Illinois Real Estate Lawyer William Blanchard publishes article on “manual” real estate law research

William B. Blanchard, Real Estate Attorney

William B. Blanchard, Real Estate Attorney

William Blanchard, Attorney Listing on

William Blanchard, Attorney Listing on

Blog of William B Blanchard at

Blog of William B Blanchard at

Attorney Profile of William B Blanchard

Attorney Profile of William B Blanchard

Website of William Blanchard Law

Website of William Blanchard Law

Even in this day and age where the internet pervades many daily activities, manual research is still often required of lawyers, explains William B. Blanchard

William B. Blanchard, Attorney at Law (N/A:N/A)

Ask an Expert before wasting hours in the library. Before doing research in a law library, make sure to first ask a Librarian for help. Librarians know the library better than anybody.”

— William "Bill" Blanchard, Real Estate Lawyer

ST. CHARLES, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES, January 6, 2019 / — Property and real estate matters go hand-in-hand with large sums of money, thus an attorney in this field has to be particularly careful. As convenient as online research may have become, in many instances that is not good enough for real estate law. Even today, many real estate matters are handled in hardcopy (meaning on printed paper rather than electronically). In his most recent article, William Blanchard Esq. reviews the traditional “manual” research, particularly in the context of real estate law. The complete article is available on the Blog of William B. Blanchard at

The fact is that conducting legal research can be extremely difficult regardless of the sources that you might have access to. There are a number of different aspects that need to be taken into consideration when conducting legal research. This is because there are a lot of different directions that you can take with legal research, and it is absolutely imperative for you to take all factors and aspects into consideration when you’re dealing with legal documents and cases since even the slightest discrepancy can amount to a lot.

Without a doubt, legal research requires a lot more concentration and diligence than other types of research due to the different conclusions that are possible with minor tweaking. In fact, in many cases you may not find a single answer, but several different ones. What’s more, since there’s a lot more material that you need to go through when it comes to legal research, you need to be absolutely certain that your sources are not only credible and authoritative, but also relevant to the problem at hand.

Interested in learning more about how you can go about conducting legal research the right way? Read on to find out as we tell you all about the different steps that you should take to conduct legal research the traditional way without relying on online sources for best results.

Ask an Expert before wasting hours – In the past, it was quite a regular procedure for a law student to head over to the law library and ask a Librarian for help. Today, that might strike many lawyers as, well, antiquated. The fact is that librarians know the library better than anybody, and if you are looking for something specific, a simple question to a librarian may save you hours of wasted time

Legal research the traditional way – Particularly for real estate matters, “traditional” research is often required. The reason is simply that all records were in paper form in the past, and it will take a long time until absolutely all such records are online and searchable. Also, even today, many real estate documents are still signed and submitted in hardcopy.

Many “recorder of deeds” offices where property records are kept nowadays offer access to electronic records. For example, the Recorder of Deeds for Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, even offers records through the website

However, because past records are so voluminous, oftentimes a search of paper files or microfiche records is required.

With that said, while there are certain common and extremely popular steps that are generally followed by anyone who wishes to conduct legal research, it’s important to note that these steps may or may not be followed in a sequential fashion for each scenario. This essentially means that while certain scenarios may require you to follow the steps listed below in the exact order, you may choose to play around for other cases – and that will not affect the results of your research.

Before you start conducting legal research, it’s important for you to know that you will be expected to revisit certain sources of information for increased clarity. What’s more, you might even be expected to check certain sources of information a number of times due to exceptions. Even in the case of exceptions, you will have to double-check whether the conditions of the exception apply to your particular case, and if there is any way that the exception can be worked around for your particular scenario.

Here are some of the steps that you are advised to follow when conducting legal research without the use of the internet:

Identify the problem – The number one reason why people are unable to conduct thorough research is the fact that they do not pay enough attention to the initial phase of the process. It goes without saying that identifying the problem and its scope is of key importance when you’re interested in conducting legal research as doing so will essentially set the precedent and give you an idea of how thorough your research must be.

When you’re trying to identify the problem and its scope, it’s also important to ask questions that are highly specific and will give you a clear understanding of the jurisdiction, search terms, and time period that is applicable or relevant to the problem. By doing so, instead of being confused by all of the options that you have available, it will be possible for you to get a better sense of direction to start taking the most appropriate path for conducting your research.

Visit secondary sources of information – Unlike primary sources, secondary law or sources of information are bound to help you understand how your specific scenario is also relevant for a much broader context. What’s more, once you start browsing through secondary sources of information, it will be far easier for you to visit primary sources that are relevant to your particular scenario and can help you gain greater understanding for the scope in question.

By consulting secondary sources of information, it will also be possible for you to get references to citations and statutes that will help you gain the right information regarding your legal research.

Identify relevant information – Once you have done your fair share of research through secondary sources, it will be far easier for you to identify relevant statutes that will help you in gaining the information that you need for your legal research of a particular scope, question, or scenario. By identifying relevant statutes, you can get into greater detail and start browsing through to find other sections that may be relevant or could potentially add value to your legal research.

In addition to finding the right statutes for the legal research of your particular scenario, you can also browse through cases in digests and find ones that may contain relevant information to ensure that all aspects of research are covered.

Keep records – Keeping track of all of the documents that you have already been through is extremely essential to ensure that you do not have to resort to the same cases and documents over and over again. It’s also important to note that you must do so regardless of whether or not you have retrieved any relevant information from the source.

Now that you know of all of the steps that you need to follow to conduct research the traditional way, it will be easy for you to figure out how you want to proceed with looking for legal information, encourages Mr. Blanchard.

*** Mr. William B. Blanchard (“Bill Blanchard”) is a real estate attorney with offices in Illinois. William Blanchard specializes in representing real estate clients for purchases and sales, as well as home owner real estate tax assessment appeals.

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