Legal research skills for newly qualified lawyers

Legal research skills for newly qualified lawyers

December, 15, 2010 • Posted by 0 Comments

What legal research skills do newly qualified lawyers need when joining a firm? Mary Rumsey proposes the following:

  • When to start research in print and when to start electronically.
  • Boolean searching: use of “and,” “or,” exclamation points, asterisks, and parentheses.
  • Ability to search local information: city, county, and zoning codes.
  • Knowledge of state and local bar sites for primary resources, amendments to court rules, and professional development.
  • Legislative history searching: statutes, session laws, and committee reports.
  • Understanding of administrative law and regulation.
  • Secondary resources: corporate, real estate, and other areas of law besides litigation.
  • Use of Pacer: district, circuit, and bankruptcy docket searching.
  • Cost-effective research: difference between transactional and per-minute searching.
  • Knowing where current information and updates are located in print materials, pocket parts and supplements.
  • Knowledge of comprehensive free Web sites to find legal information: [In the US} Thomas.gov, GPOAcess.gov, USCourts.gov, and Zimmerman’s Guide.

To read the full article, see: Legal Reference Services Quarterly; 2009, Vol. 28 Issue 1/2, p133-149, 17p