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The influence of training on successful legal research

The influence of training on successful legal research

Posted by david-hand | 01 March 2018

Training is a vital component in being able to undertake effective, efficient legal research. With vast libraries consisting of hundreds of thousands of cases, pinpointing the small handful that will be influential to the argument you are building is undoubtedly an important skill for legal practitioners, law librarians and students to develop. High quality training on the legal research platforms that house these libraries of cases is an advantage for those that receive it, allowing them to locate relevant cases with ease – giving those who’ve received training an advantage over those who have not.

To explain the impact training can have, and why law firms should look towards candidates and staff who have received training, we speak to Rose Higgins, Head of Training & Customer Support.

Let’s start at the beginning: What is training?

“Training consists of three elements: the initial training available to all new customers, the ongoing training to keep our customers up-to-date with new features and developments, and to ensure that they remain comfortable with all aspects of the platform, and finally the ongoing support.

Most of our customers take advantage of our ongoing training – many of them received 2-4 training sessions last year, including large organisations and law schools, to ensure their staff and students are up-to-date, and able to fully utilise JustisOne. This is so they are fully aware of the range of features that we offer, and how they are best used to conduct effective legal research.

We aim to train 100% of new customers, but we see it as more than a target to hit; training is an ongoing process.”

Are training sessions all the same?

“Certainly not. We conduct training whenever it is convenient for our customers, and we tailor the training we give to our customers, which means that we train them on the subscriptions that they have. Beyond the content, we also tailor our training based on other customer needs – If we’re training an information professional then we can assume a certain level of knowledge and go into more depth with Boolean searching and talk about the administration side of JustisOne. If it’s a practitioner we’d talk about how they can use JustisOne to build an argument or skeleton argument. If it’s a student it’d be more basic, in terms of searching, but a lot of the features like the precedent map go down very well.”

“The Justis precedent map is an excellent tool for seeing at a glance where an authority has been considered.  Equivalent deliberate search would take up to a few minutes and is not really possible on some platforms.”

JAMES M. TURNER QC, BARRISTER, QUADRANT CHAMBERS

 “Training is more beneficial to certain customers at different times of year, such as University students in September or October at the beginning of the academic year, or law firms which have intakes of trainees at particular times. It can make certain times of year very busy, but we know how beneficial it is to our customers and that’s the important thing.

Additionally, some of our customers prefer interactive sessions with everyone sat at a computer, to have it as a more hands-on training session. On occasion, they set questions for their practitioners during that kind of session, as a way to determine if they are conducting research with our platform as efficiently as possible. Those sessions can be more challenging to conduct, but those customers who request them find them very beneficial.”

 “Justis training staff delivers on a level which all our students find easy to understand.”

JEREMY MARSHALL, UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL

 How easy is it to attend, or arrange a training session?

“Each customer can either join one of our webinars, or quick arrange a more bespoke training session by contacting us directly.

We conduct face-to-face training sessions with a number of our UK customers, both in the offices of legal practitioners and at universities. However, as we have customers based all over the world, we conduct most of our training sessions online, and we also offer webinars.

Webinars make a great complement to a training session, and provide a great refresher if a customer has specific things they want to receive more training on to fully understand. Also, some customers prefer the flexibility of knowing there’s an arranged webinar that they can watch if they’re free, rather than having to book a specific time and date for a training session.

We’ve also conducted shorter webinars around particular features, so that customers who are very familiar with our platform can receive a specific introduction only on things they won’t have experienced before.”

Finally, can you tell us about customer support?

“We offer a range of materials that we make available on our website, with written guides on our software and video guides about our different features. We also offer an extensive FAQ which aims to address a number of questions that customers might ask about our service and functionality. Alongside that, there’s the more reactive side of support that we offer through our helpdesk, where we assist customers with any queries that they might have about our platform, either on our software or about our content.

Our support and online resources, as with our webinars, offer our customers the flexibility to learn in their own time, and become equipped with the tools we offer to enhance their legal research.”

So, how can our customers get started?

“To arrange a bespoke training session, customers can contact us at training@justis.com. For online support, resources and webinars, these can be found on the Resources section of the Justis website.”

While many of us are familiar with the idea of training, it is often not seen as valuable to the ongoing success of a firm or the achievements of an upcoming practitioner. As legal technology continues to develop, the content libraries, research software, and even artificial intelligence tools that assist in legal research will require a greater level of understanding to use as effectively as possible.

With firms and universities investing in increasingly advanced legal research platforms, only with effective training can we be assured that are staff are able to confidently find and analyse cases using the tools available, and be certain that are students are able to compete in an already competitive industry.

“My colleagues and I thought the training was very helpful indeed: it was well organized, thorough, practical and to-the-point.”

KAREN S. BECK, BOSTON COLLEGE, MASSACHUSETTS

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