HOW TO SHEPARDIZE A CASE
Shepard's Citations contain lists of citations indicating every time a published decision is cited or affected by a subsequent decision. This guide will tell you how to find citations to cases. For more detailed information check the first few pages of any Shepard's case citations volume. For information on Shepardizing statutes see How to Shepardize a Statute.
Shepard's Citations are located in the sixth floor reading room of the Moakley Library.
A. Locating Shepard's Case Citations
1. Find the appropriate set of volumes for your citation (i.e. for Federal cases use Shepard's Federal Citations).
2. Find the most recent pamphlet of the set. The front cover will indicate what volumes are included in the set under the heading "What Your Library Should Contain". The set usually consists of bound volumes and paper supplements.
3. Select all of the volumes including supplements that contain your citation.
4. To find your citation turn to the "Table of Contents" in the beginning of each of these volumes and look for the first page of your reporter. Make sure that you are in the correct section; a single volume of Shepard's may contain citations to more than one reporter.
5. Find citations to your case by locating the volume and page number that correspond to your citation. Volume numbers appear in bold type at the top corner of each page; the page numbers will also be in bold and are set off by dashes in the columns.
B. The order of citations
1. Parallel Citations
a) Parallel citations appear in parentheses the first time the case is cited and will not appear in subsequent volumes.
b) If a parallel citation was not available at the time of Shepard's publication it will appear in the next edition.
c) If there is no parallel cite in any of the volumes, there is no parallel source.
d) Shepard's lists parallel cites to regional, state AND topical reporters.
2. Case History
a) Case histories indicating prior or subsequent proceedings in the same case appear after the parallel cite.
b) History citations will always have an identifying abbreviation letter preceding the references. See Section C in this guide for an explanation of the abbreviation symbols.
3. Treatment of case
a) This section is arranged by court. Decisions in your case's jurisdiction appear first.
b) Within the listing for each reporter, citations are listed in chronological order. There is no ranking by importance or effect on the cited case.
c) Citations to cases from other jurisdictions generally follow the cases of the home jurisdiction, although this section is sometimes limited to Federal cases.
d) In general, cases from other states appear only in the Shepard's for regional reporters and not for state reporters.
4. Secondary materials
a) Shepard's Citators include citations from secondary sources or from annotations that have cited your case.
b) State Citators include references to:
c) Shepard's Federal Citators do NOT include references to law reviews. Use Shepard's Federal Law Citations in Selected Law Reviews to locate references from law reviews.
d) Annotations in American Law Reports (ALR) are included among citing sources in state and federal Shepard's.
e) Some state Shepard's such as Massachusetts include references to attorney general opinions.
f) Shepard's Citators may include references to legal treatises published by Shepards/McGraw-Hill.
C. Explanation of Shepard's Abbreviations and Symbols
1. Shepard's uses unique abbreviations in its citation lists. To interpret the abbreviations turn to the Table of Abbreviations in the front of the Shepard's volume.
2. The letter appearing before a citation in the listing indicates how the case was treated by a subsequent proceeding or by a decision from another court. Explanations of these letters appear in the front of the bound volumes under "Abbreviations-Analysis" and on the inside of the front cover of the paper supplements.
3. The small raised number to the immediate right of the reporter abbreviation is a headnote number referring to a headnote from your case. This feature allows you to go directly to references that discuss a particular issue in your case.
4. Annotation references in Shepard's end with the letter "n" and supplemental annotation references with the letter "s".
D. Using Lexis and Westlaw to verify case history and treatment
1. Only Lexis has the Shepard's service. Shepards can be found under Check a Citation in the Lexis Research section. There is also a tutorial for Shepard's on Lexis that shows how to use it online.
2. Westlaw has the Keycite service to find case history and treatment. Go to either the KC icon or on the toolbar go to Services-Keycite to access it.For more information see the Shepard's tutorial page.
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