Students and new graduates, use legal research skills to set yourself apart in your summer internship, externship, or new associate position!

Do you want a permanent job, a better job, and more money? Surveys of attorneys and law firms from the American Bar Association, the American Association of Law Libraries, and legal scholars, reveal that legal research makes up a large part of new associates’ workloads and many attorneys find law students and new associates’ legal research skills to be severely lacking. Since many experienced attorneys feel law students and new associates are not proficient legal researchers; you can set yourself apart from your competition by providing the value-added benefit of superior research skills. With superior legal research skills, you can make yourself an invaluable asset to your employer and position yourself to get a permanent job, get a better job, and get more money than your peers.
Becoming a great legal researcher that sets yourself apart from the competition requires that you first be honest about your legal research skills. Many students and attorneys believe they are great legal researchers; however, when objectively evaluated, many of these students and attorneys perform far worse than their perceived skill level. This inflated sense of confidence is because the ability of the students and new attorneys to enter a search query in search engines like Google, Westlaw and LexisNexis and return thousands of results. Unfortunately, the students and attorneys then will spend a significant amount of time sorting through irrelevant results until they finally find information that seems on topic or is usable. But this doesn’t have to be the situation; students and new attorneys can be great legal researchers with a little practice and a proper understanding of how to conduct good research.
So how can a student or new attorney become a great legal researcher that experienced attorneys will want to hire, promote, or pay more? A students or new attorney needs to understand how to do five things in order to become a great legal researcher, some of which require more practice and ability than others. These five items are: understanding how to prepare to research a problem; knowing the different resources available, understanding how to use the different resources available, knowing who to contact when they are stuck on research, and knowing how to present their research results.
Check back next week for an explanation of the five things to understand how to do five things in order to become a great legal researcher.


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