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Law School Seminar Paper Resources: Finding The Right Topic

Guidance on how to get ready to write a law school seminar paper.

Blogs and Websites

People as Resources

  • Consider what you already know or things/people already available to you:
  • Talk to your classmates, professors, and/or practioners. 
  • Look at your casebooks and look at the questions at the back of the chapter
  • Read or listen to the news for inspiration
  • Read Supreme Court cases in fields that interest you

Topic Tips

When thinking about a topic for a seminar paper consider the following:

  • Think about subjects that are unsettled, either there has been a change or you can compare a previously settled area of law with a new upcoming development.  Then do some background research for some basic understanding.  Legal Encyclopedias and Blogs can be good choices for a fuller understanding of the subject area and what issues are related.

 

  • Choose a subject area that interests you.  You'll be immersing yourself in the topic and if it is something that is not interesting to you, you'll be unhappy. Try to pick something that has been around for a while rather than something that has just developed 2 weeks ago.  It is important that a topic be written on previously, or has had some caselaw for you to review and analyse.

 

  • Try putting your idea into a topic sentence or a thesis statement.

 

  • Then try looking at the main ideas in your sentence and try doing an initial search with them in the Library catalog or journal databases. You should see what has already been written on the topic.  If you are getting too many hits, you might need to narrow your topic. If you are not getting enough hits, you might need to broaden your topic.
     
  • Scoping your topic will prevent you from finding out (often too late) that your material would fill 50 pages or there is not enough material to fill even 3 pages.

 

Lexis and Westlaw

Explore newsletters and current awareness databases on Lexis and Westlaw.  Review topical databases and treatises when considering a topic.  They will help you get a better idea how large the topic might be and what the subtopics are so that you can effectively narrow or broaden your topic.

UNH Law Library Databases

Having trouble connecting to these databases?  See the Law Library Tech Support page.