In response to the perceived need for improvement in legal research training, the American Association of Law Libraries ("AALL") has developed Principles and Standards for Legal Research Competency ("Principles"). AALL members include a substantial number of information professionals actively engaged in performing and teaching legal research in the law firm setting.
The current legal environment is notable for increased client demands for efficiency, enhanced digital platforms for legal information, and fundamental changes to regulatory structures. Together these require highly developed research skills, for both the new and the experienced lawyer. The economics of law practice cause an ongoing tension between training time and the need to derive revenue. New law graduates are expected to be practice-ready, even when they have not had specific curricula in all subject areas of the law. The Principles offer a structure for focused training that can dramatically increase the effectiveness of newer lawyers. They can also be used as part of a core competency training and skills assessment program for new associates or other researchers within the firm environment.
The literature of the legal profession suggests that research competency directly impacts professional efficiency and effectiveness. AALL's Principles provide a concrete framework for the assessment of research competency that can be applied at any point on the continuum of a legal professional's career and in any specific field within the legal profession. This section of the AALL website includes the AALL report on the Principles as well as information on how Law Firms, Law Schools, Courts, and Bar Examiners have used or contemplate using them.
As this section of the AALL website develops, we expect to gather examples of how the Principles and Standards may be used in various settings: courts, law firms, law schools, bar examiners. We encourage you to explore this content to see how the Principles and Standards could be used in your law firm to provide researchers the skills they need to perform with excellence in the workplace.
- Creative Assessment: Connecting Legal Research Training and Instruction to Results, AALL Annual Meeting Program (PDF)
- Research Skills Audit, AALL Private Law Libraries SIS