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To handle a legal task with authority requires confidence in the process followed to get you to that result. Legal research is imperative to the practice of law. This is true in any practice, jurisdictional setting or level of legal expertise. The importance of legal research cannot be overstated as the right facts and knowledge can help prove or disprove a client's position on a particular issue.
Legal research is the process of identifying and retrieving information necessary to support legal decision-making
Legal research provides support for decision-making on complex issues, by providing specific facts and legal precedent that allow you to produce complete answers for clients. Quality legal research is critical to the practice of law.
The legal research process follows three steps. We'll explain each in detail.
Primary Sources: A document that establishes the law on a particular issue, such as a case decision or legislative act. This is the most authoritative step in the legal research process. You can support arguments with primary sources as they are not only authoritative, but precedential and controlling. Explore cases, statutes, and regulations pertinent to your topic.
Shepardizing® : The process of consulting Shepard's® Citation Service to see if a case has been overturned, reaffirmed, questioned, or cited by later cases, or is at risk of negative treatment. Your research needs to provide precedential value. Using reversed or overruled authority doesn't qualify as "Good Law" and your research may be ineffectual or harmful to your case.
Secondary Sources: Sources of information that describe or interpret the law, such as practical guidance, legal treatises, law review articles, and other scholarly legal writings, cited by lawyers to persuade a court to reach a particular decision in a case, but which the court is not obligated to follow. Learn from legal experts that have already explored a given topic.
Legal research is always changing and your work researching is never done. Following this three-step process ensures that you're taking the right measures to find the most accurate, relevant and valuable data to achieve your objectives.
Legal research is key to drafting effective documents and building winning cases. Legal research tools have evolved substantially—helping you conduct legal research with increased efficiency and accuracy.
Using machine learning and AI analytical tools, LexisNexis helps attorneys find the best information, interpret search results, and develop the research they need for a strong and persuasive case. LexisNexis caters to your firms’ unique qualities and the right combination of LexisNexis products is bound to suit your firm’s legal research needs regardless of your practice area or size.
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