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CoLPS: Introduction to Legal Research for 1L's

This guide will provide an overview of legal research and strategy for First-Year Law Students

Why Use a Research Log?

Research Logs are useful for Legal Research because it:

  • Helps you organize, avoid duplication and save time
  • Provides a list of words and phrases that are useful in searching other materials
  • Facilitates construction of Bluebook or ALWD citations
  • Speeds your return to a specific resource as your research progresses
  • Allows someone who is familiar with the topic to confirm that you searched the relevant sources OR that you missed critical sources

Example Template

Research Log (Sample Template)


Preliminary Analysis from Step 1 of Legal Research Strategy:


Key terms:

Legal concepts:



Title & author / Case name / Statute title / Website /

Database name



of case or law or article / Date website was accessed


Web site address

Citation  to case or statute or regulation or article

Best Search Terms

Results and Next Steps





































Westlaw and Lexis - Search Commands