The Importance of Library Legal Research Training for Law Students and Researchers

Written by Alice Tyson, IALS Access Librarian |
Image of an IALS librarian giving training in the library

What does autumn signify to you? In the UK the season brings cooler weather, shorter days and the return of cosy jumpers. It’s also the start of a new academic year, a prospect that for many students can be both exciting a little bit intimidating at the same time. 

For the librarians at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, the start of autumn signifies something else too - autumn means training season! This autumn term, we have crafted a programme of training sessions especially for postgraduate law students and researchers. Each session is carefully designed to equip IALS Library members with essential skills needed for successful legal research and study. 

Why legal research skills matter

Legal research skills are crucial for everyone studying or researching law at postgraduate level. Whether you’re working on an LLM assignment, researching your PhD thesis, or penning a scholarly journal article, reliance on high quality and authoritative legal materials is paramount. As law librarians, we know that our job doesn’t end once we acquire the best legal materials – making sure our members can make meaningful use of the collections and online resources is just as important. The importance of using suitable resources for legal research was recently highlighted when a New York lawyer was fined for submitting a brief citing what turned out to be cases made-up by ChatGPT. Ultimately, understanding which databases to use and how to extract the best results from them can make your legal research more rigorous, accurate, and all-round less daunting. 

Who should attend training?

Legal research skills are needed at all levels of your academic journey, from new students to experienced researchers, so all members of IALS Library are welcome. Those whose previous legal education took place outside of the UK, or those who do not come from a law background, may particularly benefit from the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the legal research databases available at IALS Library. 

What training sessions are available?

Between September and November we are pleased to offer the following sessions:

•    Introduction to IALS Library and its Resources
•    Introduction to Westlaw UK and Lexis+
•    Finding Legal Journal Articles for your Essay, Dissertation or Thesis
•    Finding Sources of Public International Law
•    Introduction to OSCOLA

How can I attend a session?

We’re running a mixture of online and in-person training sessions. For dates and to book a place, see our Training Guide

Alice Tyson

Alice Tyson is the IALS Access Librarian.