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Education Law Research Guide: Finding Legal Cases

Searching legal cases in Google Scholar

When you do a Google Scholar search for a case, it is automatically set up to search articles, but there is a button under the search box for "case law" you can check to just search cases:


Searching for the two party names, written out without abbreviations, usually yields the best results.

Searching legal cases in HeinOnline

HeinOnline recently replaced LexisNexis as our go-to resource for legal research. The interface is easily searchable--just click the "case law" tab and enter your search terms to find a case summary.

Common Abbreviations

F. Supp.
Federal Supplement

F.
Federal Reporter

U.S.
U.S. Reports

S.Ct.
Supreme Court Reporter

L.Ed.
U.S. Reports, Lawyers' Edition

Need some inspiration?

The above book is just one example of the encyclopedias available on reserve at the School of Education Library. These materials detail many current legal cases and are available for you to browse if you need help finding cases relevant to your assignment.

Ask a Librarian!

How to read a case number

At the top of any case, you will find the case number. There may be several different numbers assigned to a case, but usually you want the first set. Case numbers include the volume number, the court reporter (an actual print volume) the case appears in, and the page number. It may also include information about the court and year in which the case was tried. 

Examples:

493 U.S. 146U.S. Reporter, Volume 493, page 146

127 S. Ct. 1769 = Supreme Court Reporter, Volume 127, page 1769

221 F.3d 410 (3d Cir. 2000) = Federal Reporter 3rd Series, Volume 221, page 410 (3rd Circuit Court, 2000)

290 F. Supp. 67 (D. Nev. 1967) = Federal Supplement, Volume 290, page 67 (District Court of Nevada, 1967)

Note: The U.S. Reporter and Supreme Court Reporter contain the same cases but have different publishers and thus contain different supplemental information.