Monday, April 29, 2013
This short article by Shawn Nevers, a law librarian at BYU, appearing in the current edition of the ABA Student Law Journal exhorts readers to take a course in advanced legal research before they graduate. You'll find no argument with that here.
Most law schools offer some sort of advanced or specialized legal research course as an elective. Take it! Take it even if you don’t love legal research. Especially take it if you’re not good at legal research. You will soon be doing research on someone else’s dime. Why not get ready for it?
Most, if not all, advanced legal research classes are taught by law librarians. They are expert researchers who know about the latest legal resources and can teach you a lot about the legal research process. You’ll also get the chance to do a lot of research, which is critical to becoming a good researcher. If you don’t practice researching now, you’ll be doing it at your job, which is where you’d be better off impressing than learning.
Abraham Lincoln’s quip about a book he read could easily be applied to legal research—“People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.” The truth is, however, that whether you like it or not, legal research is a critical part of lawyering. Don’t underestimate its importance.
If you're a law student, be sure to check out the rest of Mr. Nevers legal research tips and advice here.