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Library Guides

Legal Research

Learn how to search for legal cases in LexisNexis, how to find cases on a topic using Law Reviews in Lexis or Legal Opinion search in Google Scholar, and how to access free legal resources on the web.

Legal Definitions

Opinion: The court's statement of its decision, usually written by a single judge, citing the facts, points of law, rationale, and decision or verdict.*

Case Law: The law based on judicial opinions, including decisions that interpret statutes, rather than law based on statutes and other sources.*

State Law: Law consisting of individual state's constitution and state laws.  Includes state courts and state supreme courts.*

Federal Law: A body of law at the highest or national level.  The federal law of the United States consists of the United States Constitution, laws enacted by Congress, and decisions of the Supreme Court and other federal courts.*

Foreign Law: National law of another country or jurisdiction.*

International Law: The entire body of rights and responsibilities existing between nations, including treaties and customs.*

*Definitions from Wild, S. E. (2006). Webster's new world law dictionary. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Lexis Nexis

Conducting Legal Research in LexisNexis

LexisNexis is the database to use to find legal cases. 

To get to LexisNexis:

  1. Go to the Library Homepage.
  2. Click the Databases tab, then Databases A-Z.
  3. Scroll down the alphabetical list of databases and click LexisNexis.

Once you are in the database, you'll do the following to search for legal cases. 

Please see the Finding Cases tab above to learn how to find cases related to a specific topic if you don't have a case name or citation number.

Search either the Case Name or Citation Number in the Legal Case column.  (Choose one, do not search both.)

Look up a Legal Case search box in LexisNexis