Thursday, April 5, 2018

This Sunday 4/8 - The library will be closing at 5 pm

Due to a law school event the library will be closing one hour early at 5 pm on Sunday 4/8.

This closure includes law students.

Thank you for your understanding and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Enjoy Sunshine Week—Literally and Figuratively

Sunshine Week celebrates—and advocates for—the public's access to government information.
Sunshine Week logo - "Your Right to Know"

Established by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, its marked by lots of organizations, from the National Archives to Open the Government.

In an editorial lauding access to information, the Seattle Times links to investigative stories that were made possible by access to government information. Sunshine Week: Government Records Belong to the Public, Seattle Times (March 12, 2018).

Sunshine Week can include not just celebrations of access but demands for more access. For instance, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. John Sarbanes, Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force, released a new “Sunshine Week” video, The Trump Administration's Unprecedented Cloud of Secrecy, March 13. Rep. Cummings also issued a fact sheet, Shining a Light on Secrecy in the Trump Administration. Joe Davidson, a Washington Post columnist, also averred Sunshine Week brings Trump’s information darkness to light (March 13).  (The Trump administration is not unique in being subjected to criticism during Sunshine Week. See, e.g., Josh Hicks, Sunshine Week: Transparency issues persist with Obama administration, Wash. Post (March 17, 2014).)

So much for the metaphorical sense of "sunshine."

Those of you who have had your heads down, powering through finals, might not have noticed that we have had literally had sunshine this week. It's pretty nice. And the cherry trees on the Quad are coming into bloom.

Now that you've reached Spring Break, take the opportunity to go outside and enjoy the sunshine! Or, as might come up, according to, Mostly Sunny, Mostly Cloudy, Partly Cloudy, Mostly Sunny, and Showers, . . .

cherry blossoms, UW quad

cherry trees & pedestrians UW quad

Photos by Mary Whisner

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy Pi Day, Private Investigators!

Today (3.14) is affectionately known as Pi Day because the date is the same as the first digits of π.

Two years ago, we marked the occasion by offering some information about PI (personal injury) practice. Today, we look at another PI: private investigators.
drawing from Sherlock Holmes story

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys probably didn't get licensed, but maybe they should have. In Washington, licensing PIs is handled by (who else?) the Washington State Department of Licensing, which also licenses for professions as diverse as professional boxers, cosmetologists, and scrap metal recyclers.

There are separate licenses for PI agencies, unarmed PIs, armed PIs, and certified trainers for aspiring PIs. An exam covers Washington State laws (e.g., on surveillance and criminal law), federal laws (e.g., FOIA and the federal Privacy Act), court systems, and legal procedures and definitions. Applicants have to undergo a minimum of four hours of training. WAC 308-17-300.

And just like the PIs in some of the books and movies, licensed private investigators are supposed to carry their license cards whenever they are "performing the duties of a private investigator" and show it upon request. RCW 18.165.080.

Graphic: "He looked round him in surprise," drawing from Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles: Another Adventure of Sherlock Holmes, Strand Mag., April 1902, at 243, 252, available on Google Books

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

This Thursday--3/15, Library Closing at Noon

Due to a staffing emergency, the law library is closing to the public at 12:00 PM on Thursday, March 15.

The library Circulation Desk will still be staffed for UW Law students, faculty, and staff.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to visitors.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

HeinOnline's Women and the Law Collection

In honor of International Women's Day, I went browsing in HeinOnline's Women and the Law Collection.  Subtitled Peggy, honoring the mother of one of the developers, this collection has a rich variety of documents, from nineteenth-century suffrage tracts to recent law review articles.

Illustration from Abby Smith and Her Cows

Under "Legal Rights & Suffrage," I came across Abby Smith and Her Cows, with a Report of the Law Case Decided Contrary to Law, a tract published by Julia Smith in 1877. Abby and Julia were sisters who inherited a farm in Glastonbury, Connecticut, from their father. After paying taxes for some time, they began to ask why they had no say in the government that assessed the taxes and sent the tax collector. The sisters launched a tax protest which led to extensive attention in the papers and three court proceedings. I just skimmed it so can't relate the details, but it offers an interesting peek into life and law.

If you taste runs to the more recent developments, consider

Jessica Watters, Comment, Pink Hats and Black Fists: The Role of Women in the Black Lives Matter Movement, 24 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 199 (2017)


Christian Jordan, Note, The Casting Couch Is More Than Tortious: The Case for Expanded Interpretations of Rape Statutes, 13 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women's Studies 199 (2004)

. . . or search for any topic you want. It's an amazing collection!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Grumpy Cat Goes to Court

In case you have not yet heard, Grumpy Cat, won a copyright case!
picture of the cat named Tardar Sauce also known as Grumpy Cat
Tardar Sauce, a.k.a. Grumpy Cat
Image from

Grumpy Cat started as an internet meme and has grown into a money maker. The Grumpy Cat shop has puzzles, t-shirts, mugs, even a Little Golden Book. According to the complaint, Grumpy Cat has "starred in her own Lifetime Television Christmas movie. . . ."

