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Case Finding and Advanced Searching Strategies

Overview

Westlaw and Lexis differ in which secondary sources they carry. As a general rule, you can usually find secondary sources published by Matthew Bender on Lexis, while you can usually find secondary sources published by West on Westlaw. There is some overlap in coverage (for instance, both databases have American Jurisprudence or Witkin Summary of California Law), but it is always a good idea to check both databases. 

Instead of browsing for secondary sources by source type, jurisdiction, or practice area, if you know the name of a publication that you wish to consult, you can type it into the search bar on either database to go directly to that source. 

Westlaw

To browse all of the titles of publications available on Westlaw, visit the Secondary Sources page and click the link to Full Secondary Sources Library under Tools and Resources in the upper right. 

Screenshot of Westlaw's Secondary Sources page showing the  link to the Full Secondary Sources Library on the right of the page

To access a particular publication, type the name of it in the search bar on Westlaw's homepage. A drop-down will appear below the search bar with suggested sources. 

Lexis

Lexis does not list all of the secondary sources available on its database in one comprehensive list, but you can visit the Secondary Materials page and browse the titles of publications based on content type, state, or practice area. 

To retrieve a particular publication, type the name of it in the search bar on Lexis's homepage. A drop-down will appear below the search bar with suggested sources. 

Alternatively, you may also select "Sources" under the search bar on the home page, then type in the name of the publication. This is also useful if you want to search across the titles of all sources - for example, for all those with the word "copyright" in their titles. 

Screenshot of Lexis showing the location of the "Sources" tab and the search bar that appears underneath