A preemption check is a search of relevant legal materials to determine if an idea has already been written on and if that article addresses the same topics, in the same manner as you would like to address them. It is very likely that you may find articles similar to the one you would like to write. You must read these articles in their entirety to determine if you can differentiate your idea and conclusions from those presented in the articles.
When seeking publication of your article, law reviews and journals will look to the originality of the work. A preemption check ensures that your article will be original work.
If you are not planning to publish your article and not writing for law review, you don't need a preemption check unless your professor requires it. To research for your article, you'll still want to go through the same basic steps as you would for a preemption check, including search legal articles, non-legal articles, and books. However, as long as your article is your original work, it's OK if it makes similar arguments to previous articles.
The steps for a preemption check are the same steps that you would take when researching for any scholarly writing project:
There are many ways to search! You'll want to try more than one to get the broadest range of results.
Try the following methods: