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Picking a Paper Topic

Topic Selection & Preemption

Using Westlaw to Pick a Topic

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

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!