Shaunna Mireau on Canadian Legal Research

Tips on Canadian legal research from the Library at Field LLP.
Postings are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the firm.

February 04, 2009

Law reviews in print

An interesting article from Inside Higher Ed on the decline of print subscriptions to law reviews crossed my inbox today.
The article points to a paper posted at SSRN. The paper discusses the declining print subscriptions and interested methodology used to collect this statistic in the US. It also says:

On the other hand, while our tables do show declines in law‐review circulation, they do not account for any rise in web‐based consumption that might roughly correspond to, and at least partly explain, those declines. Westlaw, Lexis, HeinOnline, Findlaw, etc. — and more recently even the law reviews themselves — have made it easy to read journals without a subscription. Perhaps the net consumption of law reviews is actually on the rise, along with their influence and status. Who knows?

Here at Field, we still subscribe to some Canadian law reviews in print. We also have access to law reviews through WestlaweCarswell's "Law Reports and Journals" search template. Journals and law reviews are available from LexisNexis. All members of the Alberta Bar have access to HeinOnline by walking in to their closest Courthouse library, and the Internet has tons of commentary - not necessarily peer-reviewed, but still a valid source of commentary.

Unlike some of the comments on the Inside Higher Ed article I think that looking at new law review articles for emerging trends and historical law review articles for a picture of how the law evolved is a useful research method for practitioners. What do you think?

This topic is also covered at



At February 13, 2009 3:57 p.m. , Anonymous Heather Innes said...

Law review articles may be useful in theory for the reasons you mention but I wonder what percentage of lawyers actually use them on a regular basis (even once per year) in practice?

At February 13, 2009 4:02 p.m. , Blogger Shaunna said...

Funny you should ask Heather! I was asked for a law review literature search just today. This was in the context of commentary on an SCC decision.

My Blink is that this happens fairly regularly.


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