Grumpy Cat Limited v. Grenade Beverage LLC was filed in Federal District Court in the Central District of California in 2015. The case revolved around a dispute over the use of the "Grumpy Cat" brand by Grenade Beverage LLC, and this week, the jury found for Grumpy Cat.

The complaint itself is worth reading. It alleges, "Ironically, while the world-famous feline Grumpy Cat and her valuable brand are most often invoked in a tongue-and-cheek fashion, Defendants' despicable misconduct here has actually given Grumpy Cat and her owners something to be grumpy about."

Law students: This case is not over! The counterclaims will continue to be litigated. If you are interested in reading more about the case and stretching your legal research legs at the same time, look up the docket information with docket number 8:15-cv-02063-DOC-DFM. The commercial contracts of Westlaw and Lexis some have docket information, but for law students Bloomberg Law is the way to go.

Interested in Copyright Law? Check out these guides: Copyright Law: Primary Sources and Copyright Law: Secondary Sources.

Need more legal fun in your life? Check out our Judicial Humor Guide!

Want to know more about how to track and access docket information? Check out these guides: Staying Current and Judicial Branch Publications: Briefs, Oral Arguments & Dockets.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Diversity and the Law - Guide to Related Readings

UW School of Law is wrapping up Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Week, but the conversation doesn't end at the close of the week's programming. If you are interested in learning more about diversity and the law, check out the Gallagher Law Library's guide to Diversity Readings Related to 1L Courses. This guide provides information with links to books and articles that discuss the intersection of diversity with some of the most foundational legal subjects, including Contracts, Property, Torts, Civil Procedure, and more!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen's Guide to the Law

Front cover of the Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen's Guide to the Law by Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts
Image from
News headlines have you scratching your head? Have you or your friends ever wondered why presidents seldom fulfill their campaign promises? Or how a federal district court judge can block a presidential executive order? Or why sometimes a president's power seems limitless?

UW Law's professors Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts wrote a book The Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen's Guide to the Law to provide the answer to these and many other questions you might have, and all in straightforward language. Sound like something you'd be interested in? The book is out and available at the Gallagher Law Library!

Never had a civics class? Unfamiliar with the United States' system of government? Just about to start Constitutional Law and feeling intimidated? Worry not! This book is not just for legal nerds, like yours truly, but for anyone interested in how our government works.

I found the book a quick, pleasant read full of useful information. It is also very affordable, even on a graduate student's budget. Amazon has the book priced at $7.99 for paperback, $2.99 for the Kindle version, and free for those with Kindle Unlimited.

Want to dive more deeply into this subject now that you're back from your Presidents Day holiday? Watch Professor Watts talk about the book on KING TV. And check out our guide on Presidential Power.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Did you forget Valentine's Day?! VaLAWntines, 5 of 5

Did you forget to send someone a valentine? Or maybe you were just so busy that you forgot February 14th was Valentine's Day… It happens. Either way, we have your back. Here are some valentine cards that work well for anyone you may have accidentally forgotten. This post brings us to the conclusion of our VaLAWntine series, but don't forget to save your favorites to use again next year. 

To download any of our law-themed valentine cards, simply click on the valentine, or valentines, of your choice, which will open a full-size version that you can then save and print, text, or email to your friends, family, and loved ones. Even the ones you accidentally forgot. 

If you would like to subscribe to this blog, you can do so via email or RSS by using the links on the right, but don't worry, this is the last of the VaLAWtines, at least for this year!

Vintage valentine of two red hearts, joined together, with an arrow shot through them from the bottom left to the top right. Says "No need to subpoena my heart, it's already yours. Happy Belated Valentine's Day!" in the middle, "To:" in the top left, and "From:" in the bottom right.Vintage valentine of cartoon red stuffed toy kitten, covered in white heart-shaped spots, with a red bow around the neck, holding a gift tag that reads "Sorry for the late filing… Happy Valentine's Day!"

Vintage valentine, with boy sitting on stack of books in the lower left corner and reading one, and a girl facing him holding another stack of books, taking up the right side of the valentine, but mostly the top right corner. There is a red heart in the top left of the valentine, and one on the bottom right. The top heart reads "My affection for you is evident," and the bottom heart reads "even after the fact… Happy Belated Valentine's Day!"

