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Scholarly Writing & Spading

Introductory Resources

Preemption Checklist PDF file  – Please take advantage of our checklist to aid you on what sources you need to check.

CALI's Preemption Checking Lesson - A great presentation on how to determine if your argument is preempted. If you do not have a CALI account, please email John Scherrer.


Lexis and Westlaw – Note that coverage on Lexis & Westlaw generally begins around 1980. Many law reviews are not included at all, and others have only selected coverage. Do not rely solely on Lexis/Westlaw for your preemption check!

HeinOnline - HeinOnline offers full-text, PDF versions of law reviews and journals going back to volume one for most American law reviews and journals. Use a field search in the Law Journal Library, and put all Boolean connectors in capital letters, e.g. AND.

Google Scholar - Searches the scholarly literature across many disciplines to help you find law and non-law articles. You can use the Library Links tool in the Settings menu to tell Google Scholar that you are affiliated with George Mason University. Then, articles retrieved by your search and available in one of library databases will be available to you after you sign in with your Mason credentials.

Other Periodical Indices – Indexes for periodicals covering many other areas of scholarship are available at the main Mason library. The most popular are: EconLit for economics articles; Business Source Complete for news and articles about business; Academic Search Complete as a catch-all for many subjects; and Factiva for newspapers. For others, browse the Mason Database Portal.

International and Foreign Law - Use the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals via HeinOnline and PAIS Index to search for foreign periodicals covering foreign and international law topics.

Working Papers

Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN) and bepress - These two repositories contain abstracts and full-text scholarly working papers in law, economics, and other fields. Papers are often published here before submission to academic journals.