Teaching of Legal Research at NUS Law School

By Carolyn Wee, Clement Lin and Lee Su-Lin

This article will explore the librarian’s role in the teaching of legal research in the National University of Singapore, Faculty of Law (“NUS Law”). In many institutions, the Law Faculty would teach this in their legal skills curriculum. However, at NUS Law, the designers of the legal skills module (“Legal Skills Team”) thought it was beneficial to bring in the librarians to jointly teach the legal research component of the course.
2001 was a turning point for the C J Koh Law Library (“Law Library”). The NUS Law Legal Skills Team transformed the Law Faculty’s 1st year Legal Methods course into a Legal Skills Programme, including the first year, compulsory course Legal Analysis, Writing and Research course (“LAWR module”), which incorporated legal research instruction. This portion was devised and delivered jointly by the Legal Skills Team and the Law Library staff. This article details how the Law Library took its nascent steps into embedded librarianship, incorporating information literacy through the LAWR module, which was renamed Legal Analysis, Research and Communication (“LARC”) in 2014.
This article will examine how the course evolved based on faculty and student feedback and the need to adapt to the flood of Computer Assisted Legal Research (“CALR”) resources. It will also evaluate the benefits and challenges faced by all stakeholders – librarians, faculty and students alike. In conclusion, the valuable experience and insight gained from teaching legal research made the Law Library better equipped to face future challenges.