Advanced Legal Research and Writing: How to Build a Cadillac


By Barbara E. Cotton

As the Research Director of a large law firm, responsible for supervising the research product of 18 students and assisting them in developing their research skills, I was recently requested to prepare and conduct a skill-building seminar for the students and junior associates. While most students become relatively proficient in their basic research skills after several months, and thus can generally be relied upon to capture the relevant case-law and authorities when researching an issue, most students, and indeed junior associates, have considerable more difficulty in analyzing their raw research results to assess the governing principles of law and applying the law to the facts of their particular problem in order to come to a conclusion that is meaningful for the client.

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