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Legal: Westlaw
Guide

Westlaw Databases

 WestLaw Campus Research

Two databases, News and Business, and Law are available from Westlaw Campus Research.

Click on the Law tab to search for legal materials.

Westlaw Legal Case Coverage

Case Law Coverage

Starting coverage of state cases varies by state, but for most states, coverage goes back to the 1800s, and for some states even earlier.

Coverage of federal cases begins with 1789.

New cases are online within days, and sometimes hours, of their release by the courts.

Westlaw Tutorials

KeyCite

About KeyCite

Use KeyCite to help you determine whether a case or statute is good law and to retrieve citing references.

KeyCite provides information such as

  • direct appellate history of cases and administrative decisions
  • negative citing references for cases and administrative decisions
  • citations to cases, administrative materials, secondary sources, and briefs and other court documents on Westlaw that have cited a case, statute, or administrative decision, or regulation
  • complete integration with the West Key Number System so you can track legal issues discussed in a case
  • citations to session laws or rules amending or repealing a statute or regulation
  • citations to proposed legislation affecting federal or state statutes

Accessing KeyCite

Click the KeyCite status flag in a document or next to a document's citation to access KeyCite.

 

KeyCite Status Flags

A KeyCite status flag lets you immediately know the status of a case, administrative decision, statute, or regulation.

  • A red flag warns that the case or administrative decision is no longer good law for at least one of the points of law it contains or that the statute or regulation has been amended by a recent session law or rule, repealed, superseded, or held unconstitutional or preempted in whole or in part.
  • A yellow flag warns that the case or administrative decision has some negative history but hasn’t been reversed or overruled; that the statute has been renumbered or transferred by a recent session law; that an uncodified session law or proposed legislation affecting the statute is available (statutes merely referenced, i.e., mentioned, are not marked with a yellow flag); that a proposed rule affecting the regulation is available; that the regulation has been reinstated, corrected, or confirmed; that the statute or regulation was limited on constitutional or preemption grounds or its validity was otherwise called into doubt; or that a prior version of the statute or regulation received negative judicial treatment.
  • A blue Hindicates that the case or administrative decision has some history.
  • A green C indicates that the case or administrative decision has citing references but no direct or negative indirect history or that the statute or regulation has citing references.

For additional information about KeyCite, please check Help (FAQs).

Source: Westlaw Help Center.  Using KeyCite. Thomson Reuters Westlaw.

Search Tips

Finding Word Variants

*   use to replace a letter
     wom*n will locate records containing both woman and women

!   place after the root of a term to find all variations of the term
    immigra! will locate records containing the terms immigrant and immigration

   singular search terms retrieve singulars and most plurals
   plural search terms retrieve singulars and most plurals
!* use ! or * with irregular singular or plural: child! g**se

Phrases
" "   use quotation marks to search for phrases  "war crimes"

OR is the Default Connector When There is a Space Between Terms

A space between terms will find documents that contain either or all of the words or phrases. Use a space between words that are synonyms, antonyms, alternative spellings, or abbreviations. Examples are listed below.

   synonyms
   lawyer counsel attorney

   antonyms
   regulated deregulated

   alternative spellings
   takeover take over

   abbreviations
   international business machines IBM I.B.M.


Using the AND Connector

Use to find a document that contains all the terms connected with AND

For example, self-defense AND domestic violence will retrieve a document with both terms.


Using the AND NOT Connector

Use to find documents in which a search word or phrase is to be excluded.

For example, the following search finds documents where the word "trust" occurs but the word "charitable" does not.

trust AND NOT charitable


W/n Connector  

Use to find two words within the specified number of words

For example, the following search request tells the research software to find documents in which both words appear in the same segment, within three or fewer words of one another.

william w/3 hearst retrieves documents containing the words William Randolph Hearst; William R. Hearst; and Hearst, William R.


For additional advanced search tips, please check Help (FAQs)