Posted by: Elizabeth A. (Betty) Thomas | January 10, 2017

The Importance of Legal Research Skills

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Early in November, LexisNexis released a paper summarizing their survey of summer associates conducted last July. Summer Associates Identify Writing and Legal Research Skills Required on the Job reported on the responses of 330 summer associates working in large U.S. law firms (with over 50 attorneys).

The findings that I found most interesting were the following:

  • Close to half reported spending between 50 to 100% of their time conducting legal research.

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  • 86% of hiring partners believe legal research skills are highly important.
  • Summer associates used state and federal case law (97.3%) and state and federal statutes (87%) the most. Treatises were the most used secondary source.
  • When asked what additional research skills they would like to know, the summer associates chose regulatory research (33.9%), secondary sources (27.3%), and verdicts, briefs, and dockets (24.8%) as the top three topics.
  • Between 20 and 30% of summer associates would like more drafting instruction on contracts (29.7%), memo writing (28.8%), pleadings and motions (22.7%), and briefs (21.5%).

While this is just one study conducted by LexisNexis, it does give some information about the importance of legal research in the work done by summer associates.

~Betty Thomas~

Note: this post initially appeared on the Charlotte School of Law Blog on December 29, 2016.

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