Legal Research Strategy

Preliminary analysis, organization, secondary sources, primary sources, updating research, identifying an end point, getting help, about this guide.

This guide will walk a beginning researcher though the legal research process step-by-step. These materials are created with the 1L Legal Research & Writing course in mind. However, these resources will also assist upper-level students engaged in any legal research project.

How to Strategize

Legal research must be comprehensive and precise.  One contrary source that you miss may invalidate other sources you plan to rely on.  Sticking to a strategy will save you time, ensure completeness, and improve your work product. 

Follow These Steps

Running Time: 3 minutes, 13 seconds.

Make sure that you don't miss any steps by using our:

  • Legal Research Strategy Checklist

If you get stuck at any time during the process, check this out:

  • Ten Tips for Moving Beyond the Brick Wall in the Legal Research Process, by Marsha L. Baum

Understanding the Legal Questions

A legal question often originates as a problem or story about a series of events. In law school, these stories are called fact patterns. In practice, facts may arise from a manager or an interview with a potential client. Start by doing the following:

Read > Analyze > Assess > Note > Generate

  • Read anything you have been given
  • Analyze the facts and frame the legal issues
  • Assess what you know and need to learn
  • Note the jurisdiction and any primary law you have been given
  • Generate potential search terms

Jurisdiction

Legal rules will vary depending on where geographically your legal question will be answered. You must determine the jurisdiction in which your claim will be heard. These resources can help you learn more about jurisdiction and how it is determined:

  • Legal Treatises on Jurisdiction
  • LII Wex Entry on Jurisdiction

This map indicates which states are in each federal appellate circuit:

A Map of the United States with Each Appellate Court Jurisdiction

Getting Started

Once you have begun your research, you will need to keep track of your work. Logging your research will help you to avoid missing sources and explain your research strategy. You will likely be asked to explain your research process when in practice. Researchers can keep paper logs, folders on Westlaw or Lexis, or online citation management platforms.

Organizational Methods

Tracking with paper or excel.

Many researchers create their own tracking charts.  Be sure to include:

  • Search Date
  • Topics/Keywords/Search Strategy
  • Citation to Relevant Source Found
  • Save Locations
  • Follow Up Needed

Consider using the following research log as a starting place: 

  • Sample Research Log

Tracking with Folders

Westlaw and Lexis offer options to create folders, then save and organize your materials there.

  • Lexis Advance Folders
  • Westlaw Edge Folders

Tracking with Citation Management Software

For long term projects, platforms such as Zotero, EndNote, Mendeley, or Refworks might be useful. These are good tools to keep your research well organized. Note, however, that none of these platforms substitute for doing your own proper Bluebook citations. Learn more about citation management software on our other research guides:

  • Guide to Zotero for Harvard Law Students by Harvard Law School Library Research Services Last Updated Sep 12, 2023 1 views this year

Types of Sources

There are three different types of sources: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary.  When doing legal research you will be using mostly primary and secondary sources.  We will explore these different types of sources in the sections below.

Graph Showing Types of Legal Research Resources.  Tertiary Sources: Hollis, Law Library Website.  Secondary Sources:  Headnotes & Annotations, American Law Reports, Treatises, Law Reviews & Journals, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, Restatements.  Primary Sources: Constitutions, Treatises, Statutes, Regulations, Case Decisions, Ordinances, Jury Instructions.

Secondary sources often explain legal principles more thoroughly than a single case or statute. Starting with them can help you save time.

Secondary sources are particularly useful for:

  • Learning the basics of a particular area of law
  • Understanding key terms of art in an area
  • Identifying essential cases and statutes

Consider the following when deciding which type of secondary source is right for you:

  • Scope/Breadth
  • Depth of Treatment
  • Currentness/Reliability

Chart Illustrating Depth and Breadth of Secondary Sources by Type.  Legal Dictionaries (Shallow and Broad), Legal Encyclopedias (Shallow and Broad), Restatements (Moderately Deep and Broad), Treatises (Moderately Deep and Moderately Narrow), American Law Reports (Extremely Deep and Extremely Narrow), Law Journal Articles (Extremely Deep and Extremely Narrow)

For a deep dive into secondary sources visit:

  • Secondary Sources: ALRs, Encyclopedias, Law Reviews, Restatements, & Treatises by Catherine Biondo Last Updated Sep 12, 2023 40 views this year

Legal Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Legal dictionaries.

Legal dictionaries are similar to other dictionaries that you have likely used before.

  • Black's Law Dictionary
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

Legal Encyclopedias

Legal encyclopedias contain brief, broad summaries of legal topics, providing introductions and explaining terms of art. They also provide citations to primary law and relevant major law review articles.  

Graph illustrating that Legal Encyclopedias have broad coverage of subject matter and content with shallow treatment of the topics.

Here are the two major national encyclopedias:

  • American Jurisprudence (AmJur) This resource is also available in Westlaw & Lexis .
  • Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS)

Treatises are books on legal topics.  These books are a good place to begin your research.  They provide explanation, analysis, and citations to the most relevant primary sources. Treatises range from single subject overviews to deep treatments of broad subject areas.

Graph illustrating that Treatises are moderate in scope and relatively deep.

It is important to check the date when the treatise was published. Many are either not updated, or are updated through the release of newer editions.

To find a relevant treatise explore:

  • Legal Treatises by Subject by Catherine Biondo Last Updated Sep 12, 2023 40 views this year

American Law Reports (ALR)

American Law Reports (ALR) contains in-depth articles on narrow topics of the law. ALR articles, are often called annotations. They provide background, analysis, and citations to relevant cases, statutes, articles, and other annotations. ALR annotations are invaluable tools to quickly find primary law on narrow legal questions.

Graph illustrating that American Law Reports are narrow in scope but treat concepts deeply.

This resource is available in both Westlaw and Lexis:

  • American Law Reports on Westlaw (includes index)
  • American Law Reports on Lexis

Law Reviews & Journals

Law reviews are scholarly publications, usually edited by law students in conjunction with faculty members. They contain both lengthy articles and shorter essays by professors and lawyers. They also contain comments, notes, or developments in the law written by law students. Articles often focus on new or emerging areas of law and may offer critical commentary. Some law reviews are dedicated to a particular topic while others are general. Occasionally, law reviews will include issues devoted to proceedings of panels and symposia.

Graph illustrating that Law Review and Journal articles are extremely narrow in scope but exceptionally deep.

Law review and journal articles are extremely narrow and deep with extensive references. 

To find law review articles visit:

  • Law Journal Library on HeinOnline
  • Law Reviews & Journals on LexisNexis
  • Law Reviews & Journals on Westlaw

Restatements

Restatements are highly regarded distillations of common law, prepared by the American Law Institute (ALI). ALI is a prestigious organization comprised of judges, professors, and lawyers. They distill the "black letter law" from cases to indicate trends in common law. Resulting in a “restatement” of existing common law into a series of principles or rules. Occasionally, they make recommendations on what a rule of law should be.

Restatements are not primary law. However, they are considered persuasive authority by many courts.

Graph illustrating that Restatements are broad in scope and treat topics with moderate depth.

Restatements are organized into chapters, titles, and sections.  Sections contain the following:

  • a concisely stated rule of law,
  • comments to clarify the rule,
  • hypothetical examples,
  • explanation of purpose, and
  • exceptions to the rule  

To access restatements visit:

  • American Law Institute Library on HeinOnline
  • Restatements & Principles of the Law on LexisNexis
  • Restatements & Principles of Law on Westlaw

Primary Authority

Primary authority is "authority that issues directly from a law-making body."   Authority , Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).   Sources of primary authority include:

  • Constitutions
  • Statutes 

Regulations

Access to primary legal sources is available through:

  • Bloomberg Law
  • Free & Low Cost Alternatives

Statutes (also called legislation) are "laws enacted by legislative bodies", such as Congress and state legislatures.  Statute , Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).

We typically start primary law research here. If there is a controlling statute, cases you look for later will interpret that law. There are two types of statutes, annotated and unannotated.

Annotated codes are a great place to start your research. They combine statutory language with citations to cases, regulations, secondary sources, and other relevant statutes. This can quickly connect you to the most relevant cases related to a particular law. Unannotated Codes provide only the text of the statute without editorial additions. Unannotated codes, however, are more often considered official and used for citation purposes.

For a deep dive on federal and state statutes, visit:

  • Statutes: US and State Codes by Mindy Kent Last Updated Sep 12, 2023 24 views this year
  • 50 State Surveys

Want to learn more about the history or legislative intent of a law?  Learn how to get started here:

  • Legislative History Get an introduction to legislative histories in less than 5 minutes.
  • Federal Legislative History Research Guide

Regulations are rules made by executive departments and agencies. Not every legal question will require you to search regulations. However, many areas of law are affected by regulations. So make sure not to skip this step if they are relevant to your question.

To learn more about working with regulations, visit:

  • Administrative Law Research by AJ Blechner Last Updated Sep 12, 2023 1 views this year

Case Basics

In many areas, finding relevant caselaw will comprise a significant part of your research. This Is particularly true in legal areas that rely heavily on common law principles.

Running Time: 3 minutes, 10 seconds.

Unpublished Cases

Up to  86% of federal case opinions are unpublished. You must determine whether your jurisdiction will consider these unpublished cases as persuasive authority. The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure have an overarching rule, Rule 32.1  Each circuit also has local rules regarding citations to unpublished opinions. You must understand both the Federal Rule and the rule in your jurisdiction.

  • Federal and Local Rules of Appellate Procedure 32.1 (Dec. 2021).
  • Type of Opinion or Order Filed in Cases Terminated on the Merits, by Circuit (Sept. 2021).

Each state also has its own local rules which can often be accessed through:

  • State Bar Associations
  • State Courts Websites

First Circuit

  • First Circuit Court Rule 32.1.0

Second Circuit

  • Second Circuit Court Rule 32.1.1

Third Circuit

  • Third Circuit Court Rule 5.7

Fourth Circuit

  • Fourth Circuit Court Rule 32.1

Fifth Circuit

  • Fifth Circuit Court Rule 47.5

Sixth Circuit

  • Sixth Circuit Court Rule 32.1

Seventh Circuit

  • Seventh Circuit Court Rule 32.1

Eighth Circuit

  • Eighth Circuit Court Rule 32.1A

Ninth Circuit

  • Ninth Circuit Court Rule 36-3

Tenth Circuit

  • Tenth Circuit Court Rule 32.1

Eleventh Circuit

  • Eleventh Circuit Court Rule 32.1

D.C. Circuit

  • D.C. Circuit Court Rule 32.1

Federal Circuit

  • Federal Circuit Court Rule 32.1

Finding Cases

Image of a Headnote in a Print Reporter

Headnotes show the key legal points in a case. Legal databases use these headnotes to guide researchers to other cases on the same topic. They also use them to organize concepts explored in cases by subject. Publishers, like Westlaw and Lexis, create headnotes, so they are not consistent across databases.

Headnotes are organized by subject into an outline that allows you to search by subject. This outline is known as a "digest of cases." By browsing or searching the digest you can retrieve all headnotes covering a particular topic. This can help you identify particularly important cases on the relevant subject.

Running Time: 4 minutes, 43 seconds.

Each major legal database has its own digest:

  • Topic Navigator (Lexis)
  • Key Digest System (Westlaw)

Start by identifying a relevant topic in a digest.  Then you can limit those results to your jurisdiction for more relevant results.  Sometimes, you can keyword search within only the results on your topic in your jurisdiction.  This is a particularly powerful research method.

One Good Case Method

After following the steps above, you will have identified some relevant cases on your topic. You can use good cases you find to locate other cases addressing the same topic. These other cases often apply similar rules to a range of diverse fact patterns.

  • in Lexis click "More Like This Headnote"
  • in Westlaw click "Cases that Cite This Headnote"

to focus on the terms of art or key words in a particular headnote. You can use this feature to find more cases with similar language and concepts.  ​

Ways to Use Citators

A citator is "a catalogued list of cases, statutes, and other legal sources showing the subsequent history and current precedential value of those sources.  Citators allow researchers to verify the authority of a precedent and to find additional sources relating to a given subject." Citator , Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).

Each major legal database has its own citator.  The two most popular are Keycite on Westlaw and Shepard's on Lexis.

  • Keycite Information Page
  • Shepard's Information Page

Making Sure Your Case is Still Good Law

This video answers common questions about citators:

For step-by-step instructions on how to use Keycite and Shepard's see the following:

  • Shepard's Video Tutorial
  • Shepard's Handout
  • Shepard's Editorial Phrase Dictionary
  • KeyCite Video Tutorial
  • KeyCite Handout
  • KeyCite Editorial Phrase Dictionary

Using Citators For

Citators serve three purposes: (1) case validation, (2) better understanding, and (3) additional research.

Case Validation

Is my case or statute good law?

  • Parallel citations
  • Prior and subsequent history
  • Negative treatment suggesting you should no longer cite to holding.

Better Understanding

Has the law in this area changed?

  • Later cases on the same point of law
  • Positive treatment, explaining or expanding the law.
  • Negative Treatment, narrowing or distinguishing the law.

Track Research

Who is citing and writing about my case or statute?

  • Secondary sources that discuss your case or statute.
  • Cases in other jurisdictions that discuss your case or statute.

Knowing When to Start Writing

For more guidance on when to stop your research see:

  • Terminating Research, by Christina L. Kunz

Automated Services

Automated services can check your work and ensure that you are not missing important resources. You can learn more about several automated brief check services.  However, these services are not a replacement for conducting your own diligent research .

  • Automated Brief Check Instructional Video

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You may reproduce any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included and it is shared in the same manner. 

  • Last Updated: Sep 21, 2023 2:56 PM
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leiden lawmethods portal

Formulating a research question.

Last update: April 21, 2022

The start of any research project lies with whatever it is you are interested in. It could be a specific topic, an event, a piece of legislation or any collection of facts and phenomena that puzzles you and triggers questions. The key is then to determine the research question that will guide your research. As with many parts of the research process, the research question can change and develop as you engage with the relevant literature and data. You don’t have to form a fixed research question at the very beginning of the research process. Nonetheless, it is essential to never lose sight of your research question. Your research question has implications for which methods will be used during the analysis and which central goals the study is set up to accomplish.

There are three main reasons why the formulation of the research question is essential for the research process and has to be done with great care:

  • Condensing the topic, you are interested in into a single question forces you to really get to what exactly it is you want to know and which key variables are involved.
  • Every research question requires a justification as to why it is being posed. Has this question not yet been answered definitively? Why is this question significant for the field?
  • The research question has to fit what you are actually doing in your work. A question that is too broad will make it impossible for you to sufficiently answer it. If your question is too specific, the answer might be uninteresting.

Research questions are often sorted into different categories. As with most categorizations, these types of questions differ depending on the field of study. The biggest fault lines when it comes to the different types of research questions lie (1) between normative and descriptive research, (2) within the latter between theoretical and empirical research, and (3) within empirical research between descriptive and explanatory questions. Toshkov (2016) differentiates descriptive, predictive, and explanatory research while Chui (2017) categorizes them as descriptive, exploratory, and explanatory. No matter which exact typology of research question you are working with, it is always helpful to reflect on these key fault lines. Is the goal of your research to determine what ought to be or study the world as it is ? Will you be doing theoretical or empirical work? If you are working with empirics, are you focusing on the collection of facts surrounding a phenomenon (What is happening? What has happened?) or are you trying to determine causal mechanisms and structures (Why is this happening? How has this happened?)?

If your research topic constitutes a lack of information on a phenomenon, a type of legal proceeding or a specific event for example, a descriptive research question underlines the objective of your research of collecting facts that would be necessary to set-up further analyses or theory building. Descriptive research can utilize a number of methodologies ranging from archival work, ethnographic participant observation to conducting large-N surveys examining one or multiple cases.

If you want to determine the how or why of a phenomenon or event, then you are aiming to uncover causal mechanisms or structures and hence require an explanatory research question. For a more detailed outline of the set-up of explanatory legal research, please refer to Jaroslaw Kantorowicz’s entry on “ Causality in Research Design ”.

Finally, a few guiding questions to keep in mind when (re)formulating your research question:

  • Is the question concise and grammatically as well as structurally formulated in a way that is easily understood?
  • Is the question open-ended?
  • Does the question reflect your research goal?
  • Is the question making use of normative language (and should it)?
  • Is the question researchable and can be feasibly answered within the scope of the study?
  • Does your research address everything mentioned in your research question?

Chui, W. H., & McConville, Michael. (2017). Research methods for law (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. P.

Dunleavy, P. (2015). Authoring a PhD: how to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan education.

Halperin, S., & Heath, O. (2020). Political research: methods and practical skills (Third edition.).

Toshkov, D. (2016). Research design in political science.

Wellington, J., Bathmaker, A.-M., Hunt, C., McCulloch, G., & Sikes, P. (2005). Succeeding with Your Doctorate. In Succeeding with Your Doctorate. London: SAGE Publications.

site header image

Basic Legal Research Guide: Research Strategy

  • Getting Started
  • Dictionaries
  • Encyclopedias
  • Law Reviews
  • Restatements
  • Statutes and Codes
  • Administrative Law
  • Illinois Resources
  • Research Strategy

Research Strategy for 1L Research Memo

  • Research Memo Strategies Presentation - Fall 2023

This short Powerpoint presentation outlines some of the techniques and strategies that might be helpful for your Research Memo.

  • The Process of Legal Research

It may be helpful to see a visual display of the research process. Attached is a general flowchart for the legal research process. This file was originally created by Sarah Glassmeyer at CALI (The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) . 

Sloan - Basic Legal Research: Tools and Strategies, 6th ed.

legal research question examples

On pages 304-307 of Amy Sloan's  Basic Legal Research textbook, you will find sample legal research flowcharts that show the thought process for handling certain types of research questions.

Approaching Your First Research Assignment: Introduction

The purpose of this page is to outline a basic strategy for approaching your first open-research assignment. It is most likely that this assignment will be your trial brief in the second semester of Legal Writing. The steps outlined here are intended to assist you in that endeavor. If, by chance, you are reading this page and looking for information on how to approach your first research assignment for work as a clerk or an extern, you will find the approach outlined here to be fundamentally the same because the process of legal research, regardless of the setting, will bear similar characteristics. If you are looking for more in-depth information on applying this process to assignments in the workplace, see the Summer Associate Research Guide .

In many respects, following a “legal research plan” is much like briefing cases; there are certain steps that ought to be followed and certain landmarks to look for along the way. Once you become familiar with briefing cases, you no longer need to work through the process every time you read a case, as that process occurs in the background. So it is with legal research. Working through the steps outlined below might seem tedious at first, but they will become commonplace. In the future, even though you may not work through the steps individually, you can be more confident that your research is complete, thorough, and accurate. Since you've worked through the process a number of times, you’re following the steps whether you recognize them or not. Here are the steps :

  • Step 1: Preliminary Analysis
  • Step 2: Formulate a Research Strategy
  • Step 3: Record Your Actions, Sources, and Results
  • Step 4: When Do I Stop Researching?
  • Step 5: Update Your Research
  • Step 6: Begin Writing Your Brief 
  • Step 7: Keep Calm and Carry On

Step One: Preliminary Analysis

Before you can begin researching, it is important to spend some time analyzing the materials that you’ve been given, looking for clues to assist you in researching the question that you have been asked to answer. You need to have a plan . Very often research goes wrong because the researcher attempts to begin researching without being able to answer some very fundamental questions about the topic. Librarians call this the “shot in the dark” approach. It cannot be emphasized enough (especially with your first research projects) that you take the time to answer the following questions and extract as much information as possible, before you begin researching . Part of the reason for this is that the answers to some of these questions will guide your research process in terms of locating and studying sources.

Before you attempt to answer a legal question, you must understand it. In order to understand the question, you have to review the preliminary materials that you have been given as a starting point. It is crucially important that you read everything that you’ve been given carefully, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the legal issue? Sometimes the legal question at hand may be ascertained easily from preliminary materials. For example, you may be given documents that comprise an initial case file and be asked (based on the facts) whether a potential client has a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) against a co-worker. Other times, it will be less obvious. Part of your research process may involve "learning” enough about an unfamiliar subject area to determine exactly what the proper legal question is. Legal research can sometimes be frustrating because it is a recursive process. In other words, sometimes you need to conduct a significant amount of research just to determine what the question is that you are trying to answer. Only then can you do additional research--often using the same sources--to determine what the answer to the question is.
  • Who are the parties involved ? When asking yourself these questions, think in terms of potential legal relationships and not necessarily labels. For example, when considering whether an employee has a potential cause of action against a co-worker, it may be important that the co-worker is the employee's supervisor. The supervisor–employee relationship might indicate that one person or party can exercise authority or control authority over another person or party.
  • What is the thing in controversy ? Is there a contract involved? Is a piece of property at issue? The answer to this question may be helpful because it often leads the researcher to specific legal subject areas. Knowing that a question is a matter of tort law or contract law reduces the universe of possible resources to consult and may lead directly to certain sources like a treatise on torts as a starting point.
  • What type of relief is being sought? In other words, what are the possible bases of action or defenses? Is a party seeking monetary damages for an injunction? Again, knowing the answer to this question (if ascertainable at this point) may lead the researcher to a specific legal topic, such as what standard needs to be met in order to be granted an injunction given a particular set of facts
  • What jurisdiction governs the legal question at hand ? Again, at this point, it may be difficult to answer this question. Some legal topics are governed primarily by federal law (e.g., environmental, immigration, copyright) and some by state law (e.g., contracts, torts, criminal law). When you’re done with law school, you will be in a much better position to answer this question initially. If you did know the answer with some certainty, again this would restrict your universe of possible sources. If you knew, for example, that the question was governed by Illinois law, you could eliminate the federal law and forty-nine other states as potential research sources, or at least as primary authority. Doing so will allow you to focus your research much more narrowly and save a great amount of valuable research time.
  • When did the events take place ? The answer to this question helps to determine whether you are researching current law or historical.
  • Are there any starting points embedded in the preliminary materials ? For example, you may be pointed to a particular statute as a starting point. Or, you may have been given the name of the seminal case. If, for example, you knew that the answer involved a particular federal statute, you might begin by reading that statute and looking at annotations in an annotated federal code like U.S.C.A . or U.S.C.S .
  • Is there any language that you don’t understand? If you need to look up terminology in a legal dictionary, by all means do so, and do so before you continue on. There’s no prize for assuming you know what a term means or how it is being used. If you make an assumption, and it turns out that you're wrong, you will need to start your research over again. That is a tremendously inefficient way to proceed.

