LexisNexis Legal Research Guide
LexisNexis Academic is a subscription based full-text index service. From
its main page, choose Legal Research.
II. Search cases when you know the case name or legal citation
On the Legal Research page, choose Get a Case.
You will have 2 search options: search by name (which is the default search
option), or search by citation.
You can enter the case name, such as New York Times v.
Tasini. If you are not sure about the order, whether it is New York
Times v. Tasini or Tasini v. New York Times, it does not matter.
Either one will bring you the case.
If you want to search by legal citation, click the circle
after Citation to select this option, and enter the legal citation. Here
are some examples of legal citation:
418 U.S. 683
121 S. Ct. 2381
118 L. Ed. 2d 381
1992 U.S. LEXIS 2322
(Tip: you must enter the exact legal citation, including the periods or dots.)
Note: When searching under Get a Case by either
case name or legal citation, you don't have to know the court information
(whether it was Supreme Court, or other federal courts, or a state court).
III. Search cases on certain topics without knowing name or citation
Select either Federal Case Law or State Case Law
on the Legal Research page. This means we cannot search cases of all
kinds of courts at one time, though we can do it on Get a Case page when
we know the name or citation.
On the default Basic
search mode, you will see 2 keyword boxes, a court box and some date boxes.
You may want to change the default court or date. If you are not sure
about the date, you may want to select all available dates. Your keyword
search in the Basic search mode will search the entire text of cases.
If you select
Guided Search mode in either Federal or State case law, you can limit
your keyword search to certain fields of the case texts. The default is
full text (the entire case), but you can see these options if you click the
arrow to pull down:
- Opinion By: last name of the justice writing the majority opinion
- Opinion Text: text of the majority opinion
- Dissenting Opinion By: last name of the justice writing a dissenting
- Concurring Opinion By: last name of the justice writing a concurring
- Citation: The citation of the case location in a reporter or CITE on the
- Counsel: names of the attorneys involved
- Headnotes: Legal issues that are pertinent to the case, as provided by the
- Syllabus: summary of the case
IV. Shepard's Citations: List latter references to a particular
Can be used for:
- tracing judicial history of a case
- verifying the current status of a case to determine whether it is still
good law or has been reversed, overruled, or diminished
- finding later cases which have cited the main case, and providing research
leads to other sources.
To learn more about why and how Shepardizing and Shepard's Signals, check
V. Search law reviews (Select Law Reviews on Legal
To start a simple keyword search, simply enter your
keyword(s) in the first box. You may leave the second box open
The default date is previous 6 months, you can make it
longer or shorter, or choose a specific period of time
If you want to limit your search to a certain law review
journal, or search a specific article when you know the citation, click on the
Source List link and find the journal.
command. When you search law reviews in Basic search mode, your
keywords will search the entire texts of law reviews. This may bring you
some irrelevant results. The atleast command allows you to narrow
down the search to more relevant articles. You can put your keyword within
parenthesis and put atleast# (# can be a number of your choice)
before the parentheses. e.g., atleast5(communication decency act).
By entering that in the keyword box, you want the keyword to appear in the
record at least 5 times. In this way, you may get fewer but better
results. Note that there is no space between at and least and the
number of your choice. This atleast command also works in other
files of LexisNexis Academic and other databases produced by CIS such as
LexisNexis Congressional. In the Guided Search mode for law
reviews, you can choose to search certain fields (such as author or citation),
or choose at least 3.
VI. Search Bills, Laws and Regulations
Bills: at LexisNexix Congressional (click Congressional on the left side of
Public Laws 1988+: at LexisNexis Congressional (old public laws at United
States statutes at large in print or microfiche)
US Code: at both LexisNexis Academic and LexisNexis Congressional
Code of Federal Regulations: at both LexisNexis Academic and LexisNexis
State laws: at Academic Universe
US Code, public laws, federal regulations, Congressional bills, etc. can also
be found through some free Web sites. Check library's
law Web page for free sites.
VII. Page numbers and citing references/bibliography
Unlike other publications in LexisNexis, court cases and law reviews have
page numbers within brackets. This allows them to be cited in the
traditional way. Note: Typically a case has several sets of
pagination by different citations and they are differentiated by the different
numbers of * in the bracket. Be sure to know the one you are using and be
If you want to cite them as online resources, check Citing References
under Help on LexisNexis page for examples and tips.
VIII. Save/print files found on the Web
A. Save the entire file and read it in word processing software
- click "File" in Windows and then "save as"
- in "Drives" box choose right drive
- in "Save File as Type" box choose "plain text"
- when typing the file name, add ".txt" to your file name
- click OK to save it
- now you can open the file you saved in any word processing software
B. Save/print part of the file
- highlight the part you want to print or save
- click "Edit" in Windows and then "Copy"
- open any word processing software available (such as Notepad, Write,
WordPerfect, or MS Word) and click "Edit" and then "Paste", you will get the
part you need in the word processing software
- print or save
IX. Alternatives of LexisNexis:
When you cannot access LexisNexis, good free Web sites for
accessing legal information are
and other free sites on library's law
X. Exercise question for Media Law
You would like to know if there are federal laws, or regulations,
or court cases about requiring TV programs to inform the viewers
that political advertising is paid for by a certain individual or a
group in political campaign. Please come up with some possible
sources to search on LeixsNexis and possible keywords to use.