Meeting the Moment

UCLA Law Magazine | Fall 2020

UCLA Law Librarian Crafts Extensive Guide on Coronavirus and the Law

During the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, UCLA Law librarian Lynn McClelland leapt into action, gathering and publishing a sweeping collection of laws and legal authorities governing many aspects of the coronavirus pandemic. In the months since, the guide has won praise and proved to be a vital resource for librarians, health law scholars and others.

The guide, Legal Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19), provides students, lawyers, academics and the general public with access to a detailed list of local, state and federal statutes, rules or executive orders that address key areas of concern in the current atmosphere: from a bill that Congress recently passed to provide families with paid sick leave and coronavirus testing to summaries of longstanding state laws governing issues including quarantine, election emergencies and price gouging.

Since it went live in March, the guide has emerged as a key resource for many. Health law lawyers and librarians nationwide have relied on its detailed materials, and one independent scholar used the database to research state and local policies for a bioethics issue. In April, the American Association of Law Libraries named it a website of the month.

A health law attorney by training, McClelland earned her law degree and a master’s in public health from UCLA in 2007 and joined the law school’s Hugh and Hazel Darling Law Library in 2009. As a student, she interned at a legal services organization and spent a summer focused on government benefits. Once in practice, she focused her legal work largely on Medicare and Medicaid.

“I tried to think of materials that would have been useful to me in those roles, and agency sources I would want to access quickly for analysis,” says McClelland, who teaches a UCLA Law course on researching health law and policy. “I also hope members of the public will find it helpful to see the actual government documents and to access information on getting assistance. It’s easy to find news stories on these issues, but it can be challenging to find government materials, even for attorneys.”