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Advanced Legal Research Certificate


Effective legal research begins with you. This course surveys modern legal research and online information retrieval methods using free legal resources and proprietary networks. The objective of this course is to expand on and refine professional legal research skills with a focus on practitioner-oriented methods. This online certificate is designed to provide an overview of modern legal research methods and progress through subject-specific resources and sophisticated research methodologies.


Florida Focus

Not all areas of the law utilize the same research resources, strategies and techniques. Students will be exposed to specific Florida topical research areas and unique resources for this state law research. 

Advanced Understanding

By the end of the course, you will know how to:

  • Evaluate, select and use appropriate legal research tools with a particular emphasis on cost effective research.
  • Construct a legal research plan and implement the plan using major free and proprietary legal sources leveraged by modern law firms and other law practices.
  • Understand which resources to use, and when and how the resources relate to one another, and where to find various types of legal information and sources.
  • Understand how to evaluate sources of legal information for issues of accuracy, completeness, and cost.
  • Respond to complex litigation and corporate law research assignments.

Topics Covered by Week Include:

  • Developing an efficient and cost effective research strategy
  • Case law including docket research, court rules, verdicts and settlements
  • Statutory law, legislative materials and legislative history
  • Administrative rules, regulations and related materials
  • Advanced searching skills in legal research databases
  • Practice materials, litigation and transactional tools
  • Free and low cost internet legal resources

Instructor Bio

Ana Ramirez Toft-Nielsen is an adjunct law professor at FIU Law and is a practicing research attorney in Littler’s Knowledge Management Department. She is a practicing law librarian conducting research and analysis of employment laws. Prior to joining Littler, Ana was a corporate research attorney providing research and customer service support to law schools and law firms. Professor Toft-Nielsen received her J.D. from University of Miami School of Law and her Masters of Library and Information Services from Florida State University. She has taught legal research principles and techniques for over 15 years in South Florida.


Students of the Advanced Legal Research Certificate pay

  • $699

Payments for tuition are payable online through FIU Continuing Professional Education.


Students who complete the Advanced Legal Research Certificate receive a Certificate from FIU Law delivered electronically after confirmation of participation and performance.


I cannot believe that we are in the last week of the course, I have enjoyed the ride and I have learned a lot. I feel prepared and competent to do any legal research because of this course. In the long run, I know this course will open new doors and opportunities in my legal career.

Everything was amazing, the classes, the power points, the live sessions and you.

Thank you so much.

– Jannette Pineiro, Esq., Summer 2020


I really enjoyed the class and found it helpful and informative. Because of our COVID workload, I wasn’t able to complete any classwork during the workday, but I was happy to do it on my own time because it was such a valuable experience.

It was more hands-on than a lot of one-day or one-session trainings I’ve attended. We were given full access to Westlaw and Lexis for the duration of the course, which was a tremendous learning tool. We were able to perform all sorts of searches and learn the features of the databases without the worry of incurring extra charges.

The course was set up so that we usually had one assignment per week that focused on the research skills and tools we covered in class that week. Those assignments really allowed us to dig into the resources and think about how we could best approach solving the issue at hand.

There was also a discussion board component where all students were able to discuss the research strategies they used and ask any questions of classmates, like if they were experiencing some of the same issues or if they found any good workarounds. Ana would pop into those discussions and offer feedback and guidance, as well.

Overall, I loved it, and I’m thankful for the opportunity!

– Amy Backes, Summer 2020

I feel prepared and competent to do any legal research because of this course.

Jannette Pineiro, Esq.

Daniel B. Reinfeld, P.A.


  • $699

Enrollment and Modality

  • Rolling Enrollment
  • Asynchronous Instruction
  • Self-Paced Course
  • Can be completed in 10 weeks


  • Enroll through FIU CPE
  • Questions: Contact Prof. Toft-Nielsen at