Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

LRAW Research Spring 2023

Law Review & Journal Articles

There are different types of legal journals and periodicals.

Several individual volumes of different law reviews, including UCLA, Brigham Young, Harvard, Cornell, and California law reviews.

Many law schools publish one or more law reviews and journals, edited by students at the law school. Some law reviews cover a broad range of topics, such as the South Carolina Law Review, while others focus on a specific area within the law, like the South Carolina Journal of International Law & Business and the Journal of Law and Education.  These student-published journals solicit articles from law professors and other legal experts and often include notes* and comments written by student members of the editorial staff.

Law review articles usually discuss very specific issues within an area of the law. They are heavily footnoted with cases, statutes, and secondary sources, making them valuable resources for finding primary authorities for a legal issue. Law review articles also serve as helpful resources for understanding a legal topic because they typically provide background and historical information on the legal issue they discuss. Law review articles often address undeveloped areas of law and propose solutions for resolving those problems, which can help you analyze a question of first impression.

National, state, and local bar associations publish journals and magazines.  For example, the American Bar Association publishes ABA Journal and the South Carolina Bar Association publishes SC Lawyer. With many articles written by attorneys and other legal practitioners, bar association publications tend to emphasize the practice of law, rather than providing commentary or criticism of the law.  They do, however, comment on recent legislation and court cases.  State-specific bar association periodicals are also useful because they address both federal and state law.

*"A scholarly legal essay shorter than an article and restricted in scope, explaining or criticizing a particular set of cases or a general area of the law, and usu. written by a law student for publication in a law review. — Also termed comment..." Note, Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).

Citing Law Reviews & Journal Articles

Rules B16 and 16 of The Bluebook cover citation of periodical materials.

periodical. noun: a magazine or other journal that is issued at regularly recurring intervals.
                  adjective: published at regularly recurring intervals.  -dictionary.com

 

For example, the South Carolina Law Review is published four times a year. The South Carolina Lawyer is published six times a year. 

You can cite online articles as if they are in print because Westlaw, Lexis, and HeinOnline provide you with the information you need for citation. HeinOnline has the pdf of the print version, which can be helpful for citation purposes in case anything is unclear about how the article appears on Westlaw or Lexis.


Citation format differs depending on whether a periodical is consecutively or nonconsecutively paginated.

consecutively paginated journal begins numbering an issue where the previous issue left off. For example, in the citation below, the page number 1122 does not mean that an issue of this law journal would be more than 1,000 pages thick. You can see from the table of contents of HeinOnline that Issue 4 began on page 960. 

Evelyn Atkinson, Creating the Reasonable Child: Risk, Responsibility, and the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, 42 Law & Soc. Inquiry 1122 (2017).                 

HeinOnline screenshot

Student-written law review articles follow the same format, with the addition of the word "Note", "Comment", or "Case Comment" inserted between the author's name and the title of the article:

Eric R. Tonnsen, Case Comment, Henson v. International Paper Co.: A Step Backward in South Carolina Attractive Nuisance Jurisprudence, 56 S.C. L. Rev. 835 (2005).

For nonconsecutively paginated periodicals, including most bar association journals, each issue starts on page one. Rule 16.5 provides the citation format. For example:

Brian Van Couyghen, Premises Liability: The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, R.I.B.J., Nov.-Dec. 2007, at 7.


Citation Tips:
When citing an article title that includes a case name, you must un-italicize or un-underline the case name or anything else you would normally italicize.

Tables T6, T10, and T13 contain the rules for abbreviating periodical titles.  T13 provides special abbreviations for the publishing institution while T6 gives abbreviations for other common words.  Per R6.1(a) always separate the publishing institution’s abbreviation from the rest of the journal’s name with a space even if this violates the normal spacing.  Check T13 for other special rules regarding omitting words and punctuation in the periodical titles.

Rule 8(a) says to capitalize words in a heading or title, including the initial word and any words following a colon, but not articles, conjunctions, or prepositions that are four or fewer letters (unless they are the initial word or follow a colon).

Finding Law Review & Journal Articles on Westlaw

To search within a specific law review or journal, from the Westlaw homepage, start typing the journal title in the search box, and select it from the drop-down that appears.

screenshot - typing south carolina law re , and under Content Pages, South Carolina Law Review is highlighted

From there, you can use the search bar to search for articles in that law review only, or browse the most recent articles listed below. For some journals, there is a significant delay between the time articles are published and the time they are available on Westlaw. Other journals are uploaded right away. If you can't find an article on Westlaw, it may be available in another database. A librarian can help.

undefined

To search Westlaw's entire Law Reviews & Journals database, from the homepage in Westlaw, select Secondary Sources

Content types > Cases > Trial Court Orders > Statutes & Court Rules > Secondary Sources

Under Secondary Sources By Type, select Law Reviews & Journals

screenshot - Law Reviews & Journals highlighted in a long list under By Type

You may choose to limit your search for law review articles by topic or by state.

undefined

Finding Law Review & Journal Articles on Lexis

To find a specific law review or journal, from the Lexis homepage, start typing the journal title. Click on the full title when it appears next to Sources below the search bar.

typing south carolina law in search bar; South Carolina Law Review appears below next to Sources

Now you can search for articles in that law review only.

undefined

If you want to search the entire Law Reviews and Journals database, from the homepage in in Lexis, select Law Reviews & Journals under Secondary Materials in the Content tab of the Explore section of the home page.

You may choose to limit your search by state or by practice area.

screenshot - states and practice areas

Finding Law Review & Journal Articles using Law Library Resources

If you see a citation to a law journal article or law review article in a case or secondary source, and you want to find the original article, you might search Westlaw and Lexis, and the article might not be there. Where else can you try looking?

HeinOnline's Law Journal Library, accessible through the law library homepage, is the go-to database for law review articles in PDF format, including many older, hard-to-find volumes not available through Westlaw or Lexis.

screenshotscreenshot of HeinOnline search bar which defaults to Law Journal Library

HeinOnline also offers a Bar Journals database, for journals that are published by state bar associations. To access this database, scroll down on the HeinOnline home page, and select Bar Journals. The search bar at the top will then change to allow a search of the Bar Journals database.

Browse Databases by Name - Law Journal Library and Bar Journals highlighted in list

Bar journals are less scholarly and more practical. South Carolina Lawyer is the journal of the South Carolina Bar.


A case or secondary source has cited an article either in a law journal, or in a journal of economics, psychology, sociology, or another discipline. How can you find out if the law library has that article online or in print?

 

Try searching the law library catalog for the title of the article.

If that does not work, try a Journal Search for the title of the journal.

To access Journal Search, start at the law library homepage, and click on Advanced Search below the law library catalog search bar.

screenshot

Click on Journal Search.

screenshot

Enter the journal title in the Journal Search bar.

screenshot

Law Review & Journal Articles Online for Free

There are many law reviews and journals that are freely accessible online. You can search the largest collection of free and open law review scholarship and browse by subject, title, and author via the Law Review Commons.

Law Review Commons home page with links for reviews by subject, by title, and by works and author, as well as a search box for the entire commons.

 

 You can also search Google Scholar for law review and journal articles and sort them by relevance and date. 

Google Scholar search box with "Articles" chosen below to search.