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3. Unlocking the Secrets of Legal Research for SQE Candidates

Unlocking the Secrets of Legal Research for SQE Candidates

As a Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) candidate, you have already taken one step closer to your dream of becoming a qualified solicitor. The SQE is a rigorous exam that tests your knowledge and understanding of various legal principles and applications. One area that often proves challenging for candidates is legal research. In this blog post, we will unlock the secrets of effective legal research to help you excel in your SQE preparation and beyond.

The Importance of Legal Research

Legal research is an integral part of the legal profession. It involves finding and analyzing relevant legal information to support legal arguments, make informed decisions, and provide accurate advice to clients. As an aspiring solicitor, your ability to conduct efficient and effective legal research will be crucial to your success.

Proper legal research not only helps you understand the law, but it also enables you to keep up with legal developments, identify relevant cases and statutes, and craft persuasive legal arguments. By mastering legal research techniques, you can build a strong foundation for your future legal career.

1. Familiarize Yourself with Available Resources

When it comes to legal research, the key is knowing where to look. Familiarize yourself with the various resources available to you, such as online legal databases, law libraries, legal textbooks, and legal research platforms. Each resource has its advantages and can provide valuable insights into different aspects of the law.

Online legal databases like LexisNexis and Westlaw offer comprehensive collections of cases, statutes, regulations, and legal articles. These databases often come with advanced search functionalities, making it easier to find relevant legal information quickly.

Law libraries, both physical and virtual, house a vast collection of legal texts and reference materials. These resources can be invaluable, especially when you need to go beyond the surface-level understanding of a particular legal topic.

Legal research platforms, such as Practical Law, provide curated content and practice notes that offer practical insights and guidance. These platforms are designed to help aspiring solicitors navigate complex legal issues and provide accurate advice to clients.

By familiarizing yourself with these resources, you can effectively navigate the vast sea of legal information and conduct thorough research for your SQE exams.

2. Develop Effective Search Strategies

When conducting legal research, the search terms you use are crucial in obtaining relevant results. Consider using a combination of keywords, Boolean operators, and advanced search techniques to refine your search and find the most relevant legal information.

Keywords are the backbone of any search. Think about the key concepts, legal principles, and relevant terms related to your research topic. Incorporate these keywords into your search queries to increase the chances of finding the information you need.

Boolean operators like “AND,” “OR,” and “NOT” can help you refine your search and narrow down the results. For example, using “AND” between two terms will ensure that both terms appear in the search results. Conversely, using “OR” will broaden your search to include either of the terms.

Additionally, many legal research platforms offer advanced search techniques, such as proximity searching, wildcard searching, and field searching. These techniques allow you to further refine your search and find specific legal information more efficiently.

By developing effective search strategies, you can save time and energy by quickly finding the most relevant legal information for your SQE exams.

3. Stay Updated with Legal Developments

The law is constantly evolving, and staying up to date with legal developments is crucial for any solicitor. As an SQE candidate, developing the habit of staying updated will not only benefit your exam preparation but also prepare you for your future career.

Subscribe to legal magazines, newsletters, and websites to receive regular updates on new cases, statutory amendments, and legal news. Many professional organizations and regulatory bodies also offer publications and resources that provide insights into the latest legal developments.

Participating in legal research workshops, webinars, and seminars can also help you stay updated. These events often feature expert speakers who discuss recent legal developments and provide practical advice on conducting effective legal research.

By actively seeking out legal updates, you can develop a well-rounded understanding of the law and demonstrate your commitment to continual professional development.


Effective legal research is a skill that is vital for SQE candidates and aspiring solicitors. By familiarizing yourself with available resources, developing effective search strategies, and staying updated with legal developments, you can unlock the secrets of legal research and excel in your SQE exams.

Remember, legal research is not just a one-time skill to master. Continual improvement and adaptation to the ever-changing legal landscape will be necessary throughout your legal career.

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