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The Steps to Researching and Writing a Scholarly Article: Structuring Your Article

This guide will walk you through the process of researching and writing a scholarly article from preemption check to Bluebooking

I am ready to write, now what?

The question on how to organize and structure a law review article comes up frequently enough that it is useful to provide some references and tips. 

  • Look at how other articles are structured. The preemption materials, particularly, the law review articles, will come in handy when determining how to structure your paper. How have authors' writing on similar topics structured their papers?
  • Eugene Volokh at UCLA published a book on academic legal writing and discusses how to organize a law review article.
  • NYU Law provides a brief outline of writing a note for a law journal.

NYU Law's - Typical Outline of a Note

NYU LAW'S THE WRITING PROCESS - The Typical Outline of a Note

  • Introduction: The Introduction should include a description of the problem, a thesis statement, and a roadmap of the argument to follow.
  • Part I: This section should be used to set forth the background information on which the later analysis in your Note will depend. It should be a general and broad review of the important issues relevant to your topic that educates your readers about everything they must know in order to understand your Note. When writing this section, be sure to use language that a reader who is not familiar with your Note topic can easily understand.
  • Part II: This section should examine the major cases and statutes that your Note will be analyzing. It will contain the main portion of your analysis of how the law stands. For example, if your topic focuses on a circuit split, Part II is where you would explain the conflicting holdings and rationales. You may also choose to discuss what other commentators have said about your topic and these cases.
  • Part III: This section is where you will contribute your own analysis of and views on the topic. You will say why you feel the cases/commentary you analyzed are wrong and what should be done instead. In the case of a circuit split, say which side is better and why. Part III is where you should place your original thoughts and contributions, along with the conclusion of your Note.
  • Conclusion: The Conclusion should briefly restate what you have already said. You should not focus too much on this section when preparing this Prospectus.