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Comparison of Features of Shepard's on LexisNexis and KeyCite on Westlaw
Prepared by Diane Murley, SIU Law Library, and updated 10/2006
Note: This chart only covers Shepard's and KeyCite of cases. However, the features are similar for statutes, regulations, and other authorities.
- "Cited Case": the case you have found and whose value you are trying to determine.
- "Citing References" or "Citing Decisions": authorities that have mentioned the Cited Case.
- "History" information: what happened to the Cited Case itself?
- "Treatment" information: what have other, later cases said about the Cited Case?
Basic Uses of a Citator:
- To check precedential value of a case ("Is it still good law?"). You must do this before relying on a case.
- To find other authorities on the same subject by using a case you already have. This is optional. Whether you should do it depends upon where you are in your research.
||Shepard's on LexisNexis
||KeyCite on Westlaw
- From the Cited Case – click on blue Shepardize™ link or the Shepard's® signal (e.g., red octagon or orange Q) at top of case.
- From anywhere in LexisNexis – click on the light gray Shepard's® tab.
- From the Cited Case – click on KeyCite signal (e.g., red or yellow flag) at top of case or "Links for" tab at top of left column.
- From anywhere in Westlaw – click on blue KeyCite link in gray bar across top.
- Choose KWIC or "Shepard's® for Validation" to check precedential value of Cited Case.
- Choose Full or "Shepard's® for Research" to find authorities that have mentioned the Cited Case.
- Click on "Full History" to check the precedential value of the Cited Case.
- Click on "Direct History (Graphical View)" to see flowchart of court decisions in Cited Case.
- Click on "Citing References" to find other authorities that have mentioned Cited Case.
- To find the meaning of a signal (e.g., red octagon or orange Q) used by Shepard's to indicate the subsequent history and treatment of a case, click on blue "Legend" link on left end of bottom tool bar.
- To find the meaning of a term or phrase (e.g., "reversed by" or "overruled by") used by Shepard's to characterize how a Citing Decision has treated the Cited Case, click on the term or phrase in the body of the Shepard's report.
- The reason for the KeyCite signal is summarized at the top of the KeyCite box in the left column.
- Click on the KeyCite logo in the left column to see definitions of all KeyCite signals and symbols, as well as an explanation of the information provided in a KeyCite report.
|Reading the Report
- Lists subsequent appellate history, types of analysis, other sources, and LexisNexis headnotes included in Shepard's report.
- Click on any item to go directly to those cites only.
- Use "Term" arrows in bottom right-hand corner to move from cite to cite within the category chosen.
Split Screen Display – Left Frame – "Links for" tab:
- Explanation of KeyCite signal.
- Links for Full History, Direct History (Graphical View), Citing References, Monitor with KeyCite Alert.
- Additional Links for Full-Text Document, ResultsPlus (Westlaw secondary sources), Table of Authorities, West Key Numbers.
|Reading the Report
Below the Shepard's Summary box:
- Prior History – decisions or orders in the same litigation before the Cited Case.
- Subsequent Appellate History – decisions or orders in the same litigation after the Cited Case.
Split Screen Display – Right Frame – Full History:
- Direct History.
- Negative Citing References (e.g., distinguishing or overruling case).
- Court Documents (e.g., briefs of both parties on appeal).
|Reading the Report
Citing Decisions – complete listing of Citing Decisions as well as annotated statutes and secondary authorities:
- courts within forum jurisdiction (by date, latest first);
- federal court decisions (U.S. Supreme Court first);
- decisions from other states (alphabetically by state);
- annotated statutes; and
- secondary authorities: e.g., periodicals, ALR.
- Each item is characterized by Shepard's using an "editorial treatment code" (e.g., followed, distinguished) – click on this code to get a definition.
- Full citation to the Citing Decision is provided, along with pinpoint citation(s) to where Cited Case is mentioned in Citing Decision.
- In most instances, these are links to the Citing Decision.
- To return to Shepard's report, click on "Return to Shepard's" link at top.
Split Screen Display – Right Frame – Citing References:
Complete listing of "Citing References" (including negative cases, positive cases, secondary sources, court documents).
- Within each section, cases are arranged in descending order of "Depth of Treatment" stars – more stars mean Citing Reference has more discussion of Cited Case.
- Full citation of Citing Reference is given, including pinpoint page on which Cited Case appears.
- Can link directly to a Citing Reference by clicking on blue number OR to a KeyCite report on the Citing Reference by clicking on KeyCite signal next to it.
- Use of purple quotation mark (”) indicates that Citing Reference quotes from Cited Case.
|Restricting or Limiting Results
Choose one of these restriction options (blue links near center top):
- All Neg – displays only negative Treatment of the Cited Case;
- All Pos – displays only positive Treatment of the Cited Case; or
- Focus™ – Restrict By:
- Use if you wish to narrow down the information provided in the Shepard's report for the case.
- Can limit by: type of analysis, your Focus terms, jurisdictions, headnotes, and dates.
Limit KeyCite Display (small button near bottom left of right-hand frame) – allows researcher to limit references displayed by:
- Document Type,
- Depth of Treatment, or
- Combination of limitations.
|Table of Authorities—cases, statutes, and other authorities upon which Cited Case relied
Table of Authorities (blue "TOA" link at top of display, after citation to Cited Case):
- Lists all of the cases that were relied upon (i.e., cited) by the Cited Case.
- Can link to each of these cases OR to the pinpoint page in the Cited Case where they were cited OR to the Shepard's report for each of these cases.
- to get back to the Table of Authorities, click on "Return to TOA" (blue link at top of case).
Table of Authorities link in left frame:
- Lists all cases cited in the Cited Case (helps to determine whether the Cited Case was relying on authority that still has precedential value).
- Can link to each of these cases OR to the pinpoint page in the Cited Case where they were cited OR to the KeyCite report for each of these cases.
- To return to different part of KeyCite report, click on appropriate link in left frame.
PDF version of this research guide.