Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Case Law - What It Is & Where to Find It


Lexis Logo

Shepard's is Lexis’s citator. Similiar to KeyCite, Shepard's uses signals to indicate negative treatment or negative history. 

Positive Treatment: Positive Treatment: This tells you that there have been cases that had a positive impact on yours in some way

Warning (Statutory) Warning (Statutory): This tells you that citing references contain some negative treatment regarding your case. This may be that it has been found unconstitutional or void 

Warning Warning: This tells you that citing references contain negative history or that the case may have been overruled in at least one point of law.

Questioning Questioning: This tells you that citing references contain treatment that questions the validity of at least on point of law in your case. 

CautionCaution: This means there is history of treatment that has a negative impact on your case. 

Neutral Neutral: This means there are citing references for your case but they are neither negative nor positive. 

Information Available Information Available: This means there are citing sources available for your case but they do not have history or treatment analysis. These could be secondary sources. 

A synopsis of Shepard’s information is located on the right side of the case. The synopsis shows: prior or subsequent history; number of citing decisions (with signals indicating whether treatment is positive or negative) and number of other citing sources.

Researchers can click individual items in the synopsis or they can choose to  “Shepardize this document” for the complete report (including table of authorities).

Westlaw Logo

KeyCite is Westlaw’s citator. It will help you determine if a source is still good law.

red flagA red flag tells you a case has been overturned on at least one point of law. (e.g., overruled or reversed)

yellow flagyellow flag tells you that your case has negative history but has not been overturned. (e.g., another court has distinguished a holding in the case).

blue-striped flagA blue-striped flag tells you the case has been appealed either to the U.S. Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court

OverrulingĀ RiskOverruling Risk is an additional feature which will tell you if a case you are citing relies on overturned authority. This is helpful if your case was not directly overturned but an earlier case was, making yours no longer good law. You can learn more here.

 Clicking on the flags or selecting the "negative treatment" tab above the case will take you to a page which explains why the case has been flagged and other related cases.

KeyCite tabs are automatically listed at the top of each case.  The tabs include: filings, negative treatment, history; citing references (with depth of treatment bars) and table of authorities.

Bloomberg Logo

BCite is Bloomberg Law's citator tool. Similar to Shepard's and Keycite, BCite will help you find out if your research is still good law.

You can use this citator  to track the history and subsequent treatment of a case. You can also use it to find secondary sources and other related cases. BCite is available on the right sidebar of court opinions on Bloomberg. Click the "Direct History" and "Case Analysis" tabs at the top of BCite to see treatment of your case by other courts. You can use filters to narrow down the BCite results.