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Columbia Law Library information during COVID-19

Written by Columbia Law Library Last Updated April 1, 2020

This Guide was created to explain the impact of COVID-19 on Law Library services and to share resources to which patrons will have access even though the physical Law Library is closed indefinitely.

Law Library Space

The Law Library is physically closed to all individuals until further notice. Some virtual services are still available, as described below.

Book Returns and Fines

Please do not return any items until further notice. Fines will not be accrued or assessed on items during our closure.

Columbia University Libraries have also suspended fines and are not accepting returned materials.

Resources for Graduates

Legal Database Access

When you enroll in the Grad Elite Program, Westlaw will extend access to graduates for 18 months. To gain access you will receive a pop-up when you log on or you can go HERE and hit agree. Westlaw access for graduates is limited to 60 hours each month for the 18 months.
For more information, please see the announcement here.

Graduates may continue accessing Lexis] with their student ID for ongoing free use of Lexis Advance, including all of the products and features available as a student, through December 31, 2020. All law students have automatic extended access. With LexisNexis, no registration is required, there are no restrictions, and no limits on your research time.

Bloomberg Law
2020 graduating law students will have unrestricted access to Bloomberg Law through June 1, 2021. The access to be automatically applied to your account, no registration is required.

Reference Support for Graduates and Alumni

Please see the Support for Columbia Affiliates below.

Reference Support Hours

Summer Reference Support Hours:

Monday - Friday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Reference Support

For Columbia Affiliates

The Law Library is pleased to extend Reference Desk support through email reference. If you have a research question or want to know what databases and resources are available to you from home, send an email from your Lionmail account to
This service is available to Columbia affiliates only.
Alumni who have questions and do not have their Lionmail credentials can retrieve UNIs here or contact Columbia University IT.

Please see Reference Support Hours for the regularly scheduled hours.

For Columbia Law Faculty Members

Please contact the Reference Department as you normally would for assistance with electronic resources.

For Law Journal staff

For an overview of resources available to Columbia Law School journal staff, please see the guide available here.

For Fee-Based Services Subscribers

The Fee-Based Services department will continue to operate on Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, albeit with reduced capabilities. Please submit any requests via email at (not telephone) and we will let you know what we have available.

Research Tools

Electronic resources

Most of the Law Library's databases are accessible to you from off-campus. The best way to access particular databases is either through a Pegasus search, or by going to the Law Library databases page. A simple Google search for the database will not provide you with the same access as you have through the Law Library.

There are some databases that are only available via the Law School's network. If you are looking for something in one of those databases, please contact the Law Library Reference Support, as described above.

Lexis Advance, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law

Your individual credentials to these platforms are still valid, and will provide you with access to content from anywhere with an internet connection.
For 2020 Graduates, please see Resources for Graduates.

New York Public Library Resources

The New York Public Library’s electronic resources may also be helpful to you.
Although many of the NYPL databases may also be accessible from Columbia University Libraries via CLIO, it may be worthwhile to browse NYPL’s academic e-book collections if you are unable to find a particular e-book on CLIO.
If you don’t already have a NYPL library card, you can apply for an electronic one using the SimplyE app. here.

HathiTrust Digital Library

HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) temporarily gives access to 40% of Columbia’s print collections in digital format.
To access this digital library, please see the information above.

Columbia Law School VPN Connection

You can find information on connecting to Columbia Law School's VPN through CLS's IT help page here.

Textbooks and e-versions of materials

In light of the social distancing requirements and the closure of Law Libraries, many publishers have made electronic versions of their materials, including textbooks, available. If you're not sure who published your textbook but it is something the Law Library holds in print, you can use Pegasus to locate the item, then make note of the Imprint information. You can also search for a copy to buy online, and should be able to locate the necessary publisher information on Amazon or from the publisher's website directly.

