Preemption Guide

This page was created by the library to assist journal members in selecting article topics. You need to check various sources to make sure that an article has not already been researched and published about your selected topic.

Follow the seven preemption check steps below before you start writing your article:

STEP ONE: Full Text Law Reviews

Search Lexis full-text law reviews AND Westlaw full-text law reviews AND HeinOnline Law Journal Library. Although there is a lot of overlap, you should search for journal articles on Lexis, Westlaw & HeinOnline since each resource includes many unique articles. [Note: When searching HeinOnline, connectors such as AND, NOT and OR must be capitalized. HeinOnline also allows proximity searching; to search for "watershed" and "planning" within 10 words of each other use the search "watershed planning"%7e10. See HeinOnline search guidelines.]


STEP TWO: Index to Legal Periodicals

Search the Index to Legal Periodicals and Books Internet Database. [This search will cover many more articles than the full-text database search in step one, since this index includes almost every law review article written in the United States since 1982. However, you may retrieve fewer "hits" because you are not searching full-text.]

If articles on your topic may have been published prior to 1982, then make sure you search the historical version of Index to Legal Periodical and Books. You can search for articles back to 1908 by selecting "Legal Periodicals Retro" at the Index to Legal Periodicals and Books Internet Database.

STEP THREE: LegalTrac Index

Search Legal Resource Index on Lexis (LAWREV:LGLIND) OR Westlaw (LRI) OR the LegalTrac Internet database. [This search will include a few additional journal articles, and articles from bar journals and legal newspapers written since 1980 that were not searched in steps one and two. Like the index in step two, this is not a full-text search.


STEP FOUR: Legal Scholarship Network

Search the online Legal Scholarship Network. This is a searchable database of abstracts of working-papers as well as articles accepted for publication. [This step is necessary because it includes many links to articles not available elsewhere.]


STEP FIVE: Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals

If articles on your topic may have been published in a foreign legal journal, then you may want to search Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals. This database is updated quarterly and covers 1985 to present. If you need to locate articles published prior to 1985, you need to search the IFLP archives on HeinOnline. [This step is only necessary if you need to check foreign journal articles.]


STEP SIX: Books (and Book Chapters)

If a book (or book chapter) may have been published about your topic, then you should search the Hastings Encore Catalog OR the Hastings Classic Library Catalog. You should also search WorldCat in the FirstSearch database to locate books not available at Hastings.


STEP SEVEN: Your Results/Additional Help

Analyze the information you located above to make sure that an article on your topic hasn't already been published. If your topic merits publication, then use the print and electronic resources at the Hastings Law Library to research your article. The reference librarians at Hastings are available to help you plan your research strategy and to help you find the resources that might be useful in writing your article. Good Luck!


Last updated September 17, 2012
Prepared by Vincent Moyer, FCIL Librarian