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Using Sample Procedure and Legal Forms

Frequently, patrons ask us if we have official court forms to file for their specific situations. The courts have their own official forms (People’s Law Library lists some of the most frequently used), but more often, people ask for official forms that do not exist.

Fortunately, the library has a wide variety of sample procedure and legal forms that are free to be copied and modified. Procedure forms are for court filings, while those commonly called “legal forms,” most of which are not standardized, are used for all other legal affairs, such as wills, leases, and contracts.

Non-standardized procedure forms can include very general templates, such as blank petitions and blank motions; they can also be more specific (but still general enough to copy), such as motions for summary judgments and counterclaims for bringing in a new party.

Form books and form sets are good sources for all kinds of sample forms and templates. Some are available online through Westlaw or Lexis, others are exclusively in print, available here inside the library. When there is no sample form specific enough to cover a situation, they can be modified.

Form Books and Individual Samples

In addition to forms from Westlaw and Lexis, the Library has a variety of form books in print and has made available additional sample procedure forms for Maryland courts. Below, I have listed them by jurisdiction and subject area, and have also included the Library’s recommended form sets from Lexis and Westlaw.

Maryland

Practice and Procedure Sample Forms
  • Maryland practice forms (MSBA)
    Call Number: KFM1738.A65 M3 2009
    Also on Lexis and Westlaw
  • Maryland civil procedure forms: Maryland practice series (George W. Liebmann)
    Call Number: KFM1730.A65 L5
    Also on Westlaw
  • Forms from Maryland civil procedure forms (Robert Dale Klein)
    Call Number: KFM1730.A65 K64 2000
    Also on Lexis
  • Practice manual for the Maryland lawyer
    Call Number: KFM1730.A65 P7 2019
    Also on Lexis and Westlaw
  • Maryland litigation forms and analysis /by Gary I. Strausberg, general editor
    Call Number: KFM1730.A65 M372 1998
    Also on Westlaw
Family Law Sample Forms
  • Maryland family law form finder
    On Westlaw
  • Maryland divorce and separation law / editors, John J. Condliffe, Esq. & Debra B. Cruz, Esq.
    See “Marital Settlement Agreements” chapter for sample agreement.
    Call Number: RES KFM1300.M37 2019
    Also on Lexis and Westlaw
  • Maryland domestic relations forms: with practice commentary / Ann M. Turnbull, Joseph J. Wase
    Call Number: RES KFM1294.A65 T8
    Also on Lexis
  • Forms from Maryland domestic relations forms
    On Lexis
  • Premarital and domestic partnership agreements (MSBA)
    On Lexis and Westlaw
  • Maryland family and juvenile law : practice manual and forms
    Call Number: RES KFM1294.R44 2001
  • Marital settlement agreement – form / Thomas C. Ries, Richard B. Jacobs
    Call Number: KFM1300.M34 2009
  • Maryland family law forms / [Constance K. Putzel, Shelley L. Rothschild … et al.]
    Call Number: KFM1294.M37 2011
  • A practice guide to family law
    Call Number: RES KFM1294.P88 1999
  • Collection of family law forms. Sample forms on this page include several types of answer templates, consent forms, interrogatories, and motions. There are also links to official court forms.
Real Estate
  • Forms from Maryland real estate forms
    On Lexis
  • Maryland real estate forms: practice / Russell R. Reno, Jr., Wilbur E. (Pete) Simmons, Jr., Kevin L. Shepherd ; contributing editor, Michael S. Kosmas
    Call Number: RES KFM1326.A65 R46 2005
    Also on Lexis
  • Maryland real estate leasing forms: practice.
    Call Number: KFM1317.A65 A37 1988
Estates, Wills, and Trusts
  • Maryland estate planning, will drafting, and estate administration forms: practice
    Call Number: KFM1340.A65 B37 1995
    Also on Lexis
  • Probate forms in Maryland : annotated, including pleading, guardian and ward, actions at law and in equity relating to administration and forms of wills / by Philip L. Sykes
    Call Number: KFM1344.A65 S9
  • Contest of wills in Maryland with complete forms / by Philip L. Sykes
    Call Number: KFM1344.5 .C6 S9
  • Maryland estate planning, wills and trusts library : forms and practice manual
    Call Number: KFM1340.A65 G88 1998
  • Maryland estate planning form finder
    On Westlaw
Business and Commercial
  • Maryland corporation law and practice : with forms / by Herbert M. Brune
    Call Number: KFM1413.B7 1953
  • Maryland limited liability company forms and practice manual
    Call Number: KFM1407.5 .A65 M37 1999
  • Maryland secured transactions under revised article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code : forms and practice manual
    Call Number: KFM1375.W58 2000
Criminal
  • Maryland criminal procedure forms and analysis
    Call Number: KFM1775.A65 S653
Employment
  • Maryland employment law : forms and practice manual / Carla N. Murphy, editor ; Sharon A. Snyder, editor
    Call Number: KFM1534.M87
Intellectual Property
  • Maryland intellectual property and technology transactions : forms and practice manual / William S. Galkin
    Call Number: KFM1530.G35 2008
Technology
  • Maryland technology transactions: the Venable practice and forms manual
    Call Number: KFM1530.M37 2002
Practice of Law
  • Legal representation and fee agreements for the Maryland Lawyer: forms and comments Call Number: KFM1277.5 .F4 B36 2009 Also on Lexis and Westlaw

