Walter T. McCarthy Law Library

Public Access to Legal Resources

The Law Library hours for patron access are Monday and Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Wednesday 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. To contact the law librarian, please email The librarian will respond to legal information requests in as timely a manner as possible.

Reminder: The librarian may not provide legal opinions/advice, assist with filling out forms, or interpret the relevance of the legal materials to the patron’s issue. Questions regarding the interpretation of law or legal materials should be directed to a licensed attorney.

The Walter T. McCarthy Law Library is a public law library that provides:

  • A valuable legal resource for the entire Arlington community, including pro se litigants, County residents, businesses and others who are involved with the judicial system and legal matters.
  • Free access to local, state and federal materials through commercial legal databases and the services of a professional law librarian.

The Library has existed for more than 50 years as a legal research library with a particular emphasis on Virginia materials. It was named for Arlington Circuit Court Judge Walter T. McCarthy in 1970 “…for his outstanding service to the Bar Association and the public.”

Library operations are funded by a combination of authorized state court fees, County funds, contributions from the local bar association and fundraising activities. It is a  501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


To provide access to legal and law-related information for research and the practice of law, with quality customer service for the benefit of the Arlington community, which includes the general public, the judiciary, members of the legal profession, government employees and the business community.


  • Virginia-specific book collection of primary and secondary legal materials, including form books and other references that provide examples of legal documents.
  • Federal case law and statutory materials.
  • Materials in the Library are for reference only and do not circulate.

Electronic Resources

  • Free access to LexisNexis and Westlaw Patron Access.
  • Internet and Microsoft Word at two public workstations.
  • Printing is available and costs 20 cents per page. Payment is by cash or check.


  • Law Library staff may not provide legal opinions, interpret  the law or legal materials.
  • Staff may only assist patrons with access to and use of resources in the collections.
  • Questions regarding interpretation of the law or legal materials should be directed to an attorney licensed in Virginia.
  • Email the Law Library

Legal Links

Courthouse Security – No Cell Phones
Everyone entering the Courthouse building is required to pass through a metal detector. Cell phones, cameras, and other electronic devices are not allowed in the building, unless you are a Virginia licensed, practicing attorney with a valid bar card and photo i.d.  Laptop computers without camera capability are permitted.  Small lockers are available for a fee across the courtyard in the Detention Facility lobby at 1435 N. Courthouse Rd.