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Self-Help Legal Materials

Self-help legal materials, pro se patrons, law for laypeople

Finding Books in the Law Library

Nolo Press

Many of the resources listed in this guide are from Nolo, which has been publishing self-help legal materials since 1971 and now has a vast network of legal information available for free online.   You can search the Nolo site directly for the most up-to-date information or you may search in MNCAT Discover for print and eBooks publications, which are available in the Law Library or a library database. Combining "Nolo" with terms denoting an area of law will retrieve self-help materials on a specific topic. For example, a search for "Nolo personal injury" retrieves, among other titles, How to win your personal injury claim by J. L. Matthews, which is available in the law library (Reserve KF1257 .M37 2015). 

A Recommended Guide

A Layperson's Guide to Legal Research and Self-Help Law Books, by Kendall F. Svengalis, available in the Law Library Reference Office, call no. Reference Office KF1 .S94 2019. Includes over 800 titles in 85 subject areas, predominantly of the self-help variety.

Popular Works

You can also do a keyword search on your topic and the phrase "popular works." For example combining "divorce" with "popular works" retrieves Divorce without court: a guide to mediation & collaborative divorce by Katherine E. Stoner which is available in the law library (Reserve KF535.Z9 S76 2012).


Legal Education

Continuing legal education materials may also be very helpful and can be found by doing a keyword search on your topic and the phrase "legal education." For example, "legal education second-parent adoption" retrieves Minnesota DWI deskbook by Marsh J Halberg  which is available in the law library (Reserve KF209 .M54x 2013 no.8).


The books listed below are examples of what you may find at the University of Minnesota Law Library. The latest editions can be found on Reserve at the Circulation Desk; earlier editions may be in the general collection.





Criminal Law




Family Law


Intellectual Property

Landlord & Tenant

Legal Research

Pensions/Health Care

Performing Arts

Personal Injuries



Wills & Trusts

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