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Lawyering Toolkit: Professional Skills Pack

Working towards a national framework for law literacy

Professional Skills Pack


Professional Skills Pack

image of a blue briefcase   Your legal research skills support toolkit from on-boarding and beyond.

Research Tools

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Research Tools

Know your Sources

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Know your Sources

You have used resources in your degree - this expertise now transfers as a skill to practice in legal workplace.

Do you know your primary sources from your secondary sources? What authoritative legal information is freely available online and what legal information do you have to pay for?

In the Irish Jurisdiction freely available resources include legislation (primary and secondary) on the Irish Statute Book website and consolidated legislation on the Law Reform Commission website. Unreported judgments are available on the Courts Service website.

How to keep up to date

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Law firms publish articles on their corporate websites with updates and information on current legal developments in Ireland, the EU and other jurisdictions.

Examples include

Check the websites of other law firms for more information.

Legal Publishers

In addition to free resources you will need to purchase other legal materials in print or digital formats e.g. books, journals, law reports, newsletters, precedents and knowhow.

Legal publishers and suppliers of legal materials include:

  • Better Regulation
  • Bloomsbury Professional
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Clarus Press
  • Edward Elgar Publishing
  • Heinonline
  • Law Business Research
  • LexisNexis
  • Oxford University Press
  • Prenax
  • Thomson Reuters Legal
  • Vlex Justis
  • Wildy & Sons Ltd
  • Wolters Kluwer and others


Approaching your Research Query

Typical Query Research Flow chart  

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Research Proficiency

 Effective Legal research is key to the role of all legal professionals in the workplace- solicitors, barristers, legal researchers, general counsel. The law is constantly changing and practitioners advise clients, therefore you need to be confident in your advice. Legal professionals are expected to see legal issues from all angles. You are expected to work logically through potential solutions and look for alternatives.

Every case begins with legal research. You need to develop effective search strategies as ineffective searching will have a serious impact on your efficiency as a legal professional. It is imperative that you know the content of the resources and are confident in your research skills. Quaintly, legal research is critical to the practice of law.

Key skills of legal professionals include:

  • Critical analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Being confident at research
  • Understanding the structure of legal information
  • Understanding authoritative legal resources

If your organisation has an in-house library staffed by law librarians, you should get to know them. Law librarians are experts in legal information resources. They should be your first port of call when embarking on a legal research task.

Research is a career and life long skill not just an academic skill and you need to be equipped to practice in a constantly changing legal landscape. 


  • FAQ's - questions  you get asked on arrival and therafter
  • Cases 
  • Legislation
  • Flow Chart - Example Partner asks apprentice to find x case . - 1 powerpoint slide showing Flow chart of steps to do this.


Professional Practice Top Tip

Good research is not quick and it starts with quality sources. 


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The Legal Services Regulatory Authority was established in 2016 and is an independent authority. It is Ireland’s national statutory regulator for both branches of the legal profession – barristers and solicitors.






Let us know if there was something else you needed in the professional skills pack



This guide has been created by Susan Boyle, Virginia Conrick, Ann O'Sullivan and Pattie Punch as a collaborative initiative through the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) Irish Group.