How to Research A Legal Problem: Tips for Lawyers


Communicated Content- The job of an established lawyer is to investigate a legal issue in the most effective way to reach a solution. But the journey of investigation is less of a glamorous role of the attorney and more thorough research because the key factor in winning a legal argument is to base the facts upon legitimate research results. 

A legal research process involves a set of queries, primary sources, cite-checking techniques, legal databases, and relevant jurisdiction. Based on these factors, a lawyer drives a legal argument in his favor and makes sure that justice prevails.

However, to practice law, a lawyer has to understand how to conduct legal research. They also have to know the critical aspects of the federal or state law structures and master how to apply appropriate legal research strategies. Here, we’ll focus on conducting legal research to solve a legal problem, including some helpful tips for lawyers. Read on.

How to Conduct Legal Research For A Legal Issue

To conduct legal research most effectively, the lawyer must use advanced legal research techniques and know relevant legal terms. Here are the steps to start conducting legal research from scratch.

Collect Details of the Legal Issue

As soon as given a legal issue, the first thing the lawyer must do is to investigate the issue and collect detailed information. The details must include where, when, what and how the issue occurred. He/she must take into account the prime suspects and connecting clues to conduct legal research properly.

Determine Relevant Jurisdiction

The lawyer needs to start with the location where the legal issue occurred. Finding the correct geographical area will help him to locate relevant jurisdiction and which government agency can resolve the problem. It is a prerequisite for the lawyer to make legal databases and research the law.

Study Legal Terms

It is crucial to know the legal terms to ease out the legal research. Legal terminologies are way different and only available in law books. A lawyer can also study from online legal sources. Law-related books have citations, including the volume, book names, and page numbers. Other statutes include abbreviations and statute title, section codes, etc.

Find What Type of Legal Sources to Gather

There are two basic types of legal sources that a lawyer needs for the legal research process.

Primary Sources

Primary sources are crucial as they set up the law structure on the legal issue in the context. They include the following.

  • Federal or state law.
  • Laws enforced by the legislative bodies, i.e., statutes.
  • Regulations by federal agencies.
  • Court opinions.
  • Legal principles.

Secondary Sources

These include the intricate details to further research the law. The lawyer needs to find secondary sources to place the legal issue in the right area of law. These include the following.

  • Journals and articles on legal research.
  • Legal treatises.
  • Legal reviews by experts and professionals.

Find Legal Research Information

A lawyer can find legal research information in law books available in legal and public libraries, including law schools. To advance the research, there are digital legal research tools available on the internet.


  • Web Portals

The web portals of the U. S. Government Publishing Office have accumulated the law publications in their Federal Digital System. The portal includes information on federal or state law structures. Another helpful legal portal is law portal Lawrina, where lawyers can reach out to gather legal databases and find answers to a legal question.


  • Internet

Internet is a great source to collect research-based information on legal issues. There are trusted sources to find law-related research articles and databases. Besides that, there are several government-approved resources to conduct legal research. They include The Legal Information Institute, Public Library of Law, and many more. These authorized online sources include information on relevant case law, statutes, regulations, supreme court rules, legal treatises, etc.


  • Journals and Articles

Printed or digital journals have articles from law schools and bar associations. These articles contain information on legal topics, court opinions, legal principles, in the area of law. Index to Legal Periodicals and Current Law Index are available in printed or computerized forms. Websites like Jurist, Google Scholar, etc., have a lot of legal research resources.


Tips for Lawyers to Structure A Legal Research Strategy

Here are some essential tips for lawyers to form a legal research strategy and conduct legal research properly.


  • Know Legal Terms

A lawyer should know about the availability of online databases to gather adequate information. The process requires knowledge and understanding of the legal terms. Understanding the legal terms will ease out the legal research process further.


  • Anticipate

A lawyer should have an idea regarding the expected results while collecting data. However, it is not impossible to determine the results accurately. But a lawyer should have a solid anticipating power to lead the legal research process in the right direction. So, the process will eventually help a lawyer to save a lot of time.


  • Organize 

In the course of collecting information about the legal issue, he/she will come across a wide range of varied research results. The lawyer needs the skill to arrange and organize the collected data and incorporate them in the right place during legal research.


  • Be Selective

A lawyer needs to be selective about the sources to collect all the necessary data about the legal issue. He/she must only collect data that are relevant to the case. Also, a lawyer must know about the reliability of the source before collecting any data.


  • Incorporate Logic

A lawyer should scrap anything that defies logic. While collecting information regarding a legal issue, he/she must understand if the data is satisfying the proposition he/she is trying to establish. A logical hypothesis will strengthen the argument and help achieve the resolve.


  • Keep Steady Without Rushing

Lawyers must plan their legal research strategy accordingly and avoid rushing. Generally, a lawyer gets a specific time period assigned for each stage of the legal research. While rushing, they can miss out on specific essential points, which will eventually lead to exceeding the time limit.


The Final Note

We have covered almost all the necessary details about how to conduct legal research for legal issues. However, a lawyer must remain prepared for sudden roadblocks in the route of legal research. He/she should also understand the changing federal law structures and stay at the brim of the judicial system to effectively research a legal problem.

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