Vintage valentine in the shape of a red heart. Inside the heart is a girl on the telephone. The upper right corner of the heart says "Sorry our attempt to conspire on Valentine's Day fell short!"

Links to our additional valentines: Friday the 9thMonday the 12thTuesday the 13thWednesday the 14th.

Special thanks to Brandy Ellis, Danielle Lewis, and Stephen Richards in the group effort of drafting these valentines, and for images, thanks to for their large collection of vintage, Valentine's Day images.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day! VaLAWntines, 4 of 5

It's Valentine's Day!

If you don't celebrate Valentine's Day, that's fine. But if you do, this is the fourth of five posts in our VaLAWntine series. If today's valentines aren't quite what you're looking for, we have more! The first set of valentine cards posted on Friday, a second set on Monday (themed to the Multistate Bar Examination topics, and perfect for the poor souls studying hard for an upcoming bar examination), and a third set, themed for Galentine's Day, posted on Tuesday. You may be thinking, Valentine's Day is today, so obviously the valentines are done. Not so! We will have one more post tomorrow, for anyone who may have, shall we say, forgotten?

To download one of the following valentine cards, click on the valentine, or valentines, of your choice, which will open the full-sized version that you can then save to print, text, or email to your friends, family, and loved ones. Feel free to subscribe to this blog via email or RSS by using the links on the right.

Cartoon couple walking and holding hands with "I have loved you ab initio" overhead, and Happy Valentine's Day on the side.

Cartoon couple holding hands, back to viewer, facing a giant heart-shape. Says "I fall in love with you de novo." above, and "Happy Valentine's Day" on the bottom corner.

Cartoon, white-haired, elderly couple, facing each other and touching outstretched hands, heart in the background. Words "Love ad infinitum" above, and "Happy Valentine's Day" on the side.

Cartoon judge facing front, gavel held high overhead. "I promise to never subject you to strict scrutiny." overhead, "Happy Valentine's Day!" below.

Cartoon of a woman standing behind a woman who is holding a rose. The woman in back is embracing the woman in front around the waist. "It would take an ultra vires act to get me to stop loving you." above, and "Happy Valentine's Day" below.Cartoon of two bearded men, standing side by side, embracing. One has his arm across the other's chest. Says "It would take an ultra vires act to get me to stop loving you." above, and "Happy Valentine's Day" to the side.Cartoon of a bearded man embracing a woman, who has one foot popped. The woman is holding a rose and they are kissing. Says "It would take an ultra vires act to get me to stop loving you." on the upper left side, and "Happy Valentine's Day" on the right middle side.

Heart-shaped, vintage valentine with two children baking heart-shaped cookies. Says "Wishing you sweet torts this Valentine's Day!" overhead. Valentine is surrounded by a border of hearts and violets.
Graphic from
Vintage valentine featuring male youth in Scottish kilt and hose, holding a large heart, with flowers at his feet. Says "Why should you be my valentine? Ipse dixit." above, and "Valentine's Greetings" at his feet.
Graphic from

Special thanks to Brandy Ellis, Danielle Lewis, and Stephen Richards in the group effort of drafting these valentines. Graphics are individually credited under or on each valentine.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy Galentine's Day! VaLAWntines, 3 of 5.


What is Galentine's Day? I'm glad you asked. Galentine's Day is every February 13th, and is a day for "ladies celebrating ladies" and female friendships. Created for the television show, Parks and Recreation, and made famous by the character Leslie Knope, portrayed by Amy Poehler, Galentine's Day was introduced to the world in 2010, and I for one have celebrated every year since. This year, I encourage you to join me in celebration by downloading one of these Galentine's Day-themed cards, and sharing them with your galentines.

As a reminder, Valentine's Day is Wednesday. This is the third post of five in our VaLAWntine series. To download, simply click on the galentine, or galentines, of your choice which will open the full-sized version that you can then print, text, or email to your friends, family, and loved ones.

Graphic sourced from Wikimedia.

Graphic sourced from Wikimedia.

Graphic sourced from Wikimedia.

Graphic sourced from Wikimedia.

Graphic sourced from Wikimedia.

This is only our third VaLAWntine post of five, so be sure to keep checking back. You can always subscribe to this blog via email or RSS by using the links on the right. In addition to today's post, we the first posted on Friday, the second on Monday (themed to the Multistate Bar Examination topics), and we will be posting two more: one on Valentine's Day (THAT'S TOMORROW!) and one on Thursday.

Links to our additional valentines: Friday the 9th, Monday the 12th, Wednesday the 14th, Friday the 15th.

