Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Law Library


LegalTrac is a searchable electronic index of legal periodical articles dating back to 1980.  LegalTrac is not a full-text database.  Most of the information contained in LegalTrac consists of article citations from major law reviews, bar association journals and legal newspapers.  These citations include an article's title, author, source, and subject headings.  Sometimes a short summary of the article is also available, and on rare occasions you will find the full text of an article.  LegalTrac is updated daily.

How to Find LegalTrac from the ASU Law Library Home Page
  • From the ASU Law Library Home Page, click on Research Now.
  • Under Research Tools, Recommended Databases, click on the dropdown menu.
  • Click on LegalTrac.
  • If you want to search for a particular topic or subject, type in your searc terms in the "Subject Guide Search" text box (one or two words or a phrase work best).  See the section in this guide on Types of Searches if you want to try a different kind of search.
  • After you enter your search terms, click on the "Search" button.
Types of Searches
A list of search options appears towards the top of the search screen.  If at any time you need more information about a search method, click on "Help."
  • Subject Guide Search:  This is the default search option and appears automatically when you log in.  Use this search when you need an article in a broad topic area.  For best results, use only one or two words.  If LegalTrac is unable to match your terms to a topic, it will refer you to a list of words from which you can select other search terms.
  • Basic Search:  Enter one or more terms in the text box.  Determine whether you want to search by subject, keyword or entire document.
Subject searches academic disciplines, companies, events, laws, geographic locations, organizations, and people.
Keyword searches all topics in the subject search and also includes words in the title, authors and introductory text.
Entire Document searches the entire text of all documents contained in the LegalTrac database. 
  • Advanced Search: This type of search allows searching within a particular field, such as article title, journal name, author, etc.
  • Publications Search: Use this type of search when you want to locate a specific publication.  You can limit your search by audience or publication type, date of publication or publication subject.
  • When you have finished typing in your search terms, hit enter or click on the "Search" button.
Restricting Your Search:
  • You can limit your results to full-text documents, peer reviewed documents or, in Home and Advanced searches, documents with images by clicking on any or all of these boxes.  However, it is not recommended to limit using these restrictions as you may eliminate many relevant results
  • Date Restrictions:  In the text box, by publication date, type in the date or range of dates you want to search.  Specific dates should be in the format of month/day/year (e.g. for November 24, 2000, type in 11/24/2000).  To restrict your search to a range of dates, use these operators:
>        after a certain date
<        before a certain date
ge      on or after a certain date
le       on or before a certain date
-         between two dates
  • Restricting by Publication: If you want to restrict your search to a particular law review, bar journal, or legal newspaper, simply type its name in the next text box.  Use quotes around the name to eliminate unintended matches.  Alternatively, you can browse a list of publications by clicking on Browse Publication Title.  You can either search for a title or browse the list.  To select a title, check the box beside it.  It will appear in the My Browse Publication Title.  When you have selected the titles you want to search, click on submit.
  • Restricting by Publication Subject:  To restrict by publication subject, click on Browse Publication Subject.  A screen will appear listing subject areas of indexed publications.  You can either search for a subject or browse the list.  To select a subject, check the box beside it.  It will appear in My Browse Publication Subject.  When you have selected the titles you want to search, click on submit.
Displaying Your Results:
  • If your search is successful, your screen will display either a list of citations or a list of subjects.  If the subject list appears, click on either the subject for a full list of articles on that topic or click on subdivision to narrow the search within that subject.  This should bring up a list of article citations.
  • Once the list of citations appears on your screen, you have some options.  The lists are categorized by material types that include Academic Journals, Magazines, Reference, News and Multimedia.  To view articles in these categories, click on the tabs at the top of the search results.
  • The citation list contains the citation to the article.  There are also icons that appear beneath the citation which are defined by rolling over the icon.  By clicking on these icons, you can access any versions of the text that LegalTrac offers.
Marking and Retrieving Your Citations

A list of citations is automatically displayed on the screen after a successful search.  To retrieve only the citations you want, just follow a few simple steps:
  • Marking Your Citations:  To mark a citation for retrieval, click once in the "Mark" box on the left.
  • Displaying the "Mark List":  A "Mark List" is an edited citation list containing only the articles you want.  After marking all the desired citations, click on "Marked Items" which appears on the LegalTrac toolbar.  The edited list should appear on your screen in a few seconds.
  • Getting a Copy of Your Mark List:
    • Email:  With your "Mark List" on the screen, click on Email, which is on the LegalTrac toolbar.  Type in your e-mail address and click on Send.
    • Downloading Results:  With your "Mark List" on the screen, click on the Print from the LegalTrac toolbar.  A new window will open which provides printing options.  Select the desired options and click on Print.  From the File menu at the top of the screen, click on Save As.  Click on My Computer and insert Flash drive.  Select Removable Disk (E: or F:).  Name the file and click Save.
    • Printing:  Printing in the Law Library requires the creation of a print account.  Please see the Printing and Copying Page for instructions on setting up a print account and printer locations. 

      With your "Mark List" on the screen, click on Print from the LegalTrac toolbar.  A new window will open which provides printing options.  Select the desired options and click on Print.  From the File menu at the top of the screen, click on print.  A print box will appear on the screen.  Click OK.

      Enter the User ID from the back of your Print Anywhere card when prompted to do so.
Does the Ross-Blakley Law Library Have the Articles You've Found?

Once you've finished searching LegalTrac, you still need to determine whether or not the Ross-Blakley Law Library has the articles you have found.  You can do this in one of two ways:
  • Check to see if the Get it at ASU icon appears under the items on your list.  If so, click on the icon, which will bring you to a screen showing where at ASU you can find any article that ASU owns or has access to.
  • Your second option is to open a new browser.  The Law Library homepage should immediately appear.  From there, click on "Search the Library Catalog."
  • When the next screen appears, click in the box to the left of the search bar and type in the title of the periodical exactly as it is listed in LegalTrac.  Hit the Enter key or click on the Search button.
  •  The catalog searches all ASU Libraries, so be sure to check the location of any records you find.  The first word in the location will tell you at which library the journal is located.  Journals owned by the Law Library will have a location designation of Law Bound Periodicals.  If the journal is not owned by the Law Library, check the record to see if it is owned by another ASU Library.
  • To verify whether the library has the specific volume or year you are looking for, click on the title of the journal from the catalog search results screen to open the record.  The screen will display the volume numbers and years owned by each library.  If you have any questions about locating journals in the library, please ask at the Circulation Desk.

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