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Case Finding and Advanced Searching Strategies

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In the annotated version of a statute, regulation, or court rule, Citing References (Westlaw) and Citing Decisions (Lexis) contain all cases that cite to that statute, regulation, or court rule.  If you have identified a relevant case, you should also check Citing References and Citing Decisions to see what subsequent cases have cited to that case.  The number of cases in Citing References and Citing Decisions may be voluminous, so take advantage of the filtering options (e.g., by jurisdiction, date, etc.) and also conduct searches within the results. 

You should use citing references and citing decisions during various stages of the research process:

  • When looking for secondary sources discussing a particular primary source
  • When working from a statute, regulation, or court rule to find cases
  • When working from a relevant case to find other cases
  • When checking to see whether cases are still good law

Citing References (Westlaw)

Citing References collect all cases that cite a particular statute, regulation, and court rule on Westlaw.  Beyond cases, citing references also include other types of materials, such as secondary sources, administrative decisions, and court documents. 

After you have found the relevant statute, regulation, or court rule, click on the "Citing References" tab near the top of the screen.

Screenshot of statute on Westlaw showing Citing References tab above the statute's text

Citing References include content beyond just cases, such as secondary sources and court filings. Make sure "Cases" is selected if you are only interested in finding cases that cite to this statute, regulation, or court rule. 

Screenshot of Citing References page for statute on Westlaw

You can narrow down the number of citing references by using the left sidebar to filter by jurisdiction (e.g., select a particular court or a level of court), restrict by a date or date range, and select whether the cases only include reported cases. 

Screenshot of filter options to the left of list of cases in Citing References page on Westlaw

To further narrow down your search, you can also conduct keyword searches within this set of results by using the "Search within results" option.  Note that you can conduct searches using terms and connectors and Boolean operators (e.g., AND, OR, /s, etc.). 


This example used a statute, but note that Citing References are also available for cases so you can see what cases have cited to a particular case.  You will need to check the Citing References for a case when confirming that it is still good law

Citing Decisions (Lexis)

Citing Decisions consist of all cases that cite to a particular statute, regulation, or court rule on Lexis.  To view the Citing Decisions on Lexis, click on "Shepardize this document" in the right sidebar.

Screenshot of Lexis page for a statute showing link to Shepardize document on right-hand side of the screen

The Shepard's Report contains a section for Citing Decisions.  The Other Citing Sources section includes secondary sources and court documents that cite that statute, regulation, or court rule. 

Screenshot of Lexis Shepard's report for a statute showing citing decisions

In the left sidebar, you can narrow your results by filtering based on how the case treated that statute, regulation, or court rule, as well as by selecting a court or a specific date range.  Additionally, you can also run keyword searches within your results. 

Screenshot of Lexis showing filters available for Shepard's report for a statute