Legal researchers are very important people in the legal profession. They assist lawyers by identifying laws relevant to a lawsuit. They also help lawyers review and interpret laws and lawsuits.
Most lawyers cannot do without legal researchers. Some lawyers find themselves handicapped without legal researchers due to the sheer volume of work that they can handle through their skilled training.
In order to get a career as a legal researcher, you need to keep in mind the following:
1. Education Required
• A career as a legal researcher requires you to acquire at least an associate’s degree as a legal assistant or as a paralegal.
• The associate’s degree can be from an accredited online college or from a community college. Make sure that the education that you acquire is from a reputable learning institution.
• Some lawsuit companies with high standards may require you to have done a full 4-year bachelor’s degree and have some legal experience.
• Computer skills are vital. You will need to be proficient in word processors, spreadsheets, presentations, project software and other relevant computer skills.
2. Skills of a Legal Researcher
As a legal researcher, you will definitely need research skills. You will need to have the ability to find relevant information quickly, being specific and cognizant of all necessary facts such as case names, plaintiffs and defendants involved and so on.
The skills you will need to acquire as a legal researcher also include:
• Have skills to analyze large amounts of data and coming up with precise executive summaries.
• Get skills regarding the procedure of filing for cases and appeals.
• Being able to work un-supervised and under high pressure situations that demand meeting short deadlines.
• Acquire good skills as an inquisitive investigator as well as the ability to make connections and find patterns.
• Above average organizational skills that enable you to logically put together and store information in a way that it can be easily understood and used.
3. Duties and Responsibilities
• You should be able to use diverse legal resources such as physical legal books, online books, portals, and legal periodicals.
• You should be able to assist the lawyer to identifying laws relevant to a lawsuit, and review and interpret laws and lawsuits.
• You should be able to prepare legal papers and documents with and without direction from the lawyer.
• You should be able to verify information from the lawsuit, whether it is from the defendant, plaintiff or witness.
• You should be able to find lawsuits quickly that can be used as precedents to your current cases.
• You should have excellent communication skills including oral and written skills.
• Customer service skills are also important.
4. Where you can Work as a Legal Researcher
As a legal researcher, you can have your career follow the following trajectories.
• You could work in lawsuit funding companies as a legal researcher,
• You can become a Certified Paralegal in a law firm
• You could become a freelance researcher specializing in laws concerning criminal, civil, corporate, labor, real estate, family, intellectual property, immigration and personal injury.
• You could work in government or in large corporations.
Charlie Brown is a partner at a law firm with a 5-year history. He consults for lawsuit funding companies in his state. Read more about his career on his blog.