Step Two: Formulate a Research Strategy

At the conclusion of the Preliminary Analysis stage of the research plan, a researcher ought to have a basic understanding of the legal question and a list of search terms based on the questions above. The researcher might also know the jurisdiction to be searched, as well as whether it is current or historical information that is sought. A researcher's level of confidence will next guide the research strategy by indicating what resources should be searched, and in what order.  So, the first question is this:

Can you state your legal issue in a sentence?

  • If you are not confident that you can state your answer in a sentence, don't be dismayed. This is perfectly natural. But, before you start looking for answers when you don’t understand the question, it’s time to take a step back. You can’t find a needle in a haystack if you can’t identify the haystack you need. This is where most beginning researchers go wrong. Don’t go jumping into a rolling sea of contradictory opinions without the proper context for understanding the information that your research has gleaned. You'll just waste precious time.
  • If you can’t state your legal issue in a sentence at this point--in other words, if you are not confident that you have or understand all the terms of art, what the governing jurisdiction is, or what the governing law is--it's best to begin by trying to ascertain a very broad overview of your subject area. This is the Google Maps equivalent of changing your focus so you see a broader area in less detail. One way to "learn" about unfamiliar legal topics (like IIED, employment discrimination, or injunctions) is to begin with basic secondary sources like national or state encyclopedias or hornbooks. Students are often loath to take this intermediary step because it’s not the fastest way to get research done. One important point to keep in mind here is that often preliminary research involves looking for starting points rather than necessarily looking for answers. A basic secondary source will identify the answers to some of the questions asked above: Is IIED a question of state or federal law? Is it primarily governed by statutes? Case law? Or both? Are there particular statutes or cases in the area that you must be aware of in order to answer the question asked? Are there important terms of art that you need to know to execute an effective online search?.
  • After you review one or more basic secondary sources, you should at some point feel confident that you can state your legal issue in a sentence. When that happens, keep reading below.
  • if you have done a thorough job with your preliminary analysis, you may at this point be able to state your legal issue in a sentence. This is an extremely important point, because if you can state your issue in a sentence, it may be possible for you to begin searching for answers or pieces of an answer using a natural language or terms and connectors search. That technique, however, is not recommended if you are exploring an unfamiliar area of law.
  • Before you begin researching, take stock of what resources you have at your disposal. Don’t just go looking for cases. If you know that your question involves a state or federal statute, or section of code, retrieve that statute or section from an annotated code . Then, read it, and look at the annotations, especially references to secondary sources like law review articles or treatises that discuss and dissect the entire statute or section.
  • Likewise, now would be a good time to look for more advanced secondary sources covering your topic like treatises or law review articles. If you are not familiar with the treatises in the particular subject area, don’t be afraid to ask your friendly reference librarian for input. Doing so may save a lot of time in the long run. Another trick is to look at the practice pages on Lexis ,  Westlaw , and Bloomberg  to see what major works or treatises are available through these resources.
  • Finally, remember that legal research is a recursive process. As you read more and learn more, you may have to adjust your question. Again, this is perfectly natural. However, it leads to the next important point about executing a research plan.

Step Three: Record your Actions, Sources, and Results

Executing a well-thought-out legal research plan is a lot like briefing cases. It’s drudgery at first, but it becomes a natural process after you’ve done it a few times. Those who don’t do it become stuck using the same poor technique or series of sources with no understanding of whether that technique will work or not. When all you have is a hammer, every problem becomes a nail. The best lawyers still brief cases. Very good lawyers brief cases mentally--whether they know it or not. Good researchers record their actions in some manner, shape, or form. Once you become familiar with a particular area of law and its related research resources, your research process will become intuitive. Your search history and Lexis , Westlaw , and Bloomberg can aid greatly with this part, but not every source is available through those three commercial services. So, it’s important to have a log separate from the database research histories, even though there will be some overlap.

For now, here are six good reasons why you ought keep a "research log" for your first few assignments, followed by an example of what one might look like:

  • It’s helpful to have a a written, recorded research log to keep track of sources consulted because, if your question changes slightly as you learn more about your legal topic, you will have a record of what has and hasn't been searched, what terms or techniques were used, and what the results were so you do not re-create the wheel and waste your own time.
  • Keeping a research log will give you some assurance that you haven’t missed anything. You can compare your list of potential sources like treatises, law reviews, annotated codes, case databases etc. against what you’ve actually researched. This will give you confidence that there isn’t more information lurking out there somewhere that you ought to have found.
  • If you need to consult with a partner, professor, or a librarian about your research, it would be most helpful to have a written record of what your searches have been and where you have looked. From looking at the record, an expert will be able to determine whether there are sources that you should have searched, or whether your search terms need modifying, 
  • In the real world, whether you are clerking, have an externship, or you are a summer or young associate, if the answer turns out to be "I cannot find an answer," you will need to prove that result is justified. The best way to do that is by presenting the assigning attorney with your research log based on your research strategy and searching.
  • If you have to set aside your research project for any length of time, a research log will help you by identifying where you have been and what you have learned. Again, don’t re-create the wheel. If every time you sit in front of a computer you start fresh, you’re going to waste a lot of precious time, and you will have no confidence that you found everything that there is to find because you have no list or record.
  • Finally, as you are researching, you will probably identify sources that seem interesting, or possibly helpful, but that may be outside the scope or focus of your current research. Write those down, and keep them somewhere--perhaps in a separate folder labelled "maybe." Never look serendipity in the mouth. Often times skillful researchers end up finding very good resources or bits of information in places they never thought they’d be. Don’t lose the opportunity to take advantage of this information simply because you failed to record its existence when you had the opportunity.

What a sample research log might look like:

Derived from Robert M. Linz, Research Analysis and Planning: The Undervalued Skill in Legal Research Instruction , Legal Reference Services Quarterly, 34:1, 60–99 (2015).

You can also use PowerNotes (available from the Law Library's A-Z Databases Page ) to create a research log. This short video demonstrates how to export your research from PowerNotes into an Excel spreadsheet.

Step Four: When do I Stop Researching?

How do I know when to stop? In the real world, the answer to this question often depends on budgets and time restrictions (for more on this, see the Summer Associate Research Guide ). For purposes of your first research assignment, however, the simple answer is that you stop when you keep seeing the same information, and new information that you come across is not any more helpful than what you already have. Generally speaking, you will keep coming across the same statute or section of code, the same cases interpreting that statute or section, and the same law review articles or treatise sections that discuss the primary law. Once you have this set of information—information that has been recorded in your research log—you can begin attempting to answer the question asked.  As you begin writing, however, you may uncover loose ends that need to be further investigated. So, in a sense, your research is never really done.

Step Five: Update Your Research

No matter what your research turns up, it’s important to update all of your sources using the citators available online: Lexis (Shepard’s), Westlaw (KeyCite) and Bloomberg (BCite).

  • You must always make sure that authorities that you are citing are current and reliable; i.e., have not been overruled, superseded, or subsequently distinguished out of existence.
  • Beyond that, if you are working on a brief as part of litigation, you can be assured that the opposing party will read your brief, read all your sources, and find any way to discredit or weaken the authority that you are relying on. If you cannot account for these, you run the risk of having your position undermined.
  • Finally, remember that a good researcher uses a citator, both to ensure the validity of authority, and to locate additional related authority.

Step Six: Begin Writing Your Memo or Brief

This step is misplaced because, for a number of reasons, you should begin writing well in advance of finishing your research. First, no matter how much research you have done, if you wait until the last minute to start writing, your written product will suffer. Second, the process of writing helps with your analysis. In other words, your brain won't let you write something that doesn’t make any sense. If you’re about to write something that doesn’t make any sense, it’s time to look back at the information that you’ve gleaned. If you wait too long to allow this natural process to occur, you lose the opportunity to fully explore the inconsistencies that your writing uncovers. Also, writing may uncover holes in your research that need to be filled. You need to allow for that possibility as well.

Step Seven: Keep Calm and Carry On

The surest way to be confident that your research is current and complete is to try several different approaches to the same problem. For example, to locate cases, you might employ a terms and connectors search, follow headnotes that are common among identified cases, and use a citator to locate additional authorities. If you were still considering more complex legal or policy issues, you might consult law review articles or a treatise. Each of these sources serves a slightly different purpose and will yield slightly different results. It's the sum of all these parts—and the realization that no matter where you look, you keep coming across the same information—that allow you to conclude that you have found all relevant materials, and you know exactly what to do with them.

Subject Guide

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Helpful Free Online Legal Research Resources

Includes federal and state government Web sites, university Web sites, and organizational Web sites.

  • Loyola University Chicago Law Library
  • Loyola University Chicago Law Library - Research Guides Subject guides to print and online resources available to Law Library users.
  • Loyola University Libraries Access to the Main Campus Library's database list, electronic journals search box, subject guides, and more.
  • Loyola's Online Catalog Includes holdings of both print and online resources.
  • Illinois General Assembly Illinois legislation, legislative history, and administrative law.
  • Congress.gov The newly redesigned legislative information Web site of the Library of Congress provides access to Congressional bills, Public Laws, and legislative history documents.
  • USA.gov The U.S. Government's official Web portal includes an A-Z listing of administrative agencies.
  • GovInfo This Web site from the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) includes links to official government publications such as the CFR, Federal Register, and the U.S. Code.
  • United States Courts Provides links to the Web sites of all federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Circuit Court of Cook County General information, court calendars, and circuit court rules.
  • Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Includes downloadable PDF court forms.
  • Fastcase Legal Research via State and Local Bar Associations A listing of state and local bar associations that provide free access to Fastcase as a benefit of association membership.
  • Illinois Secretary of State Portal to Secretary of State services and forms (including corporate forms) and the Illinois Register (chronological Illinois administrative law publication).
  • Cornell University's Legal Information Institute Links to federal and state legal information, including the U.S. Code, as well as Wex, the collaboratively-created online legal encyclopedia/dictionary.
  • FindLaw Links to various state and federal legal information resources and legal forms.
  • Law Library Resource Exchange Articles on legal technology topics.
  • << Previous: Illinois Resources
  • Last Updated: Oct 26, 2023 3:55 PM
  • URL: https://lawlibguides.luc.edu/firstyearlegalresearch

Loyola University Chicago

iEduNote. Studying Made Simple!

Legal Research: Meaning, Definitions, and Example

Legal Research: Meaning, Definitions, And Example

Legal research is the process of finding the law that governs an activity and materials that explain or analyze that law. Legal research includes various processes ranging from gathering information to analyzing a problem’s facts and communicating the investigation results. Doing research aims to add new knowledge to the existing knowledge in an area of interest.

Understand the meaning of legal research, its dimensions, and its importance. Also, it is an example of legal research.

Legal Research Definition

Legal Research Definition - Meaning Of Legal Research

Legal research means scientific and purposive investigation or inquiry of a problem or issue of any discipline. Likewise, legal research is a scientific investigation into a legal issue or problem and the process of gathering evidence or information for ascertaining an assumption or verifying some hypotheses.

Like other research activities, legal research is a systematic and methodical study directed toward developing new knowledge or verifying existing knowledge. Legal research is not merely concerned with the technical knowledge of the law. Rather, one of the purposes of legal research is to find philosophical or policy arguments in law.

Legal research is an inquiry and investigation made by judges, lawyers, and legal researchers in the quest for a deeper and fuller understanding of the true nature of legal problems.

It seeks to expound on various aspects of the legal system, the legislative and judicial process, and the nature and function of law in society. Legal research is also concerned with “the understanding and internal coherence of legal concepts and reasoning.

Legal research is not a mere description of facts but a purposive investigation to explain or interpret a legal phenomenon. It goes beyond description and requires analysis.

In this sense, it is a creative process and involves normative activities. Legal research is diligent, and continued search is for the more probably accepted answer to a legal question.

The such search involves the choice of hypothesis, the assortment ascertainment of facts, their classification, elimination of relevance, the use of both Inductive and deductive reasoning, and the assertion of a conclusion. In essence, it involves analysis of facts, ordering legal propositions and doctrines, and applying legal reasoning to conclusions.

Legal research essentially seeks to expound the logical coherence of law concepts and determine and define the terms and presuppositions used in law.

Legal research is identifying and retrieving information necessary to support judicial decision-making.

In its broadest sense, legal research includes each step of a course of action that begins with an analysis of the facts of a problem and concludes with the application and communication of the investigation results.

The processes of legal research vary according to the country and the legal system involved. However, legal research generally suggests such tasks as:

  • Find primary sources of law or central authority in a given jurisdiction (cases, statutes, regulations, etc.)
  • Searching secondary authorities (for example, law reviews, legal dictionaries, legal treatises, and legal encyclopedias such as American Jurisprudence and Corpus Juris Secundum) for background information about a legal topic; and
  • Searching non-legal sources for investigative or supporting information.

Dimensions of Legal Research

Legal research has two fundamental dimensions: creative and non-normative. Legal research is creative because it interprets theories, concepts, and rules, creates new knowledge, or enriches existing knowledge.

Legal research is also normative as it establishes the norms that apply to a particular legal system.

The normative aspect of legal research implies that the researcher should not reproduce the text of the law or describe the legal doctrine for theory; rather, he or she should state what ought to be done according to the legal point of view within a particular legal system or how the law to be applied in a particular context.

10 Importance of Legal Research

Legal research is also necessary for ascertainment of law on a given topic or subject, to highlight ambiguities and inbuilt weaknesses of law, and to critically examine legal provisions, principles, or doctrines to see consistency, coherence, and stability of law, to make suggestions for reform of the law.

The Role of Legal Research in Modern Legal Education

Legal research for law students, legal research for practicing lawyers, legal research in practice, legal research as a catalyst for legal reform, identifying areas for legal reform, the process and purpose of legal research, the mindset of a legal researcher, achieving objectivity in legal research, the ethical responsibilities of a researcher.

Legal research is an important element of the modern system of legal education.

Legal education performs several related functions: attaining theoretical knowledge, practical training, and a general education contributing to proper legal reasoning , effective communication, and ethical responsibility. Legal research can facilitate attaining these objectives by placing law in a broader intellectual context.

Legal research methodology is important for legal researchers in many ways.

Legal research helps one use his acquired knowledge of how the law works and understand the principles that underlie the operation of the law and the legal system.

A law student should learn about research to critically analyze information on a variety of legal issues.

Legal research is also important for a lawyer, who should be familiar with those areas of law in which he claims to have the expertise as a real-life problem solver. There is no denying that a lawyer should provide competent representation to a client.

Every lawyer must use fundamental legal research tools and implement an effective and efficient research plan to provide competent representation.

In everyday exercises, lawyers have to identify and analyze factual material, identify the legal context in which factual issues arise, identify legal issues, and apply relevant legal provisions to facts. They have to relate the central legal and factual issues to each other and identify the legal, factual, and other issues presented by documents.

They have to provide ACC-rate and insightful advice and draft documents effectively. All these investigations of factual and legal issues require legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation from lawyers for effective representation of clients.

Legal research is critically important for initiating legal reform and change in society.

Legal research may be driven by current and proposed legislation’s social, political, and economic implications. Law must keep pace with social change. Law has to either respond to social change or initiate social change.

Because of changing social, moral, and political contexts, many laws may lose relevance or seem inadequate to meet society’s needs.

Legal research can help find out the old laws that need reforms.

Legal research can initiate a new theory of law change with your help carrying existing theory. Legal research findings may help bring about desired changes in existing laws and legal institutions.

Research methodology is not an end but must fit into the structure of the topic , questions, and arguments, producing good research. The purpose of any legal inquiry at the practical level should be to arrive at a legally reasoned and sound conclusion of a given factual situation.

As essential steps of methodology, the l egal research analysis of the facts evaluates what legal concepts may be relevant , finds primary and secondary sources, synthesizes the relevant principles, and apply them to the research problem.

R esearch is an intellectual exercise requiring endurance and patience. A researcher must have perseverance and a scientific frame of mind.

A researcher must be a genuine seeker of truth. He must be alert to appreciate any change in situation or facts considered in research. He must have intimate knowledge of his area of research. He must be objective in his approach. Attaining objectivity remains a great challenge to every researcher.

The findings should not be influenced by personal prejudices and biases to attain objectivity in research work. The researcher should examine the issues at hand dispassionately and must be free from personal emotions and self-interest.

A researcher should be open-minded and self-reflective. He should also be cautious about claims based on his research findings.

Legal Research Examples

For example, let’s take India’s juvenile justice system and compare it with that of the USA.

In this paper, the diversion and alternative measures of the juvenile justice system of the USA and India have been discussed to get an idea of how the philosophy of juvenile justice functions in a democratic country with different cultures like the USA and a developing country of monolithic culture like India from a comparative perspective.

The paper also focused on the rationality of advisory jurisdiction exercised by the Supreme Court of different countries, especially the USA, UK, Canada, Sri Lanka, and India, and discussed how these examples could be of use in India in nurturing its Constitution, democracy, and the rule of law.

The author argues that juvenile delinquency and violence against children are indications that social organization is not running correctly.

Available data suggest that juvenile delinquency in India has increased in recent years. They are involved in theft, robbery, hijacking, and extortion and have different types of deadly weapons.

Many of the arrested juveniles are members of organized criminal gangs.

Comparing the available statistics of India and the USA, the author put forward some recommendations to keep the problems at a minimum, ensuring an egalitarian society where children’s causes will be fully guaranteed.

With a clear understanding of legal research; for more learning use our complete guideline on legal research .

  • Legal Research Design and Structure [11 Elements]
  • Legal Writing Meaning [Legal Research and Legal Writing]
  • Legal Research Methodology: Types And Approaches of Legal Research
  • Referencing: Meaning, Types of Reference Styles and Systems
  • 9 Steps in Legal Research
  • Academic Legal Writing: Techniques, Rules, Tips
  • Legal Research Statutes: Principles and Canons of Interpretation of Statutes
  • Legal Reasoning: Criteria and Forms of Legal Reasoning
  • Research Proposal: Components, Structure, Sample, Example
  • 9 Sources of Legal Research
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Data Collection: Meaning, Types
  • Sampling Methods: Techniques, Types, Examples

How to Conduct Legal Research

How to Conduct Legal Research

IN THIS ARTICLE

Where do I begin my legal research?

What if i’m new to the practice area or specific legal issue, how do i respond to the opposing side’s brief, how can legal research help with drafting or strategy, how do i validate case law citations, how should i use technology to improve my legal research.

[Learn more about Bloomberg Law’s complete legal research resource – enabling smarter, faster decisions and confident action for your clients, practice, and organization.]

Conducting legal research can challenge even the most skilled law practitioners.

As laws evolve across jurisdictions, it can be a difficult to keep pace with every legal development. Equally daunting is the ability to track and glean insights into stakeholder strategies and legal responses. Without quick and easy access to the right tools, the legal research upon which case strategy hinges may face cost, personnel, and litigation outcome challenges.

Bloomberg Law’s artificial intelligence-driven tools drastically reduce the time to perform legal research. Whether you seek quick answers to legal research definitions, or general guidance on the legal research process, Bloomberg Law’s Core Litigation Skills Toolkit has you covered.

What is legal research?

Legal research is the process of uncovering and understanding all of the legal precedents, laws, regulations, and other legal authorities that apply in a case and inform an attorney’s course of action.

Legal research often involves case law research, which is the practice of identifying and interpreting the most relevant cases concerning the topic at issue. Legal research can also involve a deep dive into a judge’s past rulings or opposing counsel’s record of success.

Research is not a process that has a finite start and end, but remains ongoing throughout every phase of a legal matter. It is a cornerstone of a litigator’s skills.

[Learn how our integrated, time-saving litigation research tools allow litigators to streamline their work and get answers quickly.]

Beginning your legal research will look different for each assignment. At the outset, ensure that you understand your goal by asking questions and taking careful notes. Ask about background case information, logistical issues such as filing deadlines, the client/matter number, and billing instructions.

