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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.

Using Lexis Nexis

Using the drop down menu in the upper right, select the topic want to search. The resulting screen will give you a selection of different kinds of legal cases to choose from. 

TIP: Searching for Law Review articles instead of cases may help you find citations to cases and legal documents compiled by expert legal scholars. 

Also, when searching for cases, you can limit by jurisdiction or date in the "Advanced Options."

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)


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

A case citation general includes: ‚ÄčThe case name; the volume of the reporter; the reporter's abbreviation; the first page of the case; the year. For example: 

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)

TIP: Published cases are from intermediate appellate courts and supreme courts. Most trial court decisions are not published.