The Law Library/Civil Self-Help Center is now open. Limited legal research materials are available, including the self-help page. Visit the COVID-19 Resource Center for help with civil matters during the pandemic.
The Law Library is staffed by three professional law librarians, and two library assistants trained to be knowledgeable about legal information sources. Librarians may also assist with Internet research questions.
Catalogs and Maps
The Law Library has an online catalog to assist you in locating materials. User guides for the online catalog are available next to the catalog terminal. A map of the collection is available by the Reference Desk.
Computer-Assisted Legal Research
The Law Library has four computer terminals dedicated to Internet legal research. The Library currently subscribes to Westlaw and selected Lexis legal research databases. Our electronic resources may be accessed only from the Library terminals.
You must sign up at the Reference Desk and leave a photo ID to use a terminal. Further details on accessible databases is available at the Law Library's Reference Desk.
The 2017 spring and summer edition of Pro Libris, the Law Library's newsletter, is now available. Print copies are available in the Law Library at the Reference Desk.
The Law Library has created several Resource Guides which may be used to help guide patrons through our legal resources.
These publications are only a guide to library resources. They are not intended to be legal advice. While every effort has been made to provide accurate information, the Library is not responsible for misprints, publisher errors, delays in publication, and deletions or additions to our collection prior to guide revisions.
The following publications are in PDF format and will open in a new window. They are also available in print form in the library.
The Baltimore County Law Library provides on-site access to a variety of electronic information sources that are critical to researching law. These resources include:
- Maryland Register
- Volume 1 to present available at the Law Library
- Most Recent Issues available from the Division of State Documents
- WestLaw Next Databases
- Maryland codes, opinions, regulations
- All state codes, opinions, regulations
- Federal codes, opinions, regulations
- Maryland laws and court opinions
- Colliers on Bankruptcy
- Matthew Bender
- Select Micpels
- BNA Reporters
- Hein Online
- Law Journals and Law Reviews
- American Bar Association Journals
- Self-Help material for non-lawyers from Nolo Press
The Law Library’s print collection places strong emphasis on Maryland law. However, treatises, subject-specific books analyzing or explaining law, are also available. The following links display the print items held by the Law Library.
The following collections contain historical and continuing educational material.
- Old English Collection – A collection of rare books of appellate opinions of the English courts from the 1700s and 1800s. These may be viewed upon appointment only.
- Maryland Historical Collection – Older books about Maryland and Baltimore County law.
- National Business Institute (NBI) Seminar Publications – Like Micpels below, NBI books are a great resource for practical tips and sample filings.
- Micpels and MSBA – These items consist of material produced by attorneys for other attorneys as part of continuing education programs. Micpel was originally a cooperative effort between the University of Baltimore School of Law, the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) and the University of Maryland Law School. As of 2010, the Micpel entity no longer exists and the Maryland State Bar Association fully assumed the activities of the older organization. Though the Micpel name does not appear anywhere on the new material, the Law Library continues to refer to the new publications as Micpels and shelves them with the Micpel books.
The Baltimore County Office of Law provides legal advice to the County in all civil matters and represents the County Executive, County Council, County Administrative Officer, and all offices, departments, boards, commissions and other administrative agencies of the County. View County Code.
Understanding the intent of a law often influences legal arguments. Legislative history material helps people understand why laws were passed. The Law Library offers several resources.
There are two main ways researchers can try to understand what the General Assembly was thinking when it passed a law: the bill's preamble or bill files.
A bill's preamble often contains the General Assembly's reason for the bill. This can be found as part of the actual House or Senate bills as well as in the chapter laws on the General Assembly's website and the Archives Online Session Laws website.
Bill files consist of supplementary documents the General Assembly utilizes during session when debating bills. These documents may consist of fiscal notes, newspaper clippings, and any other document submitted during the legislative process. Bill files are only available at select repositories throughout the state, including the Baltimore County Law Library.
Resources for Researching Legislative Intent
- Bill Files on Microfilm, beginning 1976
- Appellate Briefs on Microfiche, beginning 1970
- Laws of Maryland, beginning 1799
About the Resources
- The bill files are the most complete collection available outside of Annapolis. However, the most recent bill files scanned are several years old.
- The appellate briefs include both the Court of Special Appeals as well as the Court of Appeals briefs.
- The Laws of Maryland are an often-overlooked resource of legislative intent. The purpose of the bill is often found in the pre-amble or section 1 of the acts.
Please call to verify the library holds the year(s) you want to search. There is a charge for copying material.
Pre-1976 Bill Files
From approximately 1940 to 1975 select legislative history information was compiled in the Legislative Council Report to the General Assembly books. These were called “Blue Books,” and they are part of the Digital Collections of the Maryland State Law Library. The State Law Library hosts a comprehensive guide to researching legislative history titled Ghosthunting: Searching for Maryland Legislative History.
Further legislative history information may be available through the Maryland Department of Legislative Services Library.
A number of treatises in the Library have companion disks available for lending with the following conditions:
- One week loan
- A $25 per disk security deposit
- Four-title limit
- Deposit payable by check only
- Check made out to Baltimore County
For a complete listing of available disks, please consult our catalog.
The Law Library also holds a collection of continuing education DVDs and CDs available for lending with the following conditions:
- One week loan
- A $25 security deposit
- One-title limit
- Deposit payable by check only
- Check made out to Baltimore County
For a complete listing of available training disks, please consult our catalog.
Multi-Format Viewer (Blu-Ray Player+)
The Law Library has two large screen multi-format viewers for attorneys to rent. These devices permit playback of standard DVD and Blu-Ray "movie" formats as well as many formats available to computers. They also have VGA and HDMI inputs allowing computers to be connected to them. Appropriate cables must be supplied by the attorney. The devices also offer USB ports to view JPEG files on thumb drives. Attorneys are strongly advised to arrange a meeting with Library staff to test the compatibility of their equipment with our equipment.
Reservations are required and must be made at least one week in advance. The rental fee is $100. The party renting the equipment is responsible for replacing all lost or damaged equipment. Checks should be made payable to Baltimore County.
An ELMO visual presenter for use in court proceedings is available for rental. Reservations are required. The rental fee is $100. The party renting the equipment is responsible for replacing all lost or damaged equipment. Checks should be made payable to Baltimore County.
The library has two self-service copiers.
All public workstations include scanners. Please bring a USB drive to save your scans.
When submitting default requests or petitions to the Court, Federal law requires submitting a Certificate of Active Duty Status along with the request. The Federal website requires the birthdate or Social Security number of the non-responsive party to generate the certificate. Also include the first name in the search form. It is not required for the search, but it is required by this Court for the certificate or affidavit to be accepted.
Download a Request for Order of Default form from the Maryland Courts website.
- All patrons are required to be respectful of other library users.
- The Library is for Legal Research purposes only.
- Material does not leave the library.
- Food and drinks should be in sealed containers.
- Patrons must refrain from loud or excessive talking or otherwise disturbing other people.
- Books may not be taken from the library.
- Cellular phone use is permitted as long as that use does not disturb other people.
- Children must be accompanied by an adult.
- Copy machines and computers are turned off 10 minutes before closing.
- Library staff reserve the right to eject people abusing library resources or disrupting or threatening other people.
- Student Use Policy