It’s also important to consider how your legal research will be used. Is the research to be used for a pending motion? If you are helping with a motion for summary judgment, for example, your goal is to find cases that are in the same procedural posture as yours and come out favorably for your side (i.e., if your client is the one filing the motion, try to find cases where a motion for summary judgment was granted, not denied). Keep in mind the burden of proof for different kinds of motions.

Finally, but no less important, assess the key facts of the case. Who are the relevant parties? Where is the jurisdiction? Who is the judge? Note all case details that come to mind.

While conducting legal research, it is easy to go down rabbit holes. Resist the urge to start by reviewing individual cases, which may prove irrelevant. Start instead with secondary sources, which often provide a prevailing statement of the law for a specific topic. These sources will save time and orient you to the area of the law and key issues.

Litigation Practical Guidance provides the essentials including step-by-step guidance, expert legal analysis, and a preview of next steps. Source citations are included in all Practical Guidance, and you can filter Points of Law, Smart Code®, and court opinions searches to get the jurisdiction-specific cases or statutes you need.

Points of Law Bloomberg Law feature on a desktop computer screen

Searching across Points of Law will help to get your bearings on an issue before diving into reading the cases in full. Points of Law uses machine learning to identify key legal principles expressed in court opinions, which are easily searchable by keyword and jurisdiction. This tool helps you quickly find other cases that have expressed the same Point of Law, and directs you to related Points of Law that might be relevant to your research. It is automatically updated with the most recent opinions, saving you time and helping you quickly drill down to the relevant cases.

  • Address your litigation research needs – day or night

No matter when you’re working, we’ve got the smarter, faster resources you need, including faster case law research, complete dockets access, and 24/7 expert support.

Whether a brief is yours or that of the opposing party, Bloomberg Law’s Brief Analyzer is an essential component in the legal research process. It reduces the time spent analyzing a brief, identifying relevant authorities, and preparing a solid response.

To start, navigate to Brief Analyzer available from the Bloomberg Law homepage, within the Litigation Intelligence Center , or from Docket Key search results for briefs.

Bloomberg Law Brief Analyzer tool on litigation intelligence center

[ How to Write a Legal Brief – Learn how to shorten the legal research cycle and give your legal brief a competitive advantage.]

How to optimize your search.

Crafting searches is a critical skill when it comes to legal research. Although many legal research platforms, including Bloomberg Law, offer natural language searching, terms and connectors (also called Boolean) searching is still a vital legal research skill and should be used when searching across court opinions, dockets, Points of Law, and other primary and secondary sources.

When you conduct a natural language search, the search engine applies algorithms to rank your results. Why a certain case is ranked as it is may not be obvious. This makes it harder to interpret whether the search is giving you everything you need. It is also harder to efficiently and effectively manipulate your search terms to zero in on the results you want. Using Boolean searching gives you better control over your search and greater confidence in your results.

The good news? Bloomberg Law does not charge by the search for court opinion searches. If your initial search was much too broad or much too narrow, you do not have to worry about immediately running a new and improved search.

Follow these tips when beginning a search to ensure that you do not miss relevant materials:

  • Make sure you do not have typos in your search string.
  • Search the appropriate source or section of the research platform. It is possible to search only within a practice area, jurisdiction, secondary resource, or other grouping of materials.
  • Make sure you know which terms and connectors are utilized by the platform you are working on and what they mean – there is no uniform standard set of terms of connectors utilized by all platforms.
  • Include in your search all possible terms the court might use, or alternate ways the court may address an issue. It is best to group the alternatives together within a parenthetical, connected by OR between each term.
  • Consider including single and multiple character wildcards when relevant. Using a single character wildcard (an asterisk) and/or a multiple character wildcard (an exclamation point) helps you capture all word variations – even those you might not have envisioned.
  • Try using a tool that helps you find additional relevant case law. When you find relevant authority, use BCITE on Bloomberg Law to find all other cases and/or sources that cite back to that case. When in BCITE, click on the Citing Documents tab, and search by keyword to narrow the results. Alternatively, you can use the court’s language or ruling to search Points of Law and find other cases that addressed the same issue or reached the same ruling.

[Bloomberg Law subscribers can access a complete checklist of search term best practices . Not a subscriber? Request a Demo .]

Before drafting a motion or brief, search for examples of what firm lawyers filed with the court in similar cases. You can likely find recent examples in your firm’s internal document system or search Bloomberg Law’s dockets. If possible, look for things filed before the same judge so you can get a quick check on rules/procedures to be followed (and by the same partner when possible so you can get an idea of their style preferences).

Careful docket search provides a wealth of information about relevant cases, jurisdictions, judges, and opposing counsel. On Bloomberg Law, type “Dockets Search” in the Go bar or find the dockets search box in the Litigation Intelligence Center .

If you do not know the specific docket number and/or court, use the docket search functionality Docket Key . Select from any of 20 categories, including motions, briefs, and orders, across all 94 federal district courts, to pinpoint the exact filing of choice.

Bloomberg Law Dockets Search feature on a desktop computer screen

Dockets can also help you access lots of information to guide your case strategy. For example, if you are considering filing a particular type of motion, such as a sanctions motion, you can use dockets to help determine how frequently your judge grants sanctions motions. You can also use dockets to see how similar cases before your judge proceeded through discovery.

If you are researching expert witnesses, you can use dockets to help determine if the expert has been recently excluded from a case, or whether their opinion has been limited. If so, this will help you determine whether the expert is a good fit for your case.

Dockets are a powerful research tool that allow you to search across filings to support your argument. Stay apprised of docket updates with the “Create Alert” option on Bloomberg Law.

Writing a research memo? Here’s a how-to guide.

Bloomberg Law subscribers can access our expert-written guide on writing a research memo, authored by Aaron Goodman, Of Counsel at Baker McKenzie.

Not a subscriber? Request a demo

Dive deeper into competitive research.

For even more competitive research insights, dive into Bloomberg Law’s Litigation Analytics – this is available in the Litigation tab on the homepage. Data here helps attorneys develop litigation strategy, predict possible outcomes, and better advise clients.

To start, under Litigation Analytics , leverage the Attorney tab to view case history and preview legal strategies the opposition may practice against you. Also, within Litigation Analytics, use the Court tab to get aggregate motion and appeal outcome rates across all federal courts, with the option to run comparisons across jurisdictions, and filter by company, law firm, and attorney.

Use the Judge tab to glean insights from cited opinions, and past and current decisions by motion and appeal outcomes. Also view litigation analytics in the right rail of court opinions.

Docket search can also offer intel on your opponent. Has your opponent filed similar lawsuits or made similar arguments before? How did those cases pan out? You can learn a lot about an opponent from past appearances in court.

Checking the status of case law is essential in legal research. Rely on Bloomberg Law’s proprietary citator, BCITE. This time-saving tool lets you know if a case is still good law.

Under each court opinion, simply look to the right rail. There, you will see a thumbnail icon for “BCITE Analysis.” Click on the icon, and you will be provided quick links to direct history (opinions that affect or are affected by the outcome of the case at issue); case analysis (citing cases, with filter and search options), table of authorities, and citing documents.

A significant benefit of digital research platforms and analytics is increased efficiency. Modern legal research technology helps attorneys sift through thousands of cases quickly and comprehensively. These products can also help aggregate or summarize data in a way that is more useful and make associations instantaneously.

For example, before litigation analytics were common, a partner may have asked a junior associate to find all summary judgment motions ruled on by a specific judge to determine how often that judge grants or denies them. The attorney could have done so by manually searching over PACER and/or by searching through court opinions, but that would take a long time. Now, Litigation Analytics can aggregate that data and provide an answer in seconds. Understanding that such products exist can be a game changer. Automating parts of the research process frees up time and effort for other activities that benefit the client and makes legal research and writing more efficient.

[Read our article: Six ways legal technology aids your litigation workflow .]

Tools like  Points of Law ,  dockets  and  Brief Analyzer  can also increase efficiency, especially when narrowing your research to confirm that you found everything on point. In the past, attorneys had to spend many hours (and lots of money) running multiple court opinion searches to ensure they did not miss a case on point. Now, there are tools that can dramatically speed up that process. For example, running a search over Points of Law can immediately direct you to other cases that discuss that same legal principle.

However, it’s important to remember that digital research and analytical tools should be seen as enhancing the legal research experience, not displacing the review, analysis, and judgment of an attorney. An attorney uses his or her knowledge of their client, the facts, the precedent, expert opinions, and his or her own experiences to predict the likely result in a given matter. Digital research products enhance this process by providing more data on a wider array of variables so that an attorney can take even more information into consideration.

[Get all your questions answered, request a Bloomberg Law demo , and more.]

Reference Shelf

  • Litigation Essentials – Legal Tech Tools for the Modern Practitioner
  • Six Steps to an Efficient Litigation Workflow
  • Give Your Legal Brief a Competitive Advantage
  • Artificial Intelligence for Lawyers Explained
  • Litigators Sound Off on Their Most Time-Consuming Task
  • The Art of the Brief: Critical Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

US Law Week Articles

Merck $1.4 billion cyberhack settlement ends ‘warlike’ act claim, judge weighs judiciary’s role in ex-defender’s harassment suit, raine group taps new general counsel as lawyer takes coo role.

legal research question examples

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Legal research (sample practice area Criminal Litigation)

Summary of question and answer.

This sample question and discussion of answer is an example of a legal research assessment in the context of Criminal Litigation. This is a computer-based assessment.

You have 60 minutes to carry out the research and complete your written answer. Note that, while the subject matter of the research will be within the broad heading of the practice area in which the assessment is set, it may be outside the scope of the Functioning Legal Knowledge, thus requiring research.

You will be provided with sources for the legal research assessment. These may include both primary and secondary sources. Some of the sources provided may not be relevant.

Please note that this SQE2 sample Criminal Litigation legal research question was prepared on the basis of the law in force on 28 November 2023.

For further detail see the SQE2 Assessment Specification .

View/download the complete question and answer

Legal research (Criminal Litigation) (PDF 802KB)

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The University of Melbourne

Selecting and Developing a Law Research Topic

  • Introduction

Selecting a Topic

Developing a Thesis

Checking the Novelty of the Thesis

  • Referencing and citing

legal research question examples

Table of contents

  • Finding a Topic
  • Novel Cases
  • Unresolved Legal Issues
  • Journal Articles
  • Law Library Catalogue - e-books & print materials
  • Developing Your Thesis
  • Online Resources
  • What is a Novelty Check?
  • Reviewing Journal Databases
  • Reviewing Books & E-books
  • Review Pending Scholarship
  • Checking the Status of a Case
  • Checking the Status of an Act
  • Monitoring Your Topic, Cases & Statutes
  • Contact a Law Librarian
  • Other Research Guides
  • Next: Selecting a Topic >>
  • Last Updated: Sep 8, 2023 10:19 AM
  • URL: https://unimelb.libguides.com/law_research_topic

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  • Knowledge Base
  • Starting the research process
  • 10 Research Question Examples to Guide Your Research Project

10 Research Question Examples to Guide your Research Project

Published on October 30, 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on October 19, 2023.

The research question is one of the most important parts of your research paper , thesis or dissertation . It’s important to spend some time assessing and refining your question before you get started.

The exact form of your question will depend on a few things, such as the length of your project, the type of research you’re conducting, the topic , and the research problem . However, all research questions should be focused, specific, and relevant to a timely social or scholarly issue.

Once you’ve read our guide on how to write a research question , you can use these examples to craft your own.

Note that the design of your research question can depend on what method you are pursuing. Here are a few options for qualitative, quantitative, and statistical research questions.

Other interesting articles

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Methodology

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

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Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

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120 Law Research Paper Topics

How to choose a topic for your law research paper:.

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Business Law Research Paper Topics:

  • The impact of intellectual property laws on innovation in the technology industry
  • The legal implications of data breaches and cybersecurity in the business sector
  • The role of corporate social responsibility in shaping business law and regulations
  • The legal challenges of international business transactions and cross-border disputes
  • The impact of antitrust laws on competition and market dynamics
  • The legal framework for protecting consumer rights in e-commerce
  • The legal implications of employee privacy rights in the digital age
  • The role of business law in regulating corporate governance and preventing corporate misconduct
  • The legal challenges of regulating emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain
  • The legal implications of environmental regulations on business operations and sustainability
  • The role of business law in promoting fair trade and preventing unfair business practices
  • The legal challenges of regulating online platforms and the sharing economy
  • The impact of labor laws on employee rights and workplace regulations
  • The legal implications of international trade agreements and their impact on domestic businesses
  • The role of business law in protecting intellectual property rights in the creative industries

Criminal Law Research Paper Topics:

  • The impact of mandatory minimum sentencing laws on the criminal justice system
  • The role of forensic evidence in criminal investigations and trials
  • The effectiveness of rehabilitation programs in reducing recidivism rates
  • The ethical implications of using plea bargaining in criminal cases
  • The relationship between mental illness and criminal behavior
  • The use of technology in preventing and investigating cybercrimes
  • The impact of racial profiling on the criminal justice system
  • The legal and ethical considerations of the death penalty
  • The role of eyewitness testimony in criminal trials
  • The impact of drug policies on crime rates and public health
  • The legal and social implications of juvenile justice reform
  • The use of DNA evidence in exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals
  • The role of criminal law in addressing domestic violence
  • The impact of hate crime legislation on preventing and prosecuting hate crimes
  • The legal and ethical considerations of surveillance and privacy rights in criminal investigations

International Law Research Paper Topics:

  • The impact of international human rights law on state sovereignty
  • The role of international criminal law in addressing war crimes and crimes against humanity
  • The effectiveness of international environmental law in combating climate change
  • The legal implications of cyber warfare in the context of international law
  • The challenges and opportunities of international trade law in the era of globalization
  • The role of international humanitarian law in protecting civilians during armed conflicts
  • The legal framework for the protection of cultural heritage in times of armed conflict
  • The legal implications of state-sponsored terrorism under international law
  • The role of international law in addressing the refugee crisis and protecting the rights of refugees
  • The legal aspects of territorial disputes and the role of international law in resolving them
  • The impact of international investment law on foreign direct investment and economic development
  • The legal framework for the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights under international law
  • The role of international law in addressing transnational organized crime
  • The legal implications of the use of force in self-defense under international law
  • The challenges and opportunities of international law in regulating emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and autonomous weapons

Law Enforcement Research Paper Topics:

  • The impact of community policing on crime rates
  • Racial profiling and its effects on law enforcement practices
  • The use of body-worn cameras in improving police accountability
  • The role of technology in modern law enforcement
  • The effectiveness of intelligence-led policing in preventing terrorism
  • Police use of force: examining policies and training methods
  • The relationship between mental health and law enforcement interactions
  • The impact of social media on law enforcement investigations
  • Police corruption and strategies for prevention
  • The role of law enforcement in addressing domestic violence
  • The use of predictive policing algorithms in crime prevention
  • The challenges and benefits of implementing restorative justice in law enforcement
  • The role of law enforcement in combating human trafficking
  • The impact of drug decriminalization on law enforcement efforts
  • The effectiveness of community-based alternatives to incarceration in reducing recidivism rates

Constitutional Law Research Paper Topics:

  • The impact of the First Amendment on freedom of speech in the digital age
  • Analyzing the constitutionality of affirmative action policies in higher education
  • The role of the Supreme Court in shaping the interpretation of the Second Amendment
  • Exploring the constitutionality of warrantless surveillance programs in the United States
  • The constitutional implications of the death penalty in the context of cruel and unusual punishment
  • Analyzing the constitutionality of presidential executive orders and their limits
  • The constitutional rights of non-citizens and the balance between national security and civil liberties
  • The impact of the Fourth Amendment on privacy rights in the era of technological advancements
  • The constitutionality of restrictions on religious freedom in the United States
  • Analyzing the constitutional implications of the war on drugs and its impact on individual rights
  • The role of the judiciary in protecting reproductive rights and the constitutionality of abortion laws
  • The constitutional implications of the use of military force and executive power in times of war
  • Analyzing the constitutionality of campaign finance regulations and their impact on free speech
  • The constitutional rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and the evolution of marriage equality
  • The balance between national security and civil liberties in the context of surveillance and intelligence gathering

Environmental Law Research Paper Topics:

  • The role of international environmental law in addressing climate change
  • The effectiveness of environmental impact assessments in ensuring sustainable development
  • Legal implications of biodiversity conservation and protection
  • The legal framework for regulating pollution from industrial activities
  • The role of environmental justice in addressing environmental inequalities
  • Legal challenges and opportunities in transitioning to renewable energy sources
  • The legal implications of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture
  • The role of environmental law in protecting and managing water resources
  • Legal frameworks for addressing marine pollution and protecting marine ecosystems
  • The legal aspects of waste management and recycling
  • The role of environmental law in promoting sustainable urban development
  • Legal challenges in regulating and mitigating air pollution
  • The legal framework for protecting indigenous rights and traditional knowledge in environmental conservation
  • The role of environmental law in addressing deforestation and promoting sustainable forestry practices
  • Legal implications of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, in environmental governance

Family Law Research Paper Topics:

  • The impact of divorce on children’s mental health
  • The role of domestic violence in child custody disputes
  • Same-sex marriage and adoption rights: A comparative analysis
  • The legal implications of surrogacy and assisted reproductive technologies
  • Parental alienation syndrome: Legal and psychological perspectives
  • The effectiveness of prenuptial agreements in protecting individual assets
  • The legal rights of grandparents in child custody battles
  • The impact of substance abuse on child custody determinations
  • The legal and ethical considerations of international child abduction cases
  • The role of family courts in protecting victims of domestic violence
  • The legal implications of cohabitation and common-law relationships
  • The impact of social media on divorce proceedings and child custody disputes
  • The legal rights of unmarried fathers in child custody cases
  • The role of child support in ensuring the financial well-being of children
  • The legal and ethical considerations of assisted suicide in cases of terminal illness within families

Employment Law Research Paper Topics:

  • Discrimination in the workplace: Analyzing the impact of anti-discrimination laws on employment practices
  • The gig economy and its implications for employment law: Examining the legal challenges faced by gig workers
  • Workplace harassment and its legal consequences: Investigating the effectiveness of anti-harassment policies
  • The role of social media in employment law: Exploring the legal boundaries of monitoring employees’ online activities
  • Employee privacy rights in the digital age: Analyzing the balance between employers’ interests and employees’ privacy expectations
  • The impact of minimum wage laws on employment rates: Evaluating the economic effects of minimum wage legislation
  • Non-compete agreements and their enforceability: Assessing the legal limitations and implications of non-compete clauses
  • Workplace safety regulations and their enforcement: Examining the effectiveness of occupational health and safety laws
  • The legal implications of workplace drug testing: Analyzing the balance between employers’ interests and employees’ privacy rights
  • The rights of employees with disabilities: Investigating the legal obligations of employers to accommodate disabled workers
  • Whistleblower protection laws and their effectiveness: Assessing the legal safeguards for employees who report wrongdoing
  • The legal implications of employee surveillance: Analyzing the boundaries of workplace monitoring and its impact on employee rights
  • Employment contracts and their enforceability: Examining the legal requirements and limitations of employment agreements
  • The legal obligations of employers in cases of workplace violence: Investigating the duty of employers to provide a safe working environment
  • The impact of technology on employment law: Exploring the legal challenges posed by automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics in the workplace

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230 Law Research Paper Topics to Write About

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When it comes to legal topics for research papers, students have plenty of options. Whether you're interested in exploring issues related to criminal, corporate, or constitutional law, there are many topics from which you can choose. The first step is the selection of a subject that you find exciting and engaging. This part will provide the foundation for excellent law research paper topics. Students need to understand law topics they can work on by exploring what a perfect legal research topic covers. In this article by our law essay writing service , we provide engaging, easy, unique, and trending legal topics to help you choose one which fits your interests. We have also classified different legal topics into their respective branches: business, banking, finance, civil rights, constitutional, corporate, criminal, international, education, immigration, entertainment, employment, family, environmental and animal laws. This post will act as a stepping stone to writing a successful paper in any of these legal fields. Let us begin by understanding legal research paper topics.

What Are Legal Research Paper Topics

Legal research paper topics focus on analyzing and interpreting laws and their historical development. The papers will look into legal issues, including constitutional, criminal, civil rights, labor, international, and environmental laws. These topics can provide an exciting and essential lens through which you can analyze and discuss various policies. Such knowledge is crucial in helping students identify changes that a country has gone through over time, develop an understanding of the legal system, and build solid arguments on legal issues. You will need to identify how to select a topic for your paper, which is why our professional paper writers suggest searching for legal topics for research paper thoroughly before you begin writing.

What Makes a Good Legal Research Topic?

Good law research paper topics can be framed around a legal issue, case study, or legislative development. You want to select an excellent legal research topic that meets the following criteria:

  • Relevance: The topic should be relevant to current events, policies, or practices.
  • Uniqueness: Choose a unique and interesting topic so your research will stand out from the rest.
  • Manageable scope: Ensure you select an area with adequate learning resources for the intended project.
  • Accessibility: Ensure that you can easily access resources related to the topic.
  • Practicality: Select a topic that can be applied to real-world scenarios.
  • Clarity of purpose: Identify the goal of your research and make sure your chosen topic aligns with it.
  • Accountability: Choose a topic where research results can be verified and replicated.
  • Sustainability: Consider the long-term implications of the chosen topic to ensure it will be relevant in the future.

