5 tips for getting the most out of your legal research

5 tips for getting the most out of your legal research

Are you reading the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? 

If you have ever run a Google search and remained dubious about the results, don’t worry – you’re not the only one. These days, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find trusted information sources on the internet. The challenge for legal professionals is that they are expected to find accurate legal and regulatory information for their clients, instantly.

Recent research has shown that it costs five times more to attract a new customer, than it does to retain an existing one. Can you afford to trust Google with your most valued asset?

To get the best out of your research, we have given you a helping hand by putting together a top tips guide, based on conversations with our clients:

 

1.  Always check – errors are costly

 

Most people would agree: checking your work is important. Whether this process involves a friend reading over what you’ve written, or a colleague using tracked changes to give you their thoughts on sentence structure or style.

Unfortunately, for lawyers, this process is not that straightforward. Even if the error itself appears small, the potential ramifications of a document going out referencing the wrong client, case law or sum of money, are hugely significant. So, don’t risk it – it’s always worth checking.  

 

2.  Focus on what matters most

 

Typographical or editing errors can be checked by legal proofreading software that understand the nuances between whether a noun is capitalised or not.  Software can even spot and fix your referencing and pagination.

If you can increase productivity and accuracy by checking documents faster, you will have more time to focus on your clients. Consistency and accuracy matters for your professional reputation.  However, the day-to-day reality of maintaining that accuracy, can be hugely challenging for just one person.

 

3.  ‘Layer’ your research approach

 

Look to ground your argument in authoritative primary sources.  Also look be efficient about the level and depth of research you choose to undertake. Some tools, like LexisPSL, allow you to ‘layer’ your research approach by choosing different levels of detail for the information you research. With one click, however, you can delve into the detail.

Depending on the case, it is not always necessary to read into the detail – how the law has changed over time, the in-depth case notes, and so on.  In many cases, this information is only needed if previous version of the law applies.

The law, and the lawyer’s role, can be incredibly complex, and these days, increasingly time-pressured. There will be cases that require time and detail, and those that can be completed quickly without too much research. Find the balance between the two and use a tool, like LexisPSL, that gives you the high level and detailed view on the law.

 

4.  Leverage tools to help you be more efficient

 

Look for the toolkits, checklists and practice notes to support you in your role. There is a huge step between understanding which points of legislation you are required to fulfill as a lawyer, and practically what you need to consider and do in order to fulfill it.

These stages can be found through trusted resources – from trained lawyers who have previously trodden that path. Save yourself time by using the resources available that exist purely to help you be more efficient.

 

Product deep-dive: How we can help

 

LexisNexis has 200 years of experience providing information services to the legal sector. Our suite of software tools provide complete coverage of updates in case law and legislation, with efficient software tools, allowing you to check your work thoroughly, at the click of a button, as well as perform in-depth analysis into sectors and practice areas at the level of complexity you need.

According to our clients, one of the many advantages of the suite of software tools is that you can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on research, and drafting documents, while mitigating the inevitable risks to client experience, and reputation, of documents going out containing simple errors.

Our research has shown that 85% of lawyers believe client demand is having as much of an impact as regulation. Click below to explore our fully-integrated tools, and to understand how we can support you effectively in your role:

 

LexisLibrary

  • A well-trusted source: 98% of top 100 law firms – based on ranking in The Lawyer UK, 2016 – subscribe to LexisLibrary
  • The only place to find sources such as Halsbury's Laws of England, Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents, All England Law Reports, Atkin's Court Forms and more
  • Advise with confidence, backed by extensive, authoritative content with over 700,000 case law documents

 

LexisPSL

  • Comprehensive resources for 35 areas of practice so you can key information on your sector - sector-specific news, practice guidance and industry updates - more easily
  • A wide range of key legal forms, templates, calculators, checklists and flow-charts to help you work through repetitive, everyday tasks faster
  • Get instant clarification on points of law with concise and practical guidance on legal questions, as well as accessing primary sources to back up your argument

 

LexisDraft

  • Increase productivity and accuracy with legal contract drafting software – proofread documents 70% faster, ensure accuracy across multiple documents
  • Address client’s rising expectations head on by quickly providing a professional finish to your documents
  • Quick to provide you results - 94% of users surveyed describe Lexis Draft as easy to use

 

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About the author:

Amy is an established writer and researcher, having contributed to publications, such as The Law Society, LPM, City A.M. and Financial IT. Her role at LexisNexis UK involved leading content and thought leadership, as well as writing research reports, including "The Bellwether Report 2020, Covid-19: The next chapter" and "Are medium-sized firms the change-makers in legal?"