Lexis Nexis

The Library has arranged with LexisNexis to provide electronic access to casebooks and other materials through their platform LexisNexis Digital Library at no cost for 59 days. The LexisNexis Digital Library Trial site provides 24/7 access to the Lexis eBook collection of over 3800 titles that includes casebooks, study guides, treatises, practice guides and more. The eBooks on this site are set for concurrent use so all students and faculty will be able to select and read the eBooks they want, at the same time. Please use the following instructions to access the material:

Go to:
Enter your UNI email address as the Username.

A LexisNexis Digital Library app is also available for Android and iOS. Simply download the app and enter lndltrial as the organization code, then sign in with your UNI email address.

West Academic

West Academic Casebooks

West Academic is offering complimentary access through June 1, 2020. If the textbook being sought is published by West Academic, you must:

  • First, create a West Academic account using your Columbia email address as your username.
  • Second, call West Academic directly at (877) 888-1330 and request the titles you need.

If you are outside of the United States, instead of calling in the second step above, please email In the first sentence please tell West Support that you are an international student who is currently out of the country. You will also need to provide the email address associated with the West Academic Account and as much information on the titles you are requesting access to.

Please note that publications from West Academic are different than those on Westlaw.

West Academic Study Materials

There are two ways to access West Academic Study Materials.

Already have an account?
If you already have a West Academic account, please sign-in at and verify your school email address.

Creating a West Academic account
Creating a West Academic account allows you to take notes, highlight, save favorites, download titles for offline access, and more. 1. Go to 2. Click ‘Create an Account’ in the upper right-hand corner and follow the prompts 3. Setup your account, sign-in and verify your school email address Once your account is properly set-up, you can log-in independently from your school’s network.

Carolina Academic Press and Wolters Kluwer

If the textbook being sought is published by Carolina Academic Press or Wolters Kluwer, please use the following instructions to sign up for VitalSource:

1. Using your Columbia University email address (, not Law), register here as described here.
2. Verify your email address by clicking the link in the email received.
3. Once an account has been created with your email address, log in and click on the “Explore” tab in the upper left corner of the screen. This tab provides access to the freely available e-textbooks.
4. Search for the title of your textbook, click on its image, and then click "Borrow" on the right. That book has now been added to your library. Please note that at this time, downloads are limited to 7 titles and access will expire on Monday, May 25th, 2020.

For a complete list of VitalSource frequently asked questions regarding access to the VitalSource Helps Program, please visit their site:

HathiTrust Digital Library

HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) temporarily gives access to 40% of Columbia’s print collections in digital format.
To access this collection, use the CLIO link here and when prompted, log in with your UNI and password. Please note:

  • ETAS makes items available digitally for each print item available via CLIO and in the same quantity.
  • ETAS loans are for online use only using a browser based page turner (no downloads).
  • Items are checked out via CLIO through ETAS are for an hour but will be automatically renewed for as long as they’re in use (if a browser window or tab is closed or inactive the loan will end after an hour).
  • Users can return an item when it is no longer needed which will make it available more quickly to the next user.

For more detailed user documentation about the service see the ETAS: Information for Users.

Bloomsbury Collections (Hart Publications and Verlag C.H. Beck)

Law selection sourced from Hart Publications and Verlag C.H. Beck
Bloomsbury is offering complimentary access to digital resources through May 31, 2020.

The Online Bluebook

The Bluebook is offering complimentary 60 day access to the online version of the Bluebook. To request access, please email from your Lionmail account and you will be provided with a Bluebook Redemption Key.

To redeem this Key and set up an account, enter it at where it says "Bluebook Key Redemption" and follow the on-screen instructions to set up a username (unique and active email address) and password. You only use the key once. From that point forward, you access your account with your username and password.

The subscription is active 60 days from the date you redeem this key on the website.

After you set up your account you might need to log out and then log back in again to view site contents.

If a user previously had a Bluebook subscription that expired, it is easiest to set up a new account with a different email address. To extend an existing account, go to My Account at the top of the page, Extend My Subscription, select the radio button for My Account Renewal/Extension and enter the key where it says Redeem Your Bluebook Key and click Go.