Lawyers Say Legal Research Skills Are Important

BAR/BRI has released the first of what it intends to be an annual survey on the “State of the Legal Field.” The objective is to “evaluate industry perceptions about the state of the legal field,” establishing benchmarks related to student practice readiness, employment expectations, employment trends, and law degree return on investment. Faculty, law students, and practitioners were surveyed.

As one law library director noted, "[m]ost telling for [law librarians], I think, is “key finding #2." The report noted that:

"Faculty placed very little importance on research, with just 4 percent citing it as the most important skill for recent law school graduates. In contrast, 18 percent of attorneys named research the most important skill a new lawyer should possess.

Look at the difference in the relative weight accorded legal research by law faculty compared to practicing attorneys that took part in the survey.

This survey conveys similar information as a survey from 2013 that said that:
  • Newer attorneys spend more than 30% of their time doing legal research
  • Approximately 50% of associates think legal research should be a larger part of the law school curriculum
Academic law librarians must use this type of feedback from practitioners to instill a strong legal-research focus in the curriculum. 


  1. Have you seen the 26 Lawyering Effectiveness Factors? #7 is "Researching the Law".

    Short version listing the Factors is here:

    Full discussion of the research and findings here:

  2. Thanks, Marley! The more sources that say that research is the most (or at least a very) important factor for lawyering, the better.


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