Are you writing a seminar paper, law review article, or considering what to publish in a law review you edit?
Then it's time for a preemption check! The goal of a preemption check is to confirm a law review article's originality and this guide lists the main resources to search.
Law students are most familiar with the full-text law review databases on Lexis and Westlaw. However, Lexis and Westlaw are not comprehensive, so best practices dictate searching further afield.
A working paper, or research paper or pre-print, is a work in progress that may or may not be forthcoming in a law review. Working papers uploaded to the sites noted below are in theory their online first appearance in the scene of legal scholarship. Searching is free and most of the content is free to download as well. Both sites are updated constantly as authors submit their work.
Law blogs often note when new working papers or law review articles are published. Listed below are selected blogs that tend to post most regularly about new works. Use a RSS feed reader to be notified of the latest posts.
An index categorizes articles by subject and provides an alternative to keyword searching. The availability of full text varies by index.
If your topic has an interdisciplinary component, consider works outside of the legal arena as well.
It is important to stay up to date even after you have selected your topic; new works of a similar nature can come out at any time.
Consider what tools and resources are at your disposal. For example, you may wish to set up a Google Scholar alert or sign up for email updates from resources you've checked.