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Law and Legal Help

This guide highlights resources for finding answers to basic legal questions.


This guide highlights resources for finding answers to basic legal questions.

The referral section lists local organizations which you can call, visit, email, or text for legal information or advice, and in some cases, referral to an attorney.

The Information section points you to basic sources of legal information.

How to Research a Legal Problem provides pointers for doing legal research online and at libraries.

Facing Eviction?

The Massachusetts eviction moratorium expired on October 17, 2020. This means that landlords can begin an eviction process, which was previously on hold as a pandemic measure.

If you're a Boston area resident at risk of eviction, you can contact immediately for help. Its hotline numbers are (617) 934-5006 (English) and (617) 397-3773 (Español).

View an online presentation about renter's rights in Massachusetts during the COVID public health crisis, presented by Harvard Legal Services Center and hosted by BPL. This was recorded on November 5th 2020, and is available on the BPL Facebook page.  A housing attorney from the Legal Services Center at Harvard Law School discusses the different housing stability laws and orders issued by the government and the courts to help both landlords and tenants navigate through uncertain times.

You can get legal help at virtual office hours, offered on a weekly basis through BPL. On Friday mornings, 10am to noon, an attorney from the Legal Services Center will provide advice and referral information on Zoom (click on the link to join) or dial in: 646.558.8656 (meeting ID: 886 1508 1914). 

Legal Databases at the BPL

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Fastcase is a comprehensive, nationwide law library, including case law, statutes, regulations, court rules, constitutions, and law review articles. This database is only available at the Boston Public Library. Its help feature has tutorials and other tips for effective searching. If you have questions about this database, please ask staff in the Research Services Department at the Central Library. Available remotely during the library's closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


HeinOnline contains more than 140 million pages and 125,000 titles of legal history and government documents in a fully searchable, image-based format. Available remotely during the library's closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

LawDepot for Libraries allows you to create your own legal forms and documents. This resource requires you to create an individual RBDigital account. If you don't already have an RBDigital account, see E-books, E-audiobooks, Digital Magazines, and Streaming Media‚Äč for instructions. You can use this resource from home with your library card or e-card and your RBDigital account. Watch this tutorial if you're new to RBDigital.