How to Choose Topics in Law?

In the process of selecting law topics , it is essential to consider a personal purpose for which you are writing. For example, are you looking to inform, explore, or argue a position? Once you have identified the goal, you can choose an appropriate topic more easily.

Step 1:  Start familiarizing yourself with relevant acts and legislations as well as legal concepts through internet and library research. This will help you narrow your focus while identifying a potential topic.

Step 2:  Do extensive research to determine current legal issues related to your topic. Use various sources such as books, newspapers, magazines, websites, databases, etc.

Step 3:  Make sure you select an area or concept that is manageable in scope and has enough resources for your intended project.

Step 4:  Think of how you can make your topic more exciting or unique. Questions that should be considered include "What point of view could I take?" or "How can I approach the topic differently?"

Step 5:  Brainstorm and develop a list of possible law research topics to choose from. Once you have identified several potential issues, evaluate them based on your research to determine which topic you should select.

Properly following these steps, you can find a good law research paper topic that is interesting and relevant to the specific field. In case you require expert assistance with the writing process upon topic selection, feel free to approach our academic writing service. Our writers are well-versed in different fields, including law, and can produce outstanding studies upon ‘ write my research paper for me ’ request.

Law Research Paper Topics

Law project topics allow students to choose from matters related to legal issues. These topics are often comprehensive in scope and require extensive research for the student to make a convincing argument in their papers. Look at this list of potential law research paper topics that students can use to write their essays:

  • Right of self-defense in the United States.
  • Immigration regulations and their impact on society.
  • Use of DNA evidence in criminal justice systems.
  • Anti-discrimination regulations in different countries.
  • Intellectual property rights protection in the digital age.
  • Cybercrime and its impact on businesses.
  • Impact of tax laws on companies.
  • Freedom of expression in the media.
  • Juvenile justice: a comparison across different countries.
  • Corporate social responsibility and its effect on business reputation.
  • Human rights versus national security.
  • Use of technology in law enforcement.
  • International trade and its impact on globalization.
  • Social media censorship regulations.
  • Human trafficking as a modern form of slavery.

Interesting Legal Topics

Different students have different interests, and legal topics are no exception. Your own ideas can be an excellent starting point for you to decide which path to take for the research. Below are some interesting law topics we have written for you to choose from:

  • Worldwide legal systems: structures, history, principles, and processes.
  • Legal theory and its implications in genetics.
  • Legal developments in technology, including implications and trends.
  • Legal concepts between countries, including similarities and differences in systems and principles.
  • Legal effects in cyber security and liabilities associated with data protection.
  • Legal issues related to gender equality.
  • Legal developments in international human rights and legal obligations.
  • Legal frameworks and regulations governing environmental protection.
  • Legal issues related to corporate governance and protections for shareholders.
  • Developments in labor laws , including theories of worker protection.
  • Legal frameworks driving international trade and underlying economic regulation principles.
  • Legal concepts related to intellectual property and rewards for innovators.
  • Legal issues pertaining to constitutional regulations and implications of executive power.
  • Legal developments in taxation and obligations concerning taxes imposed by the government.
  • Theories developed through legal precedents and decisions from various jurisdictions.

Trending Legal Topics

Today, with changes in laws, technology, and other factors altering the legal aspect of everyday life, we find a significant number of trends that affect legal decisions. Students are looking for great topic ideas for law research paper that will help them connect their essays to everyday changes and attain a good grade. Whether it's a recent legal issue or an emerging topic law, there is plenty of material available to explore when looking for a topic to write about. Please see some current law topics that may inspire your next research paper:

  • Impact of social media on legal decision-making.
  • Proposals to overhaul immigration regulations.
  • Drone regulations and their implications on companies' investment in technology.
  • Growing influence of artificial intelligence on the legal profession.
  • Digital copyright laws and their impact on innovation.
  • The role of genetics in criminal justice proceedings.
  • Impact of climate change on international regulations.
  • Pros and cons of legalizing recreational marijuana.
  • Differences between state and federal regulations regarding gun control.
  • How technology is changing the legal practice.
  • Privacy issues in the workplace.
  • Recent changes in tax laws and their impact.
  • Role of technology in criminal trials.
  • Impact of social media on employment regulations.
  • Growing use of alternative dispute resolution methods in the legal system.

Unique Law Research Topic

Uniqueness is everything for students in research papers since an outstanding topic can be a stepping stone to scoring high grades. If you are looking for law paper topics that will grab your reader's attention while still attracting the professor's interest, look no further. We have compiled a list of 15 unique topics for law research paper as an easy way to get you started:

  • The impact of corporate social responsibility in legal settings.
  • Online privacy and cybersecurity: challenges and regulations.
  • Legal implications of artificial intelligence development.
  • The role of cybercrime in a digital age.
  • An analysis of international human rights policies.
  • Environmental regulations and their implications for global sustainability.
  • The importance of the fourth amendment in the United States constitution.
  • An analysis of the impact of tax laws on businesses.
  • The role of technology in criminal law enforcement.
  • Exploring the implications of intellectual property laws.
  • The use of social media and its effects on privacy rules and regulations.
  • Regulations governing cryptocurrency markets.
  • Data protection regulations: a global analysis.
  • Drug regulations and their impact on society.
  • Exploring the role of international humanitarian code in conflict resolution.

These topics will surely get you started on an intriguing research paper! With their help, you will write a captivating essay to engage and inform your readers.

Easy Legal Topics for Research Papers

Choosing easy legal paper topics can help you develop a practical as well as an efficient research paper for your studies. However, students studying law-related courses can find it challenging to pick suitable legal topics for research paper. To make this task easier, here are some issues you can choose from to write an excellent law paper:

  • Should the death penalty be banned?
  • Acts regulating cyber crime.
  • The right to privacy and digital security.
  • Legal principles of animal protection.
  • The role of the U.S. justice system in protecting the mentally ill.
  • The impact of international conventions on national laws.
  • Freedom of expression and censorship issues.
  • Defining hate speech.
  • Access to authorized services for underprivileged groups.
  • Is domestic violence a private matter or a public issue?
  • Drug abuse among juveniles and the role of the justice system.
  • Ethical issues in medical law.
  • Laws affecting refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Human rights violations in war-torn countries.
  • Efforts by the legal system to counter cybercrime.

Best Legal Research Topics in Different Law Branches

Law has a range of branches from which students can select ideas for their papers. Legal research topics for law students can be pretty challenging, especially when your professor requires you to tackle a topic in a specific branch. Branches for law topics to use in legal research paper highlighted in this blog include laws in business, banking and finance, civil rights, constitutional, corporate, criminal, international, immigration, education, entertainment, employment, family, environmental, and animal law topics. See below for the specialized categories of law topics for essays.

Business Law Topics for Research Papers

Business law forms the foundation for modern legal studies, providing frameworks that govern businesses and corporate operations. The business law research paper topics you select should be highly relevant to business and legal frameworks. Here are some legal topics to write about:

  • Different business contracts and their legal implications.
  • Business strategies for protecting intangible property rights.
  • The role of corporate boards in business decision-making processes.
  • Code of conduct for federal employees: rights and responsibilities.
  • Businesses' responsibilities in recognizing as well as enforcing collective bargaining agreements.
  • Business regulations limiting companies' ability to engage in anti-competitive practices.
  • Legal considerations for corporate consolidation business deals.
  • Business regulations when conducting business across borders.
  • The moral implications of business decisions and policies.
  • The importance of business regulations for organizations and institutions.

Find more  business law topics for research paper  by browsing one more blog.

Banking and Finance Law Topics

The banking sector is crucial for our economic system, and banking laws are vital to its proper functioning. Banks and financial organizations help us store, exchange, and manage money, and students in the banking and finance law field learn the regulations governing these activities. Let us look at these ten banking and finance law research topics that you can choose from:

  • The impact of new technologies on financial regulations.
  • Regulatory responses to banking crises around the world.
  • How usury laws affect interest rates and redit accessibility.
  • An analysis of recent bank mergers and aquisitions.
  • Investigating a link between financial stability and monetary policy.
  • An analysis of banking secrecy laws in different countries.
  • The impact of money laundering regulations on financial systems.
  • How terrorism financing regulations affect bank security.
  • A comparative study of consumer protection laws in banking systems.
  • Examining the effects of tax havens on the global banking system.

>> View more: Financial Research Topics

Civil Rights Topics of Law

The civil rights movement and the laws that followed have had a lasting impact on our lives today. Many of these issues remain relevant, so it is essential to research civil rights topics better to understand the complexities as well as implications of civil rights. Here are ten civil rights research paper topics to help you get started:

  • The civil rights movement and its legacy.
  • The role of civil disobedience in civil rights reform.
  • Voting rights and racial discrimination.
  • Education equality through civil rights regulations.
  • Limitations to civil liberties within the bill of rights.
  • Civil rights protection for LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • Immigration laws and civil rights violations.
  • Racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
  • Women's civil rights issues.
  • The role of civil engagement in civil rights reform.

Constitutional Law Research Paper Topics

Constitutional law is a complex and fascinating field of study that examines how constitutional rights are enforced, interpreted, as well as applied in different jurisdictions. Provided legal essay topics are an excellent starting point. If you're looking for constitutional law topics for research papers to write about, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • The role of the Supreme Court in protecting constitutional rights.
  • How states can limit constitutional rights and the applicability of constitutional principles to state regulations.
  • The implications of constitutional amendments on protection for vulnerable populations.
  • Examine the constitutional right to privacy in relation to technology and data collection practices.
  • The constitutional framework for constitutional protections of religious freedom.
  • The protection of constitutional rights in the context of police searches and seizures.
  • An analysis of constitutional laws regarding the right to bear arms and gun control regulations across different states.
  • Examine constitutional protections for freedom of speech and the implications of hate speech laws.
  • The constitutional framework for reproductive rights, including access to abortion services.
  • An exploration of constitutional regulations on voting rights and electoral integrity in different jurisdictions.

Combine this area with some historical facts for example. History research paper topics  that we created for students may help. 

Corporate Law Paper Topics

Research in corporate law can provide insight into the structure that shapes corporate entities, their operations, as well as corporate accountability. Here are ten corporate law research paper topics to consider for your next research project:

  • How does corporate social responsibility (CSR) affect corporate performance?
  • What systems are in place to ensure corporate accountability?
  • Impact of financial regulation on corporate compliance and risk management.
  • The legal implications of corporate mergers & acquisitions activities.
  • Role of contract laws in governing corporate agreements.
  • How does corporate tax law influence corporate decisions?
  • Legal protections for corporate I.P. rights.
  • Types of corporate fraud and misconduct and available remedies.
  • Corporate law considerations for multinational corporate entities.
  • Corporate securities regulation and its implications for corporate activity.

Criminal Law Topics for Essays

Criminal law focuses on studying the implications of criminal behavior and activities. These law research paper topics list can help you find a clear direction for criminal essays. Criminologists in practice and students can choose from the list of legal topics for essay we have outlined below:

  • Criminal justice reform impact on indigenous people.
  • How does the justice system treat people of different backgrounds and identity?
  • Impact of immigration on criminal activity.
  • Cybercrime: an analysis of law enforcement practices.
  • Exploring sentencing policies for juvenile offenders.
  • Assessing the effectiveness of restorative justice processes.
  • Defense strategies in criminal trials.
  • Role of media representations in shaping perceptions of crime.
  • Future of capital punishment as a deterrent for serious crimes.
  • The impact of dna technologies on criminal investigations and prosecutions.

>> Read more: Criminal Justice Research Paper Topics

International Law Research Topics

You can brainstorm different legal research questions from the branch of international law to help you choose one to focus on. This field covers international agreements, organizations, dispute resolution, as well as criminal justice issues. This makes it a wide-ranging body of research with many potential areas of study. Here are ten international topics for research papers to consider:

  • The impact of globalization on international trade.
  • How do international organizations contribute to peacekeeping and conflict resolution?
  • How the law of the sea affects maritime disputes.
  • How do international regulations protect global environmental resources?
  • Organizations' role in establishing international legal norms.
  • Legal obligations ensuring fair international trade.
  • Laws and their role in addressing international criminal activity.
  • Challenges arising from attempts to enforce international law in the developing countries.
  • What is the importance of international law?
  • Laws providing international protection to refugees.

Immigration Law Topics for Research Paper

Globalization has helped create a diverse population in many countries but intensified immigration. Exploring the following law research paper ideas will help you pick a good topic for your paper. Here are ten immigration law research paper topics to get you started:

  • Immigration law and human rights.
  • Challenges of establishing immigration regulations in the U.S.
  • Immigration policy role in fighting terrorism.
  • Unauthorized immigrants' impact on local economies.
  • Refugee protection under international law .
  • Family-based immigration policies.
  • Challenges faced by immigrant students in K-12 education.
  • The legality of immigration detention.
  • Rights and responsibilities of undocumented workers.
  • Impact of immigration regulations impact on national security.

Education Law Topics for Legal Research Papers

The legal field of education examines issues related to educational institutions as well as students themselves. It covers student rights, teacher/staff responsibilities, disciplinary procedures, school safety, harassment, and funding. You will definitely find education law fascinating after reading through these topics, which also gives you a chance to choose one topic that interests you most. Here are ten legal writing topics to explore in this field:

  • The legal rights of school administrators and teachers.
  • Student legal rights in disciplinary actions.
  • Legal requirements for special education students.
  • Parental legal rights and responsibilities in school matters.
  • Legal aspects of student privacy issues in classrooms and online.
  • Legal issues related to the use of technology in schools.
  • Legal issues related to school safety and security.
  • Legal implications of religious expression in public schools.
  • Legal aspects of the No Child Left Behind act.
  • Legal requirements for student access to educational resources.

There is one more blog in our library that will provide you with more ideas in this field. Browse different research questions on education and come up with something interesting. 

Entertainment Law Research Topics

Entertainment law covers the connection between entertainment, intellectual property rights, and business. Students need to have several law research paper topic ideas to explore legal issues surrounding entertainment. Here are ten entertainment law essay topics to explore:

  • Impact of digital music streaming on copyright rules and regulations.
  • Importance of privacy rights in social media.
  • Legal implications of celebrity endorsements.
  • Overview of film production agreements.
  • Music publishers' role in the entertainment industry.
  • A study of intellectual property rights and the impact on organizational creativity.
  • Regulation of online gaming platforms from a legal perspective.
  • Role of trademark regulation in sports broadcasting.
  • How to protect a brand in entertainment industry from unauthorized use.
  • Consumer protection laws and their impact on the music industry.

Employment Law Research Paper Topics

Writing a research paper on employment law provides an opportunity to explore current areas related to employment rights and responsibilities. The following are some potential employment law paper topics:

  • The history and development of employment regulation in the U.S.
  • Employment discrimination laws and their efficacy in reducing workplace discrimination.
  • How employment laws affect contract negotiations.
  • A comparison between employment regulations in the united states and other countries.
  • State employment rules and their impact on employment practices.
  • Legal implications of employment-at-will.
  • Employment law and the impact of recent employment legislation.
  • How employment code have changed over time to address employment disputes.
  • The relationship between employment law and employment unions.
  • How employment regulations have evolved to address remote employment arrangements.

Family Law Legal Topics to Write About

In everyday life, family law deals with relationships between family members, including marriage, adoption, and child custody. It covers various issues, from divorce to prenuptial agreements. If you are looking for legal topics for research paper in family law to write about, here are some suggestions:

  • Legal process of adoption and its implications.
  • Parent's rights in a divorce.
  • Legal aspects of prenuptial agreements.
  • Post-divorce legal issues: alimony, child custody, and visitation rights.
  • Regulations governing surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology.
  • Financial responsibilities during a divorce or separation.
  • Legal rights of same-sex couples in adoption and divorce.
  • Legal implications of domestic abuse.
  • Grandparent visitation rights after divorce.
  • Legal process of estate planning and inheritance in family law cases.

Environmental Law Research Paper Topics

Environmental law focuses on studying as well as implementing important environmental regulations, such as pollution control or wildlife conservation. These environmental research paper topics can guide writing an essay that will definitely help you get a good grade. Here are ten potential legal research paper topics to explore in this field:

  • Global warming: legal implications in developed countries.
  • Environmental regulations impact on private property.
  • An analysis of the EPA's regulation of air quality.
  • International regulations role in combating marine pollution.
  • An examination of endangered species legislation.
  • A comparison between the U.S. and E.U. environmental regulations.
  • Economic implications of carbon taxes.
  • An evaluation of international efforts to combat climate change.
  • A study of U.S. environmental regulations and their impact on businesses.
  • The use of international courts for resolving disputes related to the environment.

Animal Law Topics to Research

Animal law is increasingly gaining attention as animal rights lawyers and activists fight for recognition in the justice system. We consider animals an essential part of nature, and their protection has become vital. With this growing interest, research papers are becoming more popular among students as well as animal advocates. To help you get started on your animal law research paper topics, here is a list to explore:

  • Animal sentience and its implications for animal law.
  • Legal recognition of animal rights.
  • Current status of animal welfare practices in the U.S.
  • International animal protection laws and regulations.
  • Judicial decisions on an animal cruelty case.
  • Effectiveness of animal rights advocacy groups.
  • Animal experimentation: ethical considerations and legal implications.
  • What is the impact of the animal rights movement on society?
  • The role of animal law in environmental protection.
  • Animal hoarding and the legal consequences of owning multiple animals.

Final Thoughts on Law & Legal Topics for Research Papers

When it comes to legal research paper topics, there is no shortage of ideas. From criminal and civil laws to international issues, the legal field presents a wide range of potential topics for your research paper. Be sure to narrow down your topic to ensure that you can adequately cover the issue you are writing about in your essay. Additionally, consulting resources, including scholarly articles, is important as you conduct your research. Doing so will help ensure that your paper provides adequate as well as accurate information. With the right law research topic, you can write an effective as well as engaging essay to help you stand out in the profession.

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Law 627: Legal Research: Unit 2: Planning & Process

  • Unit 1: Overview
  • Unit 2: Planning & Process
  • Unit 3: Courts
  • Unit 4: Cases
  • Unit 5: Statutes
  • Unit 6: Regulations
  • Legal Encyclopedias
  • Restatements, Uniform Laws & Model Acts
  • Legal Periodicals
  • American Law Reports
  • Unit 8: Intermediation
  • Unit 9: Searching
  • Unit 10: Putting It All Together

Unit 2: Overview

This page will provide you with an outline of legal research planning and process.

At the end of this lesson you should be able to:

  • Summarize the basic steps for tackling a legal research problem
  • Identify strategies for breaking a research problem into manageable components
  • Articulate the value of legal research planning

Unit 2: Readings

Principles of Legal Research (3rd Ed.), Ch. 1, pp. 13-30  (§ §  1.2 and 1.3)

Legal Research in a Nutshell ( 14th  Ed . ), Ch. 1, pp. 23-30  (§ 1-7)

So, How Do I Make a Plan?

If there is no right way then how does one make a legal research plan? Well, start with a self-assessment. You probably have a sense of what comes more naturally to you, as well as where your strengths and weakness lie. Remember the best method is the one that helps you to stay on task, tracks where you have been, and guides you to the information you need. A basic research plan will break down your questions into specific research tasks, identify sources to use in your research, and begin to identify search terms.

man drawing sports game plan

  • Checklist A legal research checklist is a list of steps and sources to be considered. The checklist format serves as a reminder of the considerations you should move through as you research. The checklist format also allows a researcher to easily assess what he or she has done so far--which is helpful so you do not waste time accidentally repeating your research. A checklist will, however, likely require a corollary log or some other method of note keeping.
  • Checklist - Exam Compatible Reformatted to work with ExamSoft
  • Legal Research Guided Template Some researchers prefer a more guided tool, especially as they are first learning. A guided template is helpful during the planning phase, but can be utilized throughout the research process. Users of a guided template should be careful, however, to maintain flexibility beyond the document. While a guided template is very useful, every research problem is different and researchers must be prepared to deviate as needed.
  • Legal Research Guided Template - Exam Compatible Reformatted to work with ExamSoft
  • Legal Research Log A legal research log is simply a record of where you have looked and what you have searched. Some researchers like to incorporate the legal research plan into their search log. After breaking the research problem apart, use the log to identify your first steps. Keep track of the results and reassess and reevaluate your path along the way.
  • Log Template - Exam Compatible Reformatted to work with ExamSoft

Legal Research Process

You may have heard or read the phrase "legal research process" before. This phrase refers to the steps undertaken by a legal researcher in order to meet their research objective. While a singular phrase, legal research process, is often used to talk about research activities, there is no one process that is uniformly best every time for every problem. There are, however, certain steps every researcher should employ along the way. The order of these steps--or even the inclusion of a step--may vary depending on a variety of factors including how much you know before you start and the scope of the project.

gears in motion with arrows showing greas moving in opposite directions

For example, if you are an experienced personal injury attorney researching in an area of law you know well you may spend less time on the beginning steps than a novice researcher.

