Legal Research Advice
When you start your search, it`s a common mistake to adopt a skill that is too broad. This search often takes you to states other than your own jurisdiction. If you really can`t afford to use multiple sources, don`t despair! Legal research providers are increasingly aware of algorithmic bias issues and are taking steps to address the issue. Optimize your next case by following these tips for the most effective legal research. When doing legal research, a good rule of thumb is to try to tap into many different types of sources. When conducting your study, consider referring to a mix of primary sources, such as the original case and testimony, as well as secondary sources, such as commentaries, dictionaries, and newspapers. By doing so, you collect more comprehensive information that is supported by various authorities. However, the best researchers know when to stop. As you do your research, remember to take a step back from time to time to assess your progress.
If you come across the same sources over and over again, or if you`ve made all the progress you can realistically make given your project schedule, it may be time to pause or keep writing. For example, while no two legal research projects are the same, the order in which you want to research different types of sources might look like this: If you find out your service has off-plan fees, don`t worry! There are often free resources that can help you fill in the blanks. Court websites and Google Scholar are great resources if you can`t access the material through your main research platform. Don`t forget to take breaks to ask for help and find out when you`re done. With the right approach, legal research is less intimidating than you think. Speaking of which: Congratulations, you`re done! Alternatively, lawyers may need legal research to simply provide clients with accurate legal advice. And in the case of law students, they often use legal research to fill out memos and briefs for the class. However, these are just some of the situations where legal research is needed. Are you looking for a new legal invoicing software? Look no further! Read our reviews of the best legal e-invoicing management programs. Brock Foley is a 3L at Brigham Young University School of Law. He currently works as an intern at Fastcase. He was drawn to legal technology because he was interested in bridging the justice gap and improving access to justice.
His belief that the law should be used to help those in need led him to volunteer with public advocates and CARA. Legal research can be tedious and time-consuming, but it is often also the key to success as a lawyer. Having the right cause or law in hand can mean the difference between winning or losing your case – or between a big settlement and a small one. Whether you`re a student still in law school or a seasoned lawyer with years of experience, strong research skills are essential to making a winning argument. That`s why it`s so important to know how to conduct legal research, including where to start and what steps to take. This is where the asterisk or “root expander” for search queries comes into play. If you truncate the end of a word and replace it with a *, most search engines will return any word starting with the same letters. This resource is extremely useful if you are not sure how long to use for a particular term. Using the * also helps to widen the net while ensuring that the results remain in the topic. Do not worry! Read on for 7 tips on how to conduct legal research effectively and thoroughly. Now that you`ve gathered the facts and know your legal problem, the next step is to know what to look for. After all, you need legislation to support your legal argument, whether you`re giving advice to a client or writing an internal memo, brief, or other legal document.
Given that legal research is a complex process, it`s probably no surprise that this guide can`t give you everything you need to know. Don`t cast your net too far when it comes to legal research, i.e. you should focus on the relevant jurisdiction. For example, does your case deal with federal or state law? And if it is the law of the state, which state? You may find a case in California state court that goes straight to the point, but it won`t be much help if your legal project involves New York law. Also pay attention to top notes. These will contain the main legal points contained in the case. Westlaw and LexisNexis allow you to view cases that use the same headers. If one title matches another, it might be worth reading.
There are several ways to save your work. While you can write your thoughts manually on paper, you can also use a CRM or document management system to digitally track your work in one place. Regardless of the method used, the best search logging methods typically include recording the date, keywords, process, and follow-ups required for each source found. It can be tempting to limit yourself to the latest sources for your research. However, this shouldn`t always be your tactic. Even decades-old cases can contain crucial details or set important precedents that affect your current project – provided, of course, that they have not been repealed or the law has not changed in the meantime. Law professors and supervising lawyers want you to do “due diligence” when it comes to legal research. If you type 3 different searches in the search box and then give up, you won`t do any favors. For the same reason, it`s also a big mistake to spend 4 hours researching a fairly typical case. There`s a reason there are entire law courses and countless books focused solely on legal research methodology.
In fact, many lawyers will spend their entire careers honing their research skills – and even then, they may not have perfected the process. The easiest way to find out if something is still a good law is to use a legal tool known as a Citator, which will show you subsequent cases where your source has been cited, as well as any negative stories, including whether they have been overturned, overturned, questioned, or simply differentiated. Of course, legal research is expensive and you may be limited to the resources paid for by your company. He is indeed a wealthy lawyer who can afford West, Lexis, Fastcase and Bloomberg at the same time. An entire article could be written about this trick. This is perhaps the most useful and often overlooked legal research tactic.