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Selected Legal Periodicals and Legal Periodical Indexes: Home

Researching legal periodicals and legal periodical indexes at Westminster Law Library.

Database Access

Many resources listed in these guides require University of Denver or University of Denver Sturm College of Law IP addresses for access. Other resources, such as Westlaw and Lexis, require individual user accounts and passwords.

Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) Lessons

Visit CALI from Westminster Law Library Webpage. Under "IN THIS SECTION, Research," click Databases/Indexes on left frame, scroll to CALI, and work this interactive lesson:

Colorado Legal Research - Secondary Source Materials. This lesson by Alicia Brillon, Reference Librarian, University of Colorado School of Law, includes a Colorado periodicals segment and is directed to first-year law students. It may also be used by others to renew Colorado-specific legal research skills.


We invite researchers to use public access computers on all levels of the library to research selected legal periodicals and legal periodical indexes in this research guide.

  • Search legal periodicals or legal periodical indexes by title in:
  2. See "Library Catalog" in middle frame. 
  3. Change search option to "Title." 
  • Search selected online legal periodical indexes in:
  2. See "IN THIS SECTION, Reference" on left frame. 
  3. Click Databases/Indexes.
  4. At next screen, select "Legal Journals."
  5. Scroll to and click HeinOnline, Index to Legal Periodicals, or LegalTrac.

What are legal periodicals? Legal periodicals are secondary sources published at regular intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, biannually, semiannually, or annually). Be aware that legal periodical articles comment on a variety of activities within the legal profession and are of interest to lawyers, judges, paralegals, and law students. Watch for feature articles covering pending and enacted legislation, recent and historical court decisions, and proposed regulations and administrative rulings.

Librarians and legal researchers classify legal periodicals as secondary sources because of their descriptive, explanatory, and analytic nature.

Why do researchers read legal periodicals? Researchers read legal periodicals to find:

  • background information on legal issues.
  • citations to primary authority (constitutions, statutes, cases, and regulations).
  • citations to secondary authority (legal periodicals, legal encyclopedias, legal dictionaries, American Law Reports (A.L.R.), treatises, and a variety of practice materials).
  • in-depth analysis of narrow topics.
  • information on conflicts of law.
  • guidance on new or undeveloped areas of law.

What are legal periodical indexes?  Researchers can find legal periodical articles on specific areas of the law by using basic index terms (author, title, keyword. and phrase) in print or online legal periodical indexes. Use legal periodical indexes to locate articles in bar journals, law reviews and journals, and legal newspapers.

Librarians and researchers consider legal periodical indexes finding aids because they may provide descriptions of the law, lead researchers to primary and secondary source citations, and confirm that laws have either changed or remain the same. (Other types of finding aids at Westminster Law Library are case digests, Shepard's citators, libguides, and online public access library catalogs.)

Why do researchers value legal periodical indexes?  Since most legal periodical indexes are now offered in online format, researchers value them because of current indexing features. Researchers are also attracted to online full-text article retrieval options which many vendors include in their annual subscription fee. (Click "Selected Legal Periodical Indexes Online (Current)" tab above.)


Basic Legal Research: Tools and Strategies, 4th edition. By Amy E. Sloan. New York, NY: Aspen Publishers, 2009. Law-Level 3 Reference Desk KF 240 .S66 2009. See Chapter 3 Secondary Source Research - Legal Periodicals.

Finding the Law, 12th edition. By Robert C. Berring and Elizabeth A. Edinger. American Casebook Series. St. Paul, MN: Thomson West, 2005. Law-Level 3 & Law-Level 3 Reference Desk KF 240 .B45 2005. See Chapter 10: Secondary Authority - Law Reviews.

Fundamentals of Legal Research, 9th edition. By Steven M. Barkan, Roy M. Mersky, and Donald J. Dunn. New York: NY: Thomson Reuters/Foundation Press, 2009. Law-Level 3 Reference KF 240 .J3 2009. See Chapter 18 Legal Periodicals and Indexes.

How to Find the Law, 9th edition. Student ed. By Morris L. Cohen, Robert C. Berring, and Kent C. Olson. Hornbook Series. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co., 1989. Law-Level 1 & Law-Level 3 Reference KF 240 .H6 1989. See Chapter 11 Legal Periodicals.

Legal Research: How to Find & Understand the Law, 15th edition. By Stephen Elias & Editors of Nolo.Berkeley, CA: Nolo, 2009. Law-Level 3 Reference KF 240 .E35 2009. See Chapter 4 Finding and Using Secondary Sources - Law Review and Other Legal Periodicals.

Legal Research Guide: Patterns and Practice, 5th edition. By Bonita K. Roberts and Linda L. Schlueter. Newark, NJ: Matthew Bender & Co., Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group, 2006. Law-Level 3 Reference Desk KF 240.R63 2006. See Chapter 8 Secondary Source Research - Law Review Articles.

Legal Research Illustrated: An Abridgment of Fundamentals of Legal Research, Ninth Edition. By Steven M. Barkan, Roy M. Mersky, and Donald J. Dunn. New York: NY: Thomson Reuters/Foundation Press, 2009. Law-Level 3 Reference Desk KF 240 .J32 2009. See Chapter 18 Legal Periodicals and Indexes.

Principles of Legal Research (Successor of How to Find the Law, 9th Edition) By Kent C. Olson. Concise Hornbooks. St. Paul, MN: West, 2009. Law-Level 3 Reference KF 240 .O57 2009. See Chapter 11 Secondary Sources, Part 2: Periodicals.

The Process of Legal Research, 7th edition. By Christina L. Kuntz, Deborah A. Schmedemann, Ann L. Bateson, Matthew P. Downs, and Mehmet Konar-Steenberg. New York: NY: Aspen Publishers, 2008. Law-Level 3 Reference Desk KF 240 .P76 2008 & Law-Level 3 Reference Desk KF 240 .P76 2008 CD-ROM. See Chapter 5 Legal Periodicals.

This research guide has been adapted from Legal Periodicals and related materials in the above references.

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