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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

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.

  • U.S. Supreme Court: 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!)).
  • Texas Supreme Court: Here is an example for the state supreme Court: adv: SY("petition for review") AND LE("review denied") & DIS(grant! OR dissent!)

Similarly, one can look for opinions in any appellate court that contain a separate writing (such as a concurrence or dissent) on a matter of statutory interpretation. 

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 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


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