Thinking Like a Librarian: Tips for Better Legal Research

“Thinking Like a Librarian: Tips for Better Legal Research”

Thomas M. Cooley Journal of Practical and Clinical Law, Vol. 12, p. 1, 2009
Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 10-34

RICHARD BUCKINGHAM, Suffolk University Law School

When it comes to conducting legal research, being able to think like a lawyer is a good start. A researcher needs to be able to identify issues, read and analyze primary sources like cases and statutes, and determine which materials are relevant. But in order to find those primary sources, a good researcher needs to think not just like a lawyer, but also like a librarian; in particular, a law librarian.

Law librarians make excellent legal researchers for two reasons: (1) their knowledge of general (non-law specific) research techniques, and (2) their knowledge of legal resources and law-related research tools. By applying traditional research techniques to the legal field, law librarians are able to research more efficiently and effectively.

This article will offer four research tips for thinking like a librarian that will improve one’s legal research. Everyone in the legal profession — law students doing research for a paper or as a faculty research assistant, summer associates and new attorneys doing research for more senior attorneys, and law professors and seasoned attorneys researching for themselves — can benefit from the ideas covered in this article.

Source: LSN Law Educator: Courses, Materials & Teaching eJournal Vol. 6 No.
 19,  08/13/2010

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