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LGLA 1303 - Legal Research Term Project

Research Guide for LGLA 1303 Legal Research Term Project assignment

Library Print Collection Closed


The LSC-North Harris physical library book collection, including the Legal Reference Collection, is unavailable until further notice while repairs are being made to the Library building. Library Services are available in the Learning Center, ACAD 200.

Case Law

Cases from Texas' supreme and appellate courts are published in the South Western Reporter and the South Western Reporter: Texas Cases. Case law for federal cases is published in the Federal Supplement for decisions of the federal district courts, the Federal Reporter for decisions of the federal appellate courts, and the U.S. Reports, the U.S. Supreme Court Reports Lawyer's Edition, and the Supreme Court Reporter for decisions of the United States Supreme Court. 

The South Western Reporter is available in full-text on Westlaw.

Federal reporter series are available in full-text on Westlaw.


Case Citations

To find a case in a print reporter series, you must have a citation. The citation tells you where to find the case in the series.

How to Read a Case Citation: First Number=Volume Number, Middle Number=Name of the reporter series including the edition, Last number=page number where the report starts

Southwestern Reporter

South Western Reporter: Texas Cases

Southwestern Reporter


South Western Reporter

South Western Reporter 2d

South Western Reporter 3d




South Western Reporter currently consists of 3 different series: South Western ReporterSouth Western Reporter 2d, and South Western Reporter 3d. These are not series or versions in the sense of replacements but rather they keep building over time. Reporters are published in chronological order with the newest cases published in the latest volumes. When South Western reaches volume number 999, they simply start over at 1 with a new edition.  So, to find the correct case, you will need to pay attention to the series number after the abbreviation for S.W. as well.

Print Location:

Legal Reference

KFT 1257 .W477

South Western Reporter 2D, vol.1-999 and South Western 3D are available in the Library. For the latest volumes, see Westlaw.

To find a case in South Western Reporter:

  1. Locate the correct series (South Western, South Western 2d, South Western 3d)
  2. Locate the correct volume (the first number in your citation).
  3. Locate the page where the report begins (the last part of the citation).

Finding Cases in Print

South Western Reporter 3d Shelves

Searching for Texas Cases in South Western Reporter in Print

Case reports are published in reporters in chronological order. To find a case report in print, you need to know it's citation. The citation tells you: the name of the reporter series that it was published in, the volume that contains the report, and the page number where the case starts.

Explanation of a case citation

Step 1: Find the Case Citation and Identify the Reporter

Using your case citation, determine which reporter series to locate. The abbreviation for the reporter appears in the middle of the citation.

S.W. 3d = South Western Reporter, 3rd series


South Western Reporter 3D volumes

Step 2: Locate the volume in the reporter series.

Using the first number in your citation, locate the volume on the shelf.

Example: 329 S.W.3d 104  would be found in volume 329 of the South Western Reporter 3d

example of a case in SW3d

Step 3: Locate the case in the volume

The last number in a case citation gives the page number where the report starts. 

Example: 329 S.W.3d 104 starts on page 104

Reporters publish cases in chronologic order, so there are no updates or supplements to check.

Finding Cases in Westlaw: Step by Step

Full, annotated versions of state and federal cases can be found on Westlaw

(click on images to view larger)

To search for a case on Westlaw:

  1. From the Westlaw homepage, use the main search box to search for your case. Click on the space next to the orange magnifying glass to narrow the Jurisdiction for your search.

Westlaw Edge screenshot of search box with a circle around the jurisdiction box

  1. For Texas, narrow your Jurisdiction to Texas and 5th Circuit.

Westlaw Edge screenshot of Jurisdiction selection box with "Texas," "5th Circuit," and "Related Federal" checked

  1. You can search by citation, by party names, or by keywords
  2. Searching by a citation will bring you straight to the report for that case. Searching by party names or keywords will bring you to a search results page. Click on the name of a case to bring up the case report.

Westlaw Edge screenshot of search results of cases for keyword "arson"

  1. On Westlaw, you will see more annotations including Headnotes and tabs for Negative TreatmentHistory, and Citing References

Westlaw Edge screenshot of top of case report showing tabs for document, history, citing references, negative treatment

Negative Treatment = Lists all cases that have had a negative impact on the ruling of the case that you are viewing. Negative Treatment is also indicated by Flags in front of the case name.

Red flag = The case is no longer good for at least one point of law. It was reversed or overruled

Yellow flag = The case has some negative treatment but it has not been reversed or overruled

History = Displays the case's history as it moved through the courts

Citing References = Provides a list of all cases or other documents that have cited your case since it was published


The Assignment

Item: Laymen's Brief


"Pick one of the two cases from the digest abstract and type a one to two page lawmen’s brief using the IRAC format. Find case on Westlaw and print out the first page."

Today's Hours


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.