2. This is what you see when you
first open WestlawNext!
The search box is designed like Google
3. Legal Issue (your Westlaw question):
• Do citizens have a 4th Amendment right to privacy in their
trash left outside for pick-up or do police need a search
4. Note that when you select
a specific court to search,
e.g., the U.S. Supreme
Court, or N.Y. Court of
Appeals – any individual
court search – you first get
the top 10 most recent
cases that court has
5. Here we are simply typing
in our legal issue in
6. Very helpful for you for interpreting case law!
7. PRINT OUT A LIST OF CASE
CITATIONS THAT MATCH
YOUR SEARCH TERMS.
8. Now what?
From your list of
challenge now is
to find a key case
that most closely
For many of you,
sorting by “Date”
will help because
your legal issue to
lead to a recent
9. Let‟s say we decide this
is the case we want.
11. No flag = good law so far - Yellow flag = caution – Red flag = no longer good
law (has been overruled, overturned)
Click on the flag for specific negative history.
12. Just because there is no flag…
• … does not mean this is the best case!
• A case like Roe v. Wade – (Supreme Court of the United
States January 22, 1973 - 410 U.S. 113)
• a very famous U.S. Supreme Court case in the 1970s,
has a yellow flag because some courts have not agreed
with certain aspects of the Court‟s ruling – but this case
has been cited over 22,000 times!
• If later cases have „cited‟ to (referred to) a case thousands
of times, even if there is some negative treatment, this
case is still good law, and very, very important!
• Bottom line: don‟t be afraid of cases with yellow flags!
14. 1. A court issues an opinion in a case.
2. A copy of the case is obtained by
where attorney-editors read the
cases and pick out the points of law or legal
issues in the case.
3. These legal issues or points of law are
summarized in a “headnote” and assigned a
topic and key number.
15. LET‟S DO ANOTHER
Case Law Searching
16. Legal Issue:
• If a K9 is used to walk by an automobile the police
suspect might have drugs in it, is that a search without a
warrant in the State of New York?
17. By selecting All New York
State Cases, we ensure
that we are getting cases
from NY trial courts,
appellate courts and most
importantly, NY‟s highest
New York Court of
18. In general, you will search these courts most often.
19. Here we are approaching
the legal issue with natural
20. LET‟S RUN THE SEARCH
AGAIN, THIS TIME USING
As we saw in our prior example, Boolean searching,
while not as easy as natural language searching, allows
you to control your search results very specifically, and
can produce more effective results!
Before jumping in
and deciding that
natural language is
your best bet for
results that you
can compare to
• Connectors and Expanders
In same sentence
Preceding within sentence
In same paragraph
Preceding within paragraph
Within n terms of
Preceding within n terms of
• Canine or dog or K9
• Auto or automobile or car or vehicle or truck
• 4th Amendment or Search and Seizure or Right to Privacy
• Search Warrant
• (k9 or dog or canine) & (auto! or car or vehicle or truck) &
("4th amendment" or "search and seizure" or "right to
privacy") & "search warrant"
23. Notice we
retrieved 19 more
cases on this topic
searching! This is
a perfect example
of why you should
not rely solely on
24. PRINT OUT A LIST OF CASE
CITATIONS THAT MATCH
YOUR SEARCH TERMS.
25. To print, click on the arrow
just to the right of the
Your options are: Email,
Print, Download or send to
26. Heads up! You do NOT want to print the full
text of each case!
The instructions read, “Print out the list of
cases and citations that match your key
words and terms.”
27. Let‟s print out our
28. Pay attention to whether you
want to print the entire
document or just certain
29. AMERICAN LAW REPORTS
“ALR” = a legal encyclopedia!
30. American Law Reports
• American Law Reports (ALR) delivers an objective, in-
depth analysis of your specific legal issue, together with a
complete list of every case – in every jurisdiction – that
• With thousands of attorney-authored articles covering the
entire breadth of U.S. law, ALR saves you time by taking
you deeper on a topic, faster.
• Use ALR to:
• Quickly get up to speed in an unfamiliar area of law.
• Locate all relevant case law in one easy step.
• Determine which cases are controlling and understand why.
31. Searching for “Illinois v.
Caballes” within these