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Researching and Writing a Law Review Note or Seminar Paper: Resources You Can Use for Topic Selection

This guide points to library resources that can be used to assist with writing a law review note or a A-paper--including selecting a topic, conducting a preemption check, researching the topic, drafting the text and perfecting the footnotes.

Newspapers & Current Awareness Services

Newspapers can be a great way to spot a brewing legal issue or new development. Both general interest and legal newspapers can be sources of topics.

Current awareness services can also alert you to developments in a subject area. Current awareness services can be subject-focused or more general in scope. 

BNA and CCH provide subject based newsletter services. CILP is a weekly list of recently published legal articles organized by topic. Bloomberg Law offers US Law Week, which offers "nationwide coverage of major cases and key legislative, regulatory, and pre-decisional developments in all areas of the law." Westlaw offers highlights by subject. Many more current awareness options are outlined here.


Case Law and Court Filings

Supreme Court cases can be fertile source of inspiration for a note topic. Consult our Case Law Research Guide for sources to search. Searching cert petitions might also spur ideas.

Circuit or jurisdictional splits are another place to check for fresh ideas for papers and notes. You can find circuit splits or conflicts by searching cases or some secondary sources like treatises and current awareness services. Search terms that have been recommended are: court / circuit "near" split or diverge. Restatements can also flag splits and confusion on treatment of a topic. Bloomberg Law has a circuit split search tool here.


Journal articles can point you to unsettled areas of the law, emerging issues or conflicts in the law. Particularly, the conclusions of articles might raise areas needing further investigation. Some search terms you might try to find articles that might identify emerging issues of law include: issue / matter / question "near" "first impression" or "novel" or "beyond the scope" and "difficult" near "resolve." Consult our Finding Articles Legal Research guide for more instruction.



Casebooks might raise unresolved issues of law when following cases. Consult the Julius catalog to find casebooks available in print or online in the Library.