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Student Scholarship

The purpose of this guide is to assist law students with writing and submitting an article for publication.

Overview

This website was created by the library staff to gather together in one location all the information students will need for researching, writing and publishing a scholarly article. For a brief overview of how to get your article published, see the tab entitled "Submitting an Article." It covers article submission guidelines, directories of law reviews, articles that rank law reviews, and other related information. In many cases these sources will be enough to get you started. However, if you still have questions about the nuts and bolts of the writing and publishing process, the information provided below should answer some of your questions. 

Students who are writing for either the Law Review or the Law Journal should also consult our Library Guide for Journal Staff.

Preemption Checking

To ensure that the topic you select has not been preempted by another author, you will need to do a preemption check of the subject matter. The Index to Legal Periodicals and Legal Trac are excellent online tools for this purpose. The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals serves as a similar vehicle in the area of foreign and international law. Other possible sources to check are Hein Online, the law review databases on WestlawLexis Advance. If you plan to use these tools from home, with the exception of Westlaw and Lexis Advance, you will need to have your law library patron barcode number to enter these systems. Contact the Circulation Department for help with your barcode.

Another online source of new and pre-published scholarship is SSRN. Similar to SSRN is BePress, another legal scholarship repository that is free to search. The advantage to searching both SSRN and BePress is that since they provide access to pre-publication articles and "works in progress" they act as useful preemption check services for areas of the law that are constantly changing.

Selecting A Topic

Selecting a topic to write about is a challenging and potentially frustrating process.  However, there are a number of resources that can assist you in this process, a couple of which are outlines below.  A useful starting point is chapter 2 of Scholarly Writing for Law Students (included in the list of useful books to the right).  

Each month U.S. Law Week compiles a chart of Circuit Splits from around the country.  Circuit Splits often provide an excellent source of information for writing case notes.   U.S. Law Week is available on Bloomberg Law and is listed as one of their BNA Law Reports.

In addition to following Circuit Splits, it can also be useful to follow developments in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Perhaps the most up to date resource for this is actually a blog, SCOTUSBlog (link below).  This blog closely follows all developments at the nation's highest court and includes full-text copies of most of the filings for accepted cases.

Ultimately, no matter which topic you select be sure that you are interested in the topic.  Over the course of the academic year you could potentially be spending a lot of time not just researching and writing the note/comment, but also editing it ready for publication.

Following a Topic

To keep up-to-date while you research and write, you can subscribe to the weekly topical "e-journals" of SSRN, or the clipping services of Westlaw and LexisNexis.  After the researcher defines a search, Westlaw and Lexis will send regular e-mail alerts about developments that may affect your topic. Please contact the Reference Department to get started with any of these services.

Useful Books

Judge Kathryn J. DuFour Law Library / 3600 John McCormack Road N.E., Washington, DC 20064 / 202-319-5155