Federal Titles

On Lexis and Westlaw
  • Nichols cyclopedia of federal procedure forms
    On Westlaw
  • Federal procedural forms
    On Westlaw
  • Bender’s federal practice forms
  • On Lexis

Non-Jurisdictional

Print Titles
  • Family law arbitration : practice, procedure, and forms / Carolyn Moran Zack
    Call Number: KF505.5 .Z33 2020
  • Forms, checklists, and procedures for the family lawyer / Mark A. Chinn
    Call Number: KF505.C478 2021
  • The law of crimes and criminal procedure, including forms and precedents
    Call Number: KF9219.H6 1904
On Westlaw
  • American jurisprudence pleading & practice forms annotated
  • American jurisprudence legal forms 2d
  • Lane’s Goldstein litigation forms
  • Fletcher corporation forms annotated
  • McGaffey legal forms with tax analysis / Jere D. McGaffey
  • Handbook of Personal Injury Forms and Litigation Materials
On Lexis
  • Rabkin & Johnson current legal forms with tax analysis / Jacob Rabkin and Mark H. Johnson ; revision author, Volume 1, Stephen E. Pigott
  • Murphy’s will clauses : annotations and forms with tax effects / Joseph H. Murphy, assisted by Beverly Massy Stowell Rounds, updates by John H. Skarbnik
  • Page on the law of wills : including probate, will contests, evidence, taxation, conflicts, estate planning, forms, and statutes relating to wills
  • Bender’s forms of discovery interrogatories

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Finding forms using Westlaw

Westlaw’s Form Finder is a convenient way to search for samples. To get there from the main screen, click on “Forms” in the “All Content” tab (Figure 1).

Westlaw browse screen, "All Content" tab, then "Forms" is ninth on the list.
Figure 1

Once you are on the “Form Finder” screen, you can choose to search for forms by state, by topic (Figure 2), or by publication name.

Figure 2

Once in the search screen, fill in the search fields and press enter.

Some forms, like those in American Jurisprudence Pleading & Practice Forms Annotated, link to captions (Figure 3). A caption is a header in which you would fill in information about the court, the plaintiff, and the defendant if applicable (Figure 4).

Figure 3
Figure 4

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Finding forms using Lexis

From Lexis’s main screen, click “Sample Forms” under the “Content” tab (Figure 5), which will send you to the Sample Forms page. There, you can choose to search by state or practice area (Figure 6). On the next screen, you can search all forms under the heading you chose or add the second state or practice area filter to make your search more precise. More precise is not always better, however, because you could filter out relevant results.

Figure 5
Figure 6

Unfortunately, there is no federal option listed with all the state options on the sample forms page.

