One significant purpose of Shepardizing is to verify that a case is still "good law." The overall action of Shepardizing is to use a citator to see the other cases that have cited a case and their treatment of that case.
The term is based on a legal citation service created by Frank Shepard in 1873 and published in volume form in the early 20th century. A 1902 in-depth explanation of the use of citations in legal research is available online.
While "Shepardizing" (the brand name service) may only be done in Nexis Uni, the same task may be done in Westlaw by using KeyCite.
Strong negative treatment includes:
Possible negative treatment includes:
Positive treatment includes:
An easy way to Shepardize a case is:
|Warning: Negative treatment is indicated|
|Questioned: Validity is questioned by citing references|
|Caution: Possible negative treatment|
|Positive treatment is indicated|
|Citing references with analysis is available|
|(For source information, NOT Shepard’s analysis)|
You can only use the brand name service “Shepardize” in Nexis Uni. Westlaw has created a similar product called “KeyCite.” Like Shepard's, KeyCite is also available for state and federal cases.
To use KeyCite:
For some complex cases, it may only be clear in one of the citators.
If you are unsure about this or any other question when briefing a case, please contact your instructor for clarification.
Examples of treatment seen when Shepardizing appear below. In the explanations, the phrase “the case” indicates the case that you are briefing. Please note that not all terms for negative treatment are listed below.
Confirm with your instructor when you need to cite cases that criticize, modify, etc. your case.
The case was not accepted to be heard by the higher court.
Certiorari is a writ (order) by the appeals court to a lower court to send all the documents in a case so that the appeals court can review the decision. Most commonly used by the U.S. Supreme Court. A party seeking Supreme Court review "petitions" the Court to issue a writ of certiorari.