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Pritzker Legal Research Center

Standout Summer Research Resources

A Guide to Prepare for Summer Associateships and Beyond


This guide is designed to give you an overview of different areas of research for your summer associateship or employment. We typically hold several in-person workshops during the spring and summer for students who are preparing for their summer employment.  In lieu of holding in person workshops this year, we have updated this guide and have included a Complete Summer Research Handout summarizing all the materials in this guide, although we also recommend saving a bookmark to this guide as links may change.

If there are topics with which you need help but aren't covered here or in any of our other research guides, please feel free to email or call for help

Advice for Summer Associates

Advice from law firm librarians

Don't be afraid to ask for help.  Firm librarians can help direct you to the best resources and develop a research strategy. 

Be mindful of the cost of online expenses. Unlike the unlimited access to research databases that you are familiar with at Northwestern, there are costs associated with using these resources at firms. Firms may have flat rate contracts with Lexis or Westlaw, but they will still track research charges in order to bill them back to the client. 

But that doesn't mean you should waste precious time trying to find an answer on Google.  Your time is valuable.  Firms pay for the databases, so there is an expectation that you will use them.  Just make sure you use them wisely.   When in doubt, ask for help.

Additionally, consider this advice collected from our colleagues in firm and court libraries.

Prepare to Practice Training Certifications from Vendors

Bloomberg Law, Lexis and Westlaw provide a wide range of training videos, tutorials and certifications to help you brush up on your research skills before you begin your summer job or before you graduate.

Bloomberg Law Certifications

  • Introduction and Navigation
  • Fundamental Legal Research
  • Transactional Law
  • Litigation and Dockets           
  • Federal and State Tax Research

Lexis Practice-Ready Certification

  • Module 1: Thorough Statutory Research
  • Module 2: Utilizing Legal Analytics
  • Module 3: Drafting & Analyzing Documents

See all Lexis Learning Resources for Summer Associates, including Resources for Working at the Federal Government and Quick Links To Public Interest and Practice Area Resources


Westlaw Certifications

  • Essential Legal Research Certification
    • Quickly understand a legal topic
    • Research Using Cases
    • Research Using Statutes
    • Validate Your Authority
  • Advanced Legal Research Certification
    • Advanced Search Techniques
    • Advanced Statutory Research
    • Research Using Regulations
    • Legislative History
  • Transactional Law Certification
  • Litigation Research Certification
  • Prepare to Practice
    • The Business of Law
    • Tracking and Billing Time
    • Conflicts checks and deadlines
    • Efficiency Tips

Westlaw New Associates Guide to Research Tasks (2021)