University of Wisconsin–Madison

Research Tips for Summer Associates

If you will be employed as a law clerk for a firm, a government agency or a public interest organization this summer, legal research in a business setting may seem very different compared to your academic experience.  Locating reliable, cost-effective sources of information can be challenging, especially when you are examining new or unfamiliar legal issues.  Here are some practical research tips to keep in mind.

Remember that your law school passwords for Lexis and Westlaw are restricted over the summer.  Extensions are granted for those enrolled in summer school classes, those working as faculty research assistants, students involved with law review or moot court research, students interning with non-profits or for recent graduates preparing for Bar exams. To register for summer access, follow the links on the Lexis and Westlaw law school web pages or email our vendor representatives.

The UW Law Library is open all summer so feel free to call, email or IM a librarian for reference assistance.  Consult with us for legal research strategies and resources to save time and money.  By logging into My UW with your net ID nearly all of the campus library databases are available to you, regardless of your location.  This includes access to online newspapers, government information and corporate intelligence.

Print resources are a good way to start your research without incurring online charges. The UW Law Library Subject Guides identify the most authoritative sources of law on a wide range of topics. The Wisconsin Legal Information Sources Guide offers practical options for locating primary resources such as cases, statutes and regulations on the Internet.  Another guide, Researching Legal Topics, highlights numerous secondary resources and databases. If you are interning at the Remington Center this summer, check out the Criminal Law and Procedure guide. For a detailed analysis of resources in complex practice areas such as Immigration, the UCC, Federal Taxation and Securities Regulation your go-to book is Specialized Legal Research.

Be sure to take advantage of the orientation and training programs offered in the law firm library or the local law school and county law libraries.  These librarians have expertise in targeting the resources used by practicing attorneys.

Submitted by Cheryl O'Connor on April 21, 2011

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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