CoCounsel's "Legal Research Memo" skill uses advanced AI technology to conduct comprehensive legal research and summarize relevant authorities in a memo. Type in your legal research question, and CoCounsel will run multiple searches simultaneously through Casetext’s database of primary law to find the answer. After identifying and reviewing the authorities that are relevant to your query, CoCounsel will draft a memo that directly answers your question, which includes summaries and quotes from the supporting authorities.

Step-by-step instructions:

(1) Launch “Legal Research Memo”: To get started, select the “Legal Research Memo” button from the Skills menu. Once you’re selected this skill, the following dialog box will appear:

(2) Enter your legal research question: The dialog box asks users to explain their legal research request just as they would to a colleague. You can use natural language when describing your legal research issue; you do not need to worry about Boolean operators or a particular format or syntax for your query.

However, for best results, we recommend adhering to the following practices when entering your legal research query:

  • Include your jurisdiction, if relevant: The default setting is for CoCounsel to search the entire primary law to answer your question. If you only want CoCounsel to search a specific court or jurisdiction, you need to include that information when typing in your query.

  • Include procedural history or the procedural posture, if relevant: If you want CoCounsel to only bring back cases involving a specific procedural history or posture, you need to include that information in your query. For example, if you want CoCounsel to only return cases involving a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under FRCP 12(b)(6), you need to specifically include that instruction in your query.

  • Include the cause of action at issue and any other material facts: If you only want CoCounsel to bring back cases involving a specific type of cause of action or claim, you need to include that specific instruction in your query. Relatedly, you should also include any material facts that you want CoCounsel to “consider” when it researches your question.

  • Be specific: It's important to state your point clearly when using CoCounsel. The search queries below demonstrate how small changes can make a big difference in search efficacy. In the first query, the use of the vague term "affect" yields less precise results. But in the second query, the more specific verb "look" led to more accurate and helpful search results.

    1. Original Query: Federal cases finding that an industry custom or practice can affect the interpretation or enforcement of a statute.

    2. Improved Query: Federal cases stating that courts may look to industry practices to aid in the interpretation of a statute.

  • Be concise: While it's important to be specific when using CoCounsel, it's also helpful to be concise. Providing too much information can actually hinder the AI's ability to find what you're looking for. In the examples provided below, the first query is less effective because it contains unnecessary language. The second query, on the other hand, is direct and to the point. This allows CoCounsel to focus on what's relevant, leading to more accurate and helpful results.

    1. Original query: Under federal or Texas state law, does waiver apply if privileged information is exchanged during the due diligence process between companies when there is a non-disclosure agreement in place?

    2. Improved query: Under federal or Texas state law, is privilege waived when information is shared during a transaction with another company that is subject to an NDA?

Example of a “good” legal research query: The following search query is an example of how a user should approach the legal research skill:

The search query identifies the user’s jurisdiction (Illinois state), contains a clear subject (the requirement), and employs a predicate (inspection of property and records). Likewise, users should be sure to include relevant jurisdiction(s), material facts, and pertinent details, such as the procedural posture, where appropriate.

After clicking "Prepare research memo", CoCounsel will quickly read and return to you its interpretation of your query. You can choose to then edit your input or run the skill:

(3) Review CoCounsel’s Output

The legal research memo generated by CoCounsel provides a brief answer addressing your legal research issue and a list of pertinent authorities. The answer reflects CoCounsel’s synthesis of the cases that our algorithms found to be relevant. Please note that CoCounsel may identify conflicts or any exceptions to a general rule that require further research.

A list of responsive authorities will be displayed beneath the “answer” section of CoCounsel’s memo. Each authority consists of three components: a citation (which includes a link to the full text of the case), a summary explaining the authority's relevance, and excerpts from the case that specifically address your query.

Finally, there are tabs at the bottom of CoCounsel’s output that enable you to download the memo to a Word document or copy and paste the text of the answer:

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