Table of Contents
Permission of Use
This guide has been adapted from its original version, produced and created by Boston University, School of Law, with the permission of the author. Permission obtained February 2, 2012.
Researching Your Note or Seminar Paper
The process of researching and writing a note, certification or seminar paper includes some or all of the following steps:
- Selecting a topic
- Conducting a preemption check
- Finding legal and non-legal journal articles on the topic
- Finding books on the topic
- Finding news articles on the topic
- Consulting specialized sources on the topic
- Finding primary law on the topic
- Locating frequently used foreign resources
- Using international materials
Each tabbed page of this research guide will address one of these seven steps. This guide focuses on U.S. legal research, as well as a selection of international resources. Many of the same resources and techniques will be useful for researching international or foreign topics.
For personalized assistance researching your chosen topic, make an appointment with a legal information librarian.
Books on Law School Writing
This book fills a void in the legal literature: It teaches students how to go about finding a topic and developing it into a useful, interesting, publishable piece. It gives detailed and very helpful instructions for every aspect of the writing, research and publication process. And it comes from the keyboard of someone who has authored articles on a dizzying variety of legal topics and is widely regarded as one of the brightest lights in legal academia.
In order to inspire and motivate their readers, the authors have appended a selective list of student notes and comments and a chapter on techniques to help writers narrow their subjects and find theses. The authors added a section on reading for types of legal argument and an exercise to address increasing student concern over plagiarism. Includes a short section on the importance of editorial cooperation and communication. Offers a new chapter on entering writing competitions and publishing.
In Legal Writing in Plain English, Bryan A. Garner provides lawyers, judges, paralegals, law students, and legal scholars sound advice and practical tools for improving their written work. The book encourages legal writers to challenge conventions and offers valuable insights into the writing process: how to organize ideas, create and refine prose, and sharpen editing skills. In essence, it teaches straight thinking—a skill inseparable from good writing.