How to Write a Research Paper

Writing a research paper is a bit more difficult that a standard high school essay. You need to site sources, use academic data and show scientific examples. Before beginning, you’ll need guidelines for how to write a research paper.

Before you begin writing the research paper, you must do your research. It is important that you understand the subject matter, formulate the ideas of your paper, create your thesis statement and learn how to speak about your given topic in an authoritative manner. You’ll be looking through online databases, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, books, newspapers, government publications, reports, guides and scholarly resources. Take notes as you discover new information about your given topic. Also keep track of the references you use so you can build your bibliography later and cite your resources.

Develop Your Thesis Statement

When organizing your research paper, the thesis statement is where you explain to your readers what they can expect, present your claims, answer any questions that you were asked or explain your interpretation of the subject matter you’re researching. Therefore, the thesis statement must be strong and easy to understand. Your thesis statement must also be precise. It should answer the question you were assigned, and there should be an opportunity for your position to be opposed or disputed. The body of your manuscript should support your thesis, and it should be more than a generic fact.

Create an Outline

Many professors require outlines during the research paper writing process. You’ll find that they want outlines set up with a title page, abstract, introduction, research paper body and reference section. The title page is typically made up of the student’s name, the name of the college, the name of the class and the date of the paper. The abstract is a summary of the paper. An introduction typically consists of one or two pages and comments on the subject matter of the research paper. In the body of the research paper, you’ll be breaking it down into materials and methods, results and discussions. Your references are in your bibliography. Use a research paper example to help you with your outline if necessary.

Organize Your Notes

When writing your first draft, you’re going to have to work on organizing your notes first. During this process, you’ll be deciding which references you’ll be putting in your bibliography and which will work best as in-text citations. You’ll be working on this more as you develop your working drafts and look at more white paper examples to help guide you through the process.

Write Your Final Draft

After you’ve written a first and second draft and received corrections from your professor, it’s time to write your final copy. By now, you should have seen an example of a research paper layout and know how to put your paper together. You’ll have your title page, abstract, introduction, thesis statement, in-text citations, footnotes and bibliography complete. Be sure to check with your professor to ensure if you’re writing in APA style, or if you’re using another style guide.

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The  Nation's Oldest and Largest Legal Research Firm:   The National Legal Research Group founded the legal research industry in 1969 to provide research, writing and substantive expertise to all attorneys--solo practitioners, corporate counsel, large firms, and counsel for municipal, state and federal government.   NLRG has assisted more than 50,000 attorneys on over 170,000 projects--more than 2,700 projects each year.  We have 35 full-time, specialized research attorneys, averaging 20 years of experience each. 

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One primary reason attorneys outsource legal research and writing projects is time. Unfortunately, lawyers are not always in control of their own schedules. Frequently, it seems that everything must be done at once.

As you manage every other aspect of your case work load, you may find that comprehensive, in-depth legal research and concise, well-reasoned legal writing are just too labor-intensive to take on yourself. Outsourcing enables you to handle particularly busy periods without having to hire an employee or face time pressures that lead to attorney stress and burnout.

Outsourcing legal research and writing on a project-by-project basis is cost-effective and an efficient way to manage your time. To hire an associate, would require a significant investment in both time and money. When you outsource legal research and writing projects, you pay only for the time it takes to complete the project, but when you hire an employee, you immediately add to your fixed expenses.

A lawyer who concentrates on legal research and writing can often accomplish those jobs more efficiently than a busy practitioner who may not be as familiar with the available resources or as experienced in searching large databases for sometimes elusive answers.

Additionally, attorneys who do not regularly do research and writing may not have ready access to research materials when they need them.

The Process

  • Submit an Assignment Request via our Online System – If you do not already use or have an online account, you can contact our office for assistance and account activation.
  • Define the Scope of Your Needs and the Project – As part of the Assignment Request you will define the project by providing your needs, expectations, and time constraints.
  • Fee (hourly or flat) Quote and Approval – Once our office receives your Assignment Request and has reviewed with one of our attorneys, you will receive a fee quote and then have an option to discuss the assignment with the proposed attorney. If you approve, then the process will go forward with Assignment Confirmation and commencement of Project. If declined, you can then request that we locate another attorney or cancel your request at no charge.
  • Communication – Once Approval is received, an Assignment Confirmation will be sent to both parties and then communication and document exchanges will occur between you (our client) and our assigned attorney to your project.
  • Time Sheet Submission and Payment – Our attorney will submit a Time Sheet to our office on a weekly basis if any billable hours occur in a given week. The Time Sheet will consist of time spent and a description of work product. All exchange of documentation will occur between you, our client, and the assigned attorney. Our office will then provide and invoice and copy of the time sheet to your office for payment approval. Payment cycle and arrangements will be determined during the account set-up or approval stage.

