NOLO: Law for All

Author: Susan Good

How do you like law school? What kinds of classes are you taking? Have you decided what kind of law you would like to practice yet?

If you are a law student, you can bet you will be answering these types of questions in abundance. Usually they come from the distant family member making conversation at the holiday get together or from an old friend you happen to see out when visiting your hometown. Sometimes, however, this small talk is merely a prelude to get to the bigger question: Can I ask your legal advice on something?

Whether you have been in law school for one week or are one week from graduation, friends and family sometimes cannot help but ask for your legal advice. And it can be difficult to explain that you feel uncomfortable helping draft their will when you have not exactly passed Property yet (let alone the bar exam). Luckily for law students everywhere, the editors of Nolo have a series of publications to help with this problem.

Nolo Press is a publishing company special-izing in legal self-help literature. Nolo publishes over 300 do-it-yourself legal re-sources aimed at explaining everyday legal issues in plain English – in a way that non-lawyers can understand. The Notre Dame Kresge Law Library currently houses over 60 Nolo publications, including titles such as Beat Your Ticket: Go to Court and Win, Nolo‟s Simple Will Book, and Every Tenant‟s Legal Guide. These resources, and many more, can also be found at This website divides Nolo‘s resources into legal topics, such as bankruptcy, criminal law, and taxes, and then provides both answers to frequently asked questions about and articles on these topics. There are also opportunities to purchase more in-depth materials on these subjects (such as the titles found in the law library). The website even offers free access to Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.

Another way to gain access to these mate-rials is through Amazon‘s “Look Inside!” feature allows you to browse the pages of most of these books at no cost. If interested in purchasing a Nolo title, you can expect to pay about fifteen to thirty dollars. However, the electronic versions of the books (for a Kindle) are consistently cheaper than the print versions.

Directing friends and family to Nolo publications is an easy way to offer help to those who may ask for your legal advice, but it is not the only use for these publications. With titles such as The Essential Guide for First-Time Homeowners and Your Rights in the Workplace, these resources may come in handy to the typical law student as well. Even if you decide to take a nonconventional path after your law school career, you can make use of titles such as Nolo’s Legal Guide for Starting and Running a Small Business. And if that does not work out, you can turn to Bankruptcy for Small Business Owners.

-Crista Dittert, 2L

Other Popular Nolo Titles
Prenuptial Agreements*
A Legal Guide for Lesbian and Gay Couples*
Building a Parenting Agreement that Works
Every Dog‘s Legal Guide*
The Criminal Law Handbook*
Easy Ways to Lower Your Taxes
Executor‘s Guide*
101 Law Forms for Personal Use*
File Your Provisional Patent*
File Your Trademark Application
*Titles available in print at Kresge Law Library