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ECON 117A, Law and Economics

Researching Case Law

While researching your paper, you may need to locate similar cases that define key terms or legal concepts relevant to your argument. 

There are a few ways you can find cases on topics related to your own:

  • Nexis Uni
    • Search Form Tips
    • Nexis Uni: Searching Federal and State Cases
    • Help Topics for Nexis Uni
    • If you are off-campus, please be sure to log in for the off-campus access.
    • Once inside Nexis Uni, go to Guided Searches and where it says "What are you interested in?" select Cases
      • Under Which Jurisdiction? select  Federal Cases or State Cases
      • Enter your keywords or subject where it says Search in All Cases for
      • Use a combination of core terms from your case to find similar cases
      • Use Search Connectors to refine your keyword search
      • Use the All Dates option to narrow down your search to one year, two years, five years or select a date range
    • You can also find cases by going to the Main Search bar and enter your citation, popular name of a law, keywords or subject 
      • Click on the dropdown menu to change the default search for "All Nexis Uni"
      • In "Narrow By" under "Content Collection," select "Cases''  (You can also narrow down by Cases and Codes, Practice Areas and Topics, and Date Range, etc.)
      • After narrowing down your search options  click search
        • This search will recognize both natural language and boolean operators
    • The Advanced Search will also have an option to lookup cases
      • Click "Advanced Search" and enter your search term in the search bar
      • Select "Legal" and then cases
      • After narrowing down your search options click search
    • You can search for a case by using the "Get a Doc Assistance" option
      • Search by "Citation"
      • Search Cases by Party Name
      • Search Cases by Docket Number 

You can also use the Shepardizing process to read cases that have cited your own over time. By looking at how your case has been treated by subsequent courts, you can begin to measure its long term impact. A decision that is still being cited in a positive way fifty years after its initial decision has had a substantial impact. A decision that was overturned almost immediately may not have had a grand impact. By Shepardizing a case, you can determine whether the case is still "good law."

To Shepardize a case or document:

  • Nexis Uni
    • If you are off-campus, please be sure to log in for the off-campus access.
    • Once inside Nexus Uni, in the search bar, type shep followed by a colon (:) in the Search box, followed by the document citation. For example:
      • shep: 800 F.2d 111
      • shep: 410 us 73
    • Click Search.
    • Case Shepardizing Video

Shepard’s SignalTM Indicators and Analysis Phrases