To search for sample forms for federal courts, on the home screen click on “Federal” under “Explore Content,” then click on “All Federal” in the second section (Figure 7) (Be careful not to click “All Federal Cases”).

Figure 7

On the “All Federal” page, you can then scroll down to “Forms” and click “All Federal Forms” (Figure 8)

Figure 8

There you can choose to search all the federal form books or search an individual title (Figure 9).

Figure 9

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Categories
lawlibrary

What’s New…In the Catalog

While it’s in no way new to the library, our FAQs webpage can now be found in our catalog. For those who have never seen it, the FAQs page provides links to our comprehensive resource pages on the most frequently asked-about topics (See the page on bankruptcy, for an example). Each individual resource page also has a new record in our catalog for those who want to search under specific topics.

These pages provide links to statutes, videos, free articles for the layperson, forms, and bibliographies of relevant print resources in the library. If you need help figuring out which resources to start with on the list, we at the law library can point you to those that would be most helpful and relevant to your situation. 

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lawlibrary Self Represented

Where to Find Legal Information on Neighbor Law (and Related Topics)

Patrons who attend our Lawyer in the Library program frequently ask how to handle conflicts with their neighbors. This is such a common concern that there are countless sources on relevant law, or lack thereof, governing overhanging tree branches, fence placement, etc. For example, look at the number of search hits on Westlaw after entering some relevant keywords in Figure 1.

Westlaw search results for query "adv: (fence! boundar! tree harass! noise) & dispute!" filtered to "Secondary Sources," showing more than 10,000 results.
Figure 1: Westlaw search results showing sources on neighbor law

Below, I have collected print and electronic secondary sources available through the library that cover neighbor law for attorneys and laypersons. We also have a page on mediation resources, which may be a preferable first step in resolving many of these conflicts.

On the shelf and online through the Maryland Judiciary network:

On Lexis Advance:

On Westlaw:

Possible further reading:

Categories
lawlibrary

What’s New … in Family Law 

A stack showing the spines of the listed new books.

The law library has added a number of recently published books to its shelves for both family law attorneys and others interested in family law. A list of them follows, with links to their more detailed records in our catalog.

The complete QDRO handbook: dividing ERISA, military, and civil service pensions and collecting child support from employee benefit plans
4th edition  
KF3512 .C37 2019 
Patricia Shewmaker and James R. Lewis 
[Chicago, Illinois]: American Bar Association, Section of Family Law, [2019] 

The family law practitioner’s guide to social securit
2nd edition  
Lydia S. Terrill 
KF3649 .S73 2020 
Chicago, Illinois: American Bar Association, Family Law Section, [2020] 

Forms, checklists, and procedures for the family lawyer  
Mark A. Chinn 
KF505 .C478 2021 
Chicago, Illinois: American Bar Association, Family Law Section, [2021] 

Litigating parental alienation: evaluating and presenting an effective case in court  
Ashish Joshi 
KF540 .L58 2021 
[Chicago, Illinois]: ABA, American Bar Association, Family Law Section, [2021] 

The military divorce handbook: a practical guide to representing military personnel and their families Third edition 
Mark E. Sullivan 
KF535 .S85 2019 
Chicago, Illinois: American Bar Association, Section of Family Law, [2019] 

Parent-child reunification: a guide to legal and forensic strategies 
Stanley S. Clawar 
KF547 .C57 2020 
[Chicago, Illinois]: American Bar Association, Family Law Section, [2020] 

Top challenges in Maryland family law
KFM1294.A75 B4 2021 
Eau Claire, WI NBI [2021]

Categories
lawlibrary

United States Code and editorial changes to the SCRA

I recently had an attorney looking for a section of the Service Members Civil Relief Act in the United States Code on Westlaw.  The citation was for 50 U.S.C. App. §521 and the results indicated that the section had a new spot in the U.S.C. at 50 U.S.C. 3931.  When this change took place is not included in the history of the section, but there is a note indicating that the “section was formerly classified to section 521 of the Appendix to Title 50.”

