As a publisher, NOLO does a great job at publishing books that allow everyone access to legal information. Most are written by attorneys, but in language that everyone can understand and benefit from. And while I still believe that there are issues where a person needs to hire an attorney, the books by NOLO allow people to do many things themselves, or to have a better understanding of things when they do hire an attorney. The 8th Edition of “Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law: Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Legal Questions” by Shae Irving, J.D. & the editors of Nolo is a book that will help you do things yourself, and provide a general working knowledge of topics that you might want assistance with from an attorney.
The back of the books says, “Everything you ever wanted to know about the law, but couldn’t afford to ask.” While maybe not everything, this book does contain a lot of information. Obviously, in an encyclopedia type format, it does not go into depth on the topics, but for a general understanding, it does quite well, and for most people, that’s what they will need to know to make informed decisions regarding what to do next when dealing with certain circumstances, or when they just need to know what something means.
The chapters in this book cover many different topics and areas of law, including houses, neighbors, landlords & tenants, workplace rights, small businesses, patents, copyrights, trademarks, your money, cars & driving, wills & estate planning, health care directives & powers of attorney, older Americans, spouses & partners, parents & children, courts & mediation, criminal law & procedure, and the book concludes with a glossary and and appendix on legal research. As I mentioned, this book does not go into any depth on the topics. In fact, you can find entire books, and sometimes volumes of books, on the topics covered in the chapters here. (Nolo has many books on the topics in these chapters)
However, for a concise, single volume, that covers the basics, this is a handy reference. The book is organized well, and the entries are often in the form of question and answer. For instance, in the workplace rights chapter, there is a heading, “Am I entitled to severance pay if I am fired or laid off?” There is then a short answer explaining procedures and rights. The chapters also include references to websites that will provide online help, as well as other book titles that go more in depth on topics.
Overall, this is a very good book if you want a reference that contains a little bit about many areas of law. For quick, general legal questions, this book does a great job of answering them in plain English without legalese. Because the law effects all areas of our lives, this is a handy book to have to assist you with your legal questions.