The Social Law Library was founded in 1803 as a non-profit legal research library to be managed by its Proprietors and used by its members and the Courts. The principal funding for the Library is derived from annual Membership dues.

In order to use the Social Law Library, a current membership is required. The Library offers a number of membership plans depending on the size and location of the practice.  Click here for a list of regular and reduced rate towns. Because the membership term runs from October 1 through September 30, the membership fee is prorated three times during the term.

Membership includes unlimited access to the Substantive Law Library searchable databases on our web site including: Code of Massachusetts Regulations, Massachusetts General Laws, Appeals Court Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court Decisions, Massachusetts Rules of Court, Massachusetts State Constitution, and more.

Attorneys and members of the public are allowed to join via the Membership Types listed below. Any person can join – you do not have to be an attorney –there is no special rate for non-attorneys. If you are an attorney, the Library will verify your address against what is registered with the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers database. If you are not an attorney or not registered with the Massachusetts BBO, please provide official mail sent to you at your address or other official governmental documentation to verify your address.

For further information, please contact the Membership Services office at (617) 226-1530, or e-mail: [Please include your name, address and phone number in the body of the message.] 

Membership Type   Description    How to Apply/Rates 
Solo attorneys or firms under 12 attorneys Organizations of this size can sign up one or as many of their attorneys as they wish.
Rate is based on geographic location.  Click here to register online.
Large Law Firms
(over 12 attorneys)
Firms of this size must choose a membership plan and contact the membership office.
Rate is based on geographic locationInterested attorneys and/or organizations should contact the Membership Office at
(617) 226-1530 or at
Massachusetts State Agencies and Courts Available to attorneys at MA state agencies and courts that serve the entire Commonwealth. Attorneys must join through their parent organization. Interested attorneys and/or  organizations should contact the Membership Office at
(617) 226-1530 or at
Student Memberships

Available to current full-time law or legal profession students with Library approval. Valid college ID required.*

$50 for period ending September 30. You may contact the Membership Office at (617) 226-1530 or at
Retired Attorneys Attorneys who are retired with the MA BBO and who have been active members of of the Social Law Library for at least five years are eligible for this rate.
$40 for period ending September 30. Interested attorneys and/or organizations should contact the Membership Office at (617) 226-1530 or at
Charitable Organizations

IRC § 501(c)(3) charitable institutions, the primarily activities of which are law-related, can enroll their legal staffs for membership in the Social Law Library free of dues charges.

Interested organizations should contact the Membership Office at (617) 226-1530 or at
One-Day Courtesy Pass The Library offers to all members of the public a one-day courtesy pass between 8:30am and 4:30pm. ‡ Application available at the Membership Office and Circulation Desk

* Student Memberships are intended for the exclusive use by individual students for purposes of their personal academic studies. Use of a Student Membership to access or obtain Library resources or services for or on behalf of another individual or entity is strictly prohibited and shall constitute grounds for revocation of a Student Membership.   

‡ See Courtesy Pass Policy and Why is the Social Law Library not Open to the Public Generally  and Where to Access Free Legal Materials. In concert with the public hours of the John Adams Courthouse, courtesy passes are available from Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Except in the case of academic researchers, a Courtesy Pass is valid for one calendar day's admission only and cannot be renewed except in exceptional circumstances in the discretion of the Library's Executive Director or his/her delegate.