Critical Characteristic 1 – Integrity

For the last 3 legal research tips of 2014 I decided to give my opinion of the 3 most critical personal characteristics for being a successful legal researcher. I think the most important personal characteristic is integrity.

Integrity means that you do what you promise. You are ethical, honest, decent, and appropriate. You ask for help when you need to, regardless of what your ego suggests. You are dependable.  If you provide an answer, it is as correct and complete as it can possibly be and you are open about limits to your capabilities.

Integrity in answering a legal research problem means that the truth of your analysis is irreproachable. If you make a mistake, you own it.  Your mistakes are never purposeful. It may be difficult to predict your ability to meet deadlines for legal research answers, so integrity means that you persist in learning skills that will help you maintain your integrity in providing correct information efficiently and effectively.  Let’s face it, there is a huge amount of information and it is easier and easier to find data that can be used for an answer; integrity keeps us seeking the best answer for our client.

I think integrity is the most critical personal characteristic for legal research, and most other life questions.

May your 2015 be filled with integrity – yours and everyone you connect with as well.  Happy New Year


  1. I personally think CUROSITY is the most important character trait of a good reference librarian. A person who is naturally curious will look at a problem from all angles, will follow leads however scant, and will be dogged in the pursuit of an answer. Curious people find research interesting purely for information’s-sake, and because a sense of curiosity must be satisfied. But that’s just imho.

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