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Know the Basics Involving Legal Research

Legal research is described as the identification and retrieval of information that will be used in supporting decision making where legality is concern. The professionals who can perform legal research are lawyers, law librarians, paralegals and those who want legal information. These legal information are obtainable for free from printed books and online legal research websites, and information portals that you can pay from database vendors.

Generally, legal research covers finding primary authority cases, finding secondary authority about a certain specific legal topic, and finding non-legal sources for supporting information. Conducting legal research does not have to have hard and fast rule to follow, and this is because there are different approaches in doing a legal research. Even so, there are some basic guides that we will describe briefly here so you can perform legal research like those other researchers.

First guideline is to start with a preliminary analysis of facts and then start framing your questions from there. Next is to consult your secondary sources, make an evaluation of the research, locate the primary authority, re-evaluate the research, update the research, stop the research, and follow the rules of black letter law,

As you make the preliminary analysis, facts and details of the people, place, and acts involved should be identified, aside from your familiarization with related jargon. It is emphasized that there should be proper understanding of all issues found during research has to be done also. Not only is understanding needed, one must also be able to identify the various legal theories, the procedures involved and to be specific of what you sought for. As far as the different secondary sources that you will refer to, you may go to law reviews, treatises and encyclopedias.

As to the identification of the right legal theories, you have to see if these have to be modified, or if new theories are found that would require you to conduct more research. There is also the core legal theory that one must review and see if being developed at the present.

Sources of primary authorities could be found using online and offline secondary sources, such as court opinions, statutes, regulatory law, different digests, law publications, and study aids. A repetition of your legal research and update and re-evaluation is necessary until you produce a satisfactory result of information. The basic rules of the black letter law is another important matter that one has to consider when doing legal research. The black letter law is described as those set of standard elements for a particular section of law that is generally well known and are not subject to doubt or dispute.

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