Articling Readiness for Legal Research

The 13th annual Edmonton Law Libraries Association Head Start Program is just around the corner. As the program page states:

Welcome to the 2015 legal research program designed for students and individuals wanting to brush up on the basics. From reference request to memo, follow the trail of legal research, including finding articles, books, case law and legislation while avoiding unnecessary costs. Research professionals will provide tips, tricks and inside information on how to find materials, select the most relevant, and organize your research memo. Give us your time and we will give you a HeadStart!

Reflecting on the purpose of Head Start, the 2015 planning committee made some changes for this edition of the program. Head Start 2105 is slated for one rather than the traditional two days. Making one longer day for the program reflects feedback from participants, presenters and volunteers yet still hopes to meet the basic learning objectives that the program was designed around: articling readiness from the legal research perspective.

What does articling readiness specific to legal research look like? What it means, at least to me, is a holistic foundation of basic legal research processes, legal research language, finding tools and an awareness of potential pitfalls. We will be demonstrating how to walk through a legal research sample question an showing how the output of that research is built while we model the tried and true process and locate the path to an answer. Practice exercises will give the students opportunities to try what they have observed.

Kim Nayyer reveled details last week in her post New Education Plan for Alberta Lawyers-to-be about the five competency areas for students. Conducting legal research and analysis is but one small bullet point under Conducting Matters in the list of learning objectives and the ELLA program is but one method of starting to build competency in this area.

Head Start legal research programs are offered by law librarians in Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto . Legal research seminars are also often on the learning opportunities offered by traditional legal education providers.

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