Interactive Legal Research & Writing Lessons: Cost Effective Legal Research (Long)

West Academic Publishing
Primary Subject
Legal Research
Interactive Videos
Modular LRW
Online access will expire 365 days from the date of purchase.


Legal research can be costly in two ways: time and money. Although primary sources like cases, statutes, and regulations are always free and available online, the search engines available on those sites are designed to provide the public with access to the materials and are not necessarily designed for lawyers to conduct legal research. In law school, fee-based legal research platforms, like Bloomberg Law, Lexis, and Westlaw, are also “free” to students to learn how to research sophisticated legal issues using robust search engines, artificial intelligence, and value-added features that can be costly in practice. In learning how to use these features, the process of legal research is streamlined and will produce a higher quality result in a shorter amount of time.

In this module, students will be introduced to the factors they should consider before diving into a new legal research project. While law school libraries provide comprehensive content, in practice lawyers will need to select and negotiate the content they need, based on their jurisdiction and practice area(s). Additionally, students will learn the value and cost of secondary sources, how to identify the monthly cost of a Lexis or Westlaw subscription, and examples of how lawyers typically recover legal research expenses from their clients. A review of the ABA Model Rules related to legal research is included.

Legal research is a skill, and like most skills, competency improves through practice. This module provides a civil law fact pattern and asks students to research statutes and case law using free resources. Next, students use fee-based resources and compare their results. While all lawyers will not practice in the same jurisdiction or practice area, all lawyers will need to become proficient with legal research. This module is intended to offer one more opportunity for students to practice the valuable skill of legal research, while considering the dual costs of time and money they will experience in practice.