The Justice Department sheds some light on the date of the change on their information page on the Service Members Civil Relief Act:

The location of the SCRA within the United States Code changed in late 2015.  Previously found at (codified and cited as) 50 U.S.C. App. §§ 501-597b, there was an editorial reclassification of the SCRA by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives that became effective on December 1, 2015.  The SCRA is now found at (codified as) 50 U.S.C. §§ 3901-4043.

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel’s page on Editorial Reclassification explains the process of reclassification:

In order to maintain and improve the United States Code, the Office of the Law Revision Counsel must occasionally undertake editorial reclassification projects to reorganize areas of law that have outgrown their original boundaries, or to eliminate organizational units that are no longer efficient. No statutory text is altered by such editorial reclassification projects, other than necessary updates to references to reflect the reorganization. Relevant provisions are merely transferred from one place to another in the Code.

This page includes links to information about recent editorial reclassification projects. The link to Title 50 Appendix indicates that  “the reorganization occurred on December 1, 2015, after which the new Code citations were effective.” 

These reclassifications only move the sections and do not result in changes to the law other than references to the revised sections.  Still, it is nice to know when the change took place.

Categories
lawlibrary

HeinOnline – Legal Classics Library

heinHein announced that “this month’s content release has brought our Legal Classics Library to a new milestone by surpassing 10,000 titles! This database contains works from some of the greatest minds in legal history and includes rare items that are found in only a handful of libraries around the world.”

You might think of HeinOnline as the source for law reviews and legal periodicals but the Legal Classics Library has saved many a trip elsewhere to find an older but still significant treatise  such as Underhill on Evidence or Blackstone’s Commentaries.

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lawlibrary

What’s new …..

Many of these titles will be of special interest to  young lawyers, law clerks, or anyone interested in the basics of law and legal research.

Law Clerks and Young Lawyers                                                                                                   

The millennial lawyer : making the most of generational differences in the firm / Ursula Furi-Perry ; cosponsored by the Section of Law Practice Management, American Bar Association.  (KF297 .F872 2012)

The all-inclusive guide to judicial clerking / Abigail L. Perdue, Associate Professor, Wake Forest University School of Law. (KF297.P47 2017)


ref

Legal Research      

The ABA Spanish Legal Phrasebook / Samantha Snow Ward and Corinne Cooper.  (REF K52.S6 .W384 2010)

Legal research survival manual : with video modules / Robert C. Berring, Michael Levy. (REF KF240 .B454 2017)

Prince’s dictionary of legal abbreviations : a reference guide for attorneys, legal secretaries, paralegals, and law students / by Mary Miles Prince. (REF KF246 .B46 2017)

Legal research in a nutshell / Morris L. Cohen, Late Librarian and Emeritus Professor of Law, Yale Law School ; Kent C. Olson, Head of Research Services, University of Virginia Law Library. (REF KF240 .C54 2016)

Principles of legal research / by Kent C. Olson, Head of Research Services, University of Virginia Law Library. (REF KF240 .O378 2015)

Prince’s dictionary of legal citations : a reference guide for attorneys, legal secretaries, paralegals, and law students / by Mary Miles Prince. (REF KF246 .P73 2017)

ABA and Nutshells

 

nutshells

Consumer protection law in a nutshell / Dee Pridgen (Carl M. Williams Professor of Law & Social Responsibility, University of Wyoming College of Law), Gene A. Marsh (James M. Kidd, Sr. Professor Emeritus of Law, the University of Alabama School of Law). (KF1610 .M37 2016)

Conflicts in a nutshell / Patrick J. Borchers, Professor of law, Creighton University School of Law. (KF412 .S5 2016)

The law and policy of sentencing and corrections in a nutshell / Lynn S. Branham (distinguished visiting scholar, Saint Louis University School of Law). (KF9728 .B733 2017)

Toxic torts in a nutshell / by Jean Macchiaroli Eggen, Distinguished Professor of Law, Widener University Delaware Law School. (KF1299.H39 E37 2015)

