University of Wisconsin–Madison

Practical Research Tips for Summer Associates

Heading to a private firm, a government agency or a public interest organization for summer employment?  You may become painfully aware that legal research in the business world can be vastly different than your academic experience.  Here are some practical research tips to keep in mind as a summer associate:

  • Acquaint yourself with the law firm's librarians or visit the nearby law school and county law libraries as soon as possible.  Take advantage of any training or orientation programs these libraries offer.
  • Use UW Law Library resources, regardless of where you are located.  With your law school or net ID, most of the library's electronic database subscriptions will be available to you.  The Law Library's web page provides easy access to numerous electronic sources such as Hein Online, the ProQuest Newspaper databases as well as Wisconsin Briefs or Wisconsin Drafting Records.
  • Consult the UW Law Library Subject Guides when you need research help.  This is a great tool for quickly locating the authoritative resources in a specialized area of the law.  One 'classic' assignment for summer associates involves compiling legislative histories.  Refer to the Legislative History of Wisconsin Laws for time-saving strategies.  Review the Wisconsin Legal Information Sources Guide for an invaluable overview of cost-effective options to locate cases, statutes, regulations and articles on the web.
  • Remember that your law school passwords for Lexis and Westlaw are automatically suspended over the summer.  Extensions are granted for those taking summer school classes, those working as faculty research assistants, students involved with law review / moot court research, students in non-profit internships or for graduates preparing to take the July bar exam.  To register for summer access, follow the links on the Lexis and Westlaw law school web pages or contact our representatives for more information.
  • Pick up the UW Law School Career Services packet with advice for a successful summer clerkship.  They also maintain a list of who is working where for social networking.  And of course, do not hesitate to call or email the librarians at the UW Law Library for reference assistance.  The Library is open over the summer and our staff is here to help with your questions.

Submitted by Cheryl O'Connor on April 23, 2009

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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