Special thanks to Brandy Ellis, Danielle Lewis, and Stephen Richards in the group effort of drafting these valentines. All graphics were sourced from Wikimedia.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Darwin & Lincoln Share Birthday Fun!

Happy birthday to Charles Darwin (Feb. 12, 1809, to April 19, 1882) and to Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12, 1809, to April 15, 1865).

sketch of Darwin, photo of Lincoln, with birthday hats and balloons added

For accounts of some legal battles over Darwin's theory, see
And what about Abe? See

For more great books and a wide range of topics, see Prizewinning Books in Law.

Bonus for fans of evolution and biology: The National Academies Press offers free PDF downloads of Science, Evolution, and Creationism (2008) and Understanding Climate's Influence on Human Evolution (2010).

Portrait of Darwin from page 8 of What Mr. Darwin saw in his Voyage round The World in the Ship "Beagle" (1879), available in British Library's Flickr photostream. Portrait of Lincoln (the last known photograph of him) from National Park Service, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park. Portraits decorated by Mary Whisner

VaLAWntines, 2 of 5

Valentine's Day is Wednesday, and this is the second post of five in our VaLAWntine series, where you can download silly law-themed valentine cards and then print, text, or email them to your friends, family, and loved ones. Just click on the valentine, or valentines, of your choice for the full-size version.

There will be an extra special Galentine's Day post on Tuesday the 13th, and don't forget, you can always subscribe to this blog via email or RSS by using the links on the right. In addition to today's post, we posted the first in the series on Friday, and will be posting three more, Tuesday through Thursday (the day after Valentine's Day).

Couple holding cat.

Men in professional suits, sitting at conference table, one offering pen and paper to another.

Two hands shaking over an image of a signed contract.

Pile of gift boxes wrapped in heart-patterned wrapping paper with fluffy bows, and a heart-shaped heart with a smile on its face.

Woman in glasses embracing a woman with blue hair embracing her back.Man with beard embracing another man.

Large dog holding a cut-out paper heart, wagging its tail.

Male holding female on his back, both smiling.

Bonus points to anybody who picks up on today's subtle theme!

Links to our additional valentines: Friday the 9th, Tuesday the 13th, Wednesday the 14th, Friday the 15th.

Special thanks to Brandy Ellis, Danielle Lewis, and Stephen Richards in the group effort of drafting these valentines. All graphics designed by Freepik.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Valentine's Day nears! VaLAWntines, 1 of 5

That's right, Valentine's Day is coming, whether you like it or not. We thought we would help out anyone looking for that perfect law-themed valentine, or should we say, VaLAWntine?! 😆 Yes, we can be quite cheesy around here.
We will be posting valentines that you can download and print, text, or email to your friends, family, and loved ones. There will be an extra special post on the 13th for Galentine's Day, so make sure you keep an eye on this blog, and don't forget, you can always subscribe to us via email or RSS by using the links on the right. In addition to today's post, we will be posting again on Monday through Thursday. And yes, Valentine's Day is on Wednesday this year, February 14th, 2018.

Can't quite remember what some of these legal terms of art mean? It happens. Feel free to check out our LibGuide on legal dictionaries

My heart may have a latent defect. Caveat emptor.

Can't remember what the doctrine of laches is? It's okay, here's a great refresher from LexisNexis!

Links to our additional valentines: Monday the 12th, Tuesday the 13th, Wednesday the 14th, Friday the 15th.

Special thanks to Brandy Ellis, Danielle Lewis, and Stephen Richards in the group effort of drafting these valentines, and for images, thanks to for their large collection of vintage, Valentine's Day images, and

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Legal Specialties & Practice Settings Guide

Have you been puzzling over the paths you might take in your career?
Image taken from page 87 of 'A Pilgrimage 
to the Saga-Steads of Icelandpart of the
British Library's 
photostream on Flickr

You don't have to puzzle all on your own. You can use the books and websites listed in our newly revised guide, Careers: Legal Specialties & Practice Settings. The resources will help you learn about specialties as diverse as criminal law, estate planning, and intellectual property law, and practice settings including solo practice, government work, and biglaw. We even have a section on law librarianship (a fine profession!).

Go ahead: check out some of these books. Our library picked them out just for you (and your classmates).

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Library Closing at 5:50 on Friday, 1/26

The law library is closing ten minutes early on Friday, January 26. The Circulation Desk will close at 5:35 and the library itself will be closed at 5:50.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

SSRN for Research & Getting Your Papers Out

SSRN (the Social Science Research Network) is a great tool for researchers and authors. We explain the system's features and offer some tips in our updated guide. Take a look!