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Lisa Solomon

Lisa Solomon, Esq. Legal Research & Writing

Comprehensive legal research and writing services for lawyers

Why Outsource?

Avoid Time Pressures


As you manage every other aspect of your clients’ complex matters, you may find that comprehensive, in-depth legal research and concise, well-reasoned legal writing are just too labor-intensive to take on yourself. Outsourcing this work to freelance lawyers enables you to weather particularly busy periods without having to hire an employee or face time pressures that lead to attorney stress and burnout.

Earn More Money


Hiring an associate has other downsides that can be avoided by retaining an independent contractor to assist you with your research and writing needs. An employee adds to your administrative burdens, especially if you are a sole practitioner. Your malpractice rates will rise, and you will be subject to all the financial and legal responsibilities that accompany “employer” status. Retaining an independent contractor is much less complicated, both initially and on an ongoing basis.

In fact, outsourcing legal research and writing projects to a freelance lawyer can help your firm’s bottom line. With one exception, all of the bar associations that have addressed the issue—including, most notably, the ABA—have determined that an attorney may make a profit in connection with work performed by a contract lawyer, as long as the total charges to the client are reasonable. (The exception is the State Bar of Texas, whose opinion is poorly reasoned on a number of grounds.) Regardless of whether or not you choose to charge your client more than you pay for legal research and writing services, outsourcing to freelance lawyers is still cost-effective for your client, since even a rate that includes a reasonable profit to you will generally be less than your own hourly rate.

Increase Efficiency


Additionally, attorneys who do not regularly do research and writing may not have ready access to research materials when they need them. Lisa Solomon has immediate access to all state and federal cases, statutes and regulations, as well as a wide range of secondary sources.

Boost Professional Satisfaction


Of course, it is not always necessary to outsource an entire legal research and writing project. You may need help with research, but may want to write a brief or opinion letter yourself. Or you may have already written a first draft, but need someone to edit your work. Small firms and sole practitioners in particular can benefit from the fresh perspective and critical eye that an outside researcher/writer can bring to a case.

Why Outsource to Lisa Solomon?

Experience and expertise.

Lisa’s extensive background in legal research and writing lends her practice a distinct edge—not only to the scope and depth of her skills, but also to the efficiency with which she can complete any project. Lisa was one of the first lawyers to recognize and take advantage of the technological advances that make outsourcing legal research and writing services practical and profitable for law firms of all sizes. Her practice has been devoted exclusively to legal research and writing since 1996. For some examples of projects that have been outsourced to Lisa Solomon, Esq., go to our Services and Writing Samples pages.

Lisa is the author of many published articles about appellate practice and procedure. A nationally-known speaker, she frequently presents continuing legal education courses about legal writing to lawyers around the country. She applies this expertise to your legal research and writing projects.

A Proactive and Personalized Approach to Legal Analysis

When you’re faced with a motion, appeal, or legal research issue, you need to know more than the black letter law—you need to know how that law applies to the unique facts of your case. Lisa never gives you a “canned” brief; all of her work is customized, to be of most use to the busy attorneys who use her services.

Lisa also takes a proactive approach to identifying legal issues beyond the scope of the original assignment that may be crucial to the ultimate success of the project, teaming with you to determine the best strategy to apply to the unique facts and legal issues in each case.

Learn More About Lisa’s Background and Qualifications


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Ryan Mazur, Esq

Your Research Attorney

Legal Research and Writing Services for Attorneys

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Why Attorneys Choose Ryan

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I have over fifteen years of research and legal writing experience, and it shows. I work with attorneys across the country, and I am routinely asked to formulate and develop legal arguments for my clients, often from scratch. I’ve worked hard to earn that type of trust. Let me put my expertise to work for you.


Unlike many of my competitors, I personally perform all legal research and writing projects. Since forming the company I have developed close working relationships with many attorneys. I can be a valuable asset to your team as well. Contact me today to see how I can help with your legal needs.


