This guide will help you find court cases in library databases and publicly available resources. If you know what kind of information you need, use the navigation menu to jump directly to it. Otherwise, scroll down to learn more about the research process for court cases.
A Reporter is a collection of court decisions for a particular court or group of courts. To find a case in a Reporter, you must know its legal citation [e.g., Roe v. Wade 410 US 113 (1973)].
If you don't know the legal citation:
The example citation shown here is Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 114 (1973). The citation breaks down like this:
|Name||Volume #||Title||Page #||Year|
|Roe v. Wade||410||U.S.||114||1973|
Note on Title Abbreviations: Standard abbreviations are used throughout case law. Some of the abbreviations you may come across in the Cofrin Library include:
A complete Table of Abbreviations is available in Black's Law Dictionary (Ref KF156 .B53 2004X).
In general, you will not find transcripts for cases from circuit courts and lower courts.
Shepard's Citations is a tool that provides comprehensive case citation and treatment history to verify the validity of case law, statutes, agency opinions, and other legal documents. The process of validating a case using Shepard's Citations is referred to as Shepardizing.
See images below for three options to find a Shepard's Citation in LexisNexis Academic.