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Finding and Researching Law-Related Paper Topics: Key Sources

This guide is designed to help students locate legal databases which are useful for identifying paper topics. The full-text legal resources listed below are good starting points for legal research in general.

Writing a Student Note

Additional Guides for Locating Paper Topics

Preemption Check

Searching for Novel Issues

More Information

For a complete list of law-related databases available to OU students and faculty, please visit the Law Library web site.

Circuit Splits

Sample Westlaw and Lexis searches for circuit splits:

  • Courts of Appeals:  (issue question matter) /s "first impression" novel & copyright & da(aft 2010)
  • Law Reviews: "beyond the scope" /s (note article comment) /p (court circuit) & copyright & da(aft 2010)
  • Legal Newspapers: court circuit /s split & da(aft 2010)
  • Westlaw Cases:  sy,di(split conflict /s court authority) & da(aft 2010)
  • Westlaw SCT-PETITION (petitions for certiorari): "employment discrimination" & split /p circuit authority

Current Awareness Sources for Locating Paper Topics

Blogs for Locating Paper Topics

Full-Text Legal Resources Available Campus-Wide

Law Students - Legal Research Starting Points

Legal Resources Available Campus-Wide to All Students

LexisNexis Academic Universe

  • Contains the full-text of all cases, statutes, and regulations from all 50 states and the federal government.   Also contains the full-text of many law journal articles from the 1990s to present.


  • Provides access to a comprehensive, image-based collection of legal periodicals. Each journal in the database begins from its inception. Also includes access to code of federal regulations, legal classics, treaties and agreements, U.S. Attorney General opinions, U.S. Federal Legislative History, U.S. Presidential Library, U.S. statutes at large, and the U.S. Supreme Court Library. Full text available.

Google Scholar

  • Google Scholar enables you to search the full-text of court opinions and legal journals available on the Internet.  To search the legal content of Google Scholar, be sure to use the Advanced Scholar Search feature and limit your search to legal opinions and journals.

Subject Specialist

Darin Fox's picture
Darin Fox
Darin K. Fox

Director of the Law Library

and Professor of Law

Donald E. Pray Law Library

University of Oklahoma College of Law

Norman, OK 73019

Phone: 405-325-6540

Boolean Search Techniques for Paper Topics

Google Search

Google Search