Research Guides

Successful Summer Strategies: Research in the Real World

Research in the Real World Starts Here:
Orienting yourself to the work and research environment

Once you arrive at the site of your summer employment, find out what resources are available to you.

  • If you are lucky enough to have access to a law librarian, make that person's acquaintance immediately! Ask for a library orientation if one isn't automatically made available.
  • If the library is limited or non-existent, find out whether there is a nearby public law library, or local bar or courthouse library, that you will be using; pay a visit, introduce yourself, and register if necessary.
  • Ask for information as to your employer’s policies in regard to copying and borrowing materials, and billing research services to clients. Find out whether your office has access to Lexis and/or Westlaw, and to the Internet, and clarify what, if any, restrictions are placed upon use of these resources. Be sure to check out whether your employer provides access to other legal research databases.
  • If your employer has a Westlaw or Lexis representative, get to know that person and take advantage of any training sessions or "free" usage hours that may be available to you.
  • If you know before starting work or find out upon arrival that you will be doing a lot of research in a particular area of law, get some background knowledge or an overview of the subject by quickly reviewing a Nutshell, hornbook, or treatise. Ask a librarian to suggest an appropriate source.


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