What We Do Is Important

Public law libraries are important because everyone has a right to know the law. We were established in 1891 by the State of California to provide legal information not only to attorneys and judges, but to businesses, self-represented litigants, and people like you who want to know more about their rights. The law library has 2 locations in the county (Vista and Downtown San Diego), and we have expert researchers here to help you find what you need in-person or remote.

In fact, what we do is so important that we must preserve our limited resources, space, and staff by asking that people only use our facility for legal research.

We must be true to our mission: law made public, which is making legal resources accessible to the public. As a small, specialized library we have limited resources that must be preserved for those needing to access the law. Those who are not here to access the law will find lots of space at the public library. We exist solely to provide legal information; if our work stations and study tables are taken up by those not needing legal resources then we are doing a disservice to those for whom we are here to serve. So, we must ask you to be actively performing legal research in our resources, preparing court paperwork, or attending legal clinics. If you are not doing legal research you may be asked to leave.

Why is the law library relevant to San Diego?

We make it possible for the general public to learn about and use the law to solve problems, access justice and leverage opportunities.

How do we support the legal community?

  • We serve as a satellite office where attorneys can conduct free legal research, have a quiet space to work, meet with clients in private conference rooms, hold meetings and attend free and low-cost educational programs.
  • Judges and court personnel can refer self-represented litigants to us, where those individuals can access legal forms, guides and legal resources written for non-attorneys.
  • The legal community has a professional duty to provide pro bono legal services and promote access to justice. Why not support the law library by volunteering for a legal clinic?

How do we support local businesses?

  • The law library is a place for businesses to learn about and use the law to address business issues and take advantage of market opportunities.
  • Businesses can find answers to common legal questions and access easy-to-understand guides.
  • We are a networking and educational center where businesses can meet with clients, prospects and colleagues in private conference rooms.

How do we support the general public:

  • Through print and electronic legal resources, educational programs, legal clinics and the help of experienced legal research librarians, we support the entire community. If the value and importance is not immediately clear, consider the different types of people we help:
    • The mother, father, or grandparent fighting for custody of a child
    • A recently laid off employee who is unsure whether she should sign a severance agreement
    • A single mother who was defrauded by a contractor and wants to take him to small claims court
    • The family facing foreclosure or eviction
    • The entrepreneur that wants to start a business
    • The small business owner who just received notice of an IRS audit
    • The inventor who wants to patent a new product and protect her intellectual property rights