Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Picking a Paper Topic

Topic Selection & Preemption

Using Westlaw Edge to Pick a Topic

Log onto Westlaw Edge first before clicking the links to the databases.

Westlaw Edge Guides on Finding a Topic

The following pdfs from Westlaw are older, but the basic steps set out are still valid"

Sample Searches

Searching for Circuit Splits or novel issues in case databases:

Simple search query in a case law database:

(circuit* /s split*) AND yourtopic

court or circuit /s split & da(aft 1/2015)

Advance search query in a case law database:

conflict! or split! or division or divid! /10 authority or preceden! or lower court or circuit or state supreme court and yourtopic 

issue or question or matter /s "first impression" or novel & da(aft 1/2016)

In law review databases search:

"beyond the scope" /s (note or article or comment) and da(aft 1/2015)

Search recent legal news or specialty news 

"novel issue" or "open question" or unresolved or "circuit split" or courts /5 agree! or disagree!