Usually the greatest burden the paralegal has been charged with relieving from attorneys since the genesis of the occupation has been that of research. When a lawyer enacts a legal action or presents a legal argument, that argument must always be based on a scrupulous amount of legal research.
The law is not a rigid selection of rules that stands for generations, it is always changing and reacting to the world around it, being altered and reshaped by new laws enacted by legislatures and judicial reviews that determine how laws, as written, can be interpreted and implemented.
In essence, any form of argument construction in legal terms can almost be considered in and of itself a form of research law. Therefore, a large part of legal research must be directed at finding precedents that can undermine a legal argument. This is where paralegals play a key part in making a lawyer’s job much easier.
Paralegals in the modern legal profession engage in the bulk of a legal organization’s research time, and are thus charged with scouring legal libraries and databases for statues, laws, arguments, analyses, and precedents which form the basis of legal arguments and legal actions.
Locating this research, however, is only part of research law. This means they must be able to examine a document and ascertain its most pertinent elements and examine them critically; then, they must be able to figure out how to use them as part of a larger argument or counterargument.
In addition to this, researching must incorporate a precise understanding of organization, as legal research must be ultimately presented in an argument in the form of citation. Typically, paralegals must fill out extensive written reports cataloguing their research, and emphasizing areas of interests, both for and against a legal argument.
From that point, legal research can play a significant part in drafting of arguments, which will be discussed in a separate section.