Skip to main content
Banner Home Page Link
Richmond Law Homepage

Research Assistant and Journal Member Training

Resources and administrative information for Research Assistants working for the University of Richmond School of Law.

Communication

  • Make sure you get clarity on all your assignments:
    • Always find out when the assignment is due.
    • Always learn what format the professor desires for the results. (Just copies of the sources? A memorandum? An email? An oral briefing?)
    • Ask to repeat the essentials of the assignment back to the professor in your own words.
  • Use your professor’s preferred communication method (e.g., in person, telephone, memorandum, email), but remember:
    • In-person contact can resolve questions and build your working relationship.
  • When reporting on results and/or asking questions in person or over the phone, organize your thoughts beforehand; anticipate questions the professor is likely to ask and be prepared to answer them.
  • Ask questions in batches if possible rather than piecemeal.
  • Write professionally—spelling, grammar, tone, format, etc.—in all communications, including email (even if your professor does not).
  • Make sure your professor knows your “end date;” remind her as it draws closer.

Work Process and Work Product

  • Use your Bluebook.
  • Start with secondary sources—don’t reinvent the wheel.
  • Keep a research log for each project.
  • Keep an assignment log that notes a brief description of the assignment, date assigned, deadline, and where your work is stored.
  • Use the legal research database your professor prefers (if any), but go beyond it.
  • Scrub your written work. Reread more than once. Time permitting, you may want to set it aside for a half-day or more and reread again.

Perspective

  • This is an important step in your career—treat it that way.
  • It can feel like school, but it is a job.
  • Remember that in your interactions with professors, classmates, librarians, administrators, and staff, you are establishing your professional reputation.

Do your job well, and your professor can serve as a valuable reference and recommender.

Effectiveness

  • Be organized.
  • Be reliable.
  • Be on time for all meetings.
  • Show good judgment.
  • Earn trust.
  • Use good time management skills.
  • Beat deadlines.
  • Be self-aware and self-regulating.
  • Show energy and positivity.
  • Maintain a balanced workload:
    • Let your professor know if you need more to do, but—
    • Do not over-commit.
  • Use library resources:
    • Research guides and LibGuides.
    • Inter-Library Loan.
    • Legal and other databases.
    • Reference librarians.
  • Spend time in the building.
Libguide Window Footer Facebook Link Twitter Link