NOT attorneys and are prohibited from giving legal advice or engaging in any activity which might constitute the unauthorized practice of law (CA Business & Professions Code section 6125).

Library patrons may not solicit library staff or other patrons for legal advice or assistance, or monopolize staff time with unreasonable requests.

Reference Staff CAN:

  • Tell you where items are located in the library
  • Help you understand legal citations
  • Suggest specific titles, databases, resources, or areas of the collection for your question
  • Show you how a set of books is organized and indexed
  • Show you how to use the library catalog and subscription legal databases
  • Photocopy, fax, or email you a specific citation for a fee through our fee-based document delivery service
  • Refer you to another library if our library does not have what you need
  • Refer you to legal assistance organizations in the area
  • Give you the telephone numbers for bar associations' lawyer referral services and show you attorney directories

Reference Staff CANNOT:

  • Interpret or explain the meaning of the law, regulations, court cases, or any other documents
  • Give legal advice or state opinions on legal issues
  • Advise you of your legal rights
  • Answer questions about statutes of limitation or court deadlines
  • Help you complete a legal form
  • Select specific forms for you
  • Conduct legal research for you
  • Recommend a particular lawyer
  • Tell you who has a particular book checked out
  • Tell you whether a statute or case is still good law or has been overruled

Reference Assistance by Telephone

We provide limited reference assistance to library patrons by telephone. Due to the volume of reference requests, time spent with individuals over the phone must be limited to approximately 5-10 minutes per interaction. The library is unable to accommodate requests for assistance by a particular staff member. In-person requests for service receive priority over telephone requests.

Reference Staff CAN:

  • Search our catalog to see if the library has a particular title or resource
  • Suggest library books, databases, and websites you might consult
  • Find telephone numbers, addresses, and websites for bar associations, libraries, legal publishers, state and federal government agencies, courts, and legislative bodies, and similar organizations
  • Read brief portions of statutes, regulations, rules, and legal definitions (limit 1-2 short paragraphs).
  • Photocopy, fax, or email you a case, rule, statute, jury instruction, or definition with a specific citation for a fee through our fee-based document delivery service
  • Refer you to legal assistance organizations in the area
  • Refer you to the bar associations' lawyer referral services

Reference Staff CANNOT:

  • Conduct legal research for you
  • Interpret the law or give you legal advice
  • Advise you of your legal rights
  • Answer questions about statutes of limitation or court deadlines
  • Help you complete a legal form
  • Read cases, or sections of statutes, court rules, or definitions to you over the phone that exceed 1-2 short paragraphs in length.
  • Recommend a particular attorney
  • Return long distance calls



Alameda County Law Library
125 Twelfth Street
Oakland, CA 94607-4912


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