You may think legal research is only essential to survive law school. However, polishing your research skills will put you on the path to a successful legal career.
Learning how to find a great legal research topic is the first step to write the best term papers in law school. This skill will come in handy when strategizing your cases or pursuing a post-graduate degree.
Want to learn how to polish your research skills? Here are the 4 steps you should follow to find the best legal topics to investigate.
1. Figure Out What Legal Issue You Want to Solve
While we all wish the legal system was perfect, the harsh reality is there’s room for improvement. When trying to figure out the best topic, you should take a look at current legal issues. Do you believe certain laws should change?
Maybe you have always wanted to learn more about how a mineral rights broker sells these rights. Focus on finding law school topics you’re passionate about. If you’re invested in the issue, it will be easier to investigate.
2. Search the Issue on Secondary Sources
Searching your topic on secondary sources is the best way to start your investigation. Treatises, legal encyclopedias, law reviews, legal dictionaries, and American Law Reports are examples of this type of sources.
Secondary sources will brief you on the legal concept and even point out the applicable primary authority sources. You may also use these sources in your thesis or term paper to persuade the reader.
3. Find the Applicable Primary Authority Sources
Cases of law, legislation, constitutions, and regulations are some examples of primary authority sources. No matter if you’re strategizing a case or writing a thesis, these sources are vital to defending your stance.
Make sure to cite these sources in your paper or case strategy. You must reference them even if your stance contradicts them. Keep in mind that you should stay away from topics you can’t find on primary and secondary sources.
4. Analyze and Apply the Controlling Law
Once you gather all your research, it’s time to start writing your paper or case strategy. Analyze all the applicable controlling law and state your stance.
You should also reference secondary sources to support your arguments. Focus on providing a realistic solution to the legal issue you chose.
Can You Find the Perfect Legal Research Topic?
No matter if you’re a law student or seasoned attorney, you can find the best legal research topic for your next thesis, term paper or case strategy. It all comes down to applying the best research strategy. Figuring out the issue you want to solve with your investigation is the first step.
Once you set your eye on a certain issue, it’s time to search for it on primary and secondary sources. The latter will provide an idea of where to find the applicable controlling law and primary authority.
After gathering all the applicable law, you must analyze it and apply it to the issue. At the end of your discussion, it’s vital to conclude stating your view on the legal issue and any suggested changes in the controlling law or its enforcement.
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