New Articling Students – Legal Reseach Methods Cafe

Most law firms have an orientation program for articling students.  I am certain that ‘legal research’ is part of the program – if not, my tip is to add it!

An look back at the conference site for last weekend’s Law and Society Association conference showed a Methods Cafe as part of the program.

Scholars experienced in using different research methods each sit in a large ballroom at different tables, which are prominently labeled with the method about which that expert is prepared to talk. The experts then act as a consultant to anyone who shows up to talk with them about the method’s use in a specific project or in general during the standard 105 minutes scheduled for the session. One person, a few in succession, or a few at once might come to the table during the time. Since this is an experimental venture, the topics make no attempt to cover all possible research methods, but reflect the interest of the expert participants.

A methods cafe may be an interesting way to share practice area specific research paths and sources. Consider having a lawyer (or embedded librarian) from a few practice groups discuss go to resources and when they use them.  For an internal program, I would arrange the process to give each (4 or 5 max.) research practitioner the floor for 5-12 minutes to share their best loved source.  I would aso recommend that the presentation approach is a ‘war story’ rather than a presentation with powerpoint visuals or an online demo.  This research method’s cafe would probably be better  described as a resource sharing session.

Today’s Tip: be creative about sharing methods for teaching legal research to articling students.

Start the discussion!

Leave a Reply

(Your email address will not be published or distributed)