Sample Law Essay on Developing a Legal Topic

Developing a Legal Topic

Legal research has been defined as a process where a researcher identifies a topic of research and proceeds to find the necessary information to support the legal topic.[1] A proper legal research will involve the process of analyzing and sieving through various pieces of information or facts to support the topic and finally involve applying the information to offer a solution or results.[2]

A research topic should be one that makes an arguable claim rather than a topic that is conclusive on the face of it; a research without a claim of argument is lacking.[3] The process of identifying a legal research topic is essential for any researcher. A topic may be identified through the process of an interview, but the best, effective method involves consulting library sources or information for a topic. A library material should be analyzed for relevance to enable devising a better research topic.[4] A good research topic should be able to identify the subject of the research, the cause of action, the strategies, depending on the type of information/solutions being sought, and finally the subjects involved or their relationships and other relevant issues based on the research.[5]

After a legal topic or issue has been identified, the researcher should sift through identified legal materials already collected. The materials should contain materials looked for or answers. Most times, information available in the library is not sufficient and therefore the researcher should explore online sources. A good researcher should be keen to sieve through information gathered in the library for relevant information only. Citing such information is crucial for any legal research.[6]

A legal researcher should be like a librarian; this is very important because of the strategic position of a librarian and the library skills they have. A library is a rich source of resource material, but a legal researcher should have the knowledge to find materials in the shelves. Most materials like the statutes and encyclopedias are stored in libraries, alongside other resources.[7]

A librarian easily identifies the facts that are related to the topic of research. A librarian will first identify the facts and then look for the most relevant books on the topic. Library users are also equipped with reference skills that are useful in seeking information. Books are easily identified using their indexes; this is a feature common among most books.[8] It is noteworthy that searching for common phrases assists in identifying sources of research or resources. Broader categories or narrower categories can also be used effectively to make a search. Knowledge capacities for synonyms as well as antonyms are part of essential skills for librarians. A good researcher, therefore, should be a good librarian.

Legal sources must always be as current as possible based on the nature of law. Various updates, for example, are created everyday and therefore information will only be accurate if it is current.

A good law research should first look at the secondary sources containing precise and synthesized information. Secondary sources create a good background for the research; primary sources should be the last to be used in any legal research. Primary sources in this case include case laws, available legal statutes, ordinances, and other regulations available.[9] Print and online material is also important and very resourceful in any legal research. Most libraries lack books to carry out research; print and online material therefore comes in handy.[10]

 

 

 

Bibliography

Albright, Jennifer, and William H. Putman. Legal Research, Analysis and Writing. Albany, N.Y: Delmar, 2013.

Hall, Kermit L, and David S. Clark. The Oxford Companion to American Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Levitt, Carole A, and Mark E. Rosch. The Lawyer’s Guide to Fact Finding on the Internet. Chicago, Ill: ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2006.

Mckie, Suzanne. Legal Research. London: Routledge-Cavendish, 1993.

Nala Manual for Paralegals and Legal Assistants: A General Skills & Litigation Guide for Today’s Professionals. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning, 2010.

Olson, Kent C. Legal Information: How to Find It, How to Use It. Phoenix, Ariz: Oryx Press, 1999.

Pressley, Lauren, Craig Fansler, Kevin Gilbertson, Rebecca Petersen, Kaeley D. McMahan, Audra E. Yun, Rebecca Caudle, Mary G. Scanlon, Ellen Daugman, Molly Keener, Mary B. Lock, and Ellen Makaravage. Research Like a Librarian: Accessing Information in the 21st Century. , 2013.

Raimes, Ann, and Maria Jerskey. Keys to Successful Writing: A Handbook for College and Career. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013.

Slorach, J S. Legal Systems & Skills. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Yelin, Andrea B, and Hope V. Samborn. The Legal Research and Writing Handbook: A Basic Approach for Paralegals. New York: Aspen Publishers, 2009.

[1] Jennifer Albright and William H. Putman. Legal Research, Analysis and Writing. Albany, N.Y: Delmar, 2013.

[2] Andrea B Yelin and Hope V. Samborn. The Legal Research and Writing Handbook: A Basic Approach for Paralegals. New York: Aspen Publishers, 2009.

[3] Ann Raimes and Maria Jerskey. Keys to Successful Writing: A Handbook for College and Career. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013.

[4] Carole A Levitt and Mark E. Rosch. The Lawyer’s Guide to Fact Finding on the Internet. Chicago, Ill: ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2006.

[5] Lauren Pressley Craig Fansler, Kevin Gilbertson, Rebecca Petersen, Kaeley D. McMahan, Audra E. Yun, Rebecca Caudle, Mary G. Scanlon, Ellen Daugman, Molly Keener, Mary B. Lock, and Ellen Makaravage. Research Like a Librarian: Accessing Information in the 21st Century. , 2013.

[6] Nala Manual for Paralegals and Legal Assistants: A General Skills & Litigation Guide for Today’s Professionals. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning, 2010.

[7] Kent C Olson. Legal Information: How to Find It, How to Use It. Phoenix, Ariz: Oryx Press, 1999.

[8] Suzann Mckie. e. Legal Research. London: Routledge-Cavendish, 1993.

[9] J S Slorach. Legal Systems & Skills. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

[10] Kermit L Hall and David S. Clark. The Oxford Companion to American Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.