Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Survey of employers finds law grads still need to know how to do book research

According to an article posted on SSRN entitled 2011 Law Firm Legal Research Requirements for New Attorneys by Patrick Meyer, a law librarian and adjunct professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, employers want law schools to continue to integrate book and electronic legal research instruction.

From the introduction:

This article summarizes results from the author's recent law firm legal research survey, which determined what research functions, and in what formats, law firms require new hires to be proficient. Such information effectively answers the question of what sources and types of research should be taught in an integrated fashion.
Recent conclusions by governing bodies and scholars that law schools should focus on preparing students for law practice match perfectly with what law firm survey results indicate regarding legal research. Firms need schools to integrate the teaching of online and print-based research resources and to emphasize cost-effective research. Survey results show that the following federal and state specific print-based resources should be taught in an integrated manner: legislative codes, secondary source materials, reporters, administrative codes and digests. This is a challenge for legal writing and advanced legal research professors, where class time is already divided between a myriad of tasks. But such is a noble endeavor. As one author puts it, “[i]t may not be possible to prepare students fully for the practice of law in three years, but law schools can come much closer than they are doing.” Best practices for law schools should include changing from a test-centered outcome base to more of a hands-on input based means of instruction.

Hat tip to Legal Research Plus.


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