Answered By: Mariah Ford
Last Updated: Feb 22, 2016     Views: 69

Where can I search for American case law?

There are a number of databases that provide case law. 

For law school faculty, students and staff, the primary databases for researching case law are:

For non-law university students and public patrons, case law can be found in:

  • Lexis Academic (available to university faculty, staff and students)
    • From the Search by Content Type drop down, choose Federal and State Cases.
    • ‚ÄčIn addition to searching for cases, you can also choose Shepard's Citations. Input a specific case citation (e.g. 550 U.S. 618). Shepard's will provide the history of the case, any subsequent opinions that cited it (and the treatment it was given); and the titles of law review articles and treatises that mention and/or discuss the case.   
  • Google Scholar (available to everyone)
    • Select the "Case Law" radio button. You can also narrow down by jurisdiction by choosing the "Select Courts" link. 
  • FindLaw (available to everyone)
    • Can browse by jurisdiction and year, and search by citation, party name, keyword. 
  • Justia (available to everyone)
    • Can browse by jurisdiction and year, and search by citation, party name, keyword. 
  • Public Library of Law (available to everyone - free account registration required to access text)
  • Cornell's Legal Information Institute  (available to everyone)
  • RavelLaw (available to academic accounts)
    •  Free account allows for data vizualization of Supreme and Circuit Courts opinions. 
  • Also check out the website of the specifc court, for more recent opinions!

If you have more specific case law questions, please stop by or call the library Reference Desk, or chat or email us!

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