Plan and Organize Your Research

The first step for any researcher should be to plan out your path. This step, though often the most overlooked, is one of the most valuable. Spending just a little time on planning can be the key to efficient and effective research results.

  • "Untangle" the problem:

Your research problem will often start as a cumbersome memo from a senior attorney or result from a mass of notes scribbled during a client interview. It is important to begin by reviewing what information you have and separating out the parts. Who are the players? What is the jurisdiction? Which details are superfluous? Which details are operative facts? And, most importantly, what is the issue (or issues) you need to research?

At this stage it is also important to make sure you understand the scope of what you are being asked to do, the desired work product (deliverable), and any relevant time or money limitations.

  • Identify key knowledge gaps:

Once the research problem has been broken into parts and the key issues have been identified, a broader picture will emerge. At this stage a legal researcher must identify his or her own knowledge gaps. Take note of broad themes, key terms, and basic background areas you will need to explore.

  • Draft an actual plan:

It is not enough to simply think about what you will do--you need to keep a written plan. Keeping a written plan will help you use your time efficiently. A research plan will identify where you need to go and what you need to gather, as well as keep track of where you have been. It is easy to forget a step when you do not have a guide to reference along the way. Look to the left-hand column of this page for more information about making a research plan.

  • Keep notes :

As you move through the preliminary stage of your plan be sure to keep notes, and continue to take notes along the way. Some researchers like to keep a formal log. Others like to jot down comments on the sources they find. Using digital organization opportunities, such as the foldering systems on Lexis+ or Westlaw Edge or digital workspace platforms like Evernote, can be another way to keep track of and annotate your project. There is no right way to keep track of your research. It is important though that whatever method you use your notes are organized, detailed, and complete. It is likely you will need to refer back to them many times.

Use Commentary to Define and Understand Issues

When attacking a research problem, begin with building on what you already know about the problem and its area of law. Identify the gaps in your knowledge base and try to bridge them with background reading. Secondary sources can be a helpful review or a great starting place if you are unfamiliar with the subject.

Secondary sources will help you flesh out the steps above and fill in any holes. Background reading should help you confirm the appropriate jurisdiction for your legal issue, whether federal or state law applies, and identify the types of authority involved (i.e. whether the issues are governed by case law, statutory law, administrative law or a combination).

Secondary sources will also help you identify any “terms of art” specific to this area of law. These terms will help you refine your search queries. Additionally, secondary sources will often cite directly to governing statutes and regulations and cite to key case law. This makes them an ideal starting point for searching for primary law.

Find Relevant Primary Sources in the Applicable Jurisdiction (cases, statutes, regulations)

Secondary sources are the best with which to start legal research, but to answer your legal question you will need to find relevant primary sources. Some ways to locate primary sources are:

  • Using finding tools (Intermediation)

Remember, there are a whole host of tools which can assist you in your research. If you discovered a citation during your background reading, you can use these tools to turn that citation into a jumping off point. Likewise, if your prior reading revealed a term of art important to your topic, try using an index or the topic and key number system to get started.

  • Searching and evaluating results

After working with the finding tools, you may still need to conduct some traditional searching in one of the legal databases. Keep in mind the value of controlling your search results with Boolean searching and search filters.

Restate and Refine

As your legal research progresses, you will likely come across new terms, or even new issues. It is important to take time throughout the research process to assess what you have done so far. Did you miss anything after you became familiar with the area of law? Does your issue statement need to be refined? Do you have new sub-issues which you must address?

Consider the Law of Other Jurisdictions (Persuasive Primary Sources)

If after your reassessment you are not finding enough primary authority to answer your question, it may be time to consider law outside your jurisdiction. If you have not been tracking this all along, go back and rerun some of your searches with a broader scope in mind.

Update and Verify

It is always important to make sure the law you are using is "good law," meaning that it has not been overruled (such as with a case) or superseded (such as with a statute or regulation). It is considered professional incompetence to fail to accurately verify the status of a precedent.

You may have been checking this as you uncovered sources. If your research is being done in small time window (for example, a day), this is likely sufficient. If you are working on a project over several days or weeks, it is imperative that you take a moment when finished to ensure nothing has changed since you started the project.

Remember, law is a living entity and constantly changing.

Know When to Stop Researching

Knowing when to stop is one of the toughest legal research skills to master. Unit 10: Putting it all Together will discuss this in greater detail.

  • << Previous: Unit 1: Overview
  • Next: Unit 3: Courts >>
  • Last Updated: Sep 6, 2023 11:47 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.law.illinois.edu/Law627

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Law Research Paper Topics Ideas to Choose From

Law students are also obligated to write research papers. This academic writing paper must include original findings, and the author should do all the interpretation, analysis, and research.

Such assignments are usually doctoral dissertations, master’s thesis, or term papers. It’s important not to confuse research proposals with law research paper topics. Research proposals are written for proposing research projects while looking for sponsorship for the whole project.

However, before you can start writing your research paper, it’s important to go through all the relevant options and pick the right one. This post will help you with that.

How to Choose Good Law Research Topics

Law Research Paper Topics

It’s absolutely essential to figure out your topic early on. It should shape all the work and effort you will have to put into writing the paper. Choosing legal topics for research papers isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

That is why some universities want to make it easier for their students to select criminal justice research topics for them. However, the majority of specialized educational institutions require students to do this themselves. The first thing that should be your main consideration is topics that you actually care about.

In other words, find a topic that you find interesting. No matter how hard the paper becomes, finishing the project will always be easier if you’re genuinely passionate about it.

Tips on Choosing a Topic

  • Choose something specific : don’t talk about broad issues. They can be very complex, finding data can be difficult, and you might not have enough time to finish this kind of topic. Narrow it down.
  • Start reading : read a variety of journals, articles, and publications that come from top sources. It will help your brainstorm ideas and find an area you are interested in.
  • Check out circuit splits : circuit splits are always good places to look for exciting and controversial topics for research paper assignments.
  • Check for information : before choosing a topic, make sure there’s enough information that can help your research.

List of Legal Research Paper Topics

In case you aren’t able to brainstorm any topics, don’t worry. We will share some topic suggestions that will work. You can use them if you want or use them as inspiration to come up with topics on your own. Let’s start with some general legal topics for research papers:

  • The nature of hate crimes and how the law looks at them
  • The connection between crime and drugs: how different laws can help
  • Why do certain countries still have capital punishment
  • How education can prevent people from breaking laws
  • How criminals use insanity defense as a loophole
  • What are the laws that regulate police interrogation
  • What rights do citizens in the US have when they are detained
  • How can governments use legal regulations to lower crime rates
  • How to prevent wrongful convictions and undo the damage
  • Why do we need better regulations regarding personal information
  • Cybercrime regulations are falling behind new technologies
  • Do laws actually prevent crimes?
  • How many people break the law without even knowing it
  • How the environment affects the level of crime
  • The strangest laws in the whole world
  • The consequences of the “cancel culture” and mob mentality
  • How the law views terrorism in different countries
  • The way jury members are selected
  • Should everyone have the right to bear arms?
  • How gun ownership and usage should be regulated
  • The role of the constitution on laws and justice system
  • Countries that have legalized cannabis and how they did it
  • Why intoxicated driving should be punished more severely
  • How laws can be used to slow down climate change
  • Mainstream media’s role in finding criminals at large

Criminal Law Topics for Research Paper

  • What does the law say about false confessions?
  • Different types of punishments for animal cruelty
  • Why the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia wasn’t legal according to international law
  • How are people’s human rights in Uganda being violated?
  • Is music piracy considered a crime?
  • How the law legislates and regulates cyberstalking
  • The limitations of confidential informants
  • How the National Security Laws of the US work
  • The different types of crime
  • Most famous criminal offenders in history

Law Enforcement Research Paper Topics

  • The fine line between the use of deadly force and enforcing the law
  • How law enforcement was changed by terrorism
  • Legal ramifications of police entrapment
  • Are police officers allowed to ask for your ID and driver’s license?
  • Differences between private and public policing
  • Undercover police and its ethics code
  • How to recognize police corruption and know your rights
  • Terrorism threats change the way of policing
  • Challenges faced by officers on duty in uneducated communities
  • When does the police have the right to use deadly force?

Cyber Law Research Paper Topics

  • When are companies allowed to collect personal data?
  • Current regulations designed to prevent cybercrimes
  • What are the terms and conditions of computer software
  • The way biometrics affect cybersecurity
  • Things victims should do right away after being hacked
  • What are the laws and punishments on digital piracy
  • People should be educated better on cybersecurity laws
  • What are the sanctions for identity theft
  • Different types of crimes people commit online
  • Cybercrime regulations are outdated and here’s why

International Law Ethics Topics for Research Paper

  • The ethical obligation of NATO to Afghanistan
  • Which conditions have to be met for an international intervention to take place?
  • The role of the Hague International Court of Justice
  • Israel and Palestine conflict: whose actions are legal?
  • The regulations for international drug trafficking
  • What is Interpol, and how much power does it have?
  • When can citizens use international laws?
  • Difference between public and private international law
  • What are the standards, treaties, and conventions of international law
  • How the UN rule of law holds states accountable

Medical Law Topics

  • Should abortion be legal globally?
  • People should have the right to clean drinking water
  • Why donation of organs needs to be regulated by law
  • Is it legal to do whatever you want with your body?
  • Different approaches to mentally ill offenders
  • Reasons why advertising cigarettes is banned
  • What are public health laws, and who regulates them?
  • How are drugs regulated by the law?
  • How do legal regulations help to hold medical personnel accountable
  • Is transmitting AIDS to someone a criminal offense?

We hope our list of legal research paper topics will help you find the ideal option you’ve been looking for. Need help with writing your research paper? Check out the Studyclerk law research paper writing service . There’s no shame in getting help and letting someone teach you how to write your future papers.

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legal research question examples

Sources of legal research: Primary, secondary and the role of AI

Sneha Solanki   

December 19, 2023 · 9 minute read

Overview, list and guidance of various sources of legal research

Legal research is the systematic approach to discovering and comprehending legal data and materials to answer legal questions, support legal points, and make informed legal judgements. At its core, it’s akin to solving a jigsaw puzzle—combining elements of laws, case precedents, and expert opinions to find the necessary solutions. To conduct thorough legal research, it’s crucial to pinpoint relevant legal sources, understand their context, and then apply the law to specific scenarios.

Two of the most common resources attorneys use are primary and secondary sources. Primary resources encompass elements like constitutions, judicial decisions, statutes, and administrative rules and regulations. In addition to restating the law, secondary legal sources may provide commentary, analysis, description, explanation, or criticism.

Primary sources

The foundation of our entire legal system is firmly planted in primary sources. These sources are the primary authorities on the rules and principles of the law because they contain the first and most convincing evidence of those rules and principles.

Primary sources lay the groundwork for future legal debates, precedents, and conclusions. The judicial system relies on primary sources as a means of ensuring uniformity, fairness, and justice. Accessing fundamental documents like legislation, case law, and constitutions is like going straight to the legal system’s core. Experts in the law, like historians, need access to primary sources to fully understand the norms and notions that govern our daily lives.

Statutes  constitute the fundamental legislative framework of our legal system. They are established by legislative bodies, which may operate at the national, state, or local jurisdictional levels. Statutes contain many themes, from criminal offenses to environmental rules. They function as the fundamental basis upon which our legal framework is constructed. Like compendiums, they serve as a framework that directs the behavior of individuals, enterprises, and institutions, thereby fostering a well-organized and systematic community.

Regulations

Regulations can be understood as the practical application of statutes. Regulations provide specific and practical instructions to statutes, therefore converting abstract legal principles into tangible and implementable measures. Regulations can be conceptualized as instrumental mechanisms that facilitate the navigation of legal intricacies by governing bodies and individuals.

Case law can be understood as an ongoing interpretation and application of legal principles in real-life situations. The  development of legal precedent  is contingent upon the decisions rendered by courts in interpreting statutes and regulations within the context of particular legal disputes. The judicial system thoroughly examines the factual circumstances, legal contentions, and established principles to reach a determinative judgment in each case. These judgments establish legal precedents that serve as guiding principles for other cases of a similar nature.

Constitution

The constitution serves as the guiding instruments within a nation’s legal framework. It serves as protective mechanisms for fundamental rights and ideals, requiring all legislation to conform to these established standards. The establishment of a framework is responsible for delineating the processes involved in the creation, interpretation, and enforcement of laws.

Legal specialists acquire a comprehensive understanding of the complex dynamics of the legal system and safeguard the principles of justice, societal cohesion, and individual rights by examining statutes, regulations, case law, and constitutions.

Secondary sources

The analysis, discussion, and insights from secondary sources on primary legal writings are invaluable. Researchers benefit from their insight into the law’s background, consequences, and intricacy. Consider auxiliary resources as maps that reveal the intricate legal terrain:

Legal encyclopedias

First, there are legal encyclopedias, which are reference works that explain various concepts and  phrases used in law . Think of them as a dictionary for the language of law . Legal professionals and the general public can benefit from the encyclopedias’ concise and clear explanations of complex legal concepts.

Articles and journals

Articles and journals in the field of law can be compared to a group of experts having a fireside chat. Articles written by academics, practitioners, and law students go deeply into topics, including analyzing recent cases and examining new developments in the field. These essays deepen our comprehension of the law by offering critical analysis, contrasting perspectives, and novel ideas.

Legal treatises

Third, there are legal treatises, which can be considered comprehensive analyses of a single area of law. These  publications, written by leading solicitors , examine and explain complex legal topics at length. They help researchers navigate intricate legal topics by providing in-depth talks.

Legal commentaries

Fourth, legal commentaries provide insightful analysis of relevant statutes, court decisions, and legal principles. Researchers can better understand the effects of legal decisions and developments with the assistance of historical background, interpretations, and explanations provided by legal commentaries.

Case digests

Like a curated collection, case digests compile the most significant legal cases pertaining to a given topic. Researchers appreciate the concise summaries and highlights of these cases provided. If you’re looking for a  summary of case law  in a given field of law, a case digest is an excellent resource.

AI as a trusted source in legal research

The  next generation of AI in legal research  goes beyond traditional keyword searches by including more mature and reliable LLM capabilities. These systems are  getting better at finding useful data and gleaning insights from thick volumes of case law, statutes, and regulations.

The question of trust and reliability is important since establishing trust in AI is essential. Large language models (LLMs) are an advanced form of generative AI and lie at the center of this debate.

“ LLMs are trained by using vast amounts of data from a range of sources, including books, blogs, news articles, Wikipedia information, social media posts, and other website content. LLMs are general purpose models that ‘understand’ a wide variety of domains and language constructs because of the diversity of the data on which they are trained. “

– Expert Q&A on ChatGPT, Generative AI, and LLMs for Litigators

The scope of AI’s capabilities includes keeping tabs on the latest case law, optimizing workflow, and equipping staff members who aren’t lawyers to answer basic legal questions.

For overworked in-house counsel, AI can be a lifesaver. AI bridges the gap between insufficient resources and prohibitively expensive outside help, making legal research more widely available, more efficient, and less expensive.

The following three points apply to litigators across industries:

1. AI aids in understanding the broader context and potential ramifications of legal issues by recognizing trends, links, and anomalies in court judgments and statutes.

2. The ability to predict outcomes through predictive analysis and risk assessment is like having a virtual crystal ball. Like a watchful assistant who indicates potential dangers and advantageous terms, AI’s capacity to discover legal risks and opportunities in contracts and papers is akin to this.

3. More time and energy to  improve the substance and strategy  of legal work product instead of spending hours upon hours on the drafting and reviewing processes.

The risks without human oversight

Litigators need to be aware of LLMs current propensity to generate incorrect responses and create false impressions. LLMs can yield misleading information, even for straightforward inquiries. They may extract details from an irrelevant jurisdiction or an outdated case law, for instance.

Therefore, litigators should exercise utmost prudence. Professional judgment to verify and assess the accuracy of the outcomes is imperative.

Other sources

The Internet’s widespread availability has made it a convenient tool for conducting legal research. Google and other search engines are excellent places to begin when looking for broad overviews, recent legal developments, and fundamental legal ideas.

Legal knowledge in libraries is still a valuable resource. Law students still prefer and need access to a law library’s comprehensive collection of books, periodicals, legal encyclopedias, and historical legal documents.

Professional research tools

Legal research technology is integrating LLMs like GPT-4 to boost litigator performance. However, their use requires careful consideration by attorneys. As LLMs are trained to perform legal research using mature legal content sets, these systems are becoming more prevalent.

The advanced search tools on these tools greatly improve the speed and precision with which legal professionals may find the information they need.

A synthesis of sources

Integrating digital research tools with traditional library materials is highly recommended. In addition to the breadth and trustworthiness of print materials, many libraries now provide online access to these same resources.

When combined, these digital and physical resources provide legal scholars with an unparalleled set of resources. Legal technology like Practical Law and Westlaw offer targeted and authoritative legal knowledge, while the Internet provides broad information. The ability to efficiently, accurately, and thoroughly understand the complexities of the law may require both free resources and digital tools .

Back your research with Westlaw content and Practical law editors

Expert attorney editors maintain and regularly update a comprehensive database covering all major areas of law, making Practical Law an indispensable resource for practicing lawyers. In addition to the standard fare of legal encyclopedias, this invaluable resource also includes supplementary readings that will deepen your understanding of the law.

AI-Assisted Research on Westlaw Precision is built on our market leading content, utilizing our long history and expertise in AI.

Practical Law and Westlaw essentially show how tech progress and legal expertise can work together, transforming and boosting the impact of legal research for your firm or legal department.

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190 Unique Law Research Topics for Students to Consider

Table of Contents

If you are a law student, then obviously as a part of your studies you must write an excellent academic paper on any top law research topics. Right now, do you want to write a brilliant law research paper? Are you searching for the best law research topic ideas? If yes, then continue reading this blog post and get interesting law topics for your academic writing.

Law Research Paper Writing

A law research paper is a type of research paper that focuses on any legal topic in the world. The legal topics are nothing but the topic that deals with the legal issues that are resolved in the court.

In general, every country will have its own legal regulations and policies. More commonly, the basic rights and humanity will be the same for all the countries in the world, but specifically, you need to consider the cultural and historical peculiarities of a country while writing a law research paper.

Remember, the law is a sensitive subject and hence, when writing legal research papers, utmost care should be given. You shouldn’t add too much philosophy to it. Your research paper should answer your law essay topics properly with pure black-and-white facts.

Law Research Topics

You may think that writing a law research paper is easy. But actually, it is not. For writing an intense legal research paper, you must have a unique legal research topic. Particularly, when writing law papers, you should first research and find the legal questions relevant to your topic, analyze the various legal precedents, and present the answer to your legal question in the form of a memo by properly citing all the sources you have used for references.

Law Research Paper Topic Selection Tips

If you want to write a law research paper, then a good law research topic is what you need. Basically, the law is a complex subject, and hence choosing the right research topic from them is challenging. While selecting the legal research topic, be sure to keep the following tips in mind.

  • Your topic should not be too broad.
  • It should be informative to your audience.
  • The topic should be catchy and relevant to modern law.
  • It should contain relevant supporting materials online or in local libraries.
  • The topic should deal with relevant legal precedents.
  • It should answer all the legal essay questions.
  • Your topic should have real-life cases to illustrate your points.

List of the Best Law Research Paper Topics

Law is a popular discipline among humanitarian sciences that have a wide range of research areas. Some common law research areas include business law, commercial law, environmental law, international law, medical law, constitutional law, cyber law, family law and so on.

List of Law Research Topics Ideas

As law is a broad subject with endless research topics, it might be difficult for you to choose the most interesting idea from them. So, to make things easier, we have sorted different categories of law and listed some outstanding law research topics for you.

Have a look at the below-mentioned list of law research paper topic ideas and identify aprofound legal research topic of your choice.

Business Law Research Topics

  • What’s the true nature of business law?
  • Equity and the doctrines of business law
  • Morality and its relation to business law
  • Business laws and the parliament
  • The formulation of business regulations in Islam
  • Why are business regulations essential for institutions and organizations?
  • Business laws in Africa
  • How crucial is the constitution for the creation of business law?
  • Business law as a profession
  • The classification of the business regulations
  • Describe the Law of Contracts in the United States
  • Discuss the fundamentals of UK contract law for businesses
  • Critical evaluation of the role of the judiciary bodies in corporate law
  • Disclose an insight into contract laws with respect to the application of verbal and non-verbal agreements
  • Importance of collective bargaining agreements and laws on labor relations
  • How to deal with corruption in business law?
  • Discuss the difference between the EU and the UK after the implementation of the Brexit Contract Law
  • Discuss the protections provided to the minority shareholders in the corporate law regime of India
  • Compare and contrast the legal aspects of corporate M&A (mergers and acquisitions) in the United States and Australia
  • Analysis of the role of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition in regulating the anti-competitive practices in the market
  • Compare and contrast the legal aspects of e-commerce in the US and the UK
  • Critical analysis of the role played by the Arbitration and conciliation act in resolving business disputes
  • Compare and contrast the company law act in Australia and Canada
  • Discuss how anti-money laundering laws of a country impact businesses
  • Describe the implications of digital payment systems

Commercial Law Research Paper Topics

  • What are the dangers and potential results of commercial partnerships?
  • A comprehensive analysis of pre-incorporation contracts: How do they work?
  • Reviewing the use of international commercial law in energy projects across the globe.
  • Assessing the mediating role of corporate social responsibility in companies’ performance.
  • Evaluating the commercial laws that should be used against dishonest managers.
  • Reviewing the US commercial laws: What should be changed or added?
  • Evaluating the regulations aimed at stopping corruption: A case study of the UK.
  • Reviewing the implications of international commercial law in UK commercial laws.
  • Assessing the effectiveness of international commercial law programs in UK universities.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of commercial law to support commercial transactions in the US.
  • Critical analysis of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • Discuss the benefits of Commercial Law
  • Analyze the difficulties faced by businesses due to pursuing Regular or Commercial Lease
  • Describe the effect of business law on commercial transactions and licensing
  • Critical analysis of the labor law in Tanzania
  • Develop a comparative study on international labor standards that regulate multinational companies in developing countries

Constitutional Law Research Topics

  • The Internet and its impact on Free Speech
  • The pros and cons of federalism
  • What’s the freedom of the press?
  • The desecration and flag burning
  • A comparison between constitutions and state laws
  • What are the rights of victims of self-incrimination?
  • The pros and cons of Constitutionalism
  • All about gun control and its history in the US
  • What are the key changes that the First Amendment has brought?
  • What changes did the Bill of Rights bring?

