Research Advice for Your Summer Job

All law students, no matter what their summer jobs, can be sure that legal research will be one of their job duties.  Research in the real world can be a shock to anyone who has only searched in the comfort of the classroom, and the law library is here for you all to ease the transition to researching in the big time!  If you have questions about access to legal databases, see our post on Lexis/Westlaw/Bloomberg summer access.  Also, you have access to a number of other online sources through the database list on our website.  The tips below should give you some help and relief when you hit an obstacle in your research:


  • Appointments: The reference librarians are available for individual appointments to discuss research tips and strategies relevant to your summer job. Please contact your legal research instructor or send us a message via the reference email address (reference@law.villanova.edu) and someone will get back to you to arrange an appointment.
  • Research Guides: The library has created a number of research guides to show off resources and walk you through the steps of many of the most common tasks and subjects you will have to deal with as a practicing attorney.  These guides are free to everyone and accessible at http://libguides.law.villanova.edu/.  Don’t hesitate to check a guide first, and feel free to contact us if you think there is a guide we should add!

  • Just ask for help: If you don’t have the time to make an appointment, we may still be able to give you a nudge if you have a specific research problem that’s been giving you trouble.  Contacting your legal research instructor or sending your question to the reference email address (see above) could get you out of that jam.
  • Don’t panic: Research can be frustrating, especially if you get on the wrong track.  If you are having trouble finding something, instead of banging your head against a wall and wasting time, take a few breaths, relax, and think about how you may be able to improve your search strategy.  If that doesn’t work right away, try asking someone for help (see the tips above).

The librarians wish all students good luck on the rest of their exams, and continued success in their summer positions!

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