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Step 1: Choosing A Topic for Your Law School Paper - Advanced Writing Requirement  

Advanced Writing Requirement Research Paper
Last Updated: Feb 1, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Steps in Writing a Paper

Finding a topic that fulfills the Advanced Writing Requirements and Skills Training is challenging and time consuming.

These guides will save you time and help you through the stages of writing a paper.

STEP 1:  Choosing a Topic
Help finding a topic for your paper.

STEP 2:  Preemptive Check
Checking to see if your topic is sufficiently original to merit your time and effort.

STEP 3:  Research Strategies for a Law School Paper
In depth research - using the library services and resources.

STEP 4Getting Published
Advice on getting your paper published.




    Please contact any of our Chase Law Librarians if you need assistance with your research!



    This guide incorporates suggestions from other libraries, including the University of San Francisco, Zief Law Library. The libguide author is Lee Ryan, Research Librarian.


    Goals and Challenges of Topic Selection

    Your goal is to write a comment, note, or paper that has something new to say, that is of manageable scope, and is interesting.  Start with an area that you are interested in and then spend some time skimming publications to learn about recent developments.

    This guide offers tips and techniques for identifying potential topics. The guide highlights the main tools for locating what's new, unsettled, or controversial.

    Make a list of potential topics as you go along.  If any appeal to you, do some very quick searches of cases, statutes, books, and law reviews to assess the topic's potential. Is there enough raw material for you to analyze? Is the issue sufficiently complex to justify a paper, note or comment?


    The Best Place to Start

    Start with this book.
    Chapter 2 ("Inspiration: Choosing a Topic & Developing a Thesis") is filled with practical advice on identifying a subject you care about, narrowing your topic, and finding a promising thesis.

    Cover Art
    Scholarly Writing for Law Students: Seminar Papers, Law Review Notes, and Law Review Competition Papers, 4th ed. - Elizabeth Fajans & Mary R. Falk
    Call Number: Open Reserve KF 250 .F35 2011
    Publication Date: 2011


    Other Favorites:

    Cover Art
    Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, and Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review, 4th ed. (2010) - Eugene Volokh
    Call Number: Open Reserve KF 250 .V63 2010
    ISBN: 1599417502
    See especially pages 10 to 39. There are excerpts of Academic Legal Writing available at Prof. Volokh's site, but you'll get more if you read (or at least skim) the whole book. The Book is also available from Thomson/West.

    Cover Art
    Law Students as Legal Scholars: An Essay/Review of Scholarly Writing for Law Students and Academic Legal Writing - By Ruth Robson
    Publication Date: 7 N.Y. City Law Rev. 195 (2004)

    Cover Art
    Stalking the Golden Topic: A Guide to Locating and Selecting Topics for Legal Research Papers - By Heath Meeker
    Publication Date: 1996 Utah L. Rev. 917 - 941


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