Millsaps College


Accessing Westlaw
Westlaw Campus Research

To access the legal resources, click on the tab labeled Law.


Searching

Because journals and law reviews provide helpful discussion and analysis of a topic, they are often a good place to begin your research. In addition to serving as an excellent introduction to a topic, they are often a finding tool for relevant authority such as cases and statutes. Suppose you are researching eminent domain in light of the U.S. Supreme Court case Kelo v. City of New London. To search journals and law reviews, complete the following steps:

1. Click the Law tab, if necessary. The default search method is Advanced Search.
2. Type “eminent domain” in the Search text box, then choose the AND connector and type kelo in the second text box.
3. Your search is not restricted by date. To restrict your search by date, choose a restriction from the Date drop-down list, e.g., Last 3 Years.
4. Select the Journals and Law Reviews check box under Select Database(s). Then choose All Journals and Law Reviews or an individual state from the drop-down list.
5. Click Search. A result list is displayed. Click a document’s citation to display the full text.
6. To revise and rerun your search, click Edit Search at the top of the result list to display the Search page.


Another Search Example

Advanced Search lets you create a more precise search by using the AND, OR, and NOT connectors. For example, to retrieve information about wiretapping or eavesdropping under the Patriot Act other than via the Internet, complete these steps:

  1. Type "patriot act" in the Search text box, select the AND connector and type wiretap! in the second text box, and select the OR connector and type eavesdrop! in the third text box. In the NOT text box, type internet. (The root expander (!) allows you to retrieve words with variant endings, e.g., wiretap, wiretapped, and wiretapping.)
  2. Your search is not restricted by date. To restrict your search by date, choose a restriction from the Date drop-down list, e.g., Last 3 Years.
  3. Select the Journals and Law Reviews check box under Select Database(s). Then choose All Journals and Law Reviews or an individual state from the drop-down list.
  4. Click Search. A result list is displayed. Click a document's title or citation to display the full text.
  5. To revise and rerun your search, click Edit Search at the top of the result list to display the Search page.
Types of Legal Sources in Westlaw

Analytical Sources

  • American Jurisprudence 2d (Am Jur 2d). An encyclopedia that provides summary and analysis of all fields of American state and federal law. It contains many citations to cases, statutes, and law review articles. It also includes analysis of the spirit and intent of the courts in construing the law, and Legislative intent in enacting and amending the law.
  • American Law Reports (ALR). ALR provides a continually updated series of articles (annotations) on legal topics discussed in key cases. The articles provide objective analysis of different sides of an issue, written in a narrative style.
  • More than 800 law reviews and journals. Law reviews are scholary journals published by most accredited law schools. They contain thorough discussions of current issues and trends in the law, with comprehensive analysis by scholars and legal professionals.They are also an excellent source of citations to cases. Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, American Journal of Legal History, and Stanford Law Review are just a few of the hundreds of highly respected publications available.


Primary Law Sources

  • United States Code Annotated (USCA). USCA combines the official text of the United States Code with relevant cases, historical notes, indexes, cross-references, and other annotations.
  • All federal and state cases including U.S. Supreme Court cases. Easily accessible through West's National Reporter System, an exclusive system of reporting federal and state cases that’s editorially enhanced for complete research.
  • State statutes and regulations. Includes statutes from all 50 states and D.C. and administrative codes from all 44 states.
  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The full body of federal administrative regulations.
  • Federal Register. Includes 50,000 pages of current regulatory, administrative, and executive materials generated by key federal entities.
KeySearch
KeySearch is a research tool that helps you find cases and secondary sources within a specific area of the law. KeySearch guides you through the selection of terms from a classification system based on the West Key Number System and then uses the key numbers and their underlying concepts to run a query, which was created by a West attorney-editor, for you.