Criminal Law Research Topics

  • Why does one crime have a set of different punishments?
  • The roots of criminologists’ work and their work in modern times
  • Can sociology have an impact on preventing crime?
  • The ethical and legal issues related to criminal activity in your country.
  • The real truth behind domestic violence
  • What is quantitative criminology, and how does it differ from other types of crime?
  • When does the international criminal court come into play?
  • Analyzing the use of lie detectors in criminal justice: How effective are the lie detectors?
  • A deeper look at the history of the death penalty.
  • The key differences between male and female rape legislation
  • Evaluating crime-related factors that should not be presented in a court of law.
  • A thematic review of criminal theory: Exploring the link between crime and morality.
  • What are the best ways to protect witnesses from retaliation in criminal cases?
  • Is criminal profiling by law enforcement truly helpful in identifying serial killers?
  • How does the criminal justice system keep an eye on police with body cameras?

Read more: Criminal Justice Research Topics Idea for students

Research Topics on Family Law

  • Evaluating the impacts of the law on divorce: Has it increased the cases of divorce or reduced them?
  • Review the important implications and reasons for changes to family law in the last 20 years.
  • Assessing the factors that hinder couples from pursuing a divorce.
  • The global issues and legal aspects of marriage and divorce of mentally unstable individuals.
  • Explore divorce and social consequences across family law and religious perspectives.
  • Analyze the legal foundations of parenting and civil partnerships.
  • Assessing human rights in states that follow religious laws for families: A case study of India.
  • Compare the divorce rights for women in Pakistan and the UK.
  • How does culture impact decision-making on transgender marriages and divorce in the US?
  • Evaluating the compatibility of child justice with family justice: A case study of the UK.

Cyber Law Research Topics

  • The main cyber laws and enforcement today
  • What are the skills of an excellent cyber lawyer?
  • How can the government impact cyberterrorism?
  • Cybercrime and cyberterrorism
  • The penalties for cybercrime
  • All about private data, revenge porn, blackmailing, and our internet privacy
  • Is it the government’s job to analyze the flow of network traffic?
  • Cyberlaw trends and how the online community sticks to them.
  • The Internet Era and identity theft: Is it a crime of modern times?
  • Categories of cybercrime and the main cybersecurity strategies against violators.

Read more: Interesting Cybercrime Research Topics To Deal With your paper

Research Ideas on Environmental Law

  • The environmental influence on the rate of crime
  • How has global environmental law changed today?
  • The importance of environmental law for the health of current generations.
  • Biological weapons and their regulations by international environmental law.
  • Will the Uber industry impact the ecology in America?
  • The current environmental regulations in the United States
  • Sustainability and environmental compliance due to environmental law and economic reality.
  • All about the environmental regulations in Canada
  • Waste management in countries with a high economic level.
  • Environmental law in Australia and climate change

Employment Law Research Topics

  • A comprehensive review of employment contracts and job contracts in the US manufacturing industry.
  • A legal viewpoint of employee mobility between European Union countries.
  • Equal employment opportunities: Comparing gender differences in the UK and US regulations.
  • Compare the UK laws before and after exiting the European Union.
  • Reviewing legal perspectives of social work employment: A case study of California, USA.
  • A comparative analysis of employment laws in the automotive industry in the US and UK.
  • Analyze the impact of trade unions and their work in the UK.
  • The convergence of employment laws and religion in the USA: A literature review.
  • Evaluating the efficiency of workplace sexual harassment: A case study of the US and UK.
  • A critical evaluation of the employment law of disabled individuals in the US.

Law Research Topics on Intellectual Property

  • Evaluating laws for intellectual property rights protection on the internet.
  • A comprehensive assessment of the economic impacts of intellectual property rights
  • Evaluating the fair dealing in terms of copyright law: A case study of the US.
  • How has EU law impacted the intellectual property regime in the UK?
  • Can the emerging technological advancements operate smoothly with the current intellectual property laws in the US?
  • Demystifying the relationship between intellectual property laws and EU regulations?
  • Comparing and contrasting the intellectual property regimes in the UK and the US.
  • Evaluating the implications of Brexit on the protection of intellectual property rights in the UK.
  • Is the EU intellectual property law safe and fair for users and owners?
  • Does the EU copyright law provide ample balance between the needs of inventors and users?
  • Comparison of the institutions and regulations governing intellectual property in China and India
  • An in-depth analysis of the UK’s invention and patenting system: Can the existing, rigid system stimulate innovation?
  • Critical analysis of the development of copyright and moral rights in the legal system of Europe
  • Infringement of foreign copyright and jurisdiction of the European Court
  • Critical analysis of the economic rationale of Trademarks
  • Analyze the emerging role of patents in innovation and intellectual property protection in the software industry
  • Peer-to-Peer Technology: Analysis of contributory infringement and fair use
  • Trademark protection is and ought to be the need of businesses to protect their brand value: Explain
  • What do fair pricing and fair dealing with copyright regulations mean?
  • Trade-Related Aspects of IP Rights: A Workable Instrument for Enforcing Benefit Sharing

International Law Research Paper Topics

  • The principles used to formulate international criminal laws.
  • Ethical systems and international relations
  • Problems of code-based ethics
  • How do different countries deal with false confessions?
  • Different treatment of terrorism as a crime in different countries
  • Diplomats and their protection of international morality.
  • Did the US involvement in Iraq provide justice or violate the law?
  • Laws on mental health in different countries
  • The issues of traditional justification
  • The question of ethics in the international legal context.
  • International Human Rights Court Hearings: Evaluating the importance of precedence.
  • What are the problems of enforcing international law in developing countries?
  • Evaluating the efficiency of International Tribunals in solving war crimes.
  • Digital and internet legislation: Forecasting the future.
  • Assessing the relationship between public safety and civil liberties in international laws.

Law Research Topics

Medical Law Research Topics

  • The common law towards refusal of medical treatment.
  • Evaluating the laws governing organ transplantation: A case study of the US .
  • How do ethics and medical law coexist?
  • Ethics and Medical Laws in World War II
  • Law application in medicine: Exploring the antecedents and practice.
  • Evaluating the ethical and legal challenges of using biobanks.
  • Exploring the legal aspects of electronic fetal monitoring.
  • How do lawsuits affect medical practitioners’ commitment to offering lifesaving treatments?
  • Unregistered medical intervention in the UK: What are the legal implications?
  • Morality and law in the abortion debate.
  • In accordance with international environmental law, biological weapons are prohibited.
  • Will the Uber industry have an impact on American ecology?
  • United States environmental laws are in effect today.
  • Due to environmental legislation and economic reality, sustainability, and environmental compliance.
  • anything about Canadian environmental laws.
  • evaluating aspects of crime that shouldn’t be discussed in court.
  • What are the best strategies for shielding witnesses in criminal cases from reprisals?
  • A more thorough examination of the death penalty’s past
  • Examining the connection between crime and morality is the focus of this examination of criminal theory.
  • A case study of London’s examination into the difficulties in determining the type and distribution of crime.

A Few More Medical Law Research Ideas

  • How to balance the rights of defendants and victims when using anonymity in sexual offense litigation.
  • Slavery, prostitution, and human trafficking. the methods used globally to eradicate it.
  • Is identity theft a modern-day crime? prevention of identity theft in the post-Internet era.
  • criminality and psychology. Are some people more likely than others to breach the law?
  • Social control theory against the self-control hypothesis
  • False confessions and how they are handled in various nations.
  • The environment’s impact on crime rates is one of the theories behind shattered windows.
  • Similarities and disparities between mental diseases and crime in various nations.
  • education, criminal behavior, and intelligence.
  • From the beginning to the present, criminologists’ fieldwork.
  • How does quantitative criminology differ from other types of crime? What is it?
  • When is the use of the international criminal court appropriate?
  • Examining the effectiveness of lie detectors in the criminal justice system:
  • A more thorough investigation of the death penalty’s past.
  • The main distinctions between male and female rape laws
  • Assessing criminal-related variables that shouldn’t be brought up in court.
  • What effects has EU law had on the UK’s system of intellectual property?
  • Can the advancing technologies coexist peacefully with the US’s current intellectual property laws?
  • Explaining the connection between EU rules and intellectual property laws?

Trending Law Research Topics

  • Discuss the role of genetics in criminal justice proceedings.
  • Write about the recent changes in tax laws and their impact on India.
  • Differences between state and federal regulations regarding gun control.
  • Discuss the growing influence of artificial intelligence on the legal profession.
  • Explain the role of technology in criminal trials.
  • Analyze international human rights policies.
  • Write about the Freedom of expression and censorship issues.
  • Discuss the Legal issues related to school safety and security.
  • Analyze the regulation of online gaming platforms from a legal perspective.
  • Write about the Legal implications of celebrity endorsements.

Wrapping Up

In order to get top grades for your law research paper, a peculiar topic is mainly needed. Especially, by choosing an idea from the list of 150+ law research topics suggested in this blog post, you can write a top-quality academic paper and make your work stand out in the crowd. In case you find it difficult to write a legal research paper, then immediately reach out to us for professional  Law assignment help . We have a team of academic writers who are experts in the field of law to assist you in completing your law research paper on any impressive topic as per requirements.

Simply, book your order and get an original law research paper beyond your expectations.

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25 Legal Researcher Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a legal researcher, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

legal research question examples

Legal researchers support lawyers and paralegals by conducting research, preparing legal documents, and managing cases. If you’re looking for a legal researcher job, you may be asked to interview for the position. To increase your chances of being hired, you should prepare for the interview by knowing how to answer common legal researcher interview questions.

During the interview, the interviewer will ask you questions to assess your research skills, writing ability, and knowledge of the legal field. They will also ask questions to gauge your motivation for the job and your ability to work independently. We have compiled a list of the most common legal researcher interview questions and answers to help you prepare for your interview.

  • Are you comfortable working with legal documents and databases?
  • What are some of your previous research projects that you’re proud of?
  • How would you describe the relationship between legal research and the law?
  • What is the difference between primary and secondary sources of information?
  • Provide an example of a legal issue that requires primary research.
  • If you had to choose between two legal issues, which would you select and why?
  • What would you do if you were assigned to research a topic you were unfamiliar with?
  • How well do you understand legal terminology?
  • Do you have experience writing legal briefs or other documents related to legal research?
  • When conducting research, what is your process for evaluating the credibility of each source?
  • We want to improve our research process to make sure we’re using the most up-to-date methods. Describe a strategy you would use to improve our research process.
  • Describe your experience using legal databases.
  • What makes you stand out from other candidates for this position?
  • Which areas of law are you most interested in?
  • What do you think is the most important skill for a legal researcher to have?
  • How often do you perform legal research?
  • There is a discrepancy between two sources you’re using for a project. How do you handle this?
  • Describe a time when you had to make an argument based on your research findings.
  • What challenges have you faced while conducting legal research?
  • How do you stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field of law?
  • How do you ensure accuracy and consistency in your research?
  • In what ways do you use technology to help you in your legal research?
  • How would you handle a situation where two parties disagree over the interpretation of a certain document or law?
  • Are you familiar with any computer programs used for legal research purposes?
  • Describe a successful research project that you completed recently.

1. Are you comfortable working with legal documents and databases?

This question can help the interviewer determine whether you have experience with legal research. They may also want to know if you are willing to learn new systems and processes, which is why they might ask about your comfort level. In your answer, try to explain that you enjoy working with legal documents and databases and that you would be happy to learn any new systems or software.

Example: “Absolutely! I have extensive experience working with legal documents and databases. In my current role, I am responsible for researching laws and regulations to ensure that our company is in compliance. I also use a variety of online resources such as LexisNexis and Westlaw to conduct research on specific topics. My familiarity with these tools allows me to quickly locate the information needed to support any legal argument or position.

Additionally, I have experience creating and maintaining an organized filing system for all legal documents. This includes organizing documents into folders and labeling them appropriately so they can be easily accessed when needed. Finally, I have experience using various software programs to create presentations and reports related to legal matters.”

2. What are some of your previous research projects that you’re proud of?

This question is a great way to show the interviewer your ability to research and find information. It’s also an opportunity for you to talk about how you used that information in your work.

Example: “I am proud of the research projects I have completed in my previous positions. One project that stands out to me was a case study on international trade law. I conducted extensive research into the legal framework governing cross-border transactions, and identified potential areas of risk for companies engaging in such activities. My analysis provided valuable insights to the company’s lawyers, allowing them to better advise their clients on how to navigate the complex regulatory landscape.

Another project I am proud of is a white paper I wrote on the impact of new technology on privacy laws. I researched existing legislation around data protection and privacy, as well as emerging trends in the industry. I then synthesized this information into an informative document outlining the implications of these changes on businesses operating in the digital space. This paper was widely circulated within the organization, providing useful guidance to our stakeholders.”

3. How would you describe the relationship between legal research and the law?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you understand the importance of legal research in the law. Use examples from your experience to explain how legal research helps lawyers and other professionals make decisions about cases, laws and regulations.

Example: “Legal research is an essential part of understanding the law. It involves researching and analyzing legal documents, such as statutes, court decisions, and regulations, to determine how they apply to a particular situation or issue. Legal research helps lawyers understand the current state of the law and identify potential arguments for their cases.

The relationship between legal research and the law is complex. Legal researchers must be familiar with the sources of law, including primary and secondary sources, in order to properly conduct their research. They must also have a thorough knowledge of the relevant legal principles and precedents that may affect the outcome of a case. Finally, legal researchers must have a deep understanding of the legal system in order to accurately interpret the law and make informed decisions.”

4. What is the difference between primary and secondary sources of information?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the research process. They want to know that you understand how to find information and use it effectively. In your answer, define primary and secondary sources and explain why they are different from one another.

Example: “Primary sources of information are those that provide firsthand accounts or direct evidence about a particular topic. Examples include court cases, interviews, surveys, and original research studies. Secondary sources of information are those that interpret, analyze, or synthesize primary sources. Examples include textbooks, encyclopedias, and journal articles.

As a Legal Researcher, I have extensive experience with both primary and secondary sources of information. I am well-versed in conducting legal research using both types of sources to find relevant case law, statutes, regulations, and other materials. I also understand the importance of verifying the accuracy of the information found by cross-referencing multiple sources. My ability to effectively use both primary and secondary sources makes me an ideal candidate for this position.”

5. Provide an example of a legal issue that requires primary research.

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to identify and research a legal issue. When answering, it can be helpful to provide an example of the steps you took to complete primary research on a specific case or situation.

Example: “One example of a legal issue that requires primary research is the interpretation of a contract. Contracts are legally binding agreements between two or more parties, and they can be complex documents with many clauses and provisions. As such, it’s important to conduct thorough research into the language used in the document to ensure that all parties understand their rights and obligations under the agreement. This research involves examining case law, statutes, regulations, and other relevant materials to determine how the contract should be interpreted. It also involves analyzing the facts of the particular situation and applying the appropriate legal principles to reach an accurate conclusion. By conducting this type of primary research, I am able to provide clients with sound legal advice on how to interpret their contracts.”

6. If you had to choose between two legal issues, which would you select and why?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of the law and how you would apply it. When answering this question, try to choose two issues that are similar in nature so you can show off your ability to compare and contrast different laws.

Example: “When it comes to selecting between two legal issues, I would take into consideration the complexity of each issue. The more complex an issue is, the more research and analysis that will be required. Therefore, my decision on which issue to select would depend on how much time and effort I am willing to dedicate to researching and analyzing the issue.

I also consider the potential impact of the issue in question. If one issue has a greater potential for impacting society or individuals than another, then I would likely choose the issue with the higher potential for impact. This way, I can ensure that I am making the most meaningful contribution to the legal field.”

7. What would you do if you were assigned to research a topic you were unfamiliar with?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you approach unfamiliar tasks and whether you have a willingness to learn. Your answer should show that you are willing to do research on your own time, even if it’s outside of work hours.

Example: “If I were assigned to research a topic that I was unfamiliar with, I would approach the task in several steps. First, I would take some time to familiarize myself with the subject matter and any relevant legal terminology. This could involve reading up on related cases or researching scholarly articles. Once I had a better understanding of the topic, I would then begin my actual research process. I would use both online and offline resources such as law libraries and databases to find pertinent information. Finally, I would organize all of my findings into an easily digestible format so that it can be used by other members of the team.”

8. How well do you understand legal terminology?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your understanding of the legal language. They want to know that you can translate complex terms into simpler language for clients and other team members. Use examples from past experiences where you had to define a term or concept for someone else.

Example: “I have a comprehensive understanding of legal terminology, as I have been working in the legal field for several years. During my time in this role, I have developed an extensive knowledge base that allows me to accurately interpret and apply legal terms. For example, I am familiar with the various types of court proceedings, including civil and criminal cases, as well as the different types of laws that govern them. In addition, I understand the nuances of contract law, which is essential when researching legal matters. Finally, I am proficient in researching case law, statutes, regulations, and other legal documents. This enables me to quickly find relevant information and draw accurate conclusions from it.”

9. Do you have experience writing legal briefs or other documents related to legal research?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your writing skills and how you apply them in a legal setting. If you have experience writing briefs or other documents, describe the process of doing so and what steps you take to ensure that your work is accurate and meets deadlines.

Example: “Yes, I have extensive experience writing legal briefs and other documents related to legal research. During my time as a Legal Researcher at my previous job, I wrote multiple briefs for various cases. My briefs were well-researched and organized in a way that was easy to understand and follow. I also had the opportunity to write several memos on complex legal topics, which required me to analyze case law and statutes to come up with an informed opinion.”

10. When conducting research, what is your process for evaluating the credibility of each source?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your research skills and how you apply them. They want to know that you can use credible sources when conducting research, so they might ask about the steps you take to ensure you’re using reliable information. In your answer, describe a process for evaluating credibility and provide an example of how you’ve done it in the past.

Example: “When conducting research, I use a systematic approach to evaluate the credibility of each source. First, I consider the author’s credentials and experience in the field. If the author is an expert on the topic or has written extensively about it, then their work is more likely to be reliable. Second, I look at the publisher of the material. Is it from a reputable organization? Finally, I assess the content itself. Does it contain accurate information that is well-supported by evidence?”

11. We want to improve our research process to make sure we’re using the most up-to-date methods. Describe a strategy you would use to improve our research process.

This question is a great way to show your problem-solving skills and ability to work as part of a team. Your answer should include how you would approach the task, what steps you would take and any tools or resources you would use.

Example: “My strategy to improve your research process would be to implement a comprehensive system that incorporates both traditional and modern methods. I believe the best way to ensure you are using the most up-to-date methods is to utilize technology in order to streamline the process. This could include utilizing online databases, such as LexisNexis or Westlaw, which provide access to an expansive library of legal resources. In addition, I would suggest leveraging artificial intelligence tools like natural language processing to quickly identify relevant documents and cases. Finally, I would recommend creating a team of dedicated researchers who can stay abreast of changes in the law and update the system accordingly. By implementing this comprehensive approach, you will have the assurance that your research process is always up-to-date.”

12. Describe your experience using legal databases.

This question can help interviewers understand your experience with the tools you’ll use in this role. If you have previous experience using legal databases, describe how you used them and what kind of information you found. If you don’t have prior experience, explain that you’re familiar with these resources and will learn to use them if hired.

Example: “I have extensive experience using legal databases. I am familiar with the most popular and widely used legal research platforms, such as LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law. I also have experience using specialized databases for specific areas of law, such as patent law or international trade law.

In addition to my knowledge of various legal databases, I am well-versed in searching techniques that maximize efficiency and accuracy when researching a particular issue. For example, I understand how to use Boolean operators to narrow down search results and am comfortable creating complex search strings. I also know how to utilize advanced features such as natural language processing to quickly locate relevant documents.”

13. What makes you stand out from other candidates for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. Before your interview, make a list of the skills and experiences that qualify you for this role. Focus on what makes you unique from other candidates and highlight any transferable skills or certifications you have.

