Yale Law SchoolLillian Goldman Law LibraryFifth Hour Legal Research / Fall 2013
JGK rev. 10.15.13
Hints for Using Headnotes
Use the narrowest topic (in Lexis Advance) or the Topic and Key Number (inWestlaw Next) to take you to more cases that share the same, narrow pointof law.
Adjust your jurisdiction.
Receive a list of headnotes from cases (in Westlaw Next) or cases (in LexisAdvance) that share the same narrow point of law.
Search within the results for a specific keyword/term/concept.
Use a Citator to confirm you have good law and to find more cases.2.
Determining that you have good law is a two-prong analysis:(a) How have
subsequent, other courts
treated your case?(i) Note: depth of treatment(ii) Note: jurisdiction(iii) Note: flags/symbols
interpret(b) What happened to your case as it progressed through the system? Overruled?Affirmed? Remanded? etc.3.
Use a citator to find additional relevant cases because the citator lists all cases thatcite your case. (
/ Citing References).
To Citate in Westlaw Next
Citating in Westlaw involves interpreting flags or symbols that are attached to eachcase. The most common are1.
. Review the subsequent appellate history (What happened to
case subsequent to the decision at hand? Was the
? Was the
? Was an
certiorari denied or granted?
Direct history is listed on the left.
Previous history is what happened to your case
the decision athand (for purposes of citating, its not important but it may provide somecontext to the procedural history).
Subsequent history is what happened to your case
the decision athand. This is important for determining whether you case is good law.
Graphic in center, right shows all history.