Essential Legal Research Skills In A Law Firm Setting

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Conference wraps up today. I couldn't make the Conference this year, but the content looked great.

The Legal Solutions Blog posted about one program, in particular, that brought together academic law librarians and law firm librarians for a better understanding of what law students need to know to succeed in a law firm setting.

The "session brought together academic law librarians and law firm librarians in order to find common ground and improve the training that students received both prior to graduation and after they entered the legal workforce."

As noted, "[l]egal research is often combined with legal writing into a legal skills course. Those law students who have taken an advanced legal research class are easily identified by firm librarians when they are hired.  In general, new associates spend almost half of their time conducting legal research; it should be a newly hired attorney’s most important skill.  At the very least the new attorney should be familiar with the various treatises that act as the “bibles” in the associated practice areas.  All too often, however, they do not."

In terms of evaluating and contextualizing research, "[s]ome law school librarians realized that few law students have actually had the experience of beginning their research with a case file rather than a professor’s hypothetical. To help them efficiently pull out the relevant facts and issues and issues to effectively start their legal research, they began bringing example case files into the classroom to act as a starting point for legal research."

These are just a few examples of how law librarians are adjusting and trying to fill the knowledge in action gap so that law graduates are able to "hit the ground running" in terms of legal research.


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