Ask a Librarian / Research Assistance

The Reference Team at Washington and Lee consists of law librarians and part-time law library staff members who assist faculty, students and patrons with their research needs. The Reference Team may not provide legal advice or services. For more information, please email us at, call the Circulation Desk at (540) 458-8552, or visit the Law Library User Guide

The Lewis F. Powell Jr. Archives contain the papers of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. and other primary sources of legal history; Rare Book Collection; W&L Law faculty publications; law school administrative records; teaching and examination materials; moot court materials; law school publications of record; and student organization records. For more information, or to request assistance with archival materials, please contact John Jacob at or visit the Archives on Level 1.  

Research and Instructional Services for Faculty

The Reference Team assists faculty members in identifying and locating resources to support academic and scholarly interests; creating topic specific bibliographies; providing special instruction or guest lectures on research techniques and materials (see below); and providing assistance and instruction for faculty research assistants. For assistance, please contact a law librarian or visit the Law Faculty Quick Tips.

The Andrew W. McThenia Faculty Research Assistants, a pool of second- and third-year law students selected and overseen by a law librarian, provide curated research support for the scholarly activities of the W&L Law faculty and administration. The McThenia RAs assist with faculty projects of varying scope and duration. For more information, or to request assistance, please contact Franklin Runge at

Law librarians are also available to provide class instruction, guest lectures, or online assistance with research techniques and resources, database introduction and exploration, topical research guides in print or online, and library tours. To discuss your specific instructional needs, please contact Andrew Christensen at

Research Assistance for Law Students

The Reference Team assists law students in planning their research strategy, identifying relevant resources for their research endeavors, and locating materials for their academic studies.To schedule an appointment, please email us at call the Circulation Desk at (540) 458-8552 or visit the Law Student Lifeline.

Current Awareness and Alert Services

The Law Library provides customized news and current awareness services to faculty members and students. S.N.A.P. (Student News Awareness Program), available to both students and faculty members, delivers the latest headlines linked to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. The S.N.A.P. newsletter is delivered via email based upon the recipient's delivery preferences.  

Faculty members may also request a customized newsletter, with content from a wide variety of sources such as newspapers, subscription databases, government and regulatory services, blogs, and social media. Newsletters are tailored to individual interests and delivery preferences.

To receive a customized current awareness newsletter or to set up alerts from Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, Westlaw, or Scholarly Commons, please contact Andrew Christensen at For assistance setting up alerts from SSRN, please contact Franklin Runge at  

Publishing Resources for Authors

The Law Journal Rankings Project is a nationally recognized tool for authors. The tool allows authors to evaluate law journals based on citation data.  Users may rank journals in groups by subject matter and other characteristics to identify suitable publications for submission or publication efforts.  It also serves as a directory of active law journals with manuscript submission information.  For more information regarding the Law Journal Rankings Project, please contact Andrew Christensen at

Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN): Faculty who wish to include their working papers on SSRN may contact Franklin Runge at for assistance posting, managing, and disseminating their work through the W&L Law Research Paper Series and accompanying eJournal subscription.    

Back to Top

Carrels, Lockers and Study Space

The Law Library is designed to provide a welcoming space for study and collaboration with open study areas throughout the Law Library. The third floor reading room is specifically designed to maximize quiet study. Please observe the following guidelines when using the third floor reading room: limit conversation and speak in subdued tones; mute or utilize headphones on all portable electronic devices, including mobile phones; and be respectful of others studying. No smoking is permitted in the building. No alcohol is permitted in the law library.

Please direct all locker and carrel inquiries to Allegra Steck at or (540) 458-8541.  

Back to Top

Course and E-Reserves

Faculty members may place books and other materials on reserve. To place items on Course or E-Reserve, or to review the policies and procedures, please contact Donald Sensabaugh at Items in print that have been placed on reserve are available in the Law Library's Reserve Room on the third floor. Course reserve materials are also listed in the Library Catalog, where they can be searched by course name or number, instructor, title, or author.

Back to Top

Interlibrary Loans (ILL) and Document Delivery

For inquiries relating to Interlibrary Loans (ILLs), or to renew a previously requested item, please contact Donald Sensabaugh at For new ILL requests, please complete the ILL Form.

The Law Library offers document delivery from the Law Library, Leyburn Library, and the Science Library to law faculty and staff only. To request materials from one of these libraries, please contact Donald Sensabaugh at All requests made on Monday through Friday will be delivered within 24 hours. Requests made after 12pm on Friday will be delivered on Monday after 12pm.      

Back to Top

Past Exams

Students wishing to review past exams for their own test preparation should go to the relevant portion of the W&L Law Academic Success website. 

Archival paper copies of past exams are held by the Law Records Office and the Powell Archives. The Archives will provide access to exams in its holdings written by current faculty, but only with the explicit consent of the author. Exams of faculty who have retired or otherwise separated from the University are open to the public. Please contact John Jacob at or visit the Archives on Level 1 to view these exams. Access to exams newer than five years old would require permission of the professor who wrote the exam. Please be aware that, in recent years, professors rarely provide paper copies of exams to Law Records and the Archives. Students wishing to see exams not presently on the Academic Success web page may contact their own professors for the course, or contact Academic Success.

Back to Top

Renew a Book

Materials may be renewed by accessing your Library Record online or by contacting Milea Webb at Renewals are subject to requests for the materials from another patron and the existence of overdue items. For more information regarding lending periods, please visit the Lending Policies.

Back to Top

Reserve a Study Room

To reserve a study room within the Law Library, please visit W&L's 25Live Reservation System.  (WLU log-in credentials required.)

The Law Library has six study rooms located on level 3 of the library.  Rooms 305, 306, 307, 308, and 309 accommodate up to two people and room 304 accommodates groups eight. Reservations are permitted for a maximum of four hours per group; no successive reservations are permitted. During exams, use of Law Library study rooms is limited to law students. The usage of study rooms requires a minimum of two individuals. Students may not take exams in a study room.

Back to Top