Updated 4/2017/ DC
|Introduction||Finding Forms in the Law Library||Finding Forms on the Internet|
|Self-help Form Books||General Form Books - Substantive||General Form Books - Practice|
|Federal Form Books||Subject Form Books||New Jersey Form Books|
Forms are often the backbone of successful legal document drafting. They are model instruments with suggested terminology and other essential details needed in formal legal documents. Generally forms are used as a starting place and then tailored to meet specific needs. Laws and court rules are constantly changing so when using a form it is necessary to read it carefully and revise the form to fit the current laws of the jurisdiction where it is to be used.
The Law Library has many different types of form books. Form books include either substantive or practice forms. The main distinction being that practice forms provide the language for documents filed with a court during litigation. Substantive forms include those such as contracts or wills. Federal form books can also be found in the library. These forms are specifically geared toward conducting matters in federal court. Also there are subject form books devoted to a particular topic and state form books designed for a specific state. A New Jersey listing of form books is included in this guide.
This guide will assist you to find forms in the law library. Some of the major form books are listed, however there are many more options for finding legal forms.
The library online catalog is a good resource to help locate forms. There are many different ways to use the catalog to find form books. A SUBJECT search of "forms" results in nearly 200 subject matches. Scanning these you might locate the particular type of form book you are interested in. A WORD search of the topic you are looking for and the word "forms" is another way to use the online catalog to locate forms. For example, a WORD search in the catalog for "bankruptcy forms" results in about 25 books that have both the word "bankruptcy" and "forms."
Many treatises will include forms, either integrated within the text, in the appendix or as a separate volume. Use the catalog to locate a treatise on your topic and then check the index of the treatise to locate forms within the text. For example, Uniform Commercial Code, 3rd Ed., by James J. White and Robert S. Summers. West Group, St. Paul, MN, 1988. This treatise has an appendix with sample forms.
Some state codes and rule books will include both substantive and practice forms. Consult the general index of the state code or rules under the term forms. For example, the New Jersey Statutes Annotated includes forms such as the one found at N.J.S.A. 3B:3-4, which is a form for making a will self-proved at the time of execution. The New Jersey court rule book also has various practice forms in the appendices such as interrogatory forms and a form for notice of appeal to appellate division; see Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey, by Sylvia B. Pressler. Gann Law Books, Newark, NJ.
The Internet is becoming an increasingly popular place to find legal forms. As always, when using forms, be mindful of the authenticity and validity of the information. Be sure to verify information in the form with the current laws of your jurisdiction.
A good source for forms in most jurisdictions is the state's judiciary page (state pages are located at a www.state.(state abbreviation).us or .gov address).
New Jersey State Judiciary Forms (http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/forms.htm)
New York State Judiciary Forms (http://www.nycourts.gov/forms/)
Federal Court Forms (http://www.uscourts.gov/FormsAndFees/Forms/CourtFormsByCategory.aspx)
Using Internet search engines to locate specific forms might work but it is not a very efficient method of finding forms. If you would like to find forms on the Internet the following is a list of locations with legal forms:
Findlaw Forms at http://www.findlaw.com/16forms/index.html
Findlaw State Corporation and Business Forms at http://www.findlaw.com/11stategov/indexcorp.html
The 'Lectric Law Library Forms Room at http://www.lectlaw.com/form.html
WashLaw WEB forms directory at http://www.washlaw.edu/legalforms
Another source of forms that has grown in popularity are the "self-help" books designed for lay persons. Although it always best to consult an attorney for legal matters, these books may be referred to for guidance. One of the major publishers of this type of book is Nolo.com (1-800-846-9455 or http://www.nolo.com/). Nolo.com publishes books on general and specialized legal topics such as divorce, wills, and bankruptcy.
Self-help material may often be ordered through Web sites, catalogs or purchased at stationery or office supply stores. Not all stores carry this type of material so it is best to call and ask before making a trip. Blumberg Excelsior (1-800-LAW-MART or http://www.blumberg.com) is another supplier of self-help legal forms. Contact these or other vendors if you would like information on this type of material. These products may be useful but are not a substitute for legal advice from an attorney.
American Jurisprudence, Legal Forms, 2d, Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Co., Rochester, NY, 1971.
A multi-volume set containing more than 15,000 forms commonly used in business and legal documents. The set includes forms such as contracts, trusts, leases, wills and incorporations. Two volumes entitled "Federal Tax Guide to Legal Forms" cover tax law and are cross-referenced from the main volumes. The set has an index and is updated annually with pocket-parts. This set was originally published by Lawyers Co-operative but has been published by West Group since West's acquisition of Lawyers Co-op in 1997.
Call Number Location: KF170.A542
Current Legal Forms with Tax Analysis, by Jacob Rabkin and Mark H. Johnson, [et al]. Matthew Bender, New York, NY, 1948.
This looseleaf collection contains forms arranged topically under the following subject areas; Partnerships, Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, Franchising, Computers, General Business, Credit and Finance, Gift and Estate Planning, Domestic Relations, Employment and Retirement, Corporations, Real Estate, and Agriculture. It is especially useful for its inclusion of tax considerations and provides tax compliance checklists. The set is updated through 2009 with looseleaf inserts (current edition available through Lexis for users with Lexis login and password).
Call Number Location: KF6286.R32
Nichols Cyclopedia of Legal Forms Annotated, by Clark A. Nichols. Clark Boardman Callaghan, New York, NY, 1936.
