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Advanced Legal Writing: Home


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Choosing a Paper Topic Research Guide
This research guide from the Ross-Blakley Law Library is designed for students who are writing a substantive legal research paper and are looking for guidance on how to begin. The guide details sources for help in selecting a paper topic and offers insight in how to check whether your paper will add new information to the field of law.

Conducting a Preemption Check Research Guide
This research guide details the recommended steps for conducting a preemption check, as well as provides information on and links to a variety of resources for conducting a thorough check.


This guide is designed to provide students in specific Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law advanced writing courses with resources and tools to begin their course-related research. The guides provide information on print and electronic library resources, legal databases, interdisciplinary databases, current awareness resources, and web resources.

The reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library encourage all students engaging in research to meet with a librarian to discuss their research. College of Law students can request an appointment to meet with a librarian here.


Richard Delgado, How to Write a Law Review Article (1986)
Discussing the purpose of academic arguments and their varieties, as well as strategies for selecting topics, researching, selecting authorities, and writing.

Elizabeth Fajans & Mary R. Falk, Inspiration: Choosing a Subject and Developing a Thesis, in Scholarly Writing for Law Students: Seminar Papers, Law Review Notes, and Law Review Competition Papers (2005)
Discusses topic selection, initial writing, revision, citation to authority, and writing style.

Shari Motro, The Three-Act Argument: How to Write a Law Article That Reads Like a Good Story
The recipe for a dramatic plot—exposition, confrontation, and resolution—can liven up legal arguments.

Eugene Volokh, Finding What to Write About (The Claim) in Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review (2010)  
Tips for research, writing each section of your article, editing your early drafts, and entering competitions or submitting articles for publication.

Eugene Volokh, Writing a Student Article (1998)
Detailing one of many strategies for getting a legal paper published.


The reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library are happy to help you find or navigate research resources. 

Librarians are available 9am-4pm Monday-Thursday and 9am-2pm on Friday by phone or by email.

Reference: (480) 965-7161
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Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law (COL) Students