Monday, October 30, 2006

What Law Librarians Think of Students' Research Skills

Connie Crosby wrote an article in the October 2006 issue of the Law Student e-Monthly (CCH) in which Law Librarians Debate Student Research Skills.


"Teaching efficient legal research has become very complicated. 'Our training is much longer than it used to be,' says Laurel Murdoch, Librarian at Heenan Blaikie in Toronto. 'Students in large firms are shocked at what we cover in the legal research session when they begin their summers or articles. One of our summer students told me that he was going to send a letter to the dean of his law school asking why, given the high cost of law school tuition, he had not been better prepared for what the practicing bar expects'."


"Neil Campbell, Law Librarian, Associate University Librarian, and Associate Professor of Law at the University of Victoria, confirms Murdoch's assertions: 'This debate has been going on for a long time and I'm not sure there is an easy answer. The root of the problem in Canada is the historical split between professional legal education and academic legal training. The law schools generally do not see it as their responsibility to train practicing lawyers, so the research instruction is geared to success in law school.' In his courses, Campbell tries to remain sensitive to the legal research skills students will need after school, with a bias towards traditional firm practice. He uses 'practice based instructional materials and a lot of classroom exercises' which he hopes fill the gap to some extent, but he admits, 'I don't pretend that they will not have to relearn some skills or learn new ones when they leave university'. "


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:23 pm


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