It's late spring. You're emerging from the grueling first year of law school * and are now thoroughly grounded in the foundational legal subjects of contracts, civil procedure, torts, criminal law and property. Some of your next academic challenges will likely involve scholarly writing of various types: seminar papers, upper-division research papers, law review comments and notes….
The problem is, in the struggle to survive first year, you probably didn't have time to follow current legal events, and you may have even lost touch (just temporarily, we hope!) with whatever it was that drew you to law in the first place.
So how will you come up with meaty and interesting (to you and others) paper and law review topics?
Before school starts again and the paper crunch sets in, why not follow the latest legal news and controversies over the summer? There are all sorts of well-written newsletters and blogs that can reconnect you to the wider legal world, and may even rekindle your passion for the law.
Here are just a few places to find good reading and good ideas:
Legal News Sites and Newsletters
- Jurist - Paper Chase - "Serious law. Primary sources. Global perspective."
- How Appealing - ostensibly devoted to appellate litigation, but covers legal news very broadly
- SCOTUSblog - detailed Supreme Court news
- Wall Street Journal's Law Blog - special emphasis on law and business
- U.S. Law Week - weekly report on developments from around the country. USF law students and faculty will find links to U.S. Law Week and a slew of other BNA newsletters on the Zief Law Library "Legal Research Resources" pages. (If you're at another law school, check with your law library to see whether they subscribe to USLW.)
- FindLaw's Writ - Legal Commentary - op-ed-style essays from professors, politicians, practitioners
- Jurist - Forum - essays on current legal controversies from scholars around the world
Links to Legal Blogs on All Topics
- Justia Blawg Search - lots of blogs, listed by topic
- ABA Journal Blawg Directory - also lists blogs by topic
- Blawg - especially the Legal Subjects & Areas category
(If you routinely visit lot of blogs and online newsletters, a service like Google Reader can help you stay on top of all of them.)
[update, 6.12.06] Once you've rekindled your interest in the law, see the Zief Library's guide to Finding a Topic for Your Law School Paper or Law Review Comment or Note for a more extensive survey of ways to look for good topics for law school writing projects.
* [6.20.06] About to start law school? Thought you'd find summer reading advice here? Visit our post Summer Reading: Bracing Yourself for the First Year of Law School instead.
[Links updated 12.16.2010.]