New study findings: Change is needed in legal-research education (August 2013)

New study findings: Change is needed in legal-research education (August 2013)

Research has always been core to the practice of law. However, there’s a “new normal” in today’s business climate that has had a profound effect on the delivery of legal services and impacts how research is conducted. New technologies, resources and methods of conducting research are evolving faster than ever before. (Access the PDF)

To uncover how newer attorneys conduct research in this emerging legal marketplace, an independent survey was conducted by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG) and funded by LexisNexis.

A result of the study is Rebooting Legal Research in a Digital Age, a report authored by Steven A. Lastres, director of Library & Knowledge Management at law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. This report summarizes and analyzes the results of the survey— drawing conclusions on what they may mean for the future of legal-research instruction.

 Key findings include:

• Newer attorneys spend more than a third of their time doing legal research

• Associates think legal research should be a larger part of the law school curriculum

• Associates use an extensive range of content beyond traditional primary law and secondary materials

Legal classification systems are used less often—and when they are, it’s later in the research process

• Attorneys use free online research resources but spend most of their time using “paid-for” online research services

Library director advocates updates to legal-research education

Lastres offers recommendations on what law schools and employers can do to update and enhance legal- research instruction, including:

• adjusting time allocated to hard copy vs. online research

• reducing emphasis on legal classification systems

• mastering use of treatises and other highly used sources such as legal news, regulatory materials and public records, to name a few

Law schools and legal employers need to work together to equip law students and new attorneys with the caliber of research skills required in today’s complex legal marketplace.

Get your copy of Rebooting Legal Research in a Digital Age.