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Chapter 11 The Desperate Researcher. “I can’t find anything!”. Common Research Roadblocks. I know the name of a case. How do I find the full citation? Shepard’s Case Name Citator Plaintiff/Defendant Table Digest Table of Cases Plaintiff/Defendant Table

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Chapter 11 the desperate researcher

Chapter 11The Desperate Researcher

“I can’t find anything!”


Common research roadblocks
Common Research Roadblocks

  • I know the name of a case.

    How do I find the full citation?

    • Shepard’s Case Name Citator

      • Plaintiff/Defendant Table

    • Digest Table of Cases

      • Plaintiff/Defendant Table

  • I know the name of a party in a case, but don’t know the title. Can I find the case?

    • Digest Table of Cases

      • Plaintiff/Defendant Table

    • Call the Court (that issued opinion)


  • I know the name of a recent case but can’t find it.

    • Reporter/Advance Sheets

      • Recent cases

    • Internet

      • Westlaw/Lexis

    • Loose-leaf Services

    • Call the Court (issued the opinion)

    • Call the Law Library

  • I have just one or two cases, and can’t find anything else. What should I do?

    • Regular sources, including Shepardize

    • Authority within authority (cases w/i cases)

    • Statutory Research Tools (key numbers, etc.)



Advanced techniques american jurisprudence
Advanced Techniques:American Jurisprudence

  • Volume Index/Title Index

    • Use after researching General Index

    • Volume/Title Index:

      • Extensive index on one topic

        • E.g., Negligence

      • Note: Volume Index covers ONLY materials in that Volume



Advanced techniques c j s
Advanced Techniques:C.J.S

  • Review Key Numbers

    • Access relevant regional Digest

      • Research Key Number


Advanced techniques digests
Advanced Techniques:Digests

Digests = headnotes of case law

  • Research:

    • 1. Descriptive Word Index

    • 2. Key Topic and Number

    • 3. Locate Topic (main volumes)

    • 4. Leads to additional authority in jxn.

      • Statutory cites at end of headnotes

        Check the Decennial Digest Index


Advanced techniques american law reports
Advanced Techniques:American Law Reports

  • Annotated Reporter

    • Reports cases

    • Provides commentary

      • Lists additional authority

  • Advanced Techniques

    • A.L.R. 5th (and A.L.R. 4th pocket part) provides:

      • Computer queries

      • Key Number references


The general digest
The General Digest

  • American Digest System

    • Century Digest

      • Indexes cases from 1600s to 1896

    • Decennial Digest

      • Indexes state & federal cases from 1896

    • General Digest

      • Updates Decennial Digest

        • Every 10th Digest has Key Number Table

          • References to Digests covering topic


Restatements of the law
Restatements of the Law

  • Treatises on areas of law

    • Index leads to

    • Main volumes

      • Commentary

    • Appendix

      • Provides references to research materials (cases/statutes)

  • Published by American Law Institute

    Always check the pocket part!!


Legal periodicals
Legal Periodicals

  • Indexes to legal periodicals:

    • Index to Legal Periodicals

    • Current Law Index

  • Current Law Index

    • Research by:

      • Author, title of article, subject matter

    • Years for research


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