Monday Practice Tip- Legal Research Part 2

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  

Today we’re back with some more legal research tips for young lawyers who may constantly find themselves buried in research memoranda!  So far, we have advised you not to ignore books, but rather to ignore the “natural language” search!

Here are a few more tips:

3) Update law when you re-use old briefs.  Saving the client some money by not re-inventing the wheel is generally a brilliant idea.  You should quickly become familiar with the firm’s document management system and how to use it, as well as friendly enough with your colleagues to pace the halls with questions like, “Have you done a ‘Motion to Compel Authorizations for the Release of Credit Card Records’?”  Once you find old memo’s though, your work is NOT done.  You need to go check each and every case cited to make sure it’s still good law, and if you’re relying on any cases that came out in the 20th century, you should look for some updated authority.  Don’t sacrifice quality for efficiency. 

4) Headnotes- Manna from the Gods.  The person who put in the work to create headnotes and to start digging through old cases and adding headnotes should not only be taken care of for life, but to also have several generations of his family compensated as well!  When I am unable to hit a home run with my initial term search, headnotes are where I usually turn.  I start by searching a topic by keynumber.  You can then find the relevant headnote(s) relatively quickly, then break down all cases in a jurisdiction that fall within that headnote.  Are cases classified under the right headnote 100% of the time?  No.  But close enough!


We will have some more tips for you next week!

Explore posts in the same categories: Practice Tips for Young Attorneys

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