Resources for Law Ph.D. Students

Posted Jan. 29, 2010.
Prepared by Rob Britt & Mary Whisner.

This guide lists some resources for students in the Law School's Ph.D. program. These resources are available to any of the Law School's students -- but Ph.D. students might find some particularly valuable because of the nature of their work. In addition, Ph.D. students, unlike J.D. and LL.M. students, have not had legal research classes that introduced them to the library.

Library Services

Reference -- advice on how to find what you're looking for.

In our library, the Reference Department handles the world -- international and foreign law in addition to U.S. law. Rob Britt, in the East Asian Law Department, can provide assistance with Japanese, Chinese, and Korean materials.

  • The Reference Office is staffed 60 hours a week during the regular school year. Stop by, telephone (206-543-6794), use the Ask Us! link (above), or send email to lawrefst [at]
  • The East Asian Law Department is generally staffed 8-5 M-F. Call (206-543-7447) or email Rob at rrbritt [at]

When you want to branch into other disciplines -- business, economics, history, area studies -- you can still get help in the Law Library's Reference Office. As a University of Washington student, you also have access to the University Libraries and the UW librarians.

Circulation -- managing the flow of materials.

You can check out books and other library materials from the Circulation Desk. This is also where you can pick up materials you have requested from other libraries using Interlibrary Loan or Summit. And it is where you return materials when you are through with them.

Interlibrary Loan & Summit -- bringing other libraries' resources to you.

When you need books or other materials from other libraries, you can borrow them through Interlibrary Loan.

Summit is a consortium of academic libraries in Washington and Oregon. When you are using WorldCat Local and find a work that is available from a Summit library, you can request it without going through Interlibrary Loan. Summit loans generally arrive a few days sooner than regular interlibrary loan.


Research Guides

Research guides on our website can help you with your research. Ways to find them:

And if you're doing interdisciplinary research, be sure to use the University Libraries' Subject Guides.


Catalogs & Databases

Law Library Catalog

The basic catalog for the Law Library includes just materials owned by the Law Library.

WorldCat Local

  • Gallagher Law Library
  • the University Libraries
  • Summit Libraries
  • a list of selected US law libraries
  • thousands more libraries worldwide
  • citations to articles from ArticleFirst, British Library Serials, MEDLINE, and a few other databases

Lists of Electronic Journals (E-Journals)

Online Services to Which the Law Library Subscribes

  • LexisNexis and Westlaw
    • individual access codes
    • free printing - use printers in room 222 or L2 copy alcove
    • get help in Reference Office, from company reps, by calling toll-free numbers, or by using online chat
  • Databases with site licenses
    • use while on or off campus (when off-campus you will be prompted to sign-in with your UW Net ID) [UW Restricted]
    • LegalTrac - index to law journals (1980-date), some full text
    • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (1985-date)
    • HeinOnline - PDF copies of law journals, generally back to volume 1 of each journal. Also includes international yearbooks, treaties, U.S. congressional materials, and more.
    • BNA - services in specialized areas of law, including antitrust, banking, bankruptcy, corporations, criminal law, the environment, health care, intellectual property, international tax, international trade, labor, legal ethics, litigation, securities, tax,
    • CCH - services in specialized areas of law, including federal and state tax, advertising, antitrust, banking, bankruptcy, corporate governance, energy, franchising, government contracts, insurance, intellectual property, law and employment, mergers and acquisitions, privacy, products liability, securities, and transportation.

Other Sources of Articles


Tools for Managing Research

One of the chief differences between Ph.D. students and J.D. students is the size of your projects. Instead of managing notes and reading for 10 weeks to write a 30-page paper, you are managing notes and reading over several years to write a dissertation. So you have more need for tools to help you manage your research.

My Library Account

  • Track what you have checked out.
  • Renew online.
  • Option to keep a record of what you borrow.
  • Option to run automatic searches so you learn about new works in your area.

WorldCat Local

  • Option to set up account and save lists.

Current Awareness

See Resources for Keeping Up & Staying Current

RefWorks & EndNote

The UW subscribes to two web-based citation management systems, Refworks and EndNote. Both systems enable you to import, store, and share citations. Both help with formatting citations to create bibliographies or footnotes -- but neither one handles the full range of legal citations very well. RefWorks handles secondary sources, but you will have to format case and statute citations yourself.

To compare the two systems, see this chart.

University Libraries guides and tip sheets


Zotero is an add-on to the Firefox web browser. It helps you save, store, and organize citations and web pages. It also enables you to create a bibliography formatted according to any of a large selection of output styles. The "Bluebook Law Review" style is still under development.


Tools for Joining the Community of Scholars

Writing for & Publishing in Law Reviews

Grant Resources for Law Students

SSRN -- set up a profile; post your own works; correspond with others about their works.

Legal Scholarship Blog

LinkedIn -- professional networking site


Connect with us:

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