Hiring an associate requires a significant investment of your time and money. Hiring a research attorney lets you avoid these complications. You can obtain legal research and brief writing services as much, or as little, as needed without investing in any additional overhead or training.

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Legal Writing Service

My legal writing services are unmatched. Legal writing can be complicated and incredibly time-consuming, which is why I offer a wide range of services to help your firm. I offer appellate brief writing services, signature-ready motions and responses, and a variety of other legal writing support. I’ve spent the last 15 years doing nothing but high-level research and writing. My services can give you a competitive edge and help you achieve better results for your clients.

Legal Research Service

I also specialize in providing expert legal research services to attorneys throughout the U.S. No matter what state you practice in, I can help.  Outsourcing this work to a licensed and experienced contract attorney can save you valuable time–which you could spend networking, building your practice, or doing the things you enjoy. Hiring a legal research attorney enables you to manage the busy periods in your practice, without having to hire an associate.     

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Ryan Mazur, ESQ

What sets me apart.

I specialize in helping solo and small firm lawyers compete with larger firms, by providing expert legal research and legal writing services. Unlike many of my competitors, I spent almost eight years in practice before starting my company. Since then, I’ve spent the last decade exclusively providing legal research and writing services . I’ve developed close working relationships with attorneys throughout the country, and I can be a valuable part of your team as well.

I understand that it’s your client relationship – and your reputation – that’s at stake. You’re the one who files the work product, and you’re the one who has to stand before the judge and argue the issue. I take that responsibility very seriously. That’s why I approach every project as if it were my own – like my own name and reputation were on the line.

Let’s discuss how I can help you with your next research or writing project.

I am a licensed and experienced Florida attorney, and I personally perform all legal research and writing work for the company.

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Rates Starting at Just $145/hr

My standard hourly rate is $145/hr, with an average turnaround of 5-7 days.

I also offer a rush rate of $285/hr, with a guaranteed turnaround of 72 hours or less, for those times when you’re faced with a pressing deadline.

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For a free estimate or for any other inquiries, please fill in the following contact form:

This form is the fastest way to reach me. During regular business hours, you can expect a response within the hour.

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University of Virginia School of Law

Legal Research and Writing Program

Follow the Legal Research and Writing Program Co-Director Joe Fore on Twitter  @Joe_Fore .

The Law School’s Legal Research and Writing Program prepares students to produce professional work that says “lawyer,” not “intern.”

Each summer, UVA Law students show up at a wide variety of offices ready to spend a few months learning on the job. They work at firms and government offices, in judges’ chambers and in public defender offices. And the vast majority of them are asked to do one thing: Write.

  A summer internship is a great opportunity to learn how to work as an attorney. The ideal internship would involve interesting, substantive work. The goal is for students’ supervisors to realize early on that UVA Law students are not only intelligent and likeable, but also immediately useful. Once that realization kicks in, they invite the student to do more than just background research. The summer job becomes a better, more enriching experience.

Writing is often the key that opens the door. The Law School’s Legal Research and Writing Program prepares students to produce professional work that says “lawyer,” not “intern.” Through a series of increasingly difficult writing assignments, students learn how to organize legal analysis and present a polished piece of writing.

  The program, taught by  Ruthie Buck ’85 ,  Joe Fore ’11 and  Sarah Ware , engages students with both neutral analysis and advocacy.

In the fall, students research and write neutral memoranda evaluating a fictional client’s legal problem. In the spring, students write an appellate brief and argue their case before a three-judge panel. The assignments expose students to an array of emerging and challenging areas of the law. Recent topics have included the reach of a district court’s equitable powers under the RICO Act, the impacts of the Endangered Species Act on alternative energy projects, and the availability of the innocent owner defense in a federal civil forfeiture action.

In recognition of the importance of UVA’s Legal Research and Writing program, Norton Rose Fulbright has for many years sponsored a prize for the best memos written in each of the first-year class sections. Stephen McNabb, partner-in-charge of the Washington, D.C. office, explains, “The most important service a law school can provide to future employers is to prepare its students to research and write effectively. We have long been impressed with the commitment of the Law School and its professors to legal research and writing.”

The course prepares students to hit the ground running. Summer experiences build to postgraduation job offers and long-term career options. In a competitive job market, proving value is key. A UVA Law graduate working at a Richmond law firm put it simply:  If a summer intern or new associate turns in a weak piece of writing, he doesn’t give that person any more work.

