Document Type


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Publication Title

Northern Illinois University Law Review


Do societal power structures shape the organization of legal information? Do they embed biases in legal research tools? If so, how can the insights of critical legal theory assist us in contending with this phenome-non? An entire body of scholarly literature using the lenses of critical legal studies, feminist legal theory, and Critical Race Theory to examine legal information and the legal research process has grown up around answering these questions. However, the theories, methods, and strategies proffered by the scholars writing in this area are rarely taught in the legal research classroom.

I begin this Essay with a discussion of the place of the legal research course in the law school curriculum and the prevailing ideology that animates contemporary legal research pedagogy. Next, I provide an overview of the scholarly movements challenging this ideology, namely Critical Legal Research and critical legal information literacy, and recount my experience teaching a legal research course designed to convey the concepts they promote. Finally, I briefly attempt to map a new legal research pedagogy that emphasizes the context in which legal information is produced, organized, and disseminated and encourages law students to reimagine the legal research process as the creation of new legal knowledge.

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College of Law

Suggested Citation

Nicholas Mignanelli, Notes for a New Legal Research Pedagogy, 43 N. Ill. Univ. L. Rev. 265 (2023)

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Law Commons



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