Research Guides

Successful Summer Strategies: Research in the Real World

Sources for Case Law Research in States Other Than Maryland

Court Systems

The court system of each state varies. Consult Table 1 of the Bluebook for information on a state’s court structure, and the reporters in which stet court opinions are published.

Print Sources

West Publishing Company’s National Reporter System provides court opinions from all fifty states. There are seven regional reporters (Atlantic, North Eastern, North Western, Pacific, South Eastern, South Western, and Southern) and separate reporters for New York and California. There are still some reporters that publish cases from one state only; for example, Maryland Reports (opinions of the Maryland Court of Appeals) and Maryland Appellate Reports (opinions of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals). The National Reporter System is the print source for cases from the many states for which there is no longer a separate reporter.

West publishes regional digests for four of its seven regional reporters. For states not covered by a regional digest, individual state digests are published.

A complete listing of states and their corresponding reporters and digests is in the TMLL Guide to Legal Research, “State and Regional Case Law Resources.”

Electronic Sources

Lexis and Westlaw:

Both Lexis and Westlaw offer databases with various combinations of courts. For example, you can select a database containing decisions from only the state courts from a particular state, or one containing both state court cases and federal court cases applying the law of that state. Your selection depends on the type of issue involved and the objective of the research project, among other factors. Be certain to use the print database directories or the online database descriptions to ascertain the coverage of a database before you begin searching.

Internet:

Among the Web sites that contain links to state governments, including links to state judiciary home pages containing various coverage of case law, are:


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