Judge Kahn Presented on Effective Advocacy at the Law Library - March 20th, 2013
On Wednesday, March 20th, the Honorable Harold Kahn, Judge of the San Francisco Superior Court, spoke at the Library’s Lunchtime Speakers Program on the topic of Effective Written and Oral Advocacy. Over 90 people attended. The Law Library presents law-related programs at noon about twice a month. Check our web page for upcoming programs or sign up for the San Francisco Law Library’s E-Update by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "subscribe" in the subject line, or by calling 415-554-6821.
Delegation of Chinese Judges Visits Law Library - August 19th, 2012
The Law Library welcomed 18 judges from Shandong Province on August 8th, who visited the Library to learn about American law, law libraries, and library resources. Guest speakers public defender Jeff Adachi, attorney Ed Liu from Lew, Fong, Leung, Lee & Chan, attorney Maulik Shah from Arnold Porter LLP and board member of the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, Judge Mary Wiss, and attorney Nancy Lewellen from the Palladian Law Group talked about different aspects of American law and practice. Following the speakers program, the judges toured the Library. The San Francisco Law Library was the only organization the delegation visited while in San Francisco for a week. The delegation was sponsored by All Americas Inc., which is an organization dedicated to the promotion of cultural exchange between North America and China.
Press Release: San Francisco Law Library Market Street Branch Closed - March 5th, 2012
San Francisco – February 6, 2012 – The San Francisco Law Library announced today that its branch library in the Monadnock Building at 685 Market Street will close on March 5th. Comprehensive library and reference services will continue to be provided at the main Law Library located in the Veteran’s War Memorial Building near City Hall. A major decline in library funding from court filing fees, greatly increased rental rates, and an unrelenting escalation in the cost of legal materials led to the move.
“We deeply regret that the Financial District branch must close, but the lease for the space is up this spring, and the Law Library simply cannot afford current market rental rates, while income continues to decline and legal information costs soar,” said Law Librarian Marcia Bell, who has headed up the Law Library for the past 21 years. “Although it is unusual for a city this small to have two law library branches, the Financial District branch has been in existence for more than 60 years and we held on to that location as long as we possibly could.”
“The Law Library is financed by court filing fees, which have declined 14% since last year and 20% since 2009. Our commitment to serving the public hasn’t changed, but closing the branch will allow us to conserve resources to provide comprehensive services at the main library,” Bell concluded.
Hours at the main Law Library at 401 Van Ness Avenue will be extended to provide the same hours as currently available at the branch: Beginning March 5th, the Law Library will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Additional computer terminals dedicated to legal research will be added in the main library, along with new work tables to accommodate former users of the Market Street branch. Some library materials will be moved from the branch to the main Law Library, but duplicate materials will be eliminated.
The branch closing comes at a time of change for the main Law Library as well. The Veteran’s War Memorial Building, where the Law Library is currently housed, will close for refurbishing in May 2013 and the Law Library is currently working with an architectural planning firm to develop options for new space.
Until San Francisco City Hall closed in 1995 as a result of damage caused by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the Law Library shared the 4th floor with the Superior Courts and was regarded as one of the premier county law libraries in the state. The Law Library moved to the Veteran’s War Memorial Building in 1995 and 17 years later is still housed in the same “temporary” inadequate space.
“The Law Library in the Financial District has had a very long and successful run, and I am one of many who have gratefully used it for research for my law practice; but it’s not possible to support a branch library in this economic climate,” said Kurt Melchior, President of the San Francisco Law Library Board of Trustees. “The Board of Trustees will now focus its full attention on working with the Law Library staff and the City of San Francisco to find a permanent solution to the Main Library’s ongoing space crisis. It’s essential that we locate and secure a commitment from the City for an adequate and well located new site for the Main Library by May 2012.”
Most of the Law Library’s funding is provided from court filing fees through California Business & Professions Code section 6321. The City and County of San Francisco is mandated by state law and the San Francisco Charter to provide library quarters and utilities at the main Law Library, funding for three positions and a nominal sum for supplies. The Law Library is not funded by state or local tax dollars.
“We hope and expect that the San Francisco legal and business communities, as well as the public at large, will support the Board of Trustees’ efforts to secure a proper permanent home for a free, full-service Law Library, which is vital to preserving the legal rights of all our citizens,” said Melchior.
San Francisco Law Library's Courthouse Reference Room Closed - December 16, 2011
The San Francisco Superior Court informed the San Francisco Law Library in mid-November that it needed to vacate its space in the Courthouse so the Court could use the space for other purposes. The Reference Room closed on December 16, 2011.