When you’re a new paralegal or even as a paralegal student, it can be hard to find primary authorities during the research phase of a case. Yet, that’s not always easy to do in some areas of law; and even if you find some things that you think might be primary authority, how do you know for sure? Computer-assisted legal research platforms, such as LexisNexis or WestLaw, aren’t cheap. The free resources may not always be up-to-date. So, how can you find primary authorities in a way that is time and cost efficient?
A paralegal with good research skills is worth their weight in gold. All too often, attorneys hire paralegals and do not realize that the paralegal took at least one course dedicated to legal research and writing and at least one course dedicated to computer-aided legal research (CALR). Even when attorneys know, they can be a little hesitant to hand over this monumentally important task.