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Legal Research

How to Find Cases



  • Use Westlaw Campus - Offers complete coverage of federal and state case law.


  • Use the Internet - start with the sites listed on the Government Information pages.


  • Use a reporter - published opinions of select cases (see Case law: an introduction)


  • Use an annotated code - If you are researching a federal or state statute, there may be case law that interprets that statute.


  • Use a digest - A digest is a print finding tool that indexes and abstracts reported cases.


  • Use secondary sources - Secondary sources give the framework of the law, introduce the topic, offer expert analysis, and provide references to primary authority (cases, statutes, regulations).  Books, law review articles, legal encyclopedias, and attorney practice manuals are examples of secondary sources.