Example: “I believe my unique combination of skills and experience make me an excellent candidate for this position. I have a strong background in legal research, having completed extensive research projects while earning my law degree from a top-tier university. In addition to my formal education, I also have several years of professional experience as a Legal Researcher. During that time, I developed a deep understanding of the legal system and honed my ability to quickly identify relevant information and draw meaningful conclusions.

Furthermore, I am highly organized and detail-oriented, which allows me to efficiently manage multiple tasks and prioritize work based on importance. I’m also a creative problem solver who is able to think outside the box when faced with challenging situations. Finally, I’m passionate about providing clients with accurate and timely results, and I take great pride in delivering high quality work.”

14. Which areas of law are you most interested in?

This question can help the interviewer get a sense of your interests and how they align with their company’s needs. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention an area of law that you are passionate about or have experience researching.

Example: “I am most interested in the areas of corporate and commercial law. I have a strong background in researching legal documents, analyzing case law, and understanding complex regulations. My experience has allowed me to develop an expertise in these two areas of law.

In addition, I have a keen interest in international law and how it applies to businesses operating across multiple countries. I understand the importance of staying up-to-date on changes in laws and regulations both domestically and internationally. As such, I am always looking for ways to stay informed about current developments in this area.”

15. What do you think is the most important skill for a legal researcher to have?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you and your background. It also helps them decide if you have the skills they’re looking for in a legal researcher. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a skill that you feel is important but also one that you are good at.

Example: “I believe the most important skill for a legal researcher to have is an ability to think critically and analytically. Legal research requires a deep understanding of the law, as well as being able to draw connections between different pieces of information. A successful legal researcher must be able to identify key issues in a case or document, analyze them from multiple angles, and then synthesize that information into a cohesive argument.

In addition to critical thinking skills, I also believe it is important for a legal researcher to have excellent communication skills. Being able to effectively communicate complex legal concepts to clients, colleagues, and other stakeholders is essential for success. Finally, I believe it is important for a legal researcher to stay up-to-date on changes in the law and court decisions, so they can provide accurate advice and analysis.”

16. How often do you perform legal research?

This question can help interviewers understand your experience level as a legal researcher. If you have only performed research once or twice, it’s important to explain the circumstances and how they helped you develop your skills. If you’ve done extensive research in the past, you can describe what types of projects you worked on and how much time you spent researching them.

Example: “I perform legal research on a daily basis. I have extensive experience in researching, analyzing and interpreting laws, regulations, court decisions, and other legal sources. My research skills are highly developed, allowing me to quickly identify relevant information that is pertinent to the task at hand.

I am comfortable using both traditional and online resources for my research, including LexisNexis, Westlaw, and other databases. I also have experience with legal citation systems such as Bluebook and ALWD. I understand how to use these tools effectively to find the most up-to-date and accurate information available.

Additionally, I am familiar with the various types of legal research techniques, such as statutory interpretation, case law analysis, and policy analysis. I am able to apply these techniques to any given situation, ensuring that I provide comprehensive and reliable results. Finally, I always strive to stay current on changes in the legal landscape so that I can ensure that my research remains up-to-date and relevant.”

17. There is a discrepancy between two sources you’re using for a project. How do you handle this?

This question is an opportunity to show your problem-solving skills and ability to make decisions. You can answer this question by describing a specific situation where you encountered two sources with different information, how you resolved the issue and what the outcome was.

Example: “When I encounter a discrepancy between two sources, my first step is to analyze the information in each source. I look for any discrepancies or inconsistencies that could explain why there is a difference in the data. If possible, I will also try to contact the authors of the sources and ask them about the differences.

If the discrepancy cannot be explained by either source, then I will use additional research methods to determine which source is more reliable. This may include looking at other related sources, such as case law, statutes, or scholarly articles, to see if they provide an answer. I will also consider the context of the project and how important it is to have accurate information.

Once I have identified the most reliable source, I will document my findings and make sure that all relevant parties are aware of the discrepancy. Finally, I will adjust the project accordingly to ensure accuracy and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.”

18. Describe a time when you had to make an argument based on your research findings.

This question can help the interviewer understand how you apply your research skills to real-world situations. Use examples from previous work or school experiences where you had to make a case for something based on your findings.

Example: “I recently had to make an argument based on my research findings while working as a Legal Researcher for a law firm. The case involved a dispute between two parties over the ownership of a piece of property. I was tasked with researching the legal history of the property and determining who had the rightful claim to it.

To do this, I conducted extensive research into the local laws governing property ownership in the area, including any relevant court cases that might have been decided in the past. After thoroughly analyzing all of the available evidence, I concluded that one party had a stronger legal claim to the property than the other.

Based on my research findings, I then drafted a detailed report outlining why the particular party should be granted ownership of the property. This included citing specific statutes and precedents from previous court decisions that supported my conclusion. In the end, my arguments were accepted by the court and the rightful owner of the property was determined.”

19. What challenges have you faced while conducting legal research?

This question can help the interviewer gain insight into your problem-solving skills and ability to adapt to challenging situations. Your answer should highlight your critical thinking skills, communication abilities and willingness to take on challenges.

Example: “I have faced a few challenges while conducting legal research. One of the main challenges I have encountered is staying up to date with changes in the law. As laws and regulations are constantly changing, it can be difficult to keep track of all the updates and make sure that my research reflects the most current information. To overcome this challenge, I stay informed by reading relevant publications, attending seminars, and networking with other legal professionals.

Another challenge I have faced is finding reliable sources for my research. It’s important to ensure that the sources I use are accurate and trustworthy. To do this, I take the time to evaluate each source before using it in my research. This includes verifying the accuracy of the source, checking its credibility, and making sure it is up-to-date.”

20. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field of law?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have a passion for the law and how you keep up with changes in legislation, case law and other legal developments. Your answer should show that you are passionate about your career as a legal researcher and committed to keeping your skills current.

Example: “Staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the field of law is essential for any legal researcher. To ensure I am always informed, I make sure to read a variety of sources on a regular basis. This includes staying abreast of current news and events related to the law, as well as reading scholarly articles, journals, and books that discuss new laws or changes to existing ones.

I also attend conferences and seminars whenever possible, which allows me to network with other professionals in the field and learn about new topics. Finally, I take advantage of online resources such as webinars and podcasts to stay informed. By using all these methods, I can confidently say that I have an excellent understanding of the most recent developments in the field of law.”

21. How do you ensure accuracy and consistency in your research?

Accuracy and consistency are two important factors in legal research. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills necessary to complete your work accurately and consistently. In your answer, explain how you ensure accuracy and consistency in your research. Explain that you use a variety of methods to check for errors and inconsistencies in your work.

Example: “I understand the importance of accuracy and consistency in legal research. To ensure that my research is accurate, I always double-check sources to make sure they are reliable and up-to-date. I also use a variety of resources such as case law databases, statutes, treatises, and other materials to cross-reference information. This helps me to confirm the accuracy of my findings.

To maintain consistency in my research, I create an organized system for tracking my progress and results. I document all my steps so that I can easily refer back to them if needed. I also take notes on any new concepts or ideas I come across during my research process. Finally, I review my work multiple times before submitting it to ensure that there are no errors or inconsistencies.”

22. In what ways do you use technology to help you in your legal research?

Technology is an important part of the legal research process. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience using technology in your work and how you use it. Use your answer to explain which technologies you’re familiar with and what they do for you. You can also mention any new technologies that you would like to learn more about.

Example: “I am an experienced Legal Researcher and I understand the importance of using technology to help me in my research. My approach is to use a combination of traditional legal research methods such as reading cases, statutes, regulations, and other primary sources, with modern technological tools.

For example, I often utilize online databases such as LexisNexis or Westlaw for quick access to case law and other legal documents. These resources allow me to quickly search for relevant information on specific topics and save time by eliminating the need to manually review multiple sources. In addition, I also use various web-based applications that can be used to organize and analyze data, which helps me to identify patterns in the law and draw conclusions more efficiently.”

23. How would you handle a situation where two parties disagree over the interpretation of a certain document or law?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your problem-solving skills and ability to work with clients. In your answer, describe a situation where you had to resolve such a disagreement and how you did it.

Example: “When it comes to handling a situation where two parties disagree over the interpretation of a certain document or law, my approach is to first understand both sides’ perspectives and analyze the facts. I would then research relevant case law and statutes to determine which party has the stronger argument. After that, I would review any applicable legal precedents and synthesize my findings into an opinion on the matter. Finally, I would present my conclusions in a concise and clear manner so that all parties involved can make informed decisions.

My experience as a Legal Researcher has taught me how to effectively navigate complex legal issues and provide sound advice. I am confident in my ability to handle disagreements between two parties regarding the interpretation of documents or laws.”

24. Are you familiar with any computer programs used for legal research purposes?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have experience with the computer programs they use in their office. If you are not familiar with any of these programs, consider asking your interviewer which ones they use and how you can learn them.

Example: “Yes, I am familiar with a variety of computer programs used for legal research purposes. I have experience using Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg Law to conduct comprehensive legal research. In addition, I am proficient in utilizing online databases such as HeinOnline and Justia to access case law and statutes.

I also have experience using Microsoft Office Suite products including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that are necessary for legal research projects. Finally, I am comfortable using Adobe Acrobat Pro to manipulate PDFs and other digital files.”

25. Describe a successful research project that you completed recently.

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your research skills and how you apply them to your work. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a project that was particularly challenging or one that helped you develop new skills in legal research.

Example: “Recently, I completed a successful research project for a client who was looking to expand their business into a new market. The project involved researching the legal framework of the target country and identifying any potential risks or opportunities that could arise from entering the new market.

I began by conducting an extensive literature review on the relevant laws and regulations in the target country. This included analyzing court decisions, statutes, and other legal documents related to the industry. After completing my initial research, I identified several areas of risk and opportunity that needed further investigation.

To gain a better understanding of these issues, I conducted interviews with local lawyers and experts in the field. These conversations provided valuable insights into the nuances of the legal system and helped me identify additional areas of risk and opportunity. Finally, I compiled all of my findings into a comprehensive report outlining the legal landscape of the target country and providing recommendations for how the client should proceed.”

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legal research question examples

Legal Research Question Examples – How to Answer Questions About Law Practice

One of the biggest questions you will face on your way to passing your law school exam is how exactly will you do your research? To begin with, you will need to decide what area of law you would like to specialize in. You could become an educator, a prosecutor, a trial lawyer, or even a business counselor. Once you have decided what area you would like to major in, try to identify at least five books or videos from the library or the internet that pertain to the chosen area. Make sure that you study diligently for the test, as this will be your only chance to show what you have learned.

There are several excellent legal research websites that can be used to learn specific information regarding the law. Spend an afternoon surfing through the site of one such resource and you will have gained enough information to pass the test. To help boost your memorization skills, try researching related cases from the library. Remember to make your notes after each case so you can review what you have read.

Another legal reference that you should use is the US Supreme Court’s Lexis-enable Legal Research Guide. This book provides all the information you will need on the law. It provides detailed citations to support your argument. The book covers virtually every legal issue you can imagine, including the types of questions you will be asked during the exam. Make a list of the types of questions you plan to ask and take note of the answers.

If you plan to take the LSAT soon, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a great tool for preparing for it. It is one of the most comprehensive legal research tools available. The Law School Admission Test is offered at about every college in the country. If you are unable to take the LSAT, some colleges will accept the Law School Admission Test as a partial exam, which is much easier to take.

A full study of the law is imperative for anyone wanting a profession in the legal field. The more you know, the better your chances of success. The best way to learn about the subject is to enroll in a law school. At a law school, you will be taught the many areas of the law, as well as take practice tests and complete legal research quizzes. The key to becoming successful at this type of learning is participating in a large number of class discussions, reading lots of case studies, writing a lot of papers and practicing what you have learned.

You may also want to take legal research quizzes at certain times of the year. There are a number of sites on the internet that will offer these quizzes for a fee. It is wise to check out at least three of these sites before deciding which is best for your needs.

Once you have completed your required coursework and passed the test you will be allowed to take practice tests. These are offered at local law schools or through online sites. Using these examples as a model, you can prepare yourself for the legal research exam that you will likely have to take at some point in your career.

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legal research question examples

InterviewPrep

20 Legal Researcher Interview Questions and Answers

Common Legal Researcher interview questions, how to answer them, and sample answers from a certified career coach.

legal research question examples

As a legal researcher, your job is to help lawyers and other professionals understand the law. But before you can do that, you need to land the job!

The interview process for a legal research position will likely involve questions about your knowledge of the law as well as some more general queries. To make sure you’re prepared, we’ve put together this guide to common legal research interview questions—along with advice on how to answer them. Read on and get ready to ace the interview!

  • What experience do you have with legal research and analysis?
  • Describe a time when you had to interpret complex legal documents.
  • How do you stay up-to-date on the latest changes in laws and regulations?
  • Explain your understanding of the different types of legal sources (e.g. statutes, case law, etc.).
  • Are you familiar with using online databases for legal research?
  • What strategies do you use to ensure accuracy when researching legal information?
  • How do you approach summarizing long and complex legal documents?
  • Have you ever written an opinion or memorandum based on your legal research?
  • Describe a situation where you had to explain a complex legal concept to someone without a legal background.
  • What is your experience with conducting interviews with witnesses or experts?
  • Do you have any experience working with international laws and treaties?
  • How do you handle conflicting interpretations of a legal document?
  • What techniques do you use to organize large amounts of data collected during legal research?
  • How do you determine which cases are relevant to a particular legal issue?
  • What methods do you use to verify the accuracy of legal citations?
  • How do you prioritize tasks when faced with multiple deadlines?
  • What strategies do you use to keep track of important dates and deadlines?
  • Describe a time when you had to work under pressure to meet a tight deadline.
  • How do you handle difficult clients who may not understand the complexities of the legal system?
  • What would you do if you encountered a problem that was outside of your area of expertise?

1. What experience do you have with legal research and analysis?

Legal researchers are expected to be knowledgeable about the laws, regulations, and legal processes that are relevant to their work. They must be able to analyze legal documents, conduct research, and apply that knowledge to their work. Interviewers ask this question to get an understanding of the candidate’s experience and skills in this area.

How to Answer:

To answer this question, you should provide examples of your experience with legal research and analysis. Talk about the types of projects you have worked on, the methods you used to conduct research, and any successes you achieved from your work. You should also mention any specific tools or software you are familiar with that can help in researching and analyzing legal documents. Finally, emphasize your ability to think critically and apply your knowledge to complex legal issues.

Example: “I have extensive experience with legal research and analysis. I have worked on a variety of projects, ranging from researching case law for litigation to conducting due diligence for corporate transactions. I am familiar with the most common tools used in legal research, such as LexisNexis and Westlaw, and I also have experience using specialized software programs like LawToolBox and LegalTracker. In addition, I have developed strong analytical skills that allow me to identify key issues and develop creative solutions to complex legal problems.”

2. Describe a time when you had to interpret complex legal documents.

Legal research requires a great deal of precision and accuracy, as well as the ability to interpret complex legal documents. An interviewer wants to make sure you have the skills to clearly and concisely explain legal concepts and documents, so they’ll ask you to provide specific examples of times when you’ve done this in the past.

Talk about a time when you had to interpret complex legal documents and the outcome of your work. Describe the process you went through, from researching the relevant laws and regulations to actually interpreting the document. Make sure you explain how you used your research skills and knowledge of the law to come to an accurate interpretation. Also, don’t forget to mention the successful outcome of your efforts.

Example: “I’m constantly monitoring changes in the law and staying up-to-date on the latest legal developments. I subscribe to a number of newsletters and blogs related to my field of research, attend conferences and seminars when possible, and take continuing education courses as needed. Additionally, I’ve become quite proficient with online databases and other tools that allow me to quickly access relevant information when necessary. For example, last year I was tasked with interpreting a complex contract related to a high-profile case. I used several different resources to make sure I had an accurate understanding of all the terms and conditions, and presented my findings clearly and concisely to the team.”

3. How do you stay up-to-date on the latest changes in laws and regulations?

Staying up-to-date on the latest legal developments is an essential part of a legal researcher’s job. It’s important to show that you’re able to keep up with the most current developments in the field, and that you have the tools and resources necessary to do so. Your answer should demonstrate that you actively seek out new information and have the right systems in place to stay informed.

You should emphasize the methods you use to stay up-to-date on legal developments. Talk about how you monitor changes in laws and regulations, such as subscribing to newsletters or following industry blogs. You can also mention that you attend conferences or seminars related to your field of research, or take continuing education courses. Additionally, if you have experience using online databases or other tools to access information quickly, be sure to highlight that as well.

Example: “I stay on top of the latest legal developments by subscribing to industry newsletters, reading relevant blogs and publications, attending conferences and seminars related to my field of research, and taking continuing education courses. I also use online databases like LexisNexis and Westlaw to quickly access information when needed. Additionally, I make sure to keep up with any changes in regulations or laws that could affect my work, so I can adjust my research accordingly.”

4. Explain your understanding of the different types of legal sources (e.g. statutes, case law, etc.).

Legal research is a complex and specialized skill set. Knowing the different types of legal sources—such as statutes, case law, regulations, and administrative decisions—is just the beginning. The interviewer wants to make sure you understand how to use these sources to find relevant information, interpret the law, and apply it to a given situation. Additionally, it will also help them gauge your comprehension of the legal system and the various rules and regulations that govern it.

Start by explaining the different types of legal sources, such as statutes, case law, regulations, and administrative decisions. Then explain how you use these sources to find relevant information and interpret the law. Finally, provide an example of a situation in which you used these sources to apply the law to a given situation. Be sure to emphasize your ability to quickly locate appropriate sources and accurately interpret their meaning.

Example: “I understand the different types of legal sources and how to use them. Statutes are laws passed by a legislative body, such as Congress or a state legislature. Case law is based on court decisions that interpret statutes and develop common law. Regulations are rules created by administrative agencies to enforce statutory authority. Administrative decisions are decisions made by an agency in response to specific questions about the interpretation or application of regulations.

When conducting legal research, I first locate appropriate sources and then carefully read through them to accurately interpret their meaning. This requires an understanding of the underlying principles and theories of law, as well as an ability to synthesize information from multiple sources. For example, when researching the obligations of employers regarding employee privacy rights, I would review relevant statutes, case law, regulations, and administrative decisions to understand the scope of those rights.”

5. Are you familiar with using online databases for legal research?

Legal research requires knowledge of online databases and other digital tools that can help researchers quickly and accurately search for relevant cases and other legal documents. The interviewer wants to know if you understand the importance of digital resources when researching and if you’re comfortable using them.

To answer this question, you should be prepared to discuss your experience with using online databases for legal research. Explain which databases and tools you’re familiar with and how they have helped you in your previous roles. If you don’t have any direct experience with the specific databases or tools that the interviewer mentions, explain your ability to quickly learn new software and digital tools. Be sure to emphasize your interest in continuing to develop your knowledge of digital resources for legal research.

Example: “Yes, I am very familiar with using online databases for legal research. In my current role as a legal researcher at ABC & Associates, I use LexisNexis, Westlaw, and other digital resources to help me quickly locate relevant cases and documents. I also have experience with developing search queries that are tailored specifically to the needs of each project. Additionally, I’ve taken courses in legal research methods and am always open to learning more about new software and digital tools.”

6. What strategies do you use to ensure accuracy when researching legal information?

Because legal research requires a great deal of accuracy and attention to detail, it’s important that potential hires have strategies in place to ensure they are finding the correct information. Interviewers ask this question to get a sense of how a candidate approaches their research and whether or not they have the skills needed to succeed in the role.

The best way to answer this question is to provide specific examples of strategies you use when researching legal information. You can start by talking about the importance of double-checking sources and verifying accuracy, as well as using multiple sources to cross-reference information. Additionally, you can discuss how you stay up-to-date on changes in the law and any relevant court decisions. Finally, you can mention that you make sure to document your research process so that it’s easy to refer back to if needed.

Example: “When researching legal information, accuracy is of the utmost importance. That’s why I always double-check my sources and verify their accuracy before relying on them. Additionally, I use multiple sources to cross-reference information so that I can be sure I’m getting the most accurate results. I also stay up-to-date on changes in the law and any relevant court decisions by regularly reading industry publications and attending conferences when possible. Finally, I document my research process carefully so that I have a record of where I found each piece of information in case it needs to be referenced again.”

7. How do you approach summarizing long and complex legal documents?

Legal researchers will often be asked to review large and complex documents, such as contracts, statutes, and regulations. They need to be able to identify the essential elements of these documents, summarize them in a way that is clear and concise, and provide recommendations or advice to their clients. This question helps to evaluate a candidate’s ability to do all of these things.

To answer this question, you should explain the steps that you take when summarizing a long and complex legal document. You can talk about how you read each document thoroughly and carefully to ensure that you understand the full context of the material. Then, you can discuss how you identify the key points or arguments in the document and break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Finally, you can explain how you create a concise summary that captures the essential elements of the document while leaving out unnecessary details.

