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Health Law Research

Legal Research Databases

photograph of arrow road sign with heart graffitiSearching full-text databases like Westlaw and Lexis is very powerful. But you can sometimes get too much. There might be a lot of articles with the term you entered that are mostly on a different topic. The following commercial sources have collected health law materials into “practice centers” that provide easy access to their specifically health-related primary and secondary legal materials.  

For instance, if you search for "tuberculosis" in full-text secondary sources on Westlaw without going through their Health practice area, the search results automatically cut off at 10,000 because there are too many hits:

Westlaw general search

By limiting the search to the "Health" practice area, you can remove the arbitrary cut-off of 10,000 secondary sources and retrieve a still-large but more focused results list:

Westlaw Health search

There are also ways to focus a full-text search -- for example, requiring your search terms to be in the title of an article, requiring that your terms appear many times (e.g., atleast7(tuberculosis)), requiring that your terms appear in proximity to other terms you care about (e.g., tuberculosis /5 quarantine).

Top-right graphic: This Way for Love by Nick Fewings from Unsplash

Nexis Uni (access through UW Libraries) allows you to search the "Healthcare Law" Practice Area:

Nexis Uni screenshot showing healthcare law search filter

Law Journals

Full-text articles:

  • Law students, use HeinOnline, LexisWestlaw, or Bloomberg.
  • Other students, use HeinOnline or Nexis Uni.

Find all these linked from Law Library's homepage.  For more about legal periodicals, see this guide.

Videos for Non-Law Students

Finding Secondary Sources Using Nexis Uni

This video demonstrates how to use Nexis Uni to find law journal articles and news stories. (5:25)

(Nexis Uni is a Lexis product that the University Libraries subscribes to for the whole campus. UW Law students will generally prefer Lexis+, which is licensed only for UW Law users.)

Start Your Paper with HeinOnline

How do you get started on a paper when you don't even have a firm topic? This video shows how to use HeinOnline's Law Journal Library in the early stages of a research paper. Brainstorm some ideas, then try a broad search. Sort, filter, and refine your search to find a few articles to read first. Read those articles to get an overview of the issues and leads to primary and secondary sources. You're well on your way to a successful paper project! (11:02)