Insights Paper: Rebooting Legal Research in a Digital Age

Posted on 04-21-2014 by
Tags: How-Tos & Guidance

Research has always been core to the practice of law. However, we are seeing a “New Normal” in today’s business climate, and profound change in legal education and the delivery of legal services that impacts how research is conducted. New technologies, resources, and methods of conducting research are evolving faster than ever before.

How have new attorneys, law schools and employers adapted, and what is the state of legal research today? In a recent survey, law firm associates indicated they spend nearly a third of their working hours conducting legal research, or about 15 hours per week on average. Much of that research is conducted online using a variety of sources and particular methodologies. Associates believe their employers expect them to have strong legal research skills when starting their first position out of law school. With this in mind, many feel that legal research should be a larger part of the law school curriculum.

These insights and more are derived from “New Attorney Research Methods Survey,” a recent survey conducted by The Research Intelligence Group. Respondents included 190 young attorneys equally represented by large and small law firms across a variety of practice areas. Nearly forty percent of the respondents were 28 or younger, in practice for five or less years, and a quarter of the respondents were recent law school graduates from the class of 2011 or 2012.

The survey offers a compelling analysis of how this first generation of “digital natives” are conducting legal research. It shows the importance of legal research, how it is conducted today, the sources and methods utilized, and the related law school experience. 

 Access the Insights Paper here »

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