Legal research involves the collection of factual information which can purposely be used to present as an example in a similar case. Well, from a minor appeal to some of the most complex criminal litigations, thorough research is always a necessity. However, when it comes to finding a case file which is similar to the case you have undertaken, numerous challenges come along the way. Let’s discuss them in brief.
To research the matter that exactly meets lethe client case
For any lawyer, the hard part of legal research is to ensure that the case law study is authoritative and most relevant to the case in hand. It often becomes difficult for them to decide when they should stop doing the research and consider the completed case study as sufficient.
The solution is to conduct systematic research to find relevant case law before you give up.
No expertise in general legal research work
As young lawyers are not research experts, doing and concluding legal research is always a challenge for them. However, they can improve their all-round skills by reading more and new case law files.
Apart from Lexis and Westlaw, some of the most helpful resources will be your secondary source materials, especially law treaties and journals.
Unaware of how to create research shortcuts
Even if an attorney skips reviewing every case and statute while believing investing time will not bring optimum results, labeling and keeping the cases in folders as per different topics is a time savior.
Keeping the research work in an organized manner reduces the time required to find relevant research topics during trials, mediation, hearings, and discussions.
Spending more on legal research resources
Another big challenge is acquiring expensive resources for legal research work. Yes, having some of the best research tools is costly, but it is worth investing as it is more intuitive and provides more relevant results quickly.
A competent legal research tool reduces the time generally required for in-depth and thorough research.
No easy access to research sources
Not having any source for research is also a huge problem in an attorney’s life. It is common for individual attorneys and new law firms to be unable to pay for Westlaw and Lexis (large legal databases).
However, you can always rely on Google and follow other free or inexpensive research tools, such as Casetext.
Continuing with the same approach
Having limited database is a problem which requires to be rectified. As many of your clients would not be able to manage the costs for the research work, it would be best to start searching for case law on Google. The results would be expository and narrow your research.
After that, you can use Casetext to find relevant cases and Westlaw to ensure the cases brought out justified results. Change your approach, adopt new ways to do the research work.
Not doing brainstorming while researching
Legal issues are difficult to resolve, and research is the most effective solution to them. Apart from using certain legal research tools, it is recommended to subscribe and get help from listserves where various attorneys share their interesting cases and opinions on different legal issues.
Not opting for electronic databases
Access to legal research sources is not a big problem with the help of electronic databases and search efficiencies; the actual challenge is minimal usage of technology for investigative purposes. Firms and individual attorneys don’t always prefer online research sources due to authenticity issues.
Thus, it is recommended to use certified research tools along with filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests so that to make your client’s case stronger and eliminate complexities.
Not improving tactics with time
Many lawyers prefer to follow legal research tools that have worldwide acceptance, such as Lexis Nexis and Westlaw. However, you should not limit your research skills.
Think out of the box and don’t hesitate to make your hands find some legit law books. For this, you can visit libraries, borrow books, or just ask anything from Google.
Not seeking external help
Completing result-oriented research is not that difficult, but at times, expense becomes a hurdle. Large and well-established law firms can pay good money to improve their research capabilities, which small firms often couldn't.
This, as a result, gives large firms an obvious advantage of having access to more and authentic information. Apart from that, large firms generally employ a team of pro researchers who can any time provide support to their lawyer colleagues, especially during a hearing.
After observing such legal research issues, it is advised that lawyers should come out of the traditional ways and commit to finding new ways of carrying out result-oriented researches. Sometimes, doing something out of the box brings optimum outcomes.