var googletag = googletag || {}; googletag.cmd = googletag.cmd || []; googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.pubads().disableInitialLoad(); });
device = device.default;
//this function refreshes [adhesion] ad slot every 60 second and makes prebid bid on it every 60 seconds // Set timer to refresh slot every 60 seconds function setIntervalMobile() { if (! return if (adhesion) setInterval(function(){ googletag.pubads().refresh([adhesion]); }, 60000); } if(device.desktop()) { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [728, 90], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } else if(device.tablet()) { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [320, 50], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } else if( { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [320, 50], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } googletag.cmd.push(function() { // Enable lazy loading with... googletag.pubads().enableLazyLoad({ // Fetch slots within 5 viewports. // fetchMarginPercent: 500, fetchMarginPercent: 100, // Render slots within 2 viewports. // renderMarginPercent: 200, renderMarginPercent: 100, // Double the above values on mobile, where viewports are smaller // and users tend to scroll faster. mobileScaling: 2.0 }); });
 Upload Your Resume   Employers / Post Jobs 

Master the Art of Legal Research: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

published March 28, 2023

Published By
( 127 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Legal research is the process of finding, evaluating, and utilizing relevant legal information in order to form a legal solution or opinion. It is a crucial skill for any lawyer, paralegal, or legal professional and is used in a variety of contexts, from civil and criminal court proceedings to contract drafting and negotiation.

Legal research is a complex undertaking that requires fluency in a variety of research sources, a variety of research strategies, and the ability to weigh the accuracy and relevance of information. To effectively research and analyze legal issues, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the different types of research sources that are available, as well as the research strategies for each source.

The most commonly used research sources are print materials, such as law books and legal treatises, and electronic resources, such as legal databases and websites. Each type of research source has its own advantages and disadvantages, as well as its own research strategies.

Print materials are generally considered to be more authoritative, as they are published and updated by experts. However, they are often more expensive, can be difficult to find, and can be outdated if they have not been recently published or updated.

Electronic resources, on the other hand, can be more convenient, as they are often free to access and can be quickly searched and updated. However, some websites and databases may not be as reliable or authoritative as print materials.

In addition to these primary sources, legal research also involves a variety of secondary sources, such as legal dictionaries, thesauri, and other reference books, as well as secondary materials, such as legal encyclopedias, treatises, and periodicals. Secondary sources provide an overview of relevant topics and can be used to gain a general understanding of the law.

Legal research also requires an understanding of legal research strategies. Research strategies can include keyword searching, using Boolean operators, analyzing cases through headnotes, reading concurring and dissenting opinions, and seeking out relevant legislative history.

In sum, legal research is an essential skill for any legal professional, and involves understanding and utilizing a variety of research sources, research strategies, and secondary sources. By developing a thorough understanding of research sources and strategies, attorneys, paralegals, and legal professionals can effectively navigate the complex world of legal research.

Legal Research for Beginners

Legal research is an important tool for any lawyer, regardless of experience. When faced with a legal issue or case, it is important to have the skills required to perform legal research in order to find the answers. Legal research helps to ensure a better understanding of the issue and can help to increase the chances of success in legal cases.

For beginner lawyers, legal research is a key element in the practice of law. Understanding the basics of legal research can help lawyers to quickly and accurately locate the legal information they need. Proven legal research tactics can help beginner lawyers to become successful in their legal research efforts.

Getting Started With Legal Research

Before beginning any legal research, it is important to understand the scope of the legal issue and the purpose of the research. Legal research should begin with locating and researching the source documents on which the law is based. This may include researching the constitutions, statutes, regulations, and court decisions, depending on the type of research that is required.

Beginning legal researchers should take the time to familiarize themselves with the various types of legal sources and research tools available. Much of this research can be performed online, allowing for quick and easy access to legal information. There are also numerous books, treatises, and other legal sources that can provide valuable information in legal research.

<<Legal Research for Beginners touts a comprehensive Table of Contents and well-written Chapter Highlights at the end of each section. These tools are particularly useful, as they succinctly summarize the important tactics of legal research and allow readers to keep only the most significant points on hand at all times.

The book's ''Helpful Hint'' sections, peppered throughout each chapter, are indeed helpful: they offer quick descriptions of lesser-known research techniques, like looking through headnotes and turning to newsgroups for help. Some of the hints are rudimentary, however, like urging readers to consult a legal dictionary when they are unsure of a legal term's meaning. Each chapter also contains a useful ''Law Fact'' or two, which summarize the gist of the law pertaining to a particular topic-those tidbits are good ways to keep track of the most important considerations in each chapter.

Some of the book's general explanations of legal research are a bit skewed. For example, Ms. Larsen and Mr. Bourdeau use the term ''Civil Law'' to refer to both civil suits and statutory law-that can get confusing to readers who are not knowledgeable in the legal field. Furthermore, the book's list of possible civil and criminal actions is lacking: as an example, abortion is listed as a crime while drug trafficking and distribution are nowhere to be found; and neither immigration law nor elder law is even addressed under civil topics.

Chapter 3 provides non-lawyers with good, solid advice for finding and phrasing a legal issue. It includes information about brainstorming for search terms, using general indices, and turning an everyday question into a legal question. Later, the authors educate the reader about briefing and deciphering case opinions. Ms. Larsen and Mr. Bourdeau do a particularly good job of describing each part of a case and offering advice on note-taking as it pertains to opinions.

Chapters 4 through 7 describe in detail the many law books and publications available for researching legal topics, including reporters, codes, digests, Shepard's, ALR's, and encyclopedias. Ms. Larsen and Mr. Bourdeau illustrate their explanations with sample pages from actual law books, which help readers who are on unfamiliar territory. The authors also use hypothetical legal quandaries to clarify legal issues and show how to tackle them at the law library-this is quite helpful, although the book may have been better served by one continuous hypothetical as opposed to many short ones, as the latter may be confusing to some readers. Even with the sample pages, it may have been more helpful to stick to one fact pattern and include plenty of information relevant to that case. It's also worthy to note that some book titles and research tools contain inconsistencies: Corpus Juris Secundum, for example, is misspelled throughout.

Chapters 9 and 10 are especially useful for anyone defending himself pro se or deciding to take an administrative or legal matter into his/her own hands. Chapter 9 describes the process of legal analysis, or applying the law to a particular fact pattern. It briefly describes authority and its application to new fact patterns and runs down a list of tips for writing a sample memorandum of law. Chapter 10 addresses the many form books, including practice and transactional forms, as well as practice references, making it easier to find and fill out necessary documents.

Ms. Larsen and Mr. Bourdeau spend little time on computer-aided legal research, perhaps to the detriment of the book. In Chapter 1, the authors contend that computer research can't replace a trip to the library and describe it as an expensive way to research the law; the authors fail to even mention that some law libraries allow patrons to research online for free. Chapter 8 is devoted to computer-aided legal research, describing not only Westlaw and Lexis, but also legal research on free websites and search engines. This chapter includes the basics, such as queries, keywords, Boolean searches, and updating searches. However, the authors' adamant stance that computers can't measure up to the books detracts from the importance, reliability, and convenience of computer-aided legal research.

Legal Research for Beginners contains some useful appendices, including a glossary from Barron's Law Dictionary, common Shepard's abbreviations, and a list of codes and reporters on the state and federal levels. Overall, the book is a great tool for absolute beginners, those who have not stepped foot in a law library. While elementary in content, Legal Research for Beginners provides a clear explanation of the often daunting task of performing legal research.

published March 28, 2023

( 127 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.