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Academic Legal Writing: Finding a Topic

Start With a Writing Guide

When searching for a topic, start with one of the books listed under the Writing Guides tab, especially Volokh's Academic Legal Writing. Writing guides provide detailed information on how to identify and tailor topics so that they are interesting, relevant, broad enough to provide enough material to write about, and narrow enough to be manageable.

Sources of Inspiration for Topics

Many news sources and scholarly publications can provide inspiration for fresh, relevant legal topics:

Other popular newsletters and blogs to check for inspiration include:

More Strategies for Finding a Topic

In addition to checking news sources, consider these strategies:

  • Talk to a professor in the area of law that interests you. Because professors write articles of their own on a regular basis, they are the most likely to have ideas for topics that are interesting, relevant, and appropriate for an article-length work. A professor with expertise in the area of law you are writing about may be able to tell you instantly that your topic needs to be broadened to find enough material or narrowed to be manageable.
  • Talk to attorneys where you work.
  • Flip through your casebooks. Are there any cases or discussion questions that interest you?
  • Think back to legal problems you have encountered at legal jobs, non-legal jobs, or even in your personal life. Are there any you would like to write about?

For even more advice on locating topics, see: