Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1953437
51-100 attorneys: 46 respondents
101-200 attorneys: 47 respondents
Over 200 attorneys: 40 respondentsAs there were only nine respondents from the 1-25 attorney category, those results are not individuallysummarized in this article.
B. General Respondent Comments
Here are some representational entries when respondents were asked to share comments or concernsabout legal research:
Most summers and first years arrive at law firm woefully unprepared.
The main problem I see with new attorneys is that they don't consult treatises orencyclopedias before resorting to case law. For example, Delaware law is crucial tocorporate attorneys. It behooves them to be familiar with the law via a wealth of treatisesbefore they dive into case law
Another problem I see is that newer associates haveproblems with analyzing issues of law. They tend to do predominantly fact based searchterms repeating what they have been told by partners or senior attorneys.
There is very little support to train new lawyers on research even though they need it.Academic work highly differs from practice and they need practical training. There is ahuge focus on research done by litigators but hardly any for transactional lawyers.Everyone seems to learn how to find a case but no one knows how to find where a companyis incorporated or where to find a company's most recent prospectus. Case law research isemphasized but there is little attention given to statutes, codes and rules. Also, if they don'ttake administrative law in law school they are completely lost as to how the Securities andExchange Commission or the Department of Justice or Office of the Comptroller works.
Main concern: young lawyers are coming out of school with very little knowledgeof research and sources; a shocking tendency to want to "Google" everything; areflexive desire to jump right online for every research issue; simply not realizinghow useful a book can be, to introduce you to a topic and to find answers withoutreinventing the wheel -- whatever your issue, someone else has probably alreadycovered it, and if they haven't, that sets your expectations about the probable paucityof info you're going to find online as well.
New associates are deficient in print research. They need to have an understandingof how the print resources work before they try to use them online. Also, they arelacking basic knowledge of what are statutes vs. regulations; digests and the Key
number system … they don't know how to use tables of contents or indices in print
They rely too much on Google or other internet search engines these days. They donot have a plan in mind when researching. [They] [s]hould be taught how to judge agood reliable resource from a random website. In general they want to take the easyway out and do as little research as possible. I've been in law firms for 20 years andthe research habits get worse every year.