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Seminar Guide - Sentencing Law & Policy

A guide to seminar-specific resources as well as general help writing a seminar paper.

Types of Topics

There are many ways to choose a topic. Three common topic selection strategies are listed below.

Hot Topics - Topics that are receiving lots of media and public attention, but have not yet been written about.

Circuit Splits - These happen when two or more federal Courts of Appeal have ruled differently on the same issue. That issue may end up being resolved by the United States Supreme Court.

Open Questions - Emerging, unsettled and/or unexplored areas of law.

Hot Topics

Databases with a key icon (key icon) in front of them are provided by the Law Library or the Texas A&M Libraries. A NetID and password may be required for access.

Legal & Policy News Sources

Blogs

News Aggregators

Current Awareness Tools

  • Lexis, Westlaw, and BNA all let you create email alerts on a topic or word
  • Subscribe to RSS feeds on blogs
  • Google Alerts

Recent Legal Conferences

Circuit Splits

U.S. Law Week (BNA) has an entire section devoted to circuit splits. Go the the United States Law Week link on the library's electronic resources page or log in to Bloomberg Law and scroll down to the link to the BNA Circuit Splits Table.

Split Circuits Blog, moderated by Professor A. Benjamin Spence of Washington & Lee University School of Law (as of 2013, this blog is no longer active, but the archives have useful information)

Seton Hall Circuit Review, a journal devoted to articles dealing with circuit court cases

Open Questions

Pay attention to your reading materials, research, and class lectures for unresolved issues and open questions.