To use KeySearch, complete these steps:

  1. Click Go under KeySearch in the left frame. A list of topics with selected subtopics is displayed.
  2. Browse the list and select a topic or subtopic to search by clicking the hypertext links. For example, to search for sources that discuss legal issues relating to college athletics, click Arts, Entertainment, and Sports Law at the first KeySearch page. Then click College Athletics at the next page.
  3. Select the source from which you want to retrieve documents, e.g., All Federal Cases, and, if desired, type additional search terms in the text box.
  4. Click Search.
Using KeyCite
Use KeyCite to help you determine whether a case or statute is good law and to retrieve citing references. Click the KeyCite status flag in a document or next to a document's citation to access KeyCite. A KeyCite status flag lets you immediately know the status of a case, administrative decision, statute, or regulation.

 Green - The case has citing references but no direct or indirect negative history.

 Blue - Indicates there is some history.

 Yellow - There is some negative history, but it hasn't yet been reversed or overruled.

 Red - Case is no longer good law for at least one of the points of law it contains.

  • Status flags let you know immediately the current status of a case (or administrative decision, statute, or regulation). Click the flag, in your results list or within a case, to view the associated history.

Depth of treatment stars in your KeyCite result show the extent to which the citing case, administrative decision, or brief discusses the cited case based on these categories:

**** (Examined)
The citing case, administrative decision, or brief contains an extended discussion of the cited case or administrative decision, usually more than a printed page of text.

*** (Discussed)
The citing case, administrative decision, or brief contains a substantial discussion of the cited case or administrative decision, usually more than a paragraph but less than a printed page.

** (Cited)
The citing case, administrative decision, or brief contains some discussion of the cited case or administrative decision, usually less than a paragraph.

* (Mentioned)
The citing case, administrative decision, or brief contains a brief reference to the cited case or administrative decision, usually in a string citation.

KeyCite guidehttp://lscontent.westlaw.com/images/content/CheckCitewKC10.pdf
Links to Westlaw Guides
.PDF Guides

Westlaw Quick Reference Guide: http://static.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/product_files//westlaw/wlawdoc/web/campus06.pdf

Checking Citations using KeyCite: http://lscontent.westlaw.com/images/content/CheckCitewKC10.pdf

Westlaw guide from Eastern Michigan University:
http://www.emich.edu/library/guides/WLCSearching.pdf

Library Guides

From the University of Nevada: campusguides.unr.edu/content.php

From UCLA School of Law: Online Legal Research: Beyond LexisNexis & Westlaw: http://libguides.law.ucla.edu/content.php?pid=34909&sid=256680
Research Trail

Once you've completed your research, click Research Trail at the top of the page to display a list of tasks you've completed, including citations to documents retrieved and resources used. You can e-mail your research trail to your professor and colleagues.

Using Connectors in Advanced Search
For Advanced searches, use connectors or expanders to specify the relationships that should exist between search terms in your retrieved documents.

Connector

Definition

" "

Phrase

%

But not

!

Root expander

*

Universal character

/s

In same sentence

+s

Preceding within sentence

/p

In same paragraph

+p

Preceding within paragraph

/n

Within n terms of

+n

Preceding within n terms of

Search Examples

In the Advanced Search Search text box, type a search similar to one of the examples below, then choose a resource to search and click Search.

eminent /s domain (This search retrieves documents that contain the word eminent in the same sentence as the word domain.)

"patriot act" /p wiretap! (This search retrieves documents that contain the phrase patriot act in the same paragraph as any word with the root wiretap.)

brand /5 strategy (This search retrieves documents that contain the word brand within 5 words of the word strategy.

Research Help
Picture: Library / Main Desk

Library / Main Desk
librarian@millsaps.edu
Tel: (601) 974-1073

Most Cited Cases
When viewing a case, click on Case Outline. Then, click on Headnote(s) (if available). From a headnote classification hierarchy in a case, click Most Cited Cases. The Custom Digest search page is displayed. Choose your search options. Click Search to retrieve a list of the cases cited most often for the point of law summarized in the headnote. Each result will show how many times it has been cited for the legal issue.