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Legal Methods

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.
Supreme Court United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition L. Ed. H U.S.
Supreme Court United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition L. Ed. 2d H U.S.
Supreme Court 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.
Courts of Appeal Federal Reporter(1880-1924) F. H U.S.
Courts of Appeal 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.
District Courts 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 for Veterans Claims West's Veterans Appeals Reporter Vet. App. H Stacks / KF7705.A2 W3 
Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces West's Military Justice Reporter M.J. H Stacks / KF7605.A2 W4 
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 (all cases in the National Reporter System) Decennial Digest (multiple series) H U.S.
U.S. & state courts (all cases in the National Reporter System) Federal Practice Digest, 4th Series (1975-date)    H U.S.
U.S. courts, including Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, District courts, Bankruptcy courts, Court of Claims & Military courts Federal Practice Digest, 3d Series (1975-89) H U.S.
U.S. courts, including Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, District courts, Bankruptcy courts, Court of Claims & Military courts Federal Practice Digest, 2d Series (1961-75) H U.S.
U.S. courts, including Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, District courts, Bankruptcy courts, Court of Claims & Military courts Modern Federal Practice Digest (1939-60) H U.S.
U.S. courts, including Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, District courts, Bankruptcy courts, Court of Claims & Military courts Federal Digest (1754-1938) H U.S.
U.S. courts, including Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, District courts, Bankruptcy courts, Court of Claims & Military courts United States Supreme Court Digest (1754-date) H U.S.
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 - 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:

Regional Reporters 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