Understanding Legal Research Needs

Written by New York State Law on. Posted in Free mcle, Legislative research

Law research

When undertaking any kind of legislative research project, you have to have very specific goals, distinct questions to answer and a clear picture of your intended outcome. In order to put a concise game plan together for your legal research, you have to look at the big picture in order to efficiently uncover the necessary federal statutes and regulations or legislative history in regards to your case. As you begin to dig into the legal statutes and regulations, make sure that you understand when to seek further clarification or guidance to avoid extended, unfruitful searches.

When you dive into the granular research, it may be beneficial to start with a simple google search to get a clear understanding of all facets of the particular niche or subject. Once you can claim a basic understanding, you can better formulate your strategy as you investigate your primary references, such as prior cases, legal statutes and regulations. Depending on your needs, you may need to confirm any research charges in terms of client cases or invoicing arrangements. Doing that due diligence will also insure that you are covered later in terms of time and effort spent on research.

Per the sources you find, do not discount the law reviews and commentaries to fill in any gaps in your research. While they may not be directly tied to the inner workings or outcome of the case work, they can give new life to a stalling research problem. Regardless of where your research takes you, there must be constant checks that you are sticking to the original task, and not following an unnecessary tangent.

Finally, be flexible. Your preliminary research can alter your course of action along the way. In some cases, you just do not know what questions to ask next, so it may be helpful to go back as you gain new insights. This recursive methodology to research will allow you to dive back into your previous research with a more refined eye as to what is important. Finally, during any legislative research project, you have to know when it is appropriate to stop your research. Once you have uncovered the relevant information, you will have to make the judgement call that you have gathered enough in your legislative research.

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