Civil procedure in a nutshell / by Mary Kay Kane, John F. Digardi, Distinguished Professor of Law, Chancellor and Dean Emeritus, University of California, Hastings College of the Law. (KF8841 .K36 2013)

The American Bar Association guide to wills and estates: everything you need to know about wills, trusts, estates, and taxes. (KF755.A94 2000)

Categories
lawlibrary Legal Technology

Lexis Advance Now Available in the Law Library

The law library now offers Lexis Advance for online legal research.  Lexis Advance is the new interface for searching Lexis.  It offers Google like functionality with a search box at the top of the page where you can enter your search terms.

lexis_search_bar

You do not have to choose a database for searching.  Results will be organized by database or Lexis library.  However, you do have the option of choosing the database or jurisdiction you want to search.  The old Boolean connectors are still available, too.

The sign-in process is more involved than with the “classic” Lexis.  You will first see a page with a blue box with the words “Go to my start page.” Clicking on the blue box will bring you to the start page.  You must enter your first and last name and agree to the terms and conditions.  (This information will not be used by Lexis and does not require your contact information.)

The biggest news is the additional content that Lexis Advance brings to library users.  We now have access to all, that is just about ALL, Matthew Bender and Lexis texts and treatises.  This means there is now online access to such titles as Bender’s Forms of Discovery, Collier on Bankruptcy and Rabkin and Johnson Current Legal Forms with Tax Analysis.  For Maryland, this means online access to Turnbull’s Maryland Domestic Relations Forms, a title not available on the “old” Lexis.

Please visit the law library and give this new service a try.  We will be happy to walk you through any legal research project you bring with you.

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lawlibrary

Worth a read: “Google Think” and the New Associate

A recent blogpost by Erik Adams, a firm law librarian, on the RIPS Law Librarian Blog provides good insight on the legal research background needed as a new firm associate. I especially liked his observation that “with legal research often 5 minutes of background research can save hours of blind poking about. That certainly was the case with my new associate: had they spent a little time reading secondary sources or just thinking about what they were researching, rather than Google-thinking their way through search after search of case law, they unquestionably would have saved time.” This discussion of the legal research process will benefit anyone’s legal research whether a new associate or not.

Read the whole post here: “Google Think” and the New Associate

Categories
lawlibrary Maryland Law

Keeping Current with Maryland Rules of Procedure

The “Maryland Rules”  regulate the practice, procedure, and judicial administration of Maryland courts. These Rules are based on the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure Rules and adopted by the Maryland Court of Appeals.

The most recent Rules Order is dated June 6, 2016 and was effective July 1, 2016 and is the implementation of the 178th Report. Among other changes, this rules order involves a major reorganization of the titles in the rules dealing with Court Administration; Judges and Judicial Appointees; and Attorneys. A printout of the 178th Report can be found in the law library shelved with the Maryland Code and Rules.  It consists of 553 pages!  The full text of the new rules can also be found in Maryland Advance Reports, September 2, 2016,  #36.

The Maryland Rules of Procedure are available in a number of formats from different publishers. It is important to note that even though the most recent Rules Order is dated June 6, 2016 not all of these formats reflect those changes. Basically, the online versions and one print version are current:

CURRENT:

  • Lexis rules online (lexis.com and free  reflects the 178th Report Rules Order of 6/6/2016
  • Westlaw rules online (WestlawNext and free reflects the 178th Report Rules Order of 6/16/2016
  • Maryland Advance Reports, September 2, 2016,  #36 contains the text of the rules affected by the June 6, 2016 Rules Order.
  • West Maryland Rules of Court (print) with supplement reflects the 178th Report Rules Order of 6/6/2016

NOT CURRENT:

  • Maryland Rules (print) published by LexisNexis are current only through  4/4/2016
  • Annotated Code of  Maryland Rules (print) are current only through 2/1/2016

To make sure the rules you are using are current, it is a good idea to  check the postings on the webpage of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure Rules at Mdcourts.gov and compare with the “current as of” information in whichever version you are using.