Every accredited law school has at least one student-run scholarly publication known as a law review or a law journal. Many schools have more than one. The main journal is usually general, meaning that articles on many subjects can appear in a single issue. The other journals may be devoted to a single issue, such as constitutional law, environmental law, religion, and the like. A typical volume contains 4 issues, although larger schools such as Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago and comparable schools issue volumes that contain between 9 and 11 issues per year. The publication history will vary with each school.
Law reviews are a good source for analysis of complex, developing, or leading issues. Law school faculty members tend to write most of the articles that appear in these publications. Articles about, by, and for practitioners are more likely found in bar journals, which tend to focus on the more immediate issues facing attorneys as they deal with clients and work in the courts. Nonetheless, and depending on the nature of the inquiry, a good law review or bar journal article may offer an analysis of a research issue which may be narrow in scope, and cite cases and other materials that support the analysis and affect the research issue.
Individual law reviews will also publish survey issues. Many of the Illinois law reviews, for example, will publish a survey of annual developments in various areas of law, such as administrative law, or property law, or general combinations of selected subject areas. Some will focus on the developments within a specific court, such at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, or the Illinois Supreme Court. These are usually regular features in the early run of a law review volume. The subject will vary with the law review association and the historic interests of the school.
A symposium issue is another type of issue that may appear on an irregular basis. This issue will contain multiple articles devoted to a single topic. The articles themselves may be papers presented at a conference held at the law school, or papers that formed the basis of a series of lectures. Typically, the series of articles will contain multiple points of view on the topic. Articles presented at a symposium may take all or part of a single issue within a volume.
The most current issues are paper pamphlets that are compiled into permanent volumes (these are kept behind the Circulation Desk until they are bound and added to the Library Collection stacks). Many of the earlier volumes in the set cover ranges of years. However, with number of journals increasing, each permanent volume now covers one year’s worth of indexing.
The paper product comprises annual volumes that are organized by author and subject. They include Tables of Statutes construed, Tables of Cases that are the subject of articles (rather than cases cited – Shepards and KeyCite will list law review citations to cases and statutes, among others), and Tables of Book Reviews for the time period covered by the annual issue.
Law reviews have been around since the late 19th century. They are indexed by two major publications in paper, and in several online databases. The two paper sources are the Index to Legal Periodicals and Books (ILP), and Current Law Index (CLI).
Current Law Index (CLI) (6th Floor Index Table - North East corner - facing windows - KF 8 .C87)
CLI (published by the Gale Group) began publication in 1980. It indexes approximately 680 publications in print. It has many of the same characteristics of its competitor product, with Author and Subject listings, Tables of Cases, Statutes, and Book Reviews. The Table of Statutes, however, is usually more refined in that it will indicate specific subsections. This is a useful feature for researching statutory collections such as the Internal Revenue Code. Another characteristic that distinguishes CLI from ILP is that it includes references to legal newspapers such as the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
Index to Legal Periodicals & Books (ILP) (6th Floor Index Table - North East corner - facing windows - KF 8 .I56)
ILP is published by the H.W. Wilson Company (which publishes other categorical literature indexes). ILP began publication in 1908 and currently indexes nearly 850 law reviews and approximately 1,400 monographs. Law related monographs were added to the index in 1994, although the index coverage (and best use) is primarily articles. Both publications include articles from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP) (On Hein Online (1945 - present) & available in print (in bin) on 6th Floor Index Table - North East corner - facing windows - KF 8 .C873)
CILP is a product of the University of Washington Library. It produces the Table of Contents of periodicals received by the Library in the prior week. Most academic libraries receive this publication. It is available on Westlaw as well with a rolling coverage of the most current eight weeks of listings.
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (6th Floor Index Table - North East corner - facing windows - KF 8 .I54)
This index covers approximately 360 foreign language legal publications. Listings not originally in the English Alphabet are transliterated to the English alphabet.