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The process of researching and writing a note or seminar paper includes steps from selecting a topic to locating relevant resources. This guide is intended to introduce the researcher to the various search methods in the seminar paper writing process.
Last Updated: Feb 11, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Table of Contents

I.   Introduction
A. Researching
B. Books on Writing
A. Identifying a Problem
B. New & Noteworthy
C. Circuit Splits
D. Open Questions
IV.  Articles
A. Legal Articles
B. Non-legal Articles
V.   Books
A. Available at Wake Forest
B. Outside the Wake Forest Collection
VI.   News
A. Legal News
B. Newspaper Articles
A. Special Sources
B. Topical Guides
A. Statutes
B. Legislative History
C. Administrative Law
D. Case Law
A. Free Databases
B. Native Language Sources
A. Comparative Law Resources
B. International Organizations
C. Treaties and International Agreements
D. Locating International Journals and Articles

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:

  1. Selecting a topic
  2. Conducting a preemption check
  3. Finding legal and non-legal journal articles on the topic
  4. Finding books on the topic
  5. Finding news articles on the topic
  6. Consulting specialized sources on the topic
  7. Finding primary law on the topic
  8. Locating frequently used foreign resources
  9. 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

Cover Art
Academic legal writing : law review articles, student notes, seminar papers, and getting on law review - Eugene Volokh ; with foreword by Alex Kozinski
Call Number: KF250. V65 (2003) Location: Permanent Reserve & Additional copies located in the stacks.
ISBN: 1599417502
The quote below is taken from the book’s Foreword, which was written by Court of Appeals Judge for the Ninth Circuit, Hon. Alex Kozinski.

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.

Cover Art
Scholarly writing for law students : seminar papers, law review notes, and law review competition papers - Elizabeth Fajans, Mary R. Falk
Call Number: KF250 .F35 2011 Location: Permanant Reserve
ISBN: 9780314146311
The quote below is provided by the publisher.

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.

Cover Art
Scholarly writing : ideas, examples, and execution - Jessica L. Clark, Kristen E. Murray
Call Number: KF250 .C528 2010 Location: Ground Floor Stacks of the Library
ISBN: 1594606633

Cover Art
Legal reasoning, research, and writing for international graduate students - Nadia E. Nedzel
Call Number: KF240 .N43 2008 Location: Ground Floor of the Library
ISBN: 0735569533
Product Description: Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing for International Graduate Students Second Edition, offers broad coverage and skill-building exercises for legal research and writing courses geared toward LL.M. students. Nedzel has tailored her book with sensitivity to the needs of students who are either unfamiliar with U.S. law, or who are still in the process of mastering English, or both.

Cover Art
Plain English for lawyers - Richard C. Wydick
Call Number: KF250 .W92 2005 Location: Permanent Reserve & Additional Copies located in the Library Stacks.
ISBN: 1594601518
The quote below is provided by the publisher.

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.


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