As attorneys, we are expected to have all the answers. But the truth is we sometimes run into uncharted territory and have to hunt down the answer. Legal research provides an opportunity for associates to valuably contribute to case strategy, showcase their analytical skills, and make themselves vital members of their team. Associates who are asked to conduct legal research should take note of the following tips.
- Use internal and external resources. Internal and external resources can be a tremendous help in terms of a starting point—especially when you are in a time crunch! Internal resources include your fellow associates and your firm’s research team. Often, your firm’s research team can use their expertise to provide relevant case law to you quickly. Their findings can familiarize you with general principles related to your issue and can also serve as a starting point for your own research, so that you are not starting from scratch. This sort of assistance is extremely helpful when you are a new lawyer or new to practicing in a certain area of law. In regard to external resources, some legal research platforms (e.g., LexisNexis) have chat support features so you can instant message or call research experts for assistance. This allows you to talk through your issue in lay terms with a research expert who can translate that into on point search terms and connectors that you can modify and use as you conduct your own research.