Legal Reference ElementsLegal Reference for Public Libraries: Introduction
The Legal Reference Interview
Distinguishing Between Information and Advice
Questions to Ask
Classify the Need
Online Sources for Getting Started (this page)
Evaluating Legal Information Websites
Finding Legal Forms
Choosing and Making Referrals
Online Sources for Getting Started
The sheer volume of information available in online format can be intimidating. At the start of a reference request, rather than attempt a comprehensive review of resoruces, often, it is best to check one or two well-known and reliable sources.
Remember to review with a critical mind any online sources, even those considered reliable. Review Evaluating Legal Information Websites periodically to refresh your memory about important criteria.For Maryland Questions
People's Law Library of Maryland
The Maryland People's Law Library, a legal information site managed by the Maryland State Law Library, provides Marylanders with information and summaries about the law, links to primary and secondary legal sources, and referrals to legal services.
For extensive information on the procedural aspects of a case, see the Maryland People’s Law Library information, How Do I…”
Gateway to Maryland Law
For primary sources – the text of actual statutory language (Code), regulatory language (COMAR), Rules, and cases, start at the one-source-for-all page. Reliable links to online primary law materials are provided, and include a collected list of county and municipal codes as well as state materials.
The Maryland Judiciary’s website contains a vast amount of helpful material. In addition to standard court-related information such as court structure, jurisdiction, contact phone numbers, and court forms, Maryland’s courts also make available extensive resources for self-help persons. These include, but are not limited to:
- Self-Help Videos
- Self Help Centers
- Free Online Classes (Webinars) on many helpful topics (some are on-demand, some are scheduled live)
The Maryland District Court has Self Help Information Brochures on common topics including landlord/tenant, garnishing wages, collecting a judgment, expungement and more. Brochures are available in several languages, usually Spanish, French, Russian, Korean and Chinese.
In addition to printable information brochures, the District Court also has helpful information pages on a number of other topics, linked right in the center of their welcome page.
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals' publication, A Guide for Self-Representation, is helpful for those pursuing an appeal in Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals.
Maryland Public Library Toolkit
Many further resources to help guide you through a legal information reference request are grouped in the Toolkit.