A Comprehensive Guide to Legal Research and Writing in 2021

Legal Research and Writing

Legal research is where answers are found relevant to a legal question or precedent summoned in a brief or at a court trial. The legal research process involves identifying and retrieving necessary information pertinent to legal decision-making. It includes every course of action that helps analyze all the facts of a problem and determine the legal issue.

Legal research benefits every lawsuit, appeal, criminal case, legal process, etc. It can be carried out by lawyers and paralegals, including anyone with legal knowledge.

Why is Legal Research Necessary?

Legal research is required for any legal case that an attorney has to handle in a court. It helps to analyze legal problems, difficulties and determine the solutions to the problem at hand. A case without undergoing a proper legal protocol reduces the chances of coming to an appropriate conclusion. Legal Analysis refers to finding a reference to a legal precedent that attorneys can use to outline the case specifics briefly.

A legal study aims to determine how the court ruled on a prior case, what the trend was, and how they concluded. Studying the entire framework of legal cases will help frame the correct legal theories in the country’s legal system. It can also serve as a reference and be useful when dealing with similar legal cases in the future.

Legal Research has Multiple Benefits

  1. It is a crucial tool for lawyers and law firms’ better case handling.
  2. Good legal research helps to eliminate the shortcomings of court trials.
  3. The legal analysis creates the opportunity for the leading case that determines the issues in question.
  4. It regulates relevant issues used as a consulting case.

Similarly, Legal writing is also a vital part of the legal world, which is why it is a critical component in the curriculum of law schools. Legal writing is a form of technical writing performed by attorneys, judges, and paralegals to serve the clients’ legal issues.

It must be precise and obey the finer nuances of the failing law that the whole writing-up would be useless and fail in the eyes of the law even if in all respects it may be grammatically correct.

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Statements and authority citations must support each sentence, every argument, and every point made. Legal writing is the foundation of a well-researched legal document service and is greatly complemented by both legal study and writing.

Many large legal firms can engage their lawyers in legal research and writing tasks due to resource availability. However, many small and growing law firms do not enjoy this privilege since they have limited resources to engage in different tasks.

In such cases, opting for legal outsourcing services looks like an ideal solution. But, how can outsourcing legal research and writing services help to increase work proficiency?

Outsourcing Legal Research Services

Outsourcing legal research services can benefit lawyers and law firms in many ways:

It Enables In-house Staff to Focus on Core Tasks

It can help lawyers concentrate on the activities/tasks they perform best without worrying about the jobs they lack skills for or interest in. It allows them to focus on and perform legal tasks they like to do and perform even better.

Relieves Work Pressure

These services can help legal professionals relieve work pressure. Especially for lawyers, when many legal tasks are required to be done within a specific period, outsourcing can alleviate the excessive workload and help maintain a healthy work-life balance.

A Cost-efficient Option

It can become expensive for legal firms to hire employees on regular salaries to conduct some legal activities. Therefore, the solution is to involve third-party service providers instead of spending tons of money on recruitment, hiring, and infrastructure.

Since such service providers are based in countries such as China, Argentina, India, etc., the service fee charged by them is comparatively lower than of the other major countries. Thus, it brings an opportunity to save considerable funds.

Industry Expertise

One gets access to a professional team with the required experience and expertise that can help law firms’ in-house teams. It may offer more to the table in terms of perspective and project delivery, which the in-house team might not be able to provide. In return, this would serve customers more effectively.

Cater to the Customers’ Needs

It is possible that a customer may require assistance in which a law firm may not have a proper specialization. In such a scenario, law firms can easily cater to their customer demands by availing services from external sources. This is a perfect way for a law firm to improve client satisfaction.

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Which Tools Are Used for Legal Research?

Today’s lawyers have various options to conduct legal research. The following are a few free legal research tools.

Google Scholar

Legal professionals can benefit from using Google Scholar as Google frequently improves its algorithms, bringing better or most relevant results. Google’s investment into developments of other search areas enables better search results for legal professionals also.

Fastcase

Various bar associations across the globe use Fastcase. Currently, its two versions are available on the market, which are version – 6 and version – 7. You can simply use the toggle button (usually appears on the left-hand side of the top toolbar) to shift between the two.

Casemaker

The Casemaker interface looks more traditional than that of Fastcase. However, Casemaker states that it offers the latest information, and it updates all the amendments and new laws on the website within a period of 4 days from the passage of the laws.

The PLoL

The PLoL is a free cloud-based caselaw database developed and operated by Fastcase. Users can search for relevant cases with the use of Boolean search keywords or natural language. Cases you might not find on PloL can be accessed using Fastcase for free.

Casetext

Casetext recently became a paid service with the launch of a new feature named Case Analysis Research Assistant (CARA), powered by technologies like AI and ML. Casetext can bring better results without taking much of your effort. Therefore, it is worth investing in purchasing its subscription.

In Conclusion

There is an endless debate about whether lawyers should use legal analysis tools or adhere to old conventional methods. There are definitely plenty of legal resources available online to help lawyers review legal cases. There would, however, be a variety of variables influencing the option of platforms for lawyers.

While several lawyers use some mixed form of paid and free research tools depending on the casework requirement, many consider outsourcing legal research services a better option that reduces workload, enhances proficiency and efficiency, leading to increased productivity, overall legal process development, and business growth.

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