student looking though shelves at the library

Legal Periodicals Research Guide

Legal periodicals contain articles about law and law-related subjects and normally fall into one of the following categories: law school reviews; specialized and scholarly journals; bar association journals; commercial journals in specialized fields; or legal newspapers. Periodicals are particularly useful since they provide researchers with continuing and often up-to-date coverage of legal topics. Articles in periodicals are generally accessed through indexes. This research guide will provide you with information about how to locate articles, how to find the related journal issues in the library's collection, and what to do if the library does not have a periodical that you need.

Periodical Indexes

Periodical indexes provide subject, author, and other types of access to journal articles and assist researchers in finding articles of interest and citations to their sources. The Law Library owns the following print and electronic indexes:

Current Index to Legal Periodicals (Law Index 4th Fl, K33 .C8): The Law Library retains 6 months in paper. Available to faculty, staff, students, and public users at the law school only. Distribution outside the law school is a violation of the library's user license.

Current Law Index (Law Index 4th Fl, K33 .C87): Available online to all patrons within the law library. Both the online and paper version cover periodicals from 1980 to the present.

Revised October 2005

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (Law Index 4th Fl, K33 .F67): Indexes non-United States periodicals.

Index to Legal Periodicals, Published in Conjunction with Law Library Journal (Law Index 4th Fl, K33. I51): Indexes periodicals from 1908 to 1925.

Index to Legal Periodicals and Books (Law Index 4th Fl, K33 .I52): Available in print and online. Online access is available to all patrons on the Washburn Campus. Off campus, only Washburn University faculty, staff, and students have access.

Index to Periodical Articles Related to the Law (Law Index 4th Fl, K33 .P47): Law related articles not indexed in the Index to Legal Periodicals. Coverage begins in 1958.

Index to Law School Alumni Publications (Law Index 4th Fl, KF261 .B87): by Mary D. Burchill and Pamela M. Tull. Provides access to substantive articles published in law school alumni publications.

Annuals and Surveys Appearing in Legal Periodicals (Main Floor, Law Ref. KF8 .D45): An annotated loose-leaf compiled by Catherine L. Kerr.

Bowker's Law Books and Serials in Print (Ref. KF1 .L364): Lists currently available legal books and serials.

Index to U.S. Government Periodicals (1970-1987) (U.S. Doc. Index Z1223 .Z9 I5): Lists periodicals published by United States government agencies from 1970 to 1987.

Note: many indexes abbreviate the periodical title in the citation. Consult the list of abbreviations, normally found at the front of the index to determine the complete, correct title. To find an article in the library you will need the complete title of the periodical, volume number, page(s) of the article, author, and the title of the article.

Finding the Full Text Article

The Law Library acquires law reviews published by all American Bar Association accredited law schools, most state bar journals, selected subject and interdisciplinary periodicals, and a few general magazines for leisure reading.

ATLAS (Associated Topeka Libraries Automated System) online catalog contains the holdings information for periodical subscriptions of the Washburn Law Library and six other professional or academic libraries in Topeka. The Periodical Title search is an effective way to determine the Library's exact holdings, formats, and the locations of a title.

Unbound issues are shelved behind the Circulation Desk on the Main Floor of the library as they are received. If a recent issue is not on reserve, check ATLAS or contact the Technical Services Department on the fourth floor (ext.1628) to determine whether it has been received. Unbound issues may be checked out for 2 hours use in the library.

Once all unbound issues for a volume are received, the issues are shipped to a bindery for a permanent cover. It normally takes one month for a volume to return from the bindery once it has been shipped. Items currently at the bindery are identified in the online catalog.

Bound volumes of all legal periodicals are shelved on the fourth floor. A call number has been assigned to each title to assist with retrieving and shelving volumes. Although it may seem that the journals are shelved alphabetically by title, be cautioned that when the title of a journal changes the call number stays the same. Thus, some titles may not be in true alphabetical order. Bound volumes may be checked out to use outside the library for a 2-week period.

The library's microfiche and microfilm periodical holdings are located in the Microforms Room on the 2nd floor. Titles are arranged by format (microfiche or microfilm), then by title within format. Check for call numbers by use of the online catalog. Paper copies may be made from the microforms using the reader/printer for 10 cents per page.

Lexis: contains the full-text of over 700 law journals beginning in 1982. Legal — Secondary Legal — Law Reviews and Journals. Consult the most recent Individual Law Reviews & Journals directory for an alphabetical title listing.

Westlaw: Since 1994 WESTLAW contains the complete text of about 600 periodicals in its TP-ALL (Text & Periodicals Combined) and JLR (Journals & Law Reviews) databases. Consult the most recent Westlaw database directory for an alphabetical title listing.

Obtaining Periodicals the Law Library Does Not Own

If a periodical title or article is not available in the Law Library, first check electronic resources. If the article is not available electronically, arrangement can usually be made for Washburn Law faculty and students to obtain a photocopy or to borrow it from another library on a short-term loan. For specific interlibrary loan policy check our Interlibrary Loan page.

Still Need Help

Ask a librarian

(785) 670-1689