Skip to Main Content

Law and Legal Research

This guide provides information resources to support legal research

Westlaw Database Features

Review the manual to learn more about using the Westlaw database.

Determine Good Law

Westlaw's KeyCite citator will indicate if a legal decision is in part or whole is still valid using a flag system. You can also view the history, negative treatment, and citing references for the case in question. KeyCite uses the same system for statutes and regulations.

red flag: no longer good law on one or more points; yellow: some negative history; blue-striped: appeal in progress

Example of an overturned case in Westlaw

Screen shot of Roe v. Wade case on Westlaw showing a red flag next to the case name, a red box indicating tabs to negative treatment and citing refere


Filtering Citing References

Under Citing references, select cases to find newer cases that have cited the law you are searching for. You can narrow searches more using filters like jurisdiction, depth of treatment, and head notes of legal issues, or by searching within the results by keyword.

Screenshot of Westlaw Roe v. Wade case Citing Reference tab with a red box showing cases selection and a red box higlighting filters on the left side


Reviewing Negative Treatment

Screenshot of Westlaw Roe v. Wade negative treatment tab indicated with a red box and a red box highlighting the treatment column of cases


Westlaw Key Number System

Westlaw uses their Key Number indexing system to organize cases by legal topics. You can browse the list or search within the subject headings for your topic. Select the "i" next to the heading to see the scope of the term and what is not included. Click the subject heading link to see the term's subheadings.


Example of scope note