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Legal Studies Program LibGuide

This guide collects information, websites, and library resources for completing assignments and preparing for a career as a paralegal.

How to Use Western Library Databases

Nexis Uni

NexisUni offers full-text articles related to business, law, government, and medical topics drawing from newspapers, journals, magazines, wire services, as well as primary and secondary legal materials.

Watch this short video to learn how to search for Law Cases using the database, Nexis Uni. Jot down some of the tips and tricks as you watch, then try it yourself!

You can link directly to Nexis Uni, below. Reminder - when you click on the Nexis Uni link you will be prompted to login in with your Western ID.

Nexis Uni includes:

  • State codes
  • State case law
  • Code of Federal Regulation (CFR)
  • Federal case law
  • United States Code Annotated (USCA)
  • American Jurisprudence 2d
  • Shepard's Citations
  • United States Treaties in Force
  • European Union and other countries - Case law and other legal information available.
  • World Trade Organization (WTO) decisions

 

Nexis uni contents

Learn more about Nexis Uni at the Western Library Databases - Paralegal Research page of this LibGuide.

Shepard's Reports or "Shepardizing" using Nexis Uni

You learned that it's important to double-check that your primary sources (legislative and case law - treaties, decisions of courts and tribunals, statutes, regulations) are still solid law. To do this you can use Nexis Uni to create a Shepard's Report for statutes and regulations. Nexis Uni uses Shepard's Signal Indicators to provide context about point of law authority.click on the Shepardize this document located to the right of the document.

Screenshot NexisUni - Shepardize this document

To learn more about Shepard's Reports or "Shepardizing"  link to the LibGuide below. (Created by the librarians at Northcentral University Library.)

Case Searching with Nexis Uni

GETTING STARTED

  • Log in to Nexis Uni. Under "What are you interested in?"  Select Cases. The default is "Federal Cases."  If you are looking for federal cases, leave as it is or select a different jurisdiction. Enter your search term, for example, dna wrongly convicted, and then search.

SEARCH MODES

  • All Nexis Uni - searches everything or use the arrow button to choose a sub-category such as "Cases" or "Law Reviews & Journals."
  • Guided Search - is easier to use.
  • Advanced Search - may find more precise results. For example, overview(dna and wrongful conviction)
  • Get a Doc Assistance - By citation, By Party Name & By Docket Number

QUICK SEARCH

  • By Citation             792 F.3d 1174
  • By Parties              United States v. De Watson
  • By Topic                 DNA evidence AND postconviction testing

[Optional - Use Get a DOC Assistance to search by Citation, Party Name or Docket Number].
[Optional - Segment search in Case can be very helpful. For example, overview(dna and wrongful conviction)]

SEARCH RESULTS

  • Each case is headed with a case treatment indicator (yellow triangle etc.). Case Summary/Overview box is a good place to get the quick facts and outcome. Search terms will be highlighted with a brief context. Search Within Results on the left will help narrow down to specific results.
  • Click on a case link to read the case. For example,  United States v. De Watson, 792 F.3d 1174. On the right panel of the case page, you will find reasons for Shepard's signal (green, yellow, red etc.). Shepardizing is a quick way to find the "good law" cases. To cite this case, use the the "Export Citation" link on the top.

HOW TO READ A CASE

  • Facts first. Ask what the issue is or what the principles the case stands for. Then ask how the court resolved the issue and their reasoning.  Note: Opinion does NOT equal decision. An opinion is the court's explanation for its decision; a decision either affirms or reverses the lower court or tribunal.

What is a Citation?

What is a citation?

  • A reference system to identify the past judicial decisions on cases or other information. With a citation, one can quickly locate the full text of the case. See citation format and examples below. Case Citation Format in Reporters or Law Reports:

Plaintiff | Defendant |Volume |Reporter |Page |Court   |Year
Blackburn v. Fisk          433       F.2d        121    (6th Cir. 1971)

where "F.2d" stands for The Federal Reporter, 2nd series.  Please note that not all citations follow the full format, e.g., 834 N.E.2d 432. Also, one case could have more than one citations, for example, all of these four citations 834 N.E.2d 432; 162 Ohio App. 3d 642; 2005 Ohio 4331;  2005 Ohio App. LEXIS 3932 refer to one case.   

Find Law Journals in NexisUni

                e-document icon

Look for articles from Wisconsin (and all states) law journals and reviews, as well as others in NexisUni.

 

 

Examples:

  • Wisconsin Law Review
  • Marquette Law Review
  • Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society
  • Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review
  • Harvard Law Review
  • ABA Journal
  • ABA Journal of Labor & Employment Law

Use the NexisUni filters to focus your search. Let's say you want to search for information about Family Law in a Wisconsin law journal. Do a basic search for "family law." On the page of results select "Law Journals and Reviews." Using the "Jurisdiction" filter choose Wisconsin. You can see there are 435 articles available about "family law" in law journal and reviews from Wisconsin. Choose the journal you would like to use. The number beside the journal title reflects the number of articles about family law that appear in that journal.

search with filters in Nexis uni

 

Research Tips

decorative image computer search

  1. Understand your assignment and what is required of you to successfully complete it.
  2. Begin your research with secondary sources: encyclopedias, law reviews, treatises, restatements. These background sources provide an overview of a topic, as well as explain, interpret and/or analyze aspects and issues of the law. They often have citations to primary sources.
  3. Read the material. Read it again. Underline or highlight key facts.
  4. Take notes! Create a list of facts: identify your jurisdiction, field and type of law, etc. Underline legal research terms. Note-taking now, reduces stress later.
  5. Double-check that your primary sources (legislative and case law - treaties, decisions of courts and tribunals, statutes, regulations) are still solid law. Shepardize or KeyCite!

Credo Reference - Background Information

Although databases may look different, they all have the same basic structure, filters, and tools - search boxes, filters to eliminate articles that aren't relevant, email or share tools, and  of course, cite tools. Be on the look out for them!

Credo Reference is an excellent database to find background information on topics and issues.

credo reference search box

article Richards v Wisconsin

You can link directly to Credo Reference, below. Reminder - you will be prompted to login in with your Western ID.

Search Credo Reference by Topic

Is there a new term or concept that you are confused by or just kind of hazy on? Using Credo Reference is a great way to get clarification about new terms and concepts you come across in your course reading or other research. Do a basic search of terms or concepts to find definitions and short articles that explain what they mean.

  • immigration law
  • employment law
  • family law
  • probate; estate law
  • trusts' wills and trusts
  • rights; human rights
  • death penalty; capital punishment
  • Juris doctor; lawyer
  • Bar association

When you see TOO MANY RESULTS use the filters to narrow your search.

credo Reference Filters

pillars icon

 

Legal Books in Credo Reference (linked below:

eBooks at Western Library

From Western Library's Website, Click the red box Find Books (Catalog).

ibrary catalog screenshot

Search Terms: law OR legal. Filter: Check the box next to eBooks.  Click the link in the title box.library catalog search box, results list, filters

Ask-a-Librarian

Ask-a-Librarian button

Reach out to a librarian if you have any questions about finding information in the library databases. Use the Ask-a-Librarian button at the left, or check beneath my profile pic below to see if I'm online for a Chat or feel free to reach out to me via email as well! I'm happy to help!


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