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A Methodical Approach to Legal Research: The Legal Research Plan, an Essential Tool for Today's Law Student and New Attorney

Legal Research Services Quarterly, September 2012

Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2012-34

29 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2012  

Caroline Osborne

Washington and Lee University - Library

Date Written: September 2012

Abstract

Students frequently evaluate their research skills as “adequate or better” when asked; however, teachers and employers usually consider this assessment overrated. This paper argues that one part of the solution to increasing the quality of legal research generally and the research skills of new attorneys and law students specifically is by teaching students a methodical approach to research. The importance of teaching law students and new associates a methodical approach to a research question, one that is strategic, and focuses on planning and organization, is an essential skill. This paper identifies a method of teaching a deliberative approach to a legal research query that seeks to maximize efficiency and accuracy in the research process. It discusses the use of a legal research plan as the definitive assignment in a legal research class as an assessment tool to evaluate a student’s research ability and as a tool for students to internalize a methodical approach to a research problem.

Keywords: Legal Research, Student tools for Research, Research Process

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Osborne, Caroline, A Methodical Approach to Legal Research: The Legal Research Plan, an Essential Tool for Today's Law Student and New Attorney (September 2012). Legal Research Services Quarterly, September 2012; Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2012-34. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2156450

Caroline Osborne (Contact Author)

Washington and Lee University - Library ( email )

United States

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