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Journal Staff Legal Research Guide: Tools for Finding a Topic

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

Tools-Current Awareness Resources

Current awareness sources like topical newsletters (e.g. BNA) and legal newspapers (e.g. National Law Journal) can be very useful for topic selection. If you have a particular field of interest try to locate one of these resources to assist you in narrowing your topic.

Topical Newsletters

Newsletters focus on current developments in specific areas of law (e.g., domestic relations, securities, affordable housing, ethics, labor). They are published frequently (usually weekly or monthly; some are daily). Newsletters are available online and sometimes in print. Search the topical areas in Westlaw, Lexis, or Bloomberg for newsletters. These newsletters may be a valuable resources in looking for topics on unresolved issues.

Legal Newspapers

Legal newspapers are very current, typically published daily, and written for a more general audience compared to newsletters. Search for "legal news" in the topical areas of Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg. The National Law Journal is available on both Westlaw and Lexis as are a number of other regional newspapers.

General Newspapers

For researching foreign law where the local law reviews are not written in English, it may be helpful to browse through general newspapers to learn more about current legal issues. Major English-language newspapers (NY Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Times of London, Guardian) are available in print, electronically, and through Lexis. Major foreign language newspapers may be available from their respective websites.


Blogs may be a good resource for very-recent topics. Blogs tend to be up-to-date but their reliability, and authority, are often uncertain. Gallagher Law Library, linked below, maintains a list of law-related blogs in Washington. The ABA maintains a directory of legal blogs, also linked below.


CILP is a service from the University of Washington which indexes the law reviews they receive for the previous 90 days. Journals will typically be indexed in CILP before they appear in the other major indexes.

Major journal indexes

The Index to Legal Periodicals and LegalTrac are the two largest indexes. For foreign journals use the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals.