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

What is Shepardizing?

Shepardizing refers to checking a citator to see how and when another case has cited the case that you are researching. Shepardizing is important because it helps you check the status of a case or statute to ensure that it is still good law. It also helps to locate other cases, statutes, and legal resources that cite your case on a similar legal issue.

The term "Shepard's" comes from the original print version of citators, but now it is used to generically refer to the act of checking all citing cases. (Think of Shepard's as a brand name, like "Kleenex," that we use to refer to all things in that category even if it is not that brand). You can Shepardize both in print and electronically.

Important Note: LSC-North Harris Library only subscribes to Shepard's Texas Citations in print. For cases outside of Texas, please use Westlaw's KeyCite.

"Shepardizing" in Westlaw

"Shepardizing" in Westlaw: Step by Step

"Shepardizing" in Westlaw is referred to instead by the term KeyCite since the company Lexis has a copyright on the Shepard's name. KeyCite in Westlaw accomplishes the same thing as Shepardizing by tracking the citing cases (cases that cite the case that you are researching).

To "shepardize"  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 Shepardizing 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 being shepardized). 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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Only currently registered Lone Star paralegal students can access Westlaw. Current paralegal students will receive an email to their MyLoneStar student email from Thomson Reuters with details on how to activate their personal account. For problems with this, please contact the Paralegal department.