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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Finding Legal Forms (Part 1)

Posted by Library Blog on 04/02/2015 at 08:50 AM

Have you ever been asked by a professor or supervising attorney at an externship, internship, or law firm to create the first draft of a document? What did you do next? Did you Google it? Did you ask for a sample document? Did you break out into a sweat and panic? Using forms will help reduce this stress by reusing work that has already been created and recycling it into the product needed now!

When asked to write drafts of documents (for example a letter to a client, a clause for a sales contract, or a divorce form) without ever having seen completed documents of that type before, look for a sample to get you started. A blank court form, sample language from a treatise or form set, or even a copy of a motion someone else submitted to the same court can save time and effort. Remember, the Law Library can help you find these samples.

The Law Library has many resources for sample forms or sample language. A starting point for forms on the website is the TimeSaver: Legal Forms, a LawGuide all about forms. There are also easy ways on Lexis Advance, WestlawNext, and Bloomberg Law for finding forms.

Bloomberg Law DealmakerBloomberg Law:

Clicking “Transactional Law” from the orange bar on the main screen will allow you to choose DealMaker Documents or DealMaker Clauses. Bloomberg Law DealMaker Documents and Clauses provide the ability to search for samples from a collection of over ¾ million documents used in real transactions. A video on finding clauses can be found here.

Lexis Advance:

Using the Browse feature on the main screen allows you to select “By Category.” By selecting “Forms” as the category you can then search only forms using the “Search Within Sources”.


Selecting “forms” from the WestlawNext main search page will bring you to the “Form Finder” page. The “Form Finder” feature consolidates more than 600,000 federal, state, and nonjurisdictional forms in a single location for more convenient searching. Additional information about this tool can be found here.

Please note, not every resource we have available can be used on the job or at an externship. If you have questions or need more information, please contact a reference librarian or your vendor representative.