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Georgetown Law Library

Case Law Research Guide

This guide details how to read a case citation and sets out the print and online sources for finding cases.

Contents

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Reporters

The sets of books which publish cases are called reporters , and each one has a designated abbreviation. Reporters may be grouped into four kinds:

  1. Federal reporters (report federal cases)
  2. Regional reporters (report cases from a group of states)
  3. State reporters (report cases from a specific state)
  4. Subject reporters (report cases from various jurisdictions which deal a certain area of law, e.g., environment or patents)

Federal, regional, and state reporters are located on the fourth floor.

Federal Reporters

Abbreviation Reporter Name & Contents
U.S. United States Reports 
Supreme Court opinions (official)
S. Ct.

Supreme Court Reporter 
Supreme Court opinions (West Publishing)

L. Ed., L. Ed. 2d

Lawyers' Edition, 1st, 2d series
Supreme Court opinions (Lexis Law Publishing)

F., F.2d, F.3d Federal Reporter, 1st, 2d, 3d series
1st: Federal district and appellate court opinions (to 1925)
2nd: Federal appellate court opinions(1925-1993)
3rd: Federal appellate court opinions(1993- )
F. Supp.,F. Supp. 2d Federal Supplement, 1st, 2d series
1st: Federal district court opinions(1931-1998)
2d: Federal district court opinions(1998- )
F. App. Federal Appendix 
Federal appellate court opinions (not reported in F.3d) (2001- )

Regional Reporters

Abbreviation Reporter Name & Contents
A., A.2d, A.3d Atlantic Reporter, 1st, 2d, 3d series
Opinions from CT, DC, DE, ME, MD, NH, NJ, PA, RI, VT
N.E., N.E.2d North Eastern Reporter, 1st, 2d series
Opinions from IL, IN, MA, NY, OH
NW., N.W.2d North Western Reporter, 1st, 2d series
Opinions from IA, MI, MN, NE, ND, SD, WI
P., P.2d, P.3d Pacific Reporter, 1st, 2d, 3d series
Opinions from AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, KS, MT, NV, NM, OK, OR, UT, WA, WY
S.E., S.E.2d South Eastern Reporter, 1st, 2d series
Opinions from GA, NC, SC, VA, WV
S.W., S.W.2d, S.W.3d South Western Reporter, 1st, 2d, 3d series
Opinions from AR, KY, MO, TN, TX
S., S.2d Southern Reporter, 1st, 2d series
Opinions from AL, FL, LA, MS

State Reporters

Generally a state reporter's abbreviation will include the state's abbreviation (i.e., "Va." is the abbreviation for Virginia Reports, "Md. App." stands for Maryland Appellate Reports .) Not all states have their own reporters, in which case you must use the Regional reporters. See the pages 188-241 of the Bluebook for further details, or ask a reference librarian.