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Legal Research for Undergraduates and Non-Law Students: Cases

Common Abbreviations

2d Second series
3d Third series
A.
Atlantic Reporter
N.E.
Northeastern Reporter
N.W.
Northwestern Reporter
P.
Pacific Reporter
S.
Southern Reporter
S.E.
Southeastern Reporter
S.W.
Southwestern Reporter


Cal. Rptr.
California Reporter
N.Y.S.
New York Supplement


F. Supp.
Federal Supplement
F.
Federal Reporter
U.S.
U.S. Reports
S.Ct.
Supreme Court Reporter
L.Ed.
U.S. Reports, Lawyers' Edition

Case Citation, Generally

Finding Cases with LexisNexis Academic

  1. Click here to access LexisNexis Academic.
  2. Type in your search terms and click enter.  If using their "Terms and Connectors" search, make sure to read their tips on how to use search connectors.
  3. LexisNexis Academic allows you to limit your search. 
    • You can select from searching only state cases, or only federal cases, or both.
    • You can also search for cases within a certain time period.
  4. If you know the name of the case, you may type in the party names under the field "Case Name".
  5. If you know the citation, you may type in the citation under the field "Citation".
  6. LexisNexis Academic also allows you to search by the judge's last name or the lawyer's/law firm's name.

Don't Forget!

Make sure your case is still good law!

Shepard's is a tool for finding cases that have cited, or affected, a given case. Use Shepard's to make sure that a case you have found has not been reversed, overruled, or criticized. Shepard's can also help expand your research by leading you to other cases that are on the same topic because they interpret your case.

Begin by accessing LexisNexis Academic, make sure you're in the Legal section, then select Shepard's Citations. Type the citation for your case (e.g., 333 N.W.2d 464) and click the Check button. Your resulting report will list all the cases and law reviews that cite your case. It will also tell you whether the citations are positive or negative. Don't assume a negative citation means your case is not good law. Read the cases to find out what their effects are.