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Summer Clerks Research Guide

Strategies and research tips for working law students

Finding Help

Practice Tip: Know how to ask for help and keep track of your work in a practice setting.

Learn what research resources are available where you work.

  • Do your supervisors have particular treatises or practice guides they turn to all the time?
  • If you're using the organization's legal research databases, are they paying per search?
  • Is there a librarian available?

Prepare to ask good questions by staying organized.

  • Create a research plan.
    • Don't forget about the Research Basics.
    • What exactly do you need to research?
    • What will be the end product of your research (memo, contract, brief, motion, etc.)?
    • How much time do you have for the research?
    • What has already been done for you?
  • Keep track of your research.
    • Could someone else pick up where you left off using your notes?
    • Can you use your notes to ask informed questions?

Respect confidentiality and attorney-client privilege when asking questions.

Don't forget about timekeeping.

  • In a firm setting you may need to keep track of time for client billing.
  • In a public interest or government setting you may need to keep track of time for the organization to report for funding purposes.


County public law libraries can be a great resource if your organization or firm doesn't own a particular resource helpful for your research or you want to ask questions of a local librarian.