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Legal Research: Finding Cases, Legislation, and other Legal Material

Updating with Citators

Legal information is constantly being updated. When you are researching a piece of law, like a case, you will need to keep up to date with what is going on with that particular piece of legal information. For this, you can use a legal citator, either in print or online. 

Citators are valuable to help you determine whether a case is still "good law," or overruled by another decision, or whether a statute has been found unconstitutional. Citators achieve this by listing all citing references to the case or statute that you are researching. In other words, it lists all pieces of law (cases, statutes, etc) that have discussed, mentioned or impacted your case, either positively or negatively, since that ruling.

Print Resource: Shepard's Texas Citations

Shepard's Texas Citations

To check for citing references in print, you will use Shepard's Texas Citations series. To use the print citator, you will need the case citation for the case that you are researching. 

For full instructions for Shepardizing in Print, see the Guide available from Lexis: How to Shepardize: Your Guide to Legal Research Using Shepard's Citations in Print

Important: be sure to check all available supplements to find all of the citing references your case! To make sure that you check everything, look for the paperback supplement with the most recent date and look at the list of books on the cover under "What Your Library Should Contain." This will list each of the volumes and supplements that you need to be sure to check.

Online Resource: Using KeyCite in Westlaw: Step by Step

The online citator subscribed to by LSC-North Harris Library is KeyCite.  Like the print citators, KeyCite tracks the citing cases (cases that cite the case that you are researching). Since online content is updated daily, there are no supplements to check to make sure that you are getting the latest information.

To Use KeyCite in Westlaw:

  1. On the Westlaw homepage, search for your case and click on the case report..
  2. There will be tabs across the top. The two tabs that relate to Citing References are Negative Treatment and Citing References.

Westlaw Case tabs with "Negative Treatment" and "Citing References" circled

  1. The Negative Treatment tab lists any subsequent cases or laws that treated the case that you are researching in a negative way.
  2.  The Citing References tab lists all subsequent cases (and other legal resources) that have cited the case that you are looking at (including those that treated it negatively). 

screenshot Westlaw Citing References

Treatment = indicates how that case affected your case (the case that you are researching). Westlaw will list all negative treatment first, and then all other treatment in date order.

Depth = how much that case talks about your case. The more the green bar is filled in, the more your case was discussed.

Headnote(s) = which points of law were discussed in regards to your case 

For further details in using Westlaw's KeyCite, see the Westlaw Guide: Checking Citations in KeyCite.

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