Because of their communications skills, UVA students often find themselves invited into the most interesting work. Ralph “Chet” Otis '17 recently interned for a district court judge and was asked, along with interns from several other top law schools, to write bench memos. They were given two weeks to complete their memos. Otis needed only one week to complete his first one. He then experienced the thrill of having his words appear in the judge’s opinion. He credits UVA’s Legal Research and Writing Program for giving him the tools to turn out a solid work product so quickly. Indeed, Otis estimates he wrote 13-14 bench memos over the course of his internship.

In addition to instruction and feedback from the Legal Research and Writing faculty, students receive detailed comments on multiple drafts from student teaching assistants. UVA’s tradition of student collegiality is reflected in the Legal Writing Fellows Program, which pairs up each new student with a 2L or 3L teaching assistant. Connor Crews ’16 found great value in the relationship. “The program provided me with access to an experienced student colleague who analyzed my work in a low-pressure environment and taught me that accepting criticism is critical to developing as an attorney.” Crews went on to serve as a Legal Writing Fellow himself, helping the next class learn to write with logical rigor and clarity.

The program also helps students learn how to talk about their analysis. The spring oral arguments program is a highlight for both students and alumni. More than 100 alumni return to act as judges for what is, for many of our students, a first attempt at oral advocacy. The judges’ questions and feedback help students build confidence in their oral advocacy skills. That skill set helps in a variety of settings.

Gretchen Nygaard ’11 started her career at a prestigious law firm in Washington, D.C.  “During one of my first annual reviews, many of my reviewing partners commented that not only did I write clearly, but I effectively communicated about my written work product. The UVA program taught me both to write and to speak with clarity about my research and writing.” She is now working at the Department of Justice.

Bracewell & Giuliani has been a long-time sponsor of prizes for the best advocates in the spring semester, providing awards for top briefs and best oral arguments. Bracewell’s Chairman, Patrick Oxford, summed up the importance of the program: “It has been our firm’s 100% experience that a new associate who has achieved with proper instruction a high level of legal writing skills is far ahead in the game. Although interpersonal skills are important as well, most of the impressions that an attorney projects—both internally and to clients—are conveyed through his or her written work product.”

UVA Law students engage in a wide range of work, and the skills they learn in the Legal Research and Writing Program are highly adaptable to an array of practice areas and, indeed, careers beyond traditional law practice. Buck, who has been a co-director of the program for 25 years, has heard many stories of how students put their skills to good use over the summer. “Every fall, students return from their summer positions and say, ‘I knew how to do the job. Thanks.’”    

Legal Writing Fellows Program

Second- and third-year law students may apply for a fellowship in the Legal Writing Fellows Program , an integral part of the course in legal research and writing. The fellows work closely with the legal writing faculty and with first-year students, reviewing and commenting on papers, helping judge the oral arguments, and generally assisting students with their research and writing needs.

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Registration for the Winter offering opens November 22.

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Legal research and writing are fundamental skills required for practising lawyers in Canada. To help students better prepare for their Bar admission program, we have developed a Legal Research and Writing (LRW) course that provides students with insights and best practices as well as an opportunity to apply their learnings throughout the course.

The LRW course was designed in partnership with the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) and is considered a valuable tool in preparing students to write their NCA exams.

Course Description

The LRW course is a nine-week online course that consists of two modules, with a multiple-choice quiz after each module and four assignments that include a research and writing component. Students must complete the first module, Legal Research, Fact Gathering and Case Management, before the second module, Written Communications: Legal Writing, is released. The course is intended for students with prior legal training and/or experience in legal research and writing. Please note that this course is not a base-level introduction to legal research and writing.

Module Descriptions

Legal Research, Fact Gathering and Case Management Clients do not come to their lawyer with clearly laid out legal issues. They come to their lawyer with a problem or a goal and expect their lawyer to apply knowledge and judgment to help. To do that, lawyers engage in fact-gathering, legal research, and case management.

These all form part of the process of providing solutions to clients. In this module, you will cover the following topics: fact gathering, legal research, case management and trial preparation in order to effectively solve problems for clients.

Written Communications Skills: Legal Writing Communication skills are critically important to lawyers in all areas of practice. A poorly written or drafted document is not only a reflection on the competency of the lawyer who created it but may be the foundation for a potential lawsuit. Litigators, too, are judged by the quality of their writing. In this module, you will review the basics of legal writing, and how to write an opinion letter, an advocacy letter, and a retainer agreement.