Example: “When I’m summarizing long and complex legal documents, I approach it with careful attention to detail. My first step is to read the document thoroughly in order to understand all of the relevant information. Then, I identify the key points or arguments that are made in the document and break them down into smaller pieces for easier comprehension. From there, I create a concise summary that captures the essential elements of the document while leaving out unnecessary details. This allows me to provide my clients with an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the material.”

8. Have you ever written an opinion or memorandum based on your legal research?

Legal research is the foundation of a lawyer’s work. While it’s important to be able to identify relevant legal authority, it’s equally important to be able to explain the implications of that authority in clear and concise language. Writing an opinion or memorandum based on your legal research is a great way to demonstrate your ability to think critically and analyze legal issues.

If you have written an opinion or memorandum based on your legal research, explain the process you used to conduct the research and analyze the relevant law. Be sure to provide specific details about the issue you were researching and the conclusions you drew from it. If you haven’t yet written an opinion or memorandum, you can still answer this question by discussing the steps you would take if given the opportunity.

Example: “Yes, I have written an opinion or memorandum based on my legal research. Last year, I wrote a memorandum for a client regarding the constitutionality of a proposed state law. To prepare, I conducted extensive legal research to identify relevant case law, statutes, and other legal authority. I then analyzed the authority and wrote a memorandum outlining the implications of the law, as well as the potential risks and benefits of pursuing it. I believe my work was instrumental in helping the client make an informed decision and I would be more than happy to discuss this experience in more detail.”

9. Describe a situation where you had to explain a complex legal concept to someone without a legal background.

Legal researchers are expected to be able to communicate complicated legal concepts in a way that non-lawyers can understand. This question helps to assess your ability to explain complex ideas in a straightforward and clear way. It also shows your ability to think on your feet and adapt your communication style to different audiences.

Start by discussing a situation where you had to explain a complex legal concept. You can talk about the context of the situation, who you were speaking to, and why it was important for them to understand this concept. Then move on to how you approached the situation: what steps did you take to make sure your audience understood? Did you break down the concept into smaller parts or provide examples? How did you know that they had grasped the concept? Finally, discuss the results of your explanation – did they have any follow-up questions or comments?

Example: “I had to explain the concept of vicarious liability to a group of business owners. This is a complex legal concept that can be difficult to understand, so I knew I had to break it down into smaller parts. I started by providing a definition of vicarious liability and then used an example to illustrate how it works in practice. I asked the business owners questions to ensure that they understood the concept, and I was able to answer any follow-up questions they had. By the end of the conversation, they had a clear understanding of vicarious liability and how it applied to their situation.”

10. What is your experience with conducting interviews with witnesses or experts?

Legal researchers often have to conduct interviews with witnesses and experts to uncover information relevant to a case. Interviewing is an important skill for legal researchers to have, as it allows them to gather the necessary information and evidence needed to build a solid case. By asking this question, the interviewer is looking to see if the applicant has the necessary experience to do this type of research.

If you have experience conducting interviews with witnesses or experts, explain how it has helped you in your research. Talk about the types of questions you asked and how you were able to get the information needed from the interviewee. If you don’t have any direct experience, discuss how you would go about interviewing a witness or expert if given the opportunity. Describe what kind of preparation you would do before the interview, such as researching the topic or gathering background information on the person being interviewed.

Example: “I have experience conducting interviews with witnesses and experts. In my previous role as a legal researcher, I was often tasked with interviewing people with relevant information to a case. I always prepared thoroughly before an interview by researching the topic and gathering background information on the person being interviewed. During the interview, I asked questions to uncover key facts and evidence that could help build a stronger case. I also took notes to ensure that I had an accurate record of the conversation.”

11. Do you have any experience working with international laws and treaties?

Many businesses and organizations operate across multiple countries and need legal researchers who are familiar with the laws and regulations of each country. This question is designed to gauge whether you have the knowledge and experience necessary to manage these complex tasks and understand the nuances of different countries’ legal systems.

If you have experience researching and interpreting international laws, this is a great opportunity to talk about it. If not, don’t worry—you can still answer the question positively. Talk about any research or legal work that you have done in other countries, such as internships abroad, language skills, or familiarity with local customs. You could also mention any courses that you have taken related to international law. Finally, emphasize your eagerness to learn more about different legal systems and your commitment to staying up-to-date on changing regulations.

Example: “I have not yet worked directly with international laws and treaties, but I have done extensive research on the legal systems of several countries. For example, during my graduate studies in international law, I wrote a paper on the intricacies of the EU’s regulations on trade. Additionally, I am fluent in Spanish and have taken courses in Spanish-language legal documents. I’m confident that my research skills and language abilities will enable me to quickly familiarize myself with the laws of any country that I am researching for your firm.”

12. How do you handle conflicting interpretations of a legal document?

As a legal researcher, you’ll be in a unique position to help lawyers and other professionals interpret the law. This question is a great way for your interviewer to get a sense of how you approach this kind of problem-solving. Do you think critically about the material? Are you able to consider different interpretations and evaluate them objectively? Do you have the ability to explain complex legal matters in a way that’s accessible for non-legal professionals? These are all skills that will be useful in the position.

Start by explaining that you understand the importance of interpreting legal documents accurately and objectively. Talk about how you would approach this kind of problem, such as researching case law or consulting with a lawyer who specializes in the area of law in question. You can also mention any specific techniques you’ve used in the past to evaluate conflicting interpretations, such as breaking down the document into its component parts or considering the context in which it was written. Finally, emphasize your ability to explain complex legal matters in an understandable way.

Example: “My approach to resolving conflicts in legal documents is to break them down into their component parts and consider the context in which they were written. I always strive to be objective and to consider all possible interpretations. I also recognize the importance of being able to explain complex legal matters in a way that can be understood by non-legal professionals. In the past, I’ve consulted with lawyers who specialize in the area of law in question and I’ve also done research into relevant case law. I believe that this combination of analytical and communication skills makes me an ideal candidate for this position.”

13. What techniques do you use to organize large amounts of data collected during legal research?

Legal research requires a great deal of organization and attention to detail. It’s important that a legal researcher be able to manage large amounts of data and organize it in a way that is easily accessible and understandable. This question allows the interviewer to assess your organizational skills and determine if you’re able to handle the demands of the job.

Talk about the techniques you use to organize data, such as using spreadsheets or databases to store information. Explain how you categorize and label data so that it is easy to find and understand. If you have experience with specific software programs for organizing research data, mention this as well. Finally, discuss any systems you’ve implemented in the past to ensure accuracy and efficiency when collecting and organizing data.

Example: “I have extensive experience collecting and organizing large amounts of data for legal research. I typically use spreadsheets or databases to store the information, and I categorize the data in a way that makes it easy to find and understand. I also use software programs such as Microsoft Access and LexisNexis to help organize and manage large amounts of data. I have developed systems to ensure accuracy and efficiency when collecting and organizing data, such as double-checking sources and verifying information. By implementing these systems, I’m able to quickly and accurately find the information needed for legal research.”

14. How do you determine which cases are relevant to a particular legal issue?

Legal research is a key part of the job and requires an ability to quickly and accurately find the right cases and documents for a given situation. By asking this question, the interviewer is looking to get a sense of how you approach the task of research and how quickly you can find the information needed. It also gives them a chance to see how you think about the legal landscape and the various aspects of the research process.

Start by talking about the research process you use. Explain how you first begin with a broad search to get an understanding of the legal landscape, then narrow down your search to focus on relevant cases and documents. You can also talk about the various resources you use for research, such as databases and other online sources. Finally, explain how you evaluate the information you find to determine which cases are most relevant to the issue at hand.

Example: “When I’m researching a particular legal issue, I start with a broad search to get an overview of the related cases and documents. I use various databases and online sources to find information, such as LexisNexis and Westlaw. I also review relevant statutes and case law to understand the context of the issue. Once I have an understanding of the legal landscape, I narrow down my search to focus on the most relevant cases and documents. I evaluate each one to determine which are most pertinent to the issue and will help me in my research. I also take into account how recent the cases are and how they might have been affected by any changes in the law.”

15. What methods do you use to verify the accuracy of legal citations?

Legal research is a core part of the job, and accuracy is key. When you are researching statutes, cases, and other legal documents, you need to make sure you are citing the right sources and that your data is up-to-date. Interviewers want to make sure you understand the importance of accuracy and have a method in place to double-check that what you are citing is correct.

To answer this question, you should explain the steps you take to verify a legal citation. You can mention that you use primary sources whenever possible, such as official government websites or court opinions from the Supreme Court or other relevant courts. You can also discuss how you cross-reference with secondary sources, such as law review articles, and make sure they are consistent with each other. Additionally, you can talk about how you stay up-to-date on changes in the law by subscribing to newsletters and monitoring new cases and legislation.

Example: “I take accuracy very seriously when it comes to legal research, so I always make sure to use primary sources whenever possible. I always look for the original court opinion from the Supreme Court or other relevant court, and I cross-reference with secondary sources such as law review articles to make sure they are consistent with each other. I also stay up-to-date on changes in the law by subscribing to newsletters, monitoring new cases and legislation, and consulting with colleagues who specialize in the areas I’m researching.”

16. How do you prioritize tasks when faced with multiple deadlines?

Legal research can be a fast-paced, deadline-driven position, so a potential employer needs to know that you can handle the pressure. They’ll want to know how you prioritize tasks when faced with multiple deadlines, how you handle unexpected changes in deadlines, and how you keep yourself organized and on track.

Start by explaining the process you typically use to prioritize tasks. Do you look at deadlines first, or do you assess which tasks are more important? Talk about how you take into account unexpected changes in deadlines and how you adjust your priorities accordingly. You can also mention any tools or techniques you use to stay organized and on track. Finally, be sure to highlight any successes you’ve had in managing multiple deadlines.

Example: “When I’m faced with multiple deadlines, I prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. I’m also very organized and use a combination of calendar reminders, lists, and project management tools to ensure that I don’t miss any deadlines. I’m comfortable with unexpected changes in deadlines, and I’m able to quickly adjust my priorities to ensure that all tasks are completed on time. For example, I was once asked to complete a research project for a client with a very tight deadline. I was able to quickly adjust my schedule and prioritize the task to make sure that it was completed on time and to the client’s satisfaction.”

17. What strategies do you use to keep track of important dates and deadlines?

Legal research is a complex and detail-oriented job, and it’s important to be able to keep track of important dates and deadlines. This question is a way for the interviewer to assess your organizational and time management skills, as well as your ability to stay focused and organized in the face of a lot of information and data. It also gives you a chance to talk about any tools, systems, or processes you use to keep everything organized and on track.

Talk about the strategies and tools you use to stay organized. For example, do you have a system for keeping track of deadlines? Do you use a calendar or task list to keep yourself on top of things? Are there any specific software programs or apps that you find helpful? Do you have any tips or tricks for staying focused and avoiding distractions? You can also talk about how you prioritize tasks, and how you make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.

Example: “I have a few strategies that I use to make sure I’m always on top of important dates and deadlines. I use a calendar to keep track of upcoming deadlines, and I also make a point of breaking down big tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. That way, I can focus on one task at a time and prioritize my workload. I also use a task list to keep track of what I need to do and when, and I make sure to review my list every day. I also use software like Asana to help me stay organized and on top of things. I find that these strategies help me stay focused and productive, and they make sure I don’t miss any important deadlines.”

18. Describe a time when you had to work under pressure to meet a tight deadline.

Legal research is a fast-paced, detail-oriented field that requires you to think quickly and accurately. Showing that you can work well under pressure is an important skill for any legal researcher. By asking this question, interviewers are looking for evidence that you can handle high-pressure situations. They may also be looking for evidence of your problem-solving skills, as well as your ability to think on your feet and come up with creative solutions.

To answer this question, focus on a recent experience when you had to work quickly and accurately to meet a tight deadline. Describe the project and the time constraints you were under, as well as any steps you took to ensure that you met the deadline. Be sure to include any problems or challenges you faced during the process, as well as how you overcame them. Finally, explain what you learned from the experience and how it has helped shape your approach to similar tasks in the future.

Example: “Last year I was tasked with researching a complex legal issue in a short period of time for one of our clients. I had to quickly become familiar with the relevant laws and regulations and assess the potential legal implications of the issue. I had to work long hours and use a variety of resources to ensure that I had the most up-to-date information. I was able to meet the deadline and provide our client with a thorough and accurate legal opinion. This experience taught me the importance of staying organized and being able to think on my feet when faced with a tight deadline. It also taught me the value of having a good support system in place, as I was able to lean on my colleagues for help and advice when necessary.”

19. How do you handle difficult clients who may not understand the complexities of the legal system?

Legal research is a highly specialized field, and it’s not always easy to explain complex legal concepts to clients who may have little to no legal background. Interviewers may ask this question to gauge how well you can break down complex topics and explain them in layman’s terms. It also shows that you have the patience and empathy to work with clients who may not understand the law and its complexities.

You should be prepared to explain how you would handle a situation where the client is having difficulty understanding the legal concepts. Talk about how you would break down difficult topics and simplify them for the client, as well as any strategies you have for helping clients feel more comfortable with the legal process. If you’ve had experience dealing with this kind of situation before, talk about it in detail and explain what worked and what didn’t work.

Example: “I understand that legal concepts can be difficult to grasp, especially for clients who have no legal background. I strive to be patient and empathetic with clients and I make sure to explain difficult topics in a way that they can easily understand. I also try to make the process comfortable for them, by breaking down the legal process into smaller steps and answering any questions or concerns they may have. I’ve had success in the past by providing clients with additional resources and materials that help them better understand the legal system. I also make sure to follow up with them to ensure that they understand the legal process and are comfortable with it.”

20. What would you do if you encountered a problem that was outside of your area of expertise?

Legal research is a job that requires a lot of skill and knowledge. But even the most experienced researchers will occasionally encounter a problem that they don’t know how to solve. This question is designed to find out how you would react in such a situation. It’ll also help the interviewer determine if you have the initiative and creativity to find a solution even when you don’t have all the answers.

The best way to answer this question is to discuss the steps you would take if faced with a problem outside of your area of expertise. Talk about how you would research and learn more about the issue, consult with colleagues or other professionals in the field, and then come up with a solution. Be sure to emphasize that you’re not afraid to ask for help when needed, but also have the confidence to find solutions on your own.

Example: “If I encountered a problem that was outside my area of expertise, I would first take the time to research the issue and gain a better understanding of the situation. I would also consult with colleagues or other professionals in the field to get their perspectives and advice. I’m confident in my ability to learn quickly and apply new information, so I would be able to come up with a solution to the problem. I understand the importance of asking for help when needed, but also have the confidence to find solutions on my own.”

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IMAGES

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VIDEO

  1. Jurimetrics : Legal Research

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COMMENTS

  1. Legal research: 3-step how-to guide

    For example, attorneys must conduct legal research if they need court opinions — that is, case law — to back up a legal argument they are making in a motion or brief filed with the court. Alternatively, lawyers may need legal research to provide clients with accurate legal guidance.

  2. 100 Law Research Paper Topics Ideas

    What Is a Law Research Paper? ⚖️ List of 100 Law Research Paper Topics 💰 Business Law Topics for Research Paper 📖 Constitutional Law Research Paper Topics 📜 Criminal Law Essay Topics 💻 Cyber Law Paper Topics 📕 Law Enforcement Paper Topics 🌐 International Law Topics for Research ♻️ Environmental Law Topics for a Research

  3. Legal Research Strategy

    Start by doing the following: Read anything you have been given Analyze the facts and frame the legal issues Assess what you know and need to learn Note the jurisdiction and any primary law you have been given Generate potential search terms Jurisdiction Legal rules will vary depending on where geographically your legal question will be answered.

  4. Formulating a Research Question

    If your research topic constitutes a lack of information on a phenomenon, a type of legal proceeding or a specific event for example, a descriptive research question underlines the objective of your research of collecting facts that would be necessary to set-up further analyses or theory building.

  5. Basic Legal Research Guide: Research Strategy

    Basic Legal Research: Tools and Strategies (6th ed.) by Amy E. Sloan. Call Number: KF 240 .S585 2015. On reserve at the Law Library's Circulation Desk. On pages 304-307 of Amy Sloan's Basic Legal Research textbook, you will find sample legal research flowcharts that show the thought process for handling certain types of research questions.

  6. 37 questions with answers in LEGAL RESEARCH

    Questions (37) Questions related to Legal Research Muhammad Tom asked a question related to Legal Research Is the need for hypothesis in a legal research? Question 2 answers May 5,...

  7. Legal Research: Meaning, Definitions, and Example

    Searching secondary authorities (for example, law reviews, legal dictionaries, legal treatises, and legal encyclopedias such as American Jurisprudence and Corpus Juris Secundum) for background information about a legal topic; and Searching non-legal sources for investigative or supporting information. Dimensions of Legal Research

  8. How to Conduct Legal Research and Analysis

    Beginning your legal research will look different for each assignment. At the outset, ensure that you understand your goal by asking questions and taking careful notes. Ask about background case information, logistical issues such as filing deadlines, the client/matter number, and billing instructions. It's also important to consider how your ...

  9. SQE2 sample question

    This sample question and discussion of answer is an example of a legal research assessment in the context of Criminal Litigation. This is a computer-based assessment. You have 60 minutes to carry out the research and complete your written answer.

  10. Selecting and Developing a Law Research Topic

    The purpose of this guide is to assist students who are writing a legal research paper and need help selecting a topic and developing a thesis. Introduction Selecting a Topic

  11. 10 Research Question Examples to Guide your Research Project

    The exact form of your question will depend on a few things, such as the length of your project, the type of research you're conducting, the topic, and the research problem. However, all research questions should be focused, specific, and relevant to a timely social or scholarly issue.

  12. PDF An Introduction to Legal Research

    What is "Legal Research?" Definition: Legal research is the process of identifying and retrieving information necessary to support legal decision-making. So Why do it? Support legal decision-making: COMPLEX legal issues Applied to SPECIFIC facts Requiring COMPLETE answers For clients that PAY for your expertise The Legal Research Process

  13. (6) Methods and approaches to research legal questions in your ...

    Alternative approaches — e.g. "behavioral law and economics" — may focus in different non-legal research methods to study the law (e.g., psychological) and may propose different research ...

  14. 120 Law Research Paper Topics

    By considering your interests, staying updated with current legal issues, seeking guidance from experts, conducting preliminary research, and narrowing down your topic, you can ensure that your research paper is engaging, relevant, and contributes to the existing body of knowledge in the field. The deadline is too short to read long manuals?

  15. 230 Law Research Paper Topics: Best Legal Ideas 2023

    230 Law Research Paper Topics: Best Legal Ideas 2023 List of best law research paper topics and questions for students. Choose a trending legal topic to write about in any branch of law. List of best law research paper topics and questions for students. Choose a trending legal topic to write about in any branch of law. About Us What is StudyCrumb?

  16. Law 627: Legal Research: Unit 2: Planning & Process

    A basic research plan will break down your questions into specific research tasks, identify sources to use in your research, and begin to identify search terms. Below are some examples of ways to approach legal research planning. Read through them and see if you can identify a format that might work best for you. Not sure? Try out different ...

  17. Top Law Research Papers Topics for Students

    The connection between crime and drugs: how different laws can help Why do certain countries still have capital punishment How education can prevent people from breaking laws How criminals use insanity defense as a loophole What are the laws that regulate police interrogation What rights do citizens in the US have when they are detained

  18. Law Dissertation Topics

    The law dissertation topics below were written by our expert writers, as a learning aid to help you with your studies. If you are looking for help with your law dissertation topic then we offer a comprehensive writing service provided by fully qualified academics in your field of study. Law Dissertation Topic and Titles Service.

  19. Sources of legal research: Primary, secondary and the role of AI

    Legal research is the systematic approach to discovering and comprehending legal data and materials to answer legal questions, support legal points, and make informed legal judgements. At its core, it's akin to solving a jigsaw puzzle—combining elements of laws, case precedents, and expert opinions to find the necessary solutions.

  20. 190 Unique Law Research Topics for Students to Consider

    You shouldn't add too much philosophy to it. Your research paper should answer your law essay topics properly with pure black-and-white facts. You may think that writing a law research paper is easy. But actually, it is not. For writing an intense legal research paper, you must have a unique legal research topic.

  21. Legal Research and Writing Multiple-Choice Practice Exam Questions

    Become a member and get unlimited access to our massive library of law school study materials, including 1,086 video lessons and 6,800+ practice questions in 1L, 2L, & 3L subjects, as well as 44,900+ case briefs keyed to 983 law school casebooks.

  22. 25 Legal Researcher Interview Questions and Answers

    This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you understand the importance of legal research in the law. Use examples from your experience to explain how legal research helps lawyers and other professionals make decisions about cases, laws and regulations. Example: "Legal research is an essential part of understanding the law ...

  23. Legal Research Question Examples

    At a law school, you will be taught the many areas of the law, as well as take practice tests and complete legal research quizzes. The key to becoming successful at this type of learning is participating in a large number of class discussions, reading lots of case studies, writing a lot of papers and practicing what you have learned.

  24. 20 Legal Researcher Interview Questions and Answers

    1. What experience do you have with legal research and analysis? Legal researchers are expected to be knowledgeable about the laws, regulations, and legal processes that are relevant to their work. They must be able to analyze legal documents, conduct research, and apply that knowledge to their work.