Legal periodicals include law journals, law reviews, bar journals, commercial journals, and newspapers. For researchers, the most valuable aspect of these secondary sources is the citations to primary source materials found in the footnotes. Some of these periodicals may contain scholarly and academically oriented articles and others may be explanatory articles or contain "how to" content for a specific audience of practitioners.
Reading a law review article is an important first step in your research because law review articles contain numerous (and usually exhaustive) citations and footnotes on your topic. Sometimes the the footnotes are more valuable to you as research tools than the text! The law review article highlights the debate on a topic. The author gives a viewpoint and lays out an argument.
Law review articles may be written by law students and noted authors. Seldom will you cite to a law review article unless there is no primary source on your issue. You may cite to a law review if the author is a highly influential and respected writer on a particular point of law.
This is the "CRAAP" test.
Law Reviews are not what you probably think. They are not a "review" of the law. Encyclopedias, treatises. hornbooks are the sources to consult for an explanation of the law. A law review is an opinion piece, a personal or philosophical point of view of the law or an issue of law. In an explanatory source, an editor describes the law. In a law review article, the author(s) reacts to the law.
In the Garbrecht Law Library, most legal periodicals are found on the third floor of the Library in the periodical room. We subscribe to HeinOnline, an electronic database that includes most law reviews and journals.