Monday, October 10, 2011

The AALL on law student legal research competencies

This is a draft report from the Association of American Law Libraries Executive Board. The board is now soliciting comments from members.

From the introduction:

AALL Law Student Research Competencies and Information Literacy Principles

The Law Student Research Competency Standards Task Force of the American Association of Law Libraries (hereinafter Task Force) presents this paradigm of general research competency principles to foster the development of different models and eventually best practices.

There is a growing body of literature and a lively discussion among members of the legal academy and the practicing bar about the research competency skills of law school graduates. This dialogue among stakeholders is essential to forge change. In our discussions, we determined that continuing communication and collaboration between law schools, legal employers, and the law school accrediting body.

To this end, law school programs should reflect the realities of the legal field. In particular, an understanding of the many varied legal practice business models is vital. In today’s environment, law firm success hinges on billable time, effective time management, effective communication, effective peer collaboration, and cost recovery. Similarly, efficient research habits in governmental and nonprofit settings ultimately benefit those employees and the public. Highly competent research skills, effective problem solving skills, and critical thinking skills are keys to success in all areas of legal practices of today and the future. is fundamental to any efforts to address and improve the research skills of law students.

The Task Force is confident that this paradigm of general research competency principles will engage more stakeholders in the dialogue about the need to establish benchmarks in this area. These benchmarks should include the development of a detailed list of required skills to reflect the needs of the legal employers of the 21st century.

We offer our five Law Student Research Competency Principles for consideration, and for use in the following discussions:

• law school curriculum development and design;
• law firm planning, training and articulation of core competencies;
• bar admission committee evaluation of research skills of applicants;
• continuing legal education program development;
• law school accreditation standards review.

Read the full report here.

Hat tip to Professor Eric Young.


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