Writing a Seminar Paper This Semester? We Can Help!

Many students fulfill their upper-level writing requirement by writing a research paper for a seminar course.  However, this type of research and writing may be new to you!  After all, it’s very different than the research you do for your LP classes and out in your clerkships.

We have a number of resources here in the library that can help!


  1. Our Scholarly Research Resources research guide.  It has information on resources for picking a hot topic that will appeal to those selecting articles to be published–and if you’re going to spend a whole semester on it, why not try to get it published?  There’s also information on how to run a preemption check to make sure no one else has taken your exact approach to a topic, on the scholarly research process and the parts of a scholarly paper, and how to avoid plagiarism.
  2. Attend our Scribes Student Legal Writing events–especially our write-in on Saturday, October 28th.  We’ll provide breakfast and lunch, and Professors Baker and Drake will be on hand to help you with any problems you’re currently having with your paper.
  3. Set up a research consult with Professor Drake or Professor Baker.  These types of paper are research heavy and we can help with paper organization, finding strong resources to back up your arguments, and much more!

SPARC Addendum To Retain Copyright of Scholarly Work

As you submit articles this spring, keep in mind the language of the journal publication agreements.

Many academic authors inadvertently give away the copyright to their work by signing broad publication agreements that give the journals the copyright.

Generally, most law journals have amended their publication agreements to account for authors retaining copyright, thus retaining the ability to share their work (or use their work) as they see fit.images

But there are likely some journals that are behind in updating their publication agreements. If you want to use or share the work that you created, it is best to make sure that you retain the right to do so.

That’s where the SPARC Author Addendum may be useful. If you find that a publication agreement does not contain language allowing you to retain copyright, you might decide to include this addendum to ensure that you do, in fact, retain copyright.

Additionally, if you are unsure about the rights granted by specific journals, please visit SHERPA/RoMEO for more information about publisher copyright policies.

Legal Essay Contest Catalog

Do you love to research and write?  Did you know you can get paid for it if you have the winning submission to one of the many legal essay competitions that happen each year?  Some contests provide a specific topic or hypothetical for students to respond to, while others simply want an essay on a general field of law, leaving the specifics up to the prospective authors.  There are monetary prizes and the winners often also get the opportunity to attend a conference or be published in the hosting organization’s publication.

Our friends at Richmond Law keep the Legal Essay Contest Catalog, a comprehensive list of all the essay competitions out there targeted at law students.  You can filter your search by topic and contest deadline.  There are lots of contests open this spring and summer–on topics from maritime law to constitutional law to labor & employment law, so get researching and writing!  Don’t forget to come see a librarian if you need help coming up with a topic–we can get you started on the right path!