Periodicals are an important secondary source in the legal literature. There are different types of legal periodicals; some are scholarly, while others are more popular in content. The periodical literature is so extensive that, without adequate indexing, access to it would be difficult.
There are many methods of finding references to articles in law reviews or bar journals. Judges give references to law review material in case decisions. Notes in annotated statutes or codes can include citations. Some case law digests and most treatises give citations to periodical articles. Shepard's Citations also list some law review articles relevant to specific cases or statutes. However, the most common method for locating citations is to use periodical indexes and bibliographies. Periodical indexes consulted frequently are described below.
Legal Resources Index indexes over 900 legal periodicals since 1980. It also includes references to articles which appear in the major legal newspapers published in the United States. Access is by subject, author, and the names of cases and statutes which are the focus of the article. Book reviews are included in the author index under both the author and the title of the book reviewed. Full bibliographic information is provided at each access point. The index is accessible as the lglind file in the lawrevlibrary on LexisNexis, and on Westlaw as the lri database.
Current Law Index (CLI) contains the same periodical article citations as Legal Resources Index. CLI does not include references to newspaper articles, and it cumulates only every year. Access by subject, author, title, and case and statute name is the same as in Legal Resources Index.
The Index to Legal Periodicals (ILP) begins in 1926. ILP indexes approximately 800 legal journals. Access is by subject, author, case name, and statute name. Full bibliographic information is given only under the subject entry. There is also a section which indexes book reviews under the author of the book reviewed. The index is available online from the Library Resources page on the ANGEL web and through BEN.
Index to Legal Periodical Literature, known as the Jones-Chipman Index, precedes the ILP and indexes American legal periodical literature from the early 19th century to 1937. Indexing is by subject and author.
The Current Index to Legal Periodicals, produced weekly by the University of Washington Law Library, takes article titles from major law reviews as received in the library and places their citations in lists by subject categories. This index is available on HeinOnline.
Current Law Journal Content is an indexing database, without subject analysis, that can reconstitute the text arrangement of a journal issue's table of contents. It covers 1,337 journals between 2000 and 2011. Washington & Lee Law School Library prepared CLJC with assistance from the Tarleton Law Library at the University of Texas.
Current Contents is a weekly current awareness service prepared by the Cardozo Law Library. The contents pages of selected law reviews and American Bar Association journals received in one week are photocopied and arranged alphabetically by journal title. There is no indexing or cumulation of issues.
The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) indexes legal periodicals dealing with international or comparative law which do not appear in ILP. Indexing begins in 1958. In addition to author, subject, and book review indexes, articles are also assigned geographic listings which group by country or region the legal subjects which will be found in the subject index to have articles relating to that country or region. IFLP can be searched electronically from a link on the Library Resources page on the ANGEL web or from BEN.
The Index to Canadian Legal Periodical Literature indexes Canadian legal periodicals, articles related to law in non-legal Canadian journals, articles published in topical law reports and collected essays, and cassettes. The index begins in 1961. Author and subject indexes both contain complete bibliographic information. A table of cases and book review index are included.
Shepard's Law Review Citations lists citations to articles from legal periodicals found in cases since 1957. The citations are taken from cases reported in the federal courts. Since 1979 references to articles found in the state and regional reporter system as well as in some of the major law reviews are included. The law reviews and legal periodicals for which citations are given are arranged in alphabetical order by periodical title.
LexisNexis, Bloomberg Law and Westlaw make the full texts of selected legal periodicals available online. To retrieve an article on LexisNexis when the citation is known, use Get a Document. On Lexis Advance and Westlaw, type the citation into the search box to retrieve an article. On Bloomberg Law, type the citation into the search box, then select citation search. Each periodical title exists as its own file as well as in group files. To search the periodicals on LexisNexis, use the allrev file and the individual journal files in the lawrev library. To search within an individual journal on Lexis Advance, begin typing the journal name, then select the journal from the pull-down menu. On Westlaw, use the jlr file or the files for the individual journals. On Bloomberg Law, select all content, U.S. secondary sources, and then select the combined or individual file. KeyCite for cases or code provisions on Westlaw will identify all citing law review articles that appear in full-text on Westlaw. The Shepard's function on LexisNexis provides more selective citations to law review articles.
On the Internet, one helpful compilation of journal resources is found at Findlaw. The American Bar Association has a free search engine for searching the full-text of over 400 law reviews and journals. The full text of many legal periodicals, often from the first issue to the present, can be found in pdf form through HeinOnline. A link to HeinOnline is found on the Library Resources page on the ANGEL web and in BEN. Individual periodicals are linked from BEN to HeinOnline.