Legal research is not a one size fits all process. Different tasks require different strategies, different databases, different secondary sources. Few assignments will be as jarringly different as the first semester objective memo and second semester persuasive brief in Legal Advocacy class.
The Law Library is here to help. Our JD holding reference librarians have all been through the transition from dispassionate legal analysis to loyal, tenacious persuasion. If you make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian, we can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that can befall all research and find all you need to state your best case in court.
We can critique your research trail. Looking over your research and refining your strategies and search terms can make sure you can find your opponent’s best case to defuse it before it’s thrown at you.
We can also point to secondary sources that will be helpful for your particular assignment. Objective treatises and encyclopedias can help you grasp the law in the beginning. Practice guides can help you make sure you’re fully representing your client’s interests. And persuasive law review articles that can inspire you to construct your own arguments for why the law should be interpreted in favor of your client.
The librarians can also suggest texts and treatises that can build the writing skills necessary to craft a compelling brief. See our First Year Legal Writing and Advanced Legal Writing: Persuasion research guides to get a jump start on honing your craft. The guides discuss everything from effective organization of your document, to choosing the best words to change a judge’s mind.
And our assistance doesn’t end with the four corners of your document, because we can help make sure your oral argument pleases your professor. We have a number of guides from the experts on how to craft compelling presentations for your judges, and how to field their questions to advance your client’s interests. We also have tips for calming and channeling the nervous energy that comes from facing a panel of decision makers in your best suit. To improve your skills, few things are more effective than watching the experts, so you should also check out our our compilation of links to oral argument recordings from the Ninth Circuit, Arizona Court of Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court.
Finally, even with the experience of Bluebooking your first objective memos behind you, citation can be tricky. We are more than happy to field questions about your citation sentences; just Ask a Law Librarian.
Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian