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Journal Orientation 2023

About This Page

This page provides starting points for information relevant to your journal and covers the following topics:

  • Subject Guides 
  • Electronic Resources
  • Choosing a Topic
  • Preemption Checks
  • Citation Assistance
  • Where to find PDF versions of documents

As always, if you need additional assistance, please request a Student Consult and we will be glad to help.

Electronic Resources and Starting Points

The Emory Law Journal has an editorial scope that is limited "only by the limits of legal scholarship and interest." Because of this, you will find yourself writing and spading in a wide variety of legal topics. In this section, we've suggested a number of general law resources where you can begin your research.

We recommend that once you've familiarized yourself with an area you'd like to explore further that you schedule a research consultation with a law librarian so that we can point you to more specialized resources.

Finding Guides by Subject:

You can limit your database search by title, subject, or most popular databases. Explore the available databases here:

Finding Treatises:

Study Aids and Introductory Sources

Choosing a Topic

Legal news and current awareness tools are a good source for identifying developing areas of law ripe for new scholarship. These tools are general in legal topical focus, but there are many subject-specific or specialized blogs and current awareness materials available.

Current Awareness

Legal Blogs

Circuit Splits


You will need to do a preemption check to make sure that your idea is original. To do this, you should do a thorough search of the legal literature to determine if another author has already published on your topic, using the same analysis as yours. 

1. Compile a List of Search Terms: Start by compiling a list of search terms that will retrieve any articles similar to your proposed comment.

2. Search Law Journal Articles: Search for recent law review articles on your topic in the law journal databases on Westlaw and Lexis. If your proposed comment is based on a case or statute, you should also use Keycite on Westlaw and Shepards on Lexis to find articles analyzing the case or statute.

You might also search in Legal Research Index on Westlaw, using the index headings to find articles on your topic, and in the Current Index to Legal Periodicals on Hein Online, a weekly index service arranged by subject area. Both are good for finding the most recent law journal articles in a subject area. 

3. Search For Interdisciplinary Articles (if applicable): Try JSTOR, Academic Search Completeand Social Sciences Full Text

4. Search for Books/Chapters: You should also check for books and book chapters that might have been published on your topic, using the Emory University Libraries catalog, and WorldCat, a catalog of the holdings of U.S. and international libraries. 

5. Search for Unpublished Materials: To find working papers and pending law review articles, search the abstracts in the Legal Scholarship Network, a division of SSRN, and the articles in the bepress Legal Repository. Academic legal blogs, such as those in the Law Professor Blogs Network, sometimes post announcements of new legal scholarship.

*Be sure to keep checking for new articles on your topic, and other developments that might affect your research, using alerts on Westlaw and Lexis, and by following topical legal blogs and newsletters.*

Additional Guides on Preemption

Some other legal research guides on preemption include:

Citation Assistance

Citations depend on the latest edition of The Bluebook. The 21st edition lists noteworthy changes from the previous edition. The T2 tables for foreign jurisdictions in the Electronic Bluebook are available for free.

The 21st Edition of the Bluebook is now available online.  Individual subscriptions are available starting at $39 per year. For assistance with The Bluebook, ask the reference librarians for help at the service desk.

For a free, online alternative, try the Indigo Book, based on the Bluebook Uniform System of Citation. New (2022) Second Edition now available. 

Database Tools

  • Westlaw Edge has its Copy with Reference feature that allows you to choose citation style, and Lexis+ has a similar Copy Citation feature. 
  • Hein Online Law Journal Library: The Citation Navigator available in most Hein libraries lets you enter a citation and retrieve the document, and there is also a citation guide with accepted Bluebook abbreviations.  
  • JSTOR: "Copy this citation" available in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles
  • Other campus databases have citation features as well, although usually Bluebook is not usually one of the options

Library Guides

Interactive Training


Physical Materials

Where to Find PDFs for Spading

Published Opinions

  • US Supreme Court: Slip opinions and official bound volumes in PDF
  • Westlaw: Reported cases published in West reporters; look for the PDF symbol


  • Bloomberg Law: For filings from federal and select state dockets


  • Hein Online: Scanned PDF images in its Law Journal Library
  • JSTOR: Non-law journals in PDF, including older issues

Government Documents

  • GovInfo US government publications in PDF, including legislative history documents, the US Code, and the Federal Register
  • Hein Online: Scanned PDF images in its US Code, US Congressional Documents, US Statutes at Large libraries, and CFR and Federal Register libraries
  • ProQuest Legislative Insight and ProQuest Congressional: Legislative history materials in PDF


Historical Materials


Many of Emory's ebook databases have books and treatises in PDF or other image formats. Find them by searching titles in Emory Libraries Search (the catalog)

MacMillan Law Library Services and Response to COVID-19

Check out this guide on Student Support for Law Students

Here you will find information on:

  • Library Hours
  • Using the Library
  • Virtual Reference
  • Student Support
    • Journal Support
    • Bluebook Access
    • West Academic Assessment Packages
    • Emory Law Archives Access
  • And much more

Questions for the MacMillan Law Library?

Have a question for the Law Library?  Reach out to us via one of our question forms:

Faculty Research or Staff Question?
Please complete our Faculty Request form.

Student Research Question?
Please complete our Student Research Request form. 

MacMillan Library Hybrid Research Services:

          Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
          Saturday - Sunday: Closed 

MacMillan Library Building Hours (May 13 - August 16, 2024):

Monday - Friday: 9am - 6pm
Saturday - Sunday: Closed

Reference Desk:
Monday: 1pm - 3pm
Tuesday: 10am - 12pm; Virtual only: 1pm - 3pm
Wednesday: 10am - 12pm; Virtual only: 2pm - 4pm
Thursday: 10am - 12pm; Virtual only: 1pm - 3pm
Friday: 10am - 12pm
Saturday and Sunday: Closed

IT Help Desk:
Monday - Friday: 
Saturday - Sunday: Closed

Emory Law Archives:
Physical archives: By appointment only.
Digital archives: More information available here
Limited remote services are available on a case-by-case basis. 
Questions?  Email Anna Sturgill, Law Librarian for Archives and Assessment Services