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BUSI 3312: Business Law

Tips for finding full text of cases, Shepardizing, etc.

Basic Information

What is a Citation?

To search for a case, the citation is:

  • volume number
  • name of book (the set of books is a “case reporter”—often abbreviated)
  • first page number of the case
    • Example: 542 U.S. 1
    • Example: 124 S. Ct. 2301
    • Example: 159 L. Ed. 2d 98
  • 542 U.S. 1 is a U.S. Supreme court case.It is printed in volume 542 of United States Reports. Page 1 in the book also happens to be the first page of the case.

Note: All the above citations are for the same case, but printed in different sets of books by different publishers!

What to “Brief” – U.S. Supreme Court Case:

Syllabus
Written by Supreme Court employee, not judge. Has summary & holdings. Not the “Opinion.” Do not brief it.
Opinion
Appears after Case Summary, Headnotes, Decision Summary, Syllabus, Counsel, Judges. Any information before Opinion (except syllabus) is written by the publisher and could be incorrect, so do not rely on it. Brief the Opinion. Do not brief the information before the Opinion.
Concurring or dissenting opinions
IF written for a case, will have the heading “CONCUR” or “DISSENT”. If written, these are printed after the Opinion of the case, so may appear to be part of the text of the opinion, but are not the Opinion. However you may want to brief.
Footnotes
Sometimes easier to read the printout of a case by penciling an “X” through every footnote. Then read the case. Next, go back to read the footnotes.

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