Legal research in North America is a pretty straightforward affair. I’ve discussed my perceptions of how legal research is performed: you either know what you’re researching or you don’t. If you don’t, you often end up needing to go through secondary sources to start to narrow down your research, like a funnel, until you close in on the information that might provide an answer.
The Law Society had its annual solo and small firm conference last week and I participated on a panel related to legal research. It’s not a topic that is very amenable to general overviews – too little time for a topic that is so widely varied. However, I took the time to walk through a bunch of the tools that lawyers in Ontario pay for, even though they are free to use:
- Infolocate, a discovery search layer that surfaces books, CLE articles, and more;
- AccessCLE, a searchable full-text CLE article database;
- the Great Library’s mobile app.
Here’s my paper from the conference, which talks more about how to use the tools and where to find them. It’s made me more convinced that it’s worth discussing the misperception of free resources in libraries.legal-research-made-easy-solo-small-firm-whelan