Using Nolo: Find Self-Help Books on Everyday Legal Issues


If you are a solo attorney, a small business owner, or perhaps representing yourself in a legal matter, the resources in the Nolo Legal Information Reference Center were written with you in mind. Nolo’s mission is to “help consumers and small businesses find answers to their everyday legal and business questions.” The database offers hundreds of books and thousands of legal forms aimed at giving people the necessary tools and detailed “how-to” instructions to address a wide-range of legal issues. Just keep in mind that Nolo resources are not specific to any one state, and you might need to do additional research to see how to apply the information in your state or county. 

Nolo is available to visitors onsite at the library (currently by appointment during the COVID-19 pandemic) and is also available to Jenkins’ members remotely.

Finding Books and Information in Nolo

There are a handful of ways to find information in the Nolo database. You can search for keywords within all the books in the database by using the search bar at the top of the page, for example.

One of the easiest ways to access particular books in the database is to scroll through the titles in the Browse Popular Sources section on the main page. You’ll find titles like Renters’ Rights: Basics; Beat Your Ticket: Go to Court & Win; Credit Repair; Long-Term Care: How to Plan & Pay for It; Incorporate Your Business; Form a Partnership: The Complete Legal Guide, and more. Just click on the title you’re interested in, such as Neighbor Law.

The book will then open to the first page of the book in PDF format. Use the navigation panel on the left-hand side of the screen to jump to different chapters or sections.

Another option you'll see on the main page is to Browse by Category, which groups books by various topics. You can find Neighbor Law under the "Homeowners" subtopic in the "Property & Real Estate" category.

Once you select a specific book from one of the categories, it will open to a list of sections within the book (instead of opening to the first page). Make sure that the sections are sorted by “Source” so that they are listed in the correct order. Click "PDF Full Text" to open the text of the section you want to read.

You can also find titles by clicking "Publications" near the top left corner of the main page. Then you can either type in the name of a title you're looking for or browse an alphabetical listing of all titles. Neighbor Law is the first result under the "N" category, for example.

After clicking on Neighbor Law from the Publications page, you'll see the publication details for the book. Click on the hyperlinked date next to "Full Text" to access all the sections of the book. Remember to sort the sections by "Source" if necessary. 

Finally, you can find sample forms using two different features found on Nolo's main page. Browse Popular Legal Forms allows you to look for forms by topic. The Legal Forms by US State opens to a PDF with links to (court) websites where you can find various state and federal forms. The coverage and availability of forms is different for each state, and you are responsible for figuring out which form to choose, how to fill it out, or for any errors or omissions in the forms. 

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