Frequently Asked Questions...
Who are the Friends of the Los Angeles County Law Library (FLACLL)?
FLACLL is a non-profit organization devoted to keeping LA Law Library strong, vital and accessible, ensuring its financial stability, and heightening awareness of its mission and services. FLACLL supporters are members of the Los Angeles County legal community who recognize the critical roles the Law Library plays in preservation of legal knowledge, supporting the legal profession and providing access to justice for self-represented individuals. FLACLL has raised more than $2 million in support of this important institution.
Please visit the our board page of this website to learn more about the Friends organization.
What is the Beacon of Justice Award Gala?
Each year, FLACLL presents the Beacon of Justice Award to someone whose character and outstanding service to the legal community, especially in the areas of access to justice, education, scholarship, writing and/or journalism and public service and/or advocacy, have inspired others and earned them the respect and admiration of the legal community.
Proceeds from the Gala are used to support the Law Library, particularly to expand access, upgrade technology and provide services to self-represented individuals.
What is LA Law Library?
LA Law Library is:
- The largest public Law Library in the United States other than the Law Library of Congress;
- A vibrant community education center, offering classes for attorneys, paralegals, librarians and the public;
- The curator and cultivator of nearly one million volume equivalents -- including one of the nation’s most comprehensive global law collections covering more than 200 countries;
- A navigator facilitating access to the legal system for those who do not have or cannot afford legal representation; and
- A leader in providing public access to legal knowledge
LA Law Library serves more than 50 thousand patrons annually, both nationally and globally, and the number continues to grow daily as new programs and workshops are developed with the assistance of the Library’s many partners and donors.
Last year’s honoree, Justice Walter Croskey said in his acceptance speech:
“Law Libraries are about so much more than the books they contain….Access to justice [is threatened] especially for poor people, and to the extent that this Library continues to do the work that it does and provides service far and wide in this County, they are doing an enormous service to help alleviate that threat.”
Who created the Law Library?
Established in 1891 by California Legislation, the Law Library operates under the Business & Professions Code §6300 et seq. as an independent public agency. It is affiliated with – and of service to – the County of Los Angeles, but is not a department or otherwise under the control of the County.
The Law Library is governed by a 7-member Board of Trustees consisting of 5 judges elected from the Superior Court and 2 lawyers appointed by the County Board of Supervisors.
How is it funded?
- The majority of the Law Library’s services are free of charge, including in-person access to the highly valuable collection, reference assistance and borrowing. Many other services, such as copying and book delivery are provided at cost.
- County Law Libraries are funded by a formula established by the Legislature which allocates a small portion of the fees generated from initial civil filings in each county to that county’s Law Library.
- Due to economic hardship and a significant decline in the number of filings, these funds have decreased precipitously in the past 6 years. LA Law Library alone has lost over $3 million per year in revenue (more than 30% of its overall revenue).
- LA Law Library continues to try to develop additional revenue sources including fees for extraordinary library services (such as electronic delivery, room rentals, etc), programs (such as MCLE classes) and parking in the court-adjacent structure owned by the Law Library and operated by a parking management company.
Generous donations from the Friends have also helped to offset the impact of declining filing fee revenues.
Where can people get service?
LA Law Library has 10 locations throughout the County
Main Library (the Mildred L. Lillie Building): 1st & Broadway; approx. 175,000sq.ft. and 35 miles of shelving.
4 courthouse branch locations:
Staffed locations in Long Beach and Torrance
eBranch locations in Norwalk and Pomona
5 partnership locations:
Los Angeles Public Library in Van Nuys
Los Angeles County Public Libraries in Compton and Lancaster
Pasadena Public Library
Attorney Lounge at LACBA.
Office hours and law librarian assistance are provided at most remote locations for 4 hours each week.
What’s so special about the Library’s collection?
Approximately 1,000,000 volume equivalents
Second largest public law library in the country (after the Law Library of Congress)
- Primary source law for the Federal government, all 50 states and US Territories
- Extensive collection of secondary source materials including practice guides, form books, handbooks, historical resources and legal journals;
- Most complete collection of California law in the nation, including the most comprehensive set of California Supreme Court and Appellate Court briefs dating from inception of the State
- One of the best foreign and international law collections in the country
- Primary law from more than 200 countries
- Secondary law for more than 125 countries
- Unparalleled historical archives
The print collection is supplemented by online services and comprehensive coverage via electronic legal databases.
What services does LA Law Library provide?
Reference & research assistance to walk-in, phone, mail, email, and live web-chat users.
Document delivery and e-delivery
Copiers, printers, public computers, typewriters, supplies and a fully Wi-Fi reading room.
For Attorneys and Paralegals: Continuing Legal Education classes, including:
Basic Research; Advanced Research; Ethics; Substance Abuse; Specialty Courses
For Self-Represented Individuals: workshops and clinics, including:
Monthly: online legal research basics; name change workshop; expungement clinic; divorce options workshop; family law trial preparation; Lawyers in the Library (free consultations with volunteer lawyers) Occasional Series: Civil Lawsuit Basics; Problems with Money and Credit; Representing Yourself in Federal Court; Representing Yourself on Appeal
For Business People and Entrepreneurs: classes and workshops, including
Export University (regulations, laws and strategies for export businesses)
How to Form a Corporation/Non-Profit
Landlord-Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
For Members of the Public and Legal Community: free Community Events, aimed at promoting legal research and equal access to justice throughout Los Angeles County.
Law Week in May Pro Bono Week in October
Members Program: an affordable fee-for-service program that provides a quiet work and meeting space adjacent to the downtown courthouses, unlimited access to the law collection and legal databases on-site, off-site access to certain databases, discounts on services, parking and priority reference service.
Room Rentals: rents private office space, conference rooms, classroom or Training Center and larger Reading Room for meetings and special events.