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Secondary Sources: Legal Periodicals

A guide designed for first year law students on the MU Law Library's resources for secondary sources / Last updated by Jacob Wood, JD '25

What are Law Reviews?

Law reviews and law journals are similar to the scholarly journals that you probably used as an undergraduate. They contain lengthy, scholarly articles written by legal experts on a variety of legal topics and issues. Law reviews and journals may cover specific legal subject areas or be general in nature, and are typically published by law schools and edited by law students. Bar Journals, and other publications produced by professional associations, are also included in this category. 

Law review and law journal articles can be great research tools. They often provide background information and in depth analysis of emerging, controversial, and very narrow legal subject areas.

Useful features

  • Articles are typically written by experts in their fields
  • Provides a thorough examination of particular issues in the law, especially new and controversial areas
  • Cited references can help you locate additional resources

Things to be aware of

  • Not typically cited in legal arguments, although there are exceptions.
  • Articles are not updated the way other secondary materials are, so you will need to make sure that any points of law discussed are still correct.
  • Some articles will be more authoritative than others. Evaluate articles carefully and pay attention to who is writing. 

Finding Legal Periodicals

Legal periodicals can be found in a variety of places, both in print and online. In addition to the Internet, this is a listing of some databases that can be used to search for articles:

Lexis  Password required.

Westlaw  Password required.

HeinOnline: Available to MU Campus. Contains a legal archival material including law review publications.  Heinonline is particularly helpful if you need older law review articles which are typically not available on Westlaw or Lexis.  Each page is viewable as it originally appeared in the publication in PDF format.