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Help with Seminar Papers & Law Review Notes

Split Circuits

A good way to come up with a paper topic is to look for points of law on which courts from different jurisdictions disagree, i.e., circuit splits.

Lawmakers Flagging Issues

U.S. Supreme Court: Cert Denials

Justices will occasionally concur or dissent from petition of certiorari denials to signal their strong feelings about a case. Such cases may be worth investigating further in an article or seminar paper.

Here is an example of a search one can do on Westlaw in a database of U.S. Supreme Court cases to find dissents from cert denials: adv: OP(petition /s certiorari /s den!) & (DIS(grant! OR dissent!) OR CON(concur!)).

Congress: Concurrent Resolutions

These resolutions, which are cited as H.R. Con. Res.____ or S. Con. Res.____, are passed by both houses of Congress. As they do not require presidential signature, they do not have the force of law. However, these resolutions have been used to raise awareness on a particular issue and act as blueprints for state legislators to craft their own bills. Such resolutions, whether passed or not, may provide a springboard for an article or seminar paper. Go to Congress.gov to get started.

Federal Law Developments

New and proposed laws are also ripe for analysis. Listed below are resources for keeping track of the latest federal developments in the three branches of government: judicial, executive, and legislative. (For more tools for tracking legislation, see the library's federal legislative history guide.)

Texas Law Developments

Places to track state-level legal developments in Texas that could be fleshed out more fully in a law review note or seminar paper.

Tailored Resources from Legal Vendors

Blogs

Law blogs posts can spur a full-length article. Listed below are selected group blogs from law professors of general legal interest.