You have a summer job lined up. The only thing standing between you and a successful summer is finals – that is until you start thinking about the research you may be asked to do this summer. Whether you are working in a firm, for a judge, in a non-profit, with an agency, or researching for a professor here in Charlottesville, your librarians have put together a short “how-to” guide to help you through summer research.
BEFORE YOU START YOUR SUMMER JOB
Go online and take some time to get familiar with your organization, judge, or professor. Refresh yourself on the attorneys in your practice group and look to see if there are major cases or matters in which your firm is involved. Does your judge handle a particular type of case? What areas of law is your professor researching?
Become acquainted with your jurisdiction. If you will be working with state law issues, become familiar with the state’s court structure and the state legislature. Most official state websites provide free access to the state code, pending legislation, and recent court decisions.
Attend Lexis & Westlaw training sessions. These can help you be more cost-effective researchers.
WHEN YOU FIRST START YOUR SUMMER JOB
Take a tour of the library, if there is one, and introduce yourself to the librarian. There are likely to be sources that are important to your practice group or supervising attorney, and the librarian can point you towards those sources and help you learn to use the ones you haven’t worked with before. Your librarian can also tell you how Westlaw and Lexis are billed in your organization and about other databases available to you through the organization.
– Leslie Ashbrook