A legal researcher does not work directly for a lawyer. They often do legal research for other people, and their main objective is to gather information about a case. This research will often start with primary sources, but will eventually move on to secondary ones. The researcher may also use unlisted sources, such as sample briefs filed by other lawyers. In addition to legal research, researchers may also be hired to write legal briefs and provide advice.
While lawyers often have a strong background in law, legal researchers can specialize in specific areas. For example, a securities litigator can use previous cases to predict how similar motions will turn out. Such a researcher would also need a thorough knowledge of securities law, which they can gather from case law and other sources. The role requires a critical thinking skillset, as the researcher must ensure the accuracy of the information. Researchers may also conduct interviews, which is an essential skill in the field.
A legal researcher’s skill set should be well-rounded, including the ability to analyze information and compile it into a readable format for readers. Their ability to work in a team setting is important, as they must be able to interact with other professionals. The ability to collaborate and listen to others are essential, as they are required to identify important information. In addition, they must be able to effectively communicate with clients, coworkers, and supervisors.