Law librarians know how important legal research skills are for practice.
These skills include:
- Flexibility - knowing when to use natural language versus boolean searching
- Creativity - using creativity to distinguish or analogize a case to a results list instead of searching for the "perfect case" that may not exist
- Familiarity - looking beyond cases and statutes to other sources such as Trial Court Documents
- Exhaustive - knowing when to stop researching
Law librarians must bridge the knowledge in action gap to ensure that law students can find familiar resources while maintaining flexibility. Students must also have the analytical skills to creatively find answers and know when to stop researching.
If law librarians leave it up to legal writing professors to teach the analysis portion, we are doing the students a disservice by providing the steps to find resources without having them practice the difficult task of analysis and revising searches. The students must struggle through the entire process to truly absorb the skills necessary for effective and efficient legal research.