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:
Click on Cases. Adjust jurisdiction if necessary - default is "All Federal."
Enter search terms in box at top of page.
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.
KeyCite is a tool within Westlaw that will tell you if the case (or other source type) is still "good law." This means that the case has not been overturned, superseded, or become invalid for another reason - either partially or in whole. Click on the flag to go to the Negative Treatment tab, where you can see which other cases may have affected yours.
See the images below to learn what to look for within Westlaw.