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Author Topic: Legal Research Question for Students and New Grads  (Read 2622 times)

Caravaggio

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Legal Research Question for Students and New Grads
« on: September 07, 2003, 01:44:02 PM »
Hi Everyone:

I am a businessman reading some of the threads here trying to get some understanding of the employment options for law students.  I'm currently evaluating the prospect of hiring some law students on a per diem basis to do legal research and writing of different projects via telecommuting and was hoping to get some input on what might appeal to current law students.

The work itself would involve telephone interviewing of a client and legal research of appropriate state laws using lexis and other resources to ascertain whether or not an actionable case exists and, if affirmative, then to write up a case summary describing the laws violated and documenting client's damages.  The work would be related to civil/class action/consumer protection type practice.  To be sure the work is done properly I will be having a licensed attorney review it.

I think this would be a fun job for interested students and would appreciate some feedback.

1) What year student would be able to do a good job on the research and writing?

2) What would be the expected range of hourly pay for a student to do this?

3) Are there any other considerations and things I should look for in hiring someone to do this kind of work?

Thank you for your help.

C

Andrew

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Re: Legal Research Question for Students and New G
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2003, 05:17:20 PM »
This is not an atypical situation.  I would say any second or third year student would be qualified, but some will have more knowledge of your specific areas depending on which classes that student has taken.  Most of the second and third year classes are electives, and a student that has taken consumer law, for example, will be much more efficient working on a consumer law case (because she will have already studied the foundational cases and issues).

I would expect to see a pay range somewhere between $10 and $20 per hour for this type of job.  (This is based on my experience in Boston, the range might be different in other areas of the country.)

Other considerations:

I'd say that prior work experience can be very important depending on the industry.  You might work better with someone who knows something about the way business is done in your industry.

Take note of the academic schedule.  Students can sometimes have varied availability.

Lexis and Westlaw do not come free with the student, and that's an important consideration.  You should either provide access to the student or remind them that they should use only library and free internet resources in their capacity as an employee.  

In my opinion, law firms overemphasize grades.  Remember that grades are generally determined solely by a final exam.  Look instead at research related classes such as Legal Writing and seminar classes (which usually determine a grade by a term paper instead of an exam).  Request a transcript for grade information.

To find a student, I'd suggest placing job listings with the career offices of various law schools.  I think most law students turn to the career office first when looking for employment.

Caravaggio

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Lexis access
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2003, 11:24:11 AM »
Thanks for the reply and recommendation Andrew.  I'm a bit confused with Lexis.  Don't law students have access through the library?  This would be a telecommuting position so it's might come in handy.  What are the library restrictions?

Andrew

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Re: Legal Research Question for Students and New G
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2003, 11:39:42 AM »
My understanding is that all students have access to Lexis and Westlaw through their schools, but are only permitted to use the accounts for scholastic research.  At my school, both companies were very clear about this when they gave us our accounts.  They noted that if we do work for others, we should use a password provided by the employer.

The library access is just a computer pointed to lexis.com.  One still has to login with their Lexis password.

Of course, most, if not all the things someone would be looking up in Lexis are available in law school libraries.  It just takes longer to find things.

Caravaggio

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Re: Legal Research Question for Students and New G
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2003, 01:02:40 PM »
Thanks again for the response.