How does your firm currently handle research needs? Is the task performed by attorneys and paralegals? While some firms employ a research attorney who is fully devoted to research and writing, most opt to handle the workload internally. Unfortunately, this decision can lead to problems as your case makes its way to a judge. In this article, we’ll answer your questions about the importance of legal research and share our simple trick for thorough work!
Why is legal research so important?
The truth is, most of us don’t enjoy hours and hours of uninterrupted legal research. This can lead to hours of searching through legal research databases like Lexis or Westlaw, hoping to stumble on precedents with the same facts and jurisdiction as your current case. Not only is this process tedious, but it’s also inefficient.
Inefficient and ineffective research can lead even the best attorneys to miss relevant precedent, which jeopardizes your case and often impacts the outcome of motions and proceedings. In fact, a recent survey of state and federal judges conducted by Casetext found that “more than two-thirds of judges surveyed said that attorneys missing cases before them has materially impacted the outcome of a motion or proceeding.”
What is the trick to handling legal research?
The simple truth is that specialization leads to exceptional work. For that reason, we recommend outsourcing your legal research needs to an outside provider, such as Legal Research Group or Casetext. These companies are staffed with experts who devote all of their time to legal research and writing, meaning you can feel comfortable they won’t miss valuable precedents. Furthermore, outsourcing gives you access to state-of-the-art technology, which can be too costly for individual firms.
How can I improve my legal research on my own?
If you’d prefer to keep your legal research in-house, there are a few things you can do to improve your work. First, take the time to consult your state bar association to see if they provide complimentary access to research platforms.