Course Details

Upon completion of the LRW course, successful students will be able to:

  • Conduct research using primary and secondary sources using tools such as LexisNexis
  • Use appropriate citation
  • Identify legal issues in a given fact scenario
  • Identify relevant facts to support the issue to be researched
  • Evaluate and interpret the applicability of legislation and case law to a given fact scenario
  • Integrate research results with the facts and issues of the given fact scenario to develop a logical analysis
  • Know how to use writing basics to express concepts with precision, logic and economy
  • Use plain language
  • Identify the proper audience for the form of legal writing being written
  • Use appropriate structure and organization for the given document
  • Compose a professional document that achieves its intended goal
  • Apply the basics of legal writing by learning how to write an opinion letter, an advocacy letter, retainer agreement, legal brief and/or legal memorandum.

Admission Requirement

Proof of an Assessment Report from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.  Please note that CPLED can not guarantee admission to an LRW offering. Each offering is subject to capacity limits.

Upcoming Course Offerings

Course tuition fee.

CAD $450 + applicable taxes.  *Note the tuition fee is subject to change annually.

CPLED accepts online bill payments and wire transfers for the LRW course tuition fee. For more information on how to submit your tuition fee payment, visit the How Do I Register web page.

Course Schedules

Below are key date documents for upcoming course offerings outlining the LRW course schedule.

  • Fall 2023 key dates
  • Winter 2024 key dates
  • Spring 2024 key dates

Course Completion

Students who complete the LRW course and meet the admission requirements for the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP) and subsequently register for PREP will be exempt from the following PREP Foundation Modules:

  • Legal Research, Fact Gathering and Case Management
  • Written Communication Skills: Legal Writing

Proof of an NCA Assessment Report is an admission requirement for the Legal Research & Writing (LRW) Course. CPLED can not guarantee admission to an LRW offering for students without an NCA Assessment Report; however, once registration has opened, students can reach out to request to be put on the waitlist and will be admitted into the course if capacity permits.  

How often is the LRW course offered?

The LRW course is offered four times per year.

Is late registration available for the LRW course?

Late registration will not be permitted. As the LRW course is offered four times per year, if you miss the registration deadline for one course offering, you will be able to register for the next offering.

How long will it take to complete the LRW course, and how much time will I need to invest?

The LRW course is nine weeks in length and will take approximately 60 hours to complete.

What are the technology requirements?

The LRW course is completed entirely online through the D2L online learning management system. The supported browsers are Chrome and Firefox. You must use one of these two browsers for full functionality in the learning environment. Ensure your browser has been updated within the last month.  A reliable high-speed internet connection is required.

How do I pass the LRW course?

You must complete and pass the two online module quizzes and complete and submit all assignments. You must demonstrate Reaching Entry-Level (RC) Competence on Assignment #3 and #4 to pass the course.

What is the cost of the LRW course?

The LRW course tuition fees are  CAD $425  plus applicable taxes. Please note, the tuition fee is subject to change annually.

Is the LRW course eligible for student aid funding?

Student loan funding is provided for full-time post-secondary level programs of study at designated educational institutions that are at least 12 weeks or more in length, leading to a certificate, diploma or degree and leads directly to employment.

Under federal student financial assistance regulations, additional practical or professional training offered by professional bodies, organizations or associations required for the practice of any trade or profession are not eligible for designation or the provision of student aid. 

However, you may be able eligible for a low-interest microloan through Windmill Microlending. Visit their website for more information on their organization and assistance programs.

I have taken a similar course in my home jurisdiction. Why do I need to take this course?

The LRW course was developed in partnership with the National Committee of Accreditation, or NCA . Students enrolling in the LRW course must have received an Assessment Report from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Any questions regarding whether or not you must complete the LRW course are to be directed to the NCA.

Is the LRW course accessible?

The LRW course is delivered using the D2L platform, and D2L conforms with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). However, if you experience any accessibility issues while completing the LRW course, please inform us at [email protected] as soon as you experience issues so that we may investigate.

For more information on D2L’s accessibility features, review their Accessibility and Navigation in Brightspace Learning Environment – Learner Guide. 

When are the final results released?

Final course results are released approximately four weeks after the final assignment is due.


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