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Advice on Writing Case Notes and Law Review Articles
Starting Your Research
•Goal: locate resources that are thorough and reliable
•As you work on your outline, consider:
1.What topics will I cover?
2.What sources should I consult (might I) consult for each section?
3.What search terms/search methods should I use?
4.Where can I find the resources I need?
Determining Reliability of a Source
Determining Thoroughness of a Source
Determining thoroughness is a bit harder...
Statutory and Regulatory Research Tips
• Read the entire section and chapter—don’t consult a section in isolation!
• Annotated code is best—Notes of Decisions/Case Notes, annotations, citing references etc.
• Use the Citing References tab to locate some related regulations (not available for all statutes)
• Identify agencies that may impact your issue and browse the CFR Index to determine where regulations might be located; check out their website
• Use Regulations.gov to track pending regs or view recently promulgated regs
Search Terms & Search Methods
•Try Boolean instead of Natural Language
•Utilize filters and Advanced Search when possible
•Remember to use KeyNumbers & Headnotes
•Consult Indexes, Tables of Contents, Popular Name Tables and other finding aids
Stay Current on Your Topic
•Set up alerts for a particular topic or publication title (see the Free Resources guide for step-by-step instructions),
•Westlaw & Lexis Alerts
•BNA Law reports on Bloomberg or other monthly Legal Newsletters may be helpful
Finding the Resources You Need
• Library Catalog (Search.Law) We have a lot in print including links to some government reports found online along with some online materials from PLI Plus and HeinOnline
• Falvey Library—main campus, mostly interdisciplinary materials but some legal materials we do not own, also newspapers from around the world
• Databases A – Z: Find or browse resources by name such as PsychInfo or Business Source Premier
• Subject Guides: custom guides on a variety of topics with links to databases, news sources, government links etc.
• Journal Finder: Search by publication name to see if we have access to it (must do this before can put in an ILL request!)
Tracking and Managing Research
1. Track your research using whatever method works best for you—spreadsheets, notecards, Dropbox, Google Drive
2. At a minimum, keep a research log searches that did/didn’t work, databases, search terms etc.
3. Consider using Citation management software such as Zotero/Juris-M
Citation Management software allows you to track your sources as you use them rather than waiting until the end of a project to retype a separate bibliography or Table of Authorities. This software also auto formats your citations in Bluebook format. (You still need to REVIEW and EDIT the citations.It's not perfect but it can save time.) For more information, check out this guide:
Writing Ethics and Other Writing Resources
Lexis for Microsoft Office
Lexis for Microsoft Office allows you to easily access Lexis from within Microsoft Word. Features include tools for cite checking, citation formating, and creation of Table of Authorities. To use Lexis for Microsoft Office you must DOWNLOAD the latest version of the software. Logon to Lexis and click on "Resources" and look for the Apps and Tools section.
Books on Writing
Below are a few books on writing. For additional suggestions, consult with a Reference Librarian, review this list or check the library catalog.
Academic Legal Writing by
Publication Date: 2010-04-01
Scholarly Writing for Law Students, Seminar Papers, Law Review Notes and Law Review Competition Papers, 4th by
Call Number: RESERVE KF250 .F34 2011
Publication Date: 2011-01-07
Scholarly Writing by
Call Number: 2nd Floor KF250 .C528 2012
Publication Date: 2012-08-20
Writing Competitions for Law Students
You invested hours of time and energy on your topic. Consider submitting your note or comment to a writing competition.