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Law: Search tips for law-related materials

This guide will help you find law-related materials at the WSU library and beyond.

Citations and case names.

Legal citation follows one of two citation manuals: The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation or the ALWD Citation Manual. Cornell's Legal Information Institute provides an overview of legal citation. 

Generally, legal citations follow this format:

  1. numerical designation of the major part of the set (volume or title number)
  2. abbreviation of the source
  3. secondary numerical designation (section or page number)

Example:

Citation Interpretation
29 CFR 100.101 Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 100.101
410 U.S. 113 Volume 410 of the United States Reports , page 113
28 USC 1332 Title 28 of the United States Code, section 1332

Cases are published in chronological order in reporters. There are two different categories of reporters: 

  • Official reporters, which are usually published by a governmental entity, and 
  • Unofficial reporters, which are published commercially (usually by either West or Lexis). 

To find a case in a reporter, you will need to know its citation.