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Legal Research Basics: Find a Paper Topic

Where to begin your legal research.

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Current Awareness Services in Print

Some services providing analysis of current development in the field and reports of recently decided cases are available in print in the Law Library. Searching the catalog for these tools can be difficult at times. Consider using “reporter” and your legal topic as a keyword search. Other words that may prove useful include “weekly,” “alert,” “current,” “news,” “analysis,” or “newspaper” and then use one of these in conjunction with “law” or “legal.”

Social Media Tools for Current Awareness

Social media is another great place to discover and keep up on the latest legal issues.


There are a number of law blogs ("blawgs") in specialized subject areas written by attorneys, professors, judges, students, and other legal specialists. Use the links below to find a blog of an interest. 

Finding a Paper Topic

Finding a topic is the first and often the most vexing challenge for law students writing a paper, note or comment for a class or law review. Choosing a paper topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow, both pertinent and topical, and not over nor under written about can be an exercise in frustration. Here we present a number of strategies to help you find the right topic for your law school paper.

Ready to get started? Check out the resources on this page, as well as the resources on the Finding & Researching Your Paper Topic guide, which includes slides from a recent workshop. 

Current Awareness Tools Online

Practicing attorneys use current awareness tools to stay up-to-date with breaking news, statutory and regulatory changes and appellate court opinions in their field of practice. You should learn how to use these tools in law school. 

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