Friday, December 15, 2017

New Hours of Operation for Winter Quarter

Starting January 3, 2018, the law library will be closing to the public at 8:00 pm Monday through Thursday, rather than at 11:00 pm as we have done in past quarters.

The library will remain open on Sundays from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The Reference Office will be open Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. There are no Reference Office services on Sundays during Winter Quarter.

If you'd like to see all of our current hours, please visit our hours page.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Upcoming Interim Hours

Fall Quarter finals are over on Friday, December 15.

The library is closed to the public from 6:00 pm on 12/15 until 8:00 am on Wednesday, December 20. 

Here's our schedule during interim (12/20-1/1):

Wednesday, 12/20: 8-5 (Reference Office open 9-12; 1-3)
Thursday, 12/21: 8-5 (Reference Office open 9-12; 1-3)
Friday, 12/22: 8-5 (Reference Office open 9-12; 1-3)
Saturday, 12/23: CLOSED
Sunday, 12/24: CLOSED
Monday, 12/25: CLOSED
Tuesday, 12/26: CLOSED
Wednesday: 12/27: 8-5 (Reference Office open 9-12; 1-3)
Thursday, 12/28: 8-5 (Reference Office open 9-12; 1-3)
Friday, 12/29: 8-5 (Reference Office open 9-12; 1-3)
Saturday, 12/30: CLOSED
Sunday, 12/31: CLOSED
Monday, 1/1: CLOSED
Tuesday, 1/2: CLOSED
Wednesday, 1/3: Winter Quarter Starts

For all of our hours, see the law libraries Hours page

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Legal Issues with Pokemon Go

Pokémon GO is an augmented reality video game that lets players catch digital monsters that appear on an in-game map of the surrounding area. You might have heard about this recent unpublished study, which found that drivers playing the game were responsible for a dramatic increase in automobile accidents. This is just one example of the real-word consequences surrounding the game. While the game is not the cultural phenomenon that it was when it came out in July 2016, it is still one of the top grossing according to Google Play and sites like App Annie. The game's popularity and unique connection between game play and a player's surroundings have led to a number of legal issues, which this post will briefly discuss.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Native American Heritage Month

How are you marking Native American Heritage Month this November? This site brings together material from the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Law Library of Congress blog traces Native American Heritage Month's history—via public laws and presidential proclamations—from American Indian Week in 1986 to its current name (1995). For statement from our executives, see Governor Inslee's proclamation and President Trump's proclamation.

We have recently updated our Indian & Tribal Law research guide, listing online and print resources for researching all aspects of federal Indian law and the law created by tribal governments.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Upcoming Library Holiday Hours

The Reference Office is closed all day on Wednesday, November 22. The law library will be open until 3:00 PM that day.

The library will then be closed to the public from 3:00 PM on Wednesday until 8:00 AM on Monday, November 27. You can find all of our current hours on our Hours page.

We hope you have a pleasant and restful Thanksgiving break!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Happy Birthday to John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa was an internationally famous composer and conductor. He also was a copyright activist and was one of the founding members of ASCAP, along with Irving Berlin, James Weldon Johnson, and Victor Herbert. In honor of his birthday today, here's a telegram he sent:


The  Chairman and Members of Congress, Committee on Patents, Washington, D.C.:

Earnestly request that the American composer receives full and adequate protection for the product of his brain; any legislation that does not give him absolute control of that he creates is a return to the usurpation of might and a check on the intellectual development of our country.


That telegram is just one small portion of the six-volume Legislative History of the 1909 Copyright Act (1976), available in HeinOnline's Intellectual Property Law Collection.

By the way, the reason we Sousa fans can sing "Happy Birthday" to JPS today (his 163nd birthday) is that a court ruled that the tune was in the public domain. See Ben Sisario, Details of 'Happy Birthday' Copyright Settlement Revealed, N.Y. Times, Feb. 9, 2016. There's a limit to the protection composers receive for the products of their brains.

black & white photo of Sousa next to cartoon of cake with candles

Graphic: photo of John Philip Sousa (circa 1900) from Library of Congress, with a little embellishment.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

#HalLAWeen Art: Gallows Humor

cartoon: condemned person on gallows with clown throwing pie in face

See Wordnik (defining "gallows humor"). See generally Gallagher Blogs series of #HalLAWeen Art posted Oct. 31, 2017.

Graphic: Mary Whisner

#HalLAWeen Art: Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

cartoon: two skeletons by fruit stand with sign "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree"

"the trial judge must give opportunity . . . to the accused to prove that a substantial portion of the case against him was a fruit of the poisonous tree."

Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338, 341 (1939) (Frankfurter, J.), Google Scholar

Graphic: Mary Whisner