Note Topic for Law Review

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Note Topic for Law Review

Postby seaoframen » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:31 pm

I have to write a 25 page note to become a full member of law review. The note must make a claim that is novel, sound, and non obvious.
A few topics have come to mind: medical marijuana, healthcare, proposition 8 in California. Does anyone have any ideas? I'm stuck!

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Re: Note Topic for Law Review

Postby ggocat » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:49 pm

Identify an area of law you are interested in and talk to a prof or two at your school for ideas. Run some westlaw searches (or browse topical databases) to see if there are any recent cases addressing novel issues in an area of law that interests you. Your listed topics are incredibly broad. What "non obvious" or "novel" thing would you say about those topics?


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Re: Note Topic for Law Review

Postby GMVarun » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:49 pm

I am by no means an export on note topics, however you've got to think much narrower than you currently are. All of the topics you have mentioned are probably written to death if you are looking at them so broadly. However, there may be narrow issues specifically raised by any of those that have not been written.

The goal of a note topic is to write about something not preempted (that is there is not a lot of literature on the topic), while still saying something meaningful and interesting. It's a challenge. With that said, course books are actually a useful way of finding topics -- those pesky comments at the end of the case that say "consider x hypo. What result?" and then actually say "well, there is no result. Compare x, with y." Those are great for a starting point for getting ideas. You can also run "split circuit" searches into westlaw or lexis. Split COA, State Supreme, or DC courts, assuming no Supreme Court ruling, also make good topics. Careful though every student is thinking the same so you need to run through westlaw journal articles to make sure you are not preempted by 20 other note topics. Once you have started this research, you can also ask professors to help you along, but it certainly helps if you've done the ground work.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Note Topic for Law Review

Postby JusticeHarlan » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:14 pm

Lexis -> secondary sources -> emerging issues analysis. Pick a few topic areas and play around there.

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Re: Note Topic for Law Review

Postby mi-chan17 » Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:37 pm

I agree with the earlier folks that recommended narrowing down your focus. Try and find a specific legal problem, rather than just an area of law generally.

Beyond that, I'll echo GMVarun's caution about preemption and GTL's about hot topics. Those two things kind of coincide. I think that writing a note examining, generally, the currently contested healthcare scheme or Prop 8 will make you ripe for preemption. It seems incredibly likely that those things will be decided on by SCOTUS sooner rather than later. That's not to say that you can't write about them, but you'll need to narrow down your scope such that you don't run the risk of preemption when SCOTUS grants cert. Circuit splits are great, but face a similar preemption concern; depending on the topic, though, that risk might be lower.

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Re: Note Topic for Law Review

Postby kalvano » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:16 pm

I found my topic by searching a couple key words within 15 words of "first impression." It returned several brand-new cases that were circuit splits and the like.


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Re: Note Topic for Law Review

Postby nostress » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:48 pm

I found that this was helpful:

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