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Law Research Guide

This guide is an introduction to legal research for undergraduate students.

About Law Reviews

"Law reviews," or "law journals," are the primary forum for legal scholarship in the academic legal community.  They contain articles and essays ("lead articles") by law professors, judges and other legal scholars, and student written "notes" or "comments." Both the lead articles and the student pieces usually contain extensive footnotes citing to primary authority and other secondary sources.  While law review articles themselves can be helpful in legal research, it is the presence of these footnotes that make them so valuable to researchers seeking the most relevant and persuasive primary authority. 

Finding Law Review Articles

There are several indexes to law review articles:

You may also access the database Westlaw at WMU, from which you can download, print and e-mail articles in PDF format. You must visit WMU's library to access HeinOnline.

While not as comprehensive as HeinOnline, these resources provide links to free versions of published legal scholarship:

  • Google Scholar
    In addition to case law, Google Scholar provides access to online versions of law reviews and other scholarly legal secondary content.
  • University Law Review Project 
    The Coalition of Online Journals provides free full text search of online law journals (check the site for a list of included journals) and an e-mail notification of new articles.
  • Social Science Reseach Network 
    The SSRN Legal Scholarship Network is an electronic archive of legal scholarship. It reprints many law review articles, which can be found by author or subject, as well as unpublished "working papers," provided for discussion and analysis.

How to Cite

Rule 16 of the Bluebook (19th edition) governs how to cite to a law review article, and it includes the following example:

Charles A. Reich, The New Property, 73 Yale L.J. 733, 737-38 (1964) (discussing the importance of government largess).

The components of a citation to a law review article are, in order:  the author's full name; the title of the article (in italics); the journal volume number; the abbreviation of the journal name (in large and small capitals); the page on which the article begins; the span of specific pages cited (if any); the date of publication;and an optional parenthetical describing the content of pages cited.  Typeface conventions for law review citations are discussed at Rule 2.1(c).  The name of the journal should appear in large and small capitals, and should be abbreviated according to tables T.13 (periodical abbreviations) and T.10 (geographic abbreviations).

The Bluebook Abbreviations of Law Review Titles may also be helpful. See also Basic Legal Citation from the Legal Information Institute.