August 25, 2010
This book isn't for you: Teacher's Manual to Legal Research MethodsI received an email from Foundation Press today informing me that the teacher's manual for Murray and DeSanctis's book Legal Research Methods is now available. However, this book was never intended for me as I am a librarian. Michael D. Murray, the co-author, of the book once said that librarians shouldn't teach legal research because librarians research differently than lawyers. At that my colleague responded, "That's because most lawyers don't know how to research." And to which, I thought, "If I am a lawyer and a librarian, does that mean that I research differently than I research?" Anyway, this book obviously wasn't intended for law librarians since one of the authors believes that we shouldn't be teaching legal research in the first place. So this book is not for you (if you're a librarian). (DCW)
Dear Law Librarian Community,
If the single statement attributed to me refers to actual comments I have made, it may have been taken out of the context of remarks I made at a conference long ago as to whether the research part of a Legal Method course or Legal Research and Writing course should be split off and taught separately. I oppose that thinking because I think research is integral to the legal method course for the simple reason that legal research is integral to the legal method process. Because the separate legal research course almost always is handed to law librarians to teach, I can imagine that my comments might have been summarized as "Law librarians should not teach legal research" when what I meant is whomever is teaching legal method should teach legal research along with legal analysis, legal reasoning, synthesis, and communication in writing and oral argument.
Of course law librarians know how to do legal research and certainly have the ability to teach what they know. Does the average law librarian know more about legal research than the average lawyer? My guess would be YES, almost certainly she or he does. But my comment and my objection is not as to law librarians' knowledge base or skill set but rather as to the decision to split the course off.
Professor Michael D. Murray
Associate Professor of Law
Valparaiso University School of Law
Posted by: Professor Michael D. Murray | Aug 26, 2010 12:13:25 PM