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Researching U.S. Industries


There are many reasons why the average person would want to conduct industry research. For example, if you were going to invest money in the stock market researching the company whose stock you plan on purchasing would be a good idea. An even better idea would be to also research the industry to which that company belongs. Rather than just learning about the financial prospects of one company, researching the industry will help you spot overreaching trends that may affect your company (and others like it) to better determine the actual worth of your investment and the likelihood that your investment will be profitable.

Similarly, in the legal industry there are also many reasons why an attorney would want to conduct industry research. For example, when engaged in complex litigation it is sometimes necessary to understand how an entire industry functions in order to assess your clients claim against a particular company within that industry. Researching the industry will help you determine industry norms and standards, as well as provide you with a list of other similar companies which you could contact for further explanation of typical industry practices. In addition to serving current clients, researching industries can also be a good way for attorneys to locate new clients. By researching the industries associated with clients you have already worked successfully with you will be able to locate additional clients to market yourself to in the same field.

While there are many resources available for researching U.S. Industries, this guide will focus on industry resources that would be most applicable for researching industries in the legal context. This guide will help you:

  1. Define the Industry
  2. Search General Industry Sources
  3. Narrow your Search with Market Research Reports
  4. Check Industry Norms & Ratios
  5. Locate Statistics
  6. Locate Trade & Professional Associations
  7. Search Legal & Regulatory Issues
  8. Locate Periodical Articles

About the Author

Shannon KemenShannon Kemen
Reference Librarian
Robert S. Marx Law Library
Office 310(F)
v: (513) 556-6407
f: (513) 556-6265

Shannon Kemen serves as a Reference Librarian at the University of Cincinnati Robert S. Marx Law Library. She is responsible for providing reference and research assistance to all library patrons. In addition to her reference duties, Ms. Kemen co-teaches Technology in Law Practice. She is a member of various professional associations both regionally and nationally.  Ms. Kemen has published numerous articles and frequently lectures on legal research topics. Prior to joining the library faculty at the University of Cincinnati, Ms. Kemen was a Reference and Electronic Services librarian at Keating Muething & Klekamp, PLL.

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