The Law Library houses one of the world’s best collections of research materials. As one first-year law student observed:
"If I had known as an admitted student what I know now, having been in school for a week, the quality of the library facilities would have been a more strongly positive factor for me. I didn’t really understand how much time I would be spending there, and I’m very impressed."
With over one million volumes and more than 500,000 titles, many in electronic format, it is a center for legal research for students, faculty, lawyers, judges, and scholars from around the world. (International students and visitors often discover that materials on their native countries are more accessible and complete than at home.)
Lawyer-librarians provide expert reference assistance in person, by phone, e-mail and its online chat system. They also provide expert instruction in using these electronic and print resources. Additionally, law students can also use the other outstanding libraries and archives on campus, and electronic resources are available remotely to Michigan students. An audio tour of the Law Library and many research guides are also available.
Michigan's Law Library consists of three distinct parts: the "stacks," comprising several floors; the neogothic Reading Room with its 50-foot ceilings, stained glass windows and 11 new Group Study Rooms, comfortably seating hundreds of students; and the Allan F. and Alene Smith Library, which is a light-filled underground addition completed in 1981 to complement the existing legal research facilities. The Smith Law Library is open 112 hours per week and the Reading Room is open 126 hours per week.
The Smith addition received numerous awards for superb architectural design. It provides open stacks for the portion of the collection most used by Michigan Law students, a large number of student carrels, and special facilities for computers and microforms. The Library staff work here, and Michigan Law students and scholars can find our reference librarians here to help with research. Michigan's Law Library provides more hours of reference service than any other law library.
The Jackier Rare Book Room, completed in 1996, is located in the Smith addition as well; it houses more than 5,000 rare books and manuscripts and offers its own research space by appointment.
Our Library collection includes print and online access to reports of the American federal and state courts, as well as the court reports of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, and most European, Asian, and South American countries. The constitutions, codes, and statutes of each state and of most foreign countries are kept retrospectively and up-to-date. Legal documents for the UN, the EU, the WTO, and other inter-governmental organizations represent a particular strength of the collection. There are extensive special collections in the fields of Roman law, international law, comparative law, trials, biography, and legal bibliography.
"Michigan’s Law Library, with its comprehensive collection of Anglo-American, foreign, comparative and international law resources, was a key factor for my happy decision, upon completion of the LL.M. program, to extend my stay in Ann Arbor as a research scholar. But Ann Arbor is not only an outstanding place to advance your legal career - it is also a wonderful place to socially interact and to live, especially when moving to the U.S. with your family."
Dr. Stefan Sulzer, LLM '05; Research Scholar
Associate General Counsel at Alcon Laboratories, Inc.
With wireless and wired access to the Internet, LexisNexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg and HeinOnline, among many other electronic resources, the Law Library provides domestic and international legal materials free of charge to law students and faculty. The Law Library’s own invaluable website contains huge collections of digitized material, including U.S. law reviews (HeinOnLine); English and U.S. books about law from 1800 to 1923 (Making of Modern Law); and other current and historical electronic resources.