Inculcating Research Activities In The Law School Curriculum - Why Is It Important?
Research in its broadest sense is the ability to scrutinize and closely analyze a situation which is directed towards the discovery of truth. Anyone who is associated with the legal hemisphere would agree that `legal research' is an important pillar of the legal ecosystem. It is one of the crucial skills that have been an indispensable part of the field and anyone who is associated with it.
Research and analysis in law is a process that lawyers use to govern which facts are relevant to their claim, what laws apply to the facts of their case, what type of remedy they can ask for in court, and what other cases might change the judge's final decision. This makes it essential for every aspiring lawyer to develop the skills and strategies from a young age and get habituated to the various methodologies in order to make the legal writing process less arduous.
The legal education framework has changed over the years and evolved to become a multi-disciplined education stream. With the advent of different policies and guidelines for individuals and businesses, the legal system also needs to become airtight. The strengthening of the legal system requires a course that teaches research as a fundamental skill that can be applied anywhere in the legal framework. Without mastering this skill, a student may certainly climb the academic ladder but is bound to face tremendous challenges in the practical world, putting all the stakeholders in jeopardy.
Research is an indispensable part of legal education regardless of area or type of practice. It is the most critical step in the procedure to find the leading case governing the issues in question. This is followed by conducting intensive research that helps in determining facts.
It also involves browsing through various sources of information that may hold authoritative value, the formation of relevant and logical arguments. Thus, supplementing the area of expertise which ultimately results in forming a case persuading the judiciary to make the right call. A few methodologies in conducting this type of intensive research have been listed below:
• Analytical Research
• Historical Research
• Statistical Research
• Comparative Research
Picking the right methodology depends on the type of case and the outcome you are looking at. This makes it essential for the law curriculum to include the in-depth knowledge of research and its types, making students capable enough to make the right call.
The various research methodologies in consumer law and tools to conduct research include interviews and surveys
The role of research depends on the kind of specialization a student chooses.
Research in Corporate Law: Just like there are laws protecting an individual, corporate law is important to protect and regulate businesses and corporates. This involves dealing with a lot of critical information and having knowledge of all branches of corporate law that go beyond companies' acts and other specific legislation.
Every step of corporate law, be it advising or defending an individual or group requires the attorney to conduct research, acquire facts, interpret them, and shape them into relevant arguments.
Research in Criminal Law: Research evidence is very important when we talk about criminal justice decision making. The use of research tools, knowledge about collection of scientific evidence and its efficacy, perspective on behavioural crime, use of technology in crime mapping, on site determination of scientific evidences help enormously in evaluation of the cases.
Operating and running computer models, evaluating the evidence collected, and applying technical and personality tools helps the criminalist understand the suspect well enough to draw conclusions, develop scenarios and case studies, and theories that lead to finally solving the case. The research on similar previous cases decided by judiciary and judicial interpretation helps in correctly representing clients and ensuring justice.
Research in Consumer Law: The consumer law is a law specialization that deals with an area of law offering protection to the consumer when they head out to purchase a product or a service. Students opting for specialization in consumer law need to conduct extensive research in order to identify the rights of consumers which help in analyzing fraudulent marketing techniques that businesses implement to increase consumer base and exploitation of consumers through unethical business practices.
The various research methodologies in consumer law and tools to conduct research include interviews and surveys.
The practice of conducting effective research can range from being very specific to being abstract. Although there are multiple tools for the same, there is a need for precise data. Moreover, many students join Think Tanks and Policy making Organizations, where it is more important to know how to research. These make it essential for law practitioners to hold expertise in this skill set and what better way to enhance it than at law school.