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Legal Methods: Case Law Research

The basic techniques of legal analysis, writing and research.

Reporters - Federal

 

US Court Title Abbreviation Call Number/Location

United States Reports U.S. H U.S.
Supreme Court Supreme Court Reporter S. Ct. H U.S.

United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition L. Ed. H U.S.


L. Ed. 2d H U.S.

West's Federal Reporter, 3d Series (1988-date) F.3d H U.S.
Courts of Appeal Federal Reporter, 2d Series (1925-88) F.2d H U.S.

Federal Reporter (1880-1924) F. H U.S.

West's Federal Supplement, 2d Series (1988-date) F. Supp. 2d H U.S.
District Courts Federal Supplement (1933-88) F. Supp. H U.S.

Federal Rules Decisions (1941-date) F.R.D. H Stacks / KF8830 .W47
Bankruptcy Courts West's Bankruptcy Reporter B.R. H Stacks / KF1515.A2 W47
Court of Appeals  West's Veterans Appeals Reporter Vet. App. H Stacks / KF7705.A2 W3 
for Veterans Claims


Court of Appeals West's Military Justice Reporter M.J. H Stacks / KF7605.A2 W4 
for the Armed Forces


Court of Claims Federal Claims Reporter Fed. Cl. H Stacks / KF125.C5 U55 
Court of International Trade United States Court of International Trade Reports Ct. Int'l Trade
Tax Court United States Tax Court Reports T.C. H Stacks / KF6280.A24 T37




The Law Library does not subscribe to the Federal Appendix, which includes cases from the U.S. Courts of Appeals that 
are not selected for publication in the Federal Reporter. These cases may be found in print in subject-specific looseleaf 
services and online via commercial databases and court websites.

Using the Digests

The Digest Research Process consists of four steps:

1.  Locating the correct digest set for the type of research you are doing

2.  Locating relevant topics and key numbers within the digest

3.  Reading the case summaries under the topics and key numbers

4.  Updating your research to make sure you find summaries of the most recent cases

Digests

 

Court(s) Title Call Number/Location
U.S. & state courts  Decennial Digest (multiple series) H U.S.
(all cases in the National Reporter System)
Federal Practice Digest, 4th Series (1975-date)    H U.S.
U.S. courts, including
Supreme Court, Federal Practice Digest, 3d Series (1975-89) H U.S.
Courts of Appeal,
District courts, Federal Practice Digest, 2d Series (1961-75) H U.S.
Bankruptcy courts,
Court of Claims & Modern Federal Practice Digest (1939-60) H U.S.
Military courts
Federal Digest (1754-1938) H U.S.
U.S. Supreme Court United States Supreme Court Digest H U.S.
(1754-date)
State appellate court cases from the
U.S. Bankruptcy courts West's Bankruptcy Digest KF1515.3 .W47

* Note: the Law Library does not have all the digests for all the other regional reporters. If a reporter does not have a corresponding digest, use the General or Decennial Digest series, or, if available, an individual state digest. 

Reporters - Federal

 

US Court Title Abbreviation  
  United States Reports U.S.  
Supreme Court Supreme Court Reporter S. Ct.  
  United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition L. Ed.  
    L. Ed. 2d  
  West's Federal Reporter, 3d Series (1988-date) F.3d  
Courts of Appeal Federal Reporter, 2d Series (1925-88) F.2d  
  Federal Reporter (1880-1924) F.  
  West's Federal Supplement, 2d Series (1988-date) F. Supp. 2d  
District Courts Federal Supplement (1933-88) F. Supp.  
  Federal Rules Decisions (1941-date) F.R.D.  
Bankruptcy Courts West's Bankruptcy Reporter B.R.  
Court of Appeals  West's Veterans Appeals Reporter Vet. App.  
for Veterans Claims      
Court of Appeals West's Military Justice Reporter M.J.  
for the Armed Forces      
Court of Claims Federal Claims Reporter Fed. Cl.  
Court of International Trade United States Court of International Trade Reports Ct. Int'l Trade  
Tax Court United States Tax Court Reports T.C.

 

Federal Appendix United States Courts of Appeals (unpublished) Fed Appx.
 
 

Reporters - State

The West National Reporter System organizes state court cases by region of the country. The map indicates the states that are included in each of the regional reporters.

Cases from Pennsylvania State appellate courts are found in

the Atlantic Reporter:

Atlantic Reporter, 3d (2010-date) 

Atlantic Reporter, 2d (1939-2010)

Atlantic Reporter (1895-1938)  

 

The other regional reporters and their abbreviations:      
                   
California Reporter   Cal. Rptr.; Cal. Rptr. 2d; Cal. Rptr. 3d      
New York Supplement N.Y.S.; N.Y.S.2d          
North Eastern Reporter N.E.; N.E.2d          
North Western Reporter N.W.; N.W.2d          
Pacific Reporter   P.; P.2d; P.3d          
South Eastern Reporter S.E.; S.E.2d          
South Western Reporter S.W.; S.W. 2d; S.W. 3d        
Southern Reporter   So.; So.2d; So.3d          
                   
The Law Library also has the official reporters for the Pennsylvania appellate courts:  
                   
Pennsylvania Reporter              
Pennsylvania State Reports (Supreme Court)          
Pennsylvania Superior Court Reports            
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Reports          
Pennsylvania District & County Reports            
                   
The Law Library generally has other official state reporters that predate coverage in the regional reporters.