Conducting Legal Research

Conducting Legal Research

A big part of many personal injury, medical malpractice, and nursing home negligence cases is research that your lawyer will do to help advance your case. There are several different kinds of research that often go into these types of cases. Lawyers use many different tools and resources to conduct research to get the information that they need to help achieve the best result for you.

One of the biggest, and most obvious, types of research that your lawyer will do while working on your case is legal research. Legal research can involve reviewing cases in the jurisdiction where your case is pending to see how courts have ruled on similar issues before. Your lawyer will use those cases to craft arguments to advance positions in your case. Legal research topics span broadly, from how to initiate a complaint in a particular jurisdiction, to how to appeal a ruling that was erroneously reached. Legal research can also help obtain additional discovery or depositions, get evidence admitted or excluded at trial, or join additional defendants on theories such as vicarious liability or agency. Legal research also includes reviewing statutes, administrative rules and regulations, and procedural rules that may apply to your case. Lawyers typically use services such as WestLaw or Lexis to conduct legal research, but also reference books, legal publications, and even other lawyers to ensure that they are thoroughly examining the laws at issue in your case.

Another type of research that is often involved in cases, particularly cases involving a business or corporate defendant such as a nursing home or a trucking company, is research into the companies and their business structure. Many companies have parent-subsidiary relationship, contractual relationships, or other business relationships that may require some digging to determine. This is often done through searches of Secretary of State websites, reviewing corporate documents, and internet research to learn more about the company and its structure.

Most personal injury cases also involve a medical component, whether it is the injuries that an individual sustained in a motor vehicle collision or a doctor’s failure to provide appropriate medical care. Lawyers will often research the medical conditions or procedures at issue in the case to get a better understanding of the injuries and standards that apply. This is done by reading medical literature, especially literature that digests medical information into a legal context, and by consulting with experts in that particular field of medicine.

Knowing that your lawyer is conducting research on the issues in your case can help you better understand the type of work that goes into your lawsuit. Your lawyer will often explain to you the reasons behind some of their advice, and much of that is based on the research that they have conducted into the issue. If you are curious about research that your lawyer has done on your case, or on a particular issue, you should ask. This will help you to remain informed about your case.


What kind of research do lawyers do?