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The Property Advocates Touch on The Importance of Legal Research and Provide a Guide to Conducting Effective Legal Research

An essential part of practicing law is legal research. Though critical, even the most seasoned lawyers can face challenges while conducting effective legal research. When it comes to understanding the importance and difficulties of legal research, The Property Advocates, a Florida-based insurance law firm, is here to help and provide a guide on how to execute the legal research process proactively. 
Why is Legal Research Important? 
The process of legal research involves uncovering, analyzing, and understanding all laws, legal precedents, regulations, and any additional legal authorities that appertain to a case. The legal research process is so critical for the practice of law because of the guidance and support such research aids attorneys with when having to make decisions about complex matters while working on a case and with clients. 

The Property Advocates Guide to Conducting Effective Legal Research: 

Step 1: Preliminary Analysis
Legal research will begin in response to a problem or series of events presented. The first step to effective legal research is engaging with the information supplied. Written information presented grants the opportunity for the individual researching to read the fact pattern rigorously. This involves reading, analyzing, assessing, noting, and then generating knowledge and where to go next with the research. 

Step 2: Create a Plan for Research
Remember that legal rules can differ depending on the location a legal question will be answered. Aligning place and time (the where, when, and in what courts) with the problem fueling that legal research is important for creating a research plan. Developing possible search terms is also part of planning for research. 

Step 3: Secondary Sources
The third step is to seek advice and information from secondary sources to reframe thoughts surrounding legal research early to save time and wasted reading efforts. The goal behind pursuing secondary sources is to quickly gather a list of citations to the essential primary sources. Secondary sources include dictionaries, encyclopedias, legal treatises, law reviews, and journals. 

Step 4: Search for Status and Administrative Regulations
Cases will likely be interpreting the authority of statutes and administrative regulations, which is why step four helps the researcher understand what the statute states first. Legal research databases make it all the easier and more efficient for the researcher to find a statute and connect quicker to the most applicable cases. 

Step 5: Search for Cases
This step involves searching for both mandatory and persuasive cases to support the researcher’s argument. The prior steps should have helped the researcher collect a solid number of cases. Hence, those cases are a starting point for this part of the search to maximize present resources and elevate effective legal research practices. 

Step 6: Refine and Evaluate Along the Way
While reviewing cases to cite, researchers should decipher whether or not a cited case is still considered good law.   

Step 7: Update and Double-Check
If a cited case is no longer deemed good law, then the resource is thrown out of the mix. Researchers must double-check the relevancy of all cited cases and update the list of citations accordingly to said findings. 

Step 8: Start Over the Process and Repeat
While working through step seven, a researcher might come across essential cases that have not yet been identified nor analyzed, thus resulting in backtracking to previous steps in order to conduct comprehensive and precise legal research. 

About The Property Advocates
The Property Advocates, P.A. is a full-service Florida insurance law firm specializing in property insurance claims. With offices in Miami and Tampa, The Property Advocates team consists of nearly 14 experienced attorneys with decades of combined experience who are compassionate, knowledgeable, and not afraid to go to trial for their clients. They have a successful track record of resolving complicated property insurance claims and getting their clients the fair compensation they deserve.

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