Getting To Know The Legal Research Format Requirements


The requirements for a legal research paper, are much the same as they are for a dissertation or thesis, however there are some refinements.

The first goal of course is to identify a Thesis, beginning with a Thesis Statement. The Thesis is found through self-inquiry, through an awareness of current events, or de regle; what comes up on the court dockets. The Thesis Statement could also evolve out of an assignment from the Instructor.

Through self-inquiry the student may investigate the reason for his educational quest; what it is that he was searching for when he enrolled in school, what questions he seeks to have answered through education. And what questions he seeks to answer through his legal research.

The number of subjects available for legal research are vast, depending on what discipline within legal studies, in which the student finds himself. The subjects are numberless. They may include:

  • Personal Injury
  • Social Security
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Automobile Related
  • Employment Related
  • Family Law
  • Probate
  • Criminal
  • Bankruptcy

The available subjects for a Thesis are wide and varied. From these headings the student might find a specific subject or develop a core question which he would like to answer and answer through inquiry in the research paper.

The Introduction should be an extrapolation of the thesis statement, once it is developed. The issue the student is discussing in the Thesis Statement must stand out and command the reader’s attention. This is the reason why it is important for the Thesis Statement to be an outgrowth of the student’s academic passion. He will tend to be more persuasive in his argument, and develop a stronger case if he is passionate about the subject matter.

One difference in the Legal Research Paper, is the presentation of facts for the student’s argument and his method and ability of proving his claim.

Paragraphs must begin with a topic sentence, each flowing down from the Thesis Statement. Each paragraph must transition into the next section of the argument logically. Paragraphs must develop the argument in a logical sequence throughout the paper, culminating into a proof of the argument. Each paragraph must flow from the one previous to it. Verb tense must be attended to. Verb and subjects must agree. Pronouns must be in the proper case form.

The student must know when to cite: whenever he is quoting from a different published author. He must know how to cite, using a classic Style Manual as his guide such as the MLA, the APA Manual of Style or the Chicago Manual of Style.