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Externships & Summer Jobs: Guide to Legal Research

This guide is intended to direct externs to relevant sources for completing research assignments.

Legal Treatises & Deskbooks

Subscription Databases to Access Washington Law Primary and Secondary Resources and Forms

Revised Code of Washington

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) is the compilation of all permanent laws now in force. It is a collection of Session Laws (enacted by the Legislature, and signed by the Governor, or enacted via the initiative process), arranged by topic, with amendments added and repealed laws removed. It does not include temporary laws such as appropriations acts.

The print version of the RCW that contains the certificate of the Statute Law Committee is considered the official code (see RCW 1.08.040 The RCW is also available online at the Washington State Legislature's website. 

Annotated versions of the RCW are available on Westlaw and Lexis, although the editorial enhancements are not as robust as annotated versions of the U.S. Code.

Washington Case Reporters

Washington cases are reported in the following reporters:

Supreme Court: Washington Reports, Washington Reports 2d.

Court of Appeals: Washington Appellate Reports

When citing Washington cases to Washington courts, follow the Reporter of Decisions Style Sheet, which uses different abbreviations for Washington court reports:

  • Washington Reports = Wash.
  • Washington Reports, 2d = Wn.2d
  • Washington Appellate Reports = Wn. App.

Washington Forms

The Washington State Law Library (WSLL) has compiled a research guide with helpful links to Washington Forms, including a link to The Washington State Court Forms website, which provides a list of forms that are used statewide in Washington Courts.  It includes many mandatory forms used in family law (divorce, child support, parenting plans, relocation, domestic violence, etc.) as well as other forms dealing with bankruptcy, garnishment, small claims, criminal law, juvenile offenders, and guardianship.

The WSLL's research guide also discusses forms required by local courts and State agencies.

You can also find forms on Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg.

Municipal Codes

County Codes

Washington Constitution

Washington Law Help

Washington State Law Library Research Guide

The Washington State Law Library provides a comprehensive research guide for sources related to Washington State law.

Screenshot of Washington State Law Library website