Another multi-volume set arranged similarly to American Jurisprudence. This set includes forms, checklists, and questionnaires for a variety of topics. It is especially useful because it cross-references to both American Jurisprudence 2d and Corpus Juris Secundum. It also gives examples of forms from various jurisdictions. The library CANCELED updates to this set in 1997 so compliance with current guidelines should be verified. Clark Boardman Callaghan is now part of West Group.
Call Number Location: KF170.N48
West's Legal Forms 2d, West Group, St. Paul, MN, 1981.
This 39 volume set includes many types of forms arranged topically. Individual units are Business Organizations, Retirement Plans, Debtor-Creditor Relations, Real Estate Transactions, Domestic Relations, Estate Planning, Commercial Transactions, Elder Law, Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks, Employee Benefit Plans, Employment Agency and Service Agreements, and General Forms. The set is kept up to date with pocket parts and revised volumes.
Call Number Location: KF170.W3
American Jurisprudence Pleading and Practice Forms Annotated, Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Co., Rochester, NY, 1966.
This set includes state and federal pleading and practice forms. The forms are arranged alphabetically by title, similar to those found in American Jurisprudence 2d. The highlights to this set include; the Governing Principle behind the law given at the beginning of each topic; Checklists of allegations reminding users of permissible or required actions; a Procedural Timetable featured at the front of each volume listing principal procedural steps in chronological order; Statutory References and Procedural Rules References; Trial Aids referring users to Am Jur Proof of Fact; and Case notes. (See New Jersey Pleading and Practice Forms.) The library canceled the supplements to this set in 1992 but plans to begin periodic updates (see the Reference Librarian for more information).
Call Number Location: KF8836.A45
Bender's Forms of Discovery : an exhaustive compilation of forms, practice, and procedure on modern discovery designed to enable lawyers to elicit from adverse parties such information as may be essential to adequate preparation for trial. Matthew Bender & Co., New York, NY, 1963.
Volumes 1-13 are issued under title: Bender's forms of interrogatories. Kept up-to-date with looseleaf supplements.
Call Number Location: KF8900.A3 B451
Federal Procedural Forms, Lawyers Edition, Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Co., Rochester, NY, 1975.
This set is a comprehensive set of procedural forms for practice in federal courts in criminal, civil and administrative matters. The set is arranged alphabetically and the spine indicates whether the content of the volume deals with the Supreme Court, federal courts of appeal, district or bankruptcy courts, or some other national court. Updated through 2000 with pocket parts (current available through Westlaw for users with Westlaw login and password).
Call Number Location: KF8836.F4
Nichols Cyclopedia of Federal Procedure Forms, by Clark A. Nichols. Callaghan, Wilmette, IL, 1952.
A companion publication to Cyclopedia of Federal Procedure. Kept up to date by revised volumes and pocket parts.
Call Number Location: KF8840 .C931
West's Federal Forms, 3rd ed., West Group, St. Paul, MN, 1952.
This set is arranged by the different federal courts and begins with forms used in practice before the United States Supreme Court. The following volumes cover U.S. Courts of Appeal, U.S. District Courts, and other national courts such as bankruptcy courts. Kept up to date with pocket parts and revised volumes.
Call Number Location: KF8836.W4
Form books on a particular subject can be found by searching the catalog. The following subject listing is illustrative, not exhaustive.
Alternative Dispute Resolution with Forms, 2nd Ed., by Jay E. Grenig. West Group, St. Paul, MN, 2005. Updated through 2010-2011 (current updates available for users with Westlaw login and password). Call Number Location: KF9084 .G74 2005.
Collier on bankruptcy, 15th Revised Ed., Lawrence P. King, editor-in chief. Matthew Bender & Co., New York, NY, 1996. Volumes 11-13 of the set contain bankruptcy forms. Updated through July 2009 (current updates available for users with Lexis login and password). Call Number Location: KF1524 .C61
Bankruptcy Code, rules and forms, West Group, St. Paul, MN, 1983. Updated. Call Number Location: RESERVE KF1527.A32 B38
Computer Law: Drafting and Negotiating Forms and Agreements, by Richard Raysman and Peter Brown. Law Journal Seminars-Press, New York, NY, 1984. Updated through August 2006 (current updates available for users with Westlaw login and password). Call Number Location: KF390.5.C6 R3
Federal Income Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders: Forms, 4th ed., by Boris I. Bittker, Meade Emory, and William P. Streng. Warren, Gorham & Lamont, Boston, MA, 1995. Updated.
Call Number Location: KF6464 .B5 RESERVE
Complete manual of criminal forms, 3rd ed., by F. Lee Bailey and Henry B. Rothblatt. Lawyers Co-operative Pub. Co., Rochester, NY, 1993. Updated. Call Number Location: RESERVE KF9619 .B3 1974
Lindey on Entertainment, Publishing, and the Arts : Agreements and the Law, 2nd Ed., by Alexander Lindey. C. Boardman Co., New York, NY, 1980. Updated through September 2011 (current updates available for users with Westlaw login and password). Call Number Location: KF2992 .L5 RESERVE
Scott on Multimedia Law, 2nd Ed., by Michael D. Scott with James N. Talbott ... [et al.]. Aspen Law & Business, New York, NY, 1997. Updated. Call Number Location: KF2765 .S362
Immigration Procedures Handbook. C. Boardman, New York, NY. Updated. Call Number Location: KF4819 .I484 RESERVE
For federal tax forms go to the Internal Revenue Service web page at http://www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs. For state tax forms follow the links from the state page at http://www.state.(state abbreviation).us.