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Journal Staff Legal Research Guide: Preemption Check

This guide is designed to assist law journal staff through the process of selecting topics, writing, editing and cite checking law review articles.

Links to Resource Pages for doing a Preemption Check

The What , Why and How of a Premption Check

After you have found and selected a topic for an article or scholarly legal paper, before you start writing, the next step is to conduct a preemption check. A preemption check requires a meticulous survey of pertinent literature and materials to "determine whether there is new law or a prior publication (whether by student author or expert) that renders an article moot.” See Scholarly Writing for Law Students (KF250.F34 2017 Reserve Section in Library). 

This guide walks you through the steps of a thorough preemption check. Be sure to take all the steps and check through all databases, as they each offer varying coverage. 

When doing a preemption check you should search for articles using both legal articles indexes and using full-text sources.  You should also use the major working paper repositories to locate working papers and not yet published work. The two main working paper repositories, Social Science Research Network's Legal Scholarship Network (SSRN) and Bepress Legal Repository both offer searchable archives of working papers. Additionally, you will want to examine Google Scholar and Google.

Law Library Guides

Working Paper Repositories

Additional Resources

Contact a Reference Librarian

Reference Link

If you need help with your research, please send us a question via our e-mail reference service at or visit us or call the reference desk at 206.398.4225.

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