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Levin College of Law

Conducting Legal Research

Resources and tips for conducting legal research .

Headnotes in Lexis Advance

The Lexis headnote system is not quite as developed as Westlaw’s and does not have as detailed an indexing system. Additionally, while Westlaw uses human-indexed terminology, Lexis relies on an algorithm to develop its headnote system. For these two reasons, headnotes will be different between the databases.

  • Once you have located a promising case, read the headnotes at the top of the case. If the headnotes indicate that there is a relevant legal concept discussed in the case, click the blue down arrow next to the headnote to navigate to the section of the case where it is discussed.
  • If, after skimming the part of the case applicable to the headnote, you decide the case is relevant, read the case in its entirety. You should never depend on the headnotes when citing to a case. If you have not read the full case, do not cite it.

Using Headnotes to Expand a Relevant Case

Just as in Westlaw, there are three methods to expand your research using headnotes in Lexis.