The Skills Needed for Summer Associate Research

by Jamie Baker

As you may know, Lexis recently finished a report called, Summer Associates Identify Writing and Legal Research Skills Required on the Job, reporting on the responses of 330 summer associates working in large U.S. law firms (with over 50 attorneys)*.

Key findings include:

  • Close to half of summer associates spend between 50-100% of their time conducting legal research
  • 51% of summer associates report they were not prepared for one or more research assignments, and 35% reported they were not fully prepared for one or more writing assignments
  • Between 20-30% would benefit from additional training on drafting contracts, memos, pleadings, motions and briefs
  • Additional research instruction in regulations, secondary sources, verdicts, briefs and dockets, case law and citation analysis would be beneficial

The results of this study should inform our teaching and further support the importance of legal research skills for practice.

About Jamie Baker

Jamie Baker is the Interim Director of the Law Library at Texas Tech University School of Law. She also teaches Civil Trial Research & Academic Legal Writing, as well as sessions in the Legal Practice program and Excellence in Legal Research program. She blogs at
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