Skip to Main Content

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)


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.