Georgetown Law
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.


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Federal Case Law

Publication Title Call Number of Print Digital Access for Georgetown Law
United States Reports: Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court (U.S.) KF101 .A2 Reading Room (cancelled in 2012), Area 6 on map HeinOnline, Supreme Court website
West's Supreme Court Reporter (S. Ct.) KF101 .A32 Reading Room, Area 6 on map Westlaw
United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Edition (L. Ed., L. Ed. 2d) KF101 .A312 Reading Room, Area 6 on map Lexis
The United States Law Week (U.S.L.W.) KF105 .U6 Reading Room (print publication ceased in Aug. 2018), Area 2 on map Bloomberg Law
West's Federal Reporter (F.3d, F.2d, F.) KF105 .F42 3d (cancelled in 2012), KF105 .F42 2d, KF105 .F4 Reading Room, Area 6 on map Westlaw
West's Federal Supplement, 2014- (F. Supp. 3d), West's Federal Supplement, 1988-2014 (F. Supp. 2d), Federal Supplement, 1933-1988 (F. Supp.) KF105 .F44 (F. Supp. 2d cancelled in 2012) Reading Room, Area 2 on map Westlaw
West's Federal Appendix (F. App'x) KF105 .F423 (cancelled in 2012) Reading Room Cases are reported in Westlaw's Court of Appeals content set.
Federal Cases, 1789-1880 (F. Cas.) KF105 .F2 Reading Room, Area 6 on map HeinOnline
Federal Rules Service (Fed. R. Serv. 3d (West), Fed. R. Serv. 2d (Callaghan), Fed. R. Serv. (Callaghan)) KF8830 .F6 (cancelled in 2018) Stacks Cases, but not headnotes keyed to Federal Rules, are reported throughout Westlaw's federal case databases.
West's Federal Rules Decisions, 1988- ; Federal Rules Decisions, 1938-1988 (F.R.D.) KF8830 .F5 Closed Stacks South Westlaw

Special Courts & Topical Case Sources

Special courts have original jurisdiction over specific subject matter, or were established by Congress under Article I of the Constitution (e.g. the United States Tax Court). Topical reporters include specific types of case case law published in specialty reporters. This list of federal primary sources provides links to our catalog record for a publication's print edition and access to the publication's digital formats for our library patrons.

Publication Title Call Number of Print Digital Access for Georgetown Law
Tax Cases    
Reports of the United States Tax Court (T.C.) KF6280 .A2 T35 (1970-) Stacks Westlaw, Lexis, HeinOnline
TC Memorandum Decisions or Tax Court Memorandum Decisions, 1991 - (T.C.M. (RIA)); 1942-1991 (T.C.M. (P-H)) KF6324 .A513 (cancelled in 2008) Stacks Checkpoint
Tax Court Memorandum Decisions 1942-  (T.C.M. (CCH)) KF6324 .A515 Closed Stacks South (cancelled with v.101) CCH, Lexis
Tax Court Memorandum Decisions or T.C. Memo 1942 - ; Board of Tax Appeals Memorandum Decisions 1928-1942 (B.T.A.M. (P-H)) KF6324 .A513 Stacks (1928-1941) Westlaw
Reports of the United States Board of Tax Appeals, 1924-1942 (B.T.A.) KF6280 .A2 T3 Closed Stacks South HeinOnline, LLMC Digital
Standard Federal Tax Reporter (Stand. Fed. Tax Rep. (CCH)) KF6365 .C58 Reference CCH, Lexis (table of contents only)
Bankruptcy Cases    
West's Bankruptcy Reporter (B.R.) KF1515 .A2 W47 (cancelled in 2011) Closed Stacks South Westlaw
International Trade Cases    
United States Court of International Trade Reports, 1980- (Ct. Int'l Trade)   Westlaw, Lexis, HeinOnline, LLMC Digital
International Trade Reporter Decisions (I.T.R.D. (BNA)) KF6655 .A2 I58 Reference Lexis
Customs Court Reports, 1938-1980 (Cust. Ct.)    
Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, 1938-1966 (C.C.P.A.); Court of Customs Appeals Reports, 1911-1929 (Ct. Cust.), KF125 .C65 Reading Room HeinOnline, LLMC Digital
Customs Bulletin and Decisions (Cust. B. & Dec.) KF6200.5 .A553 Closed Stacks South HeinOnlineLLMC Digital
Federal Claims Cases    
Federal Claims Reporter, 1992- (Fed. Cl.), United States Claims Court Reporter, 1983-1992 (Cl. Ct.) KF125 .C55 (cancelled in 2012) Reading Room Westaw, Lexis
Cases Decided in the Court of Claims or Court of Claims Report, 1863-1982 (Ct. Cl.) KF125 .C5 Reading Room HeinOnline, LLMC Digital
Veterans & Military Cases    
West's Veterans Appeals Reporter (Vet. App.) KF7705 .A2 W3 (cancelled in 2013) Closed Stacks Westlaw
West's Military Justice Reporter (M.J.) KF7625 .A513 Closed Stacks South Westlaw
Decisions of the United States Court of Military Appeals, 1951-1975 (C.M.A.) KF7667 .A5 Closed Stacks South HeinOnline
Court-Martial Reports,1951-1975 (C.M.R.) KF7625 .A5 Closed Stacks South HeinOnline, LLMC Digital
Native American Cases    
West's American Tribal Law Reporter KF8220 .A519 W47 Closed Stacks South Westlaw
Indian Territory Reports, 1900-1909 KF112 .I5 Reading Room HeinOnline, LLMC Digital
The American State Reports, 1888-1911 KF130 .A4 Reading Room HeinOnline, LLMC Digital

See our topical research guides for treatises and secondary sources on tax law (research and treatise guides), bankruptcy law, international trade law, customs law, military law, and tribal law. For more subject specific case reporters, see our individual topical research guides.

State Case Law

For publications of state case law sources, see our individual state research guides

Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law

The major research databases, Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law, have most of the cases published in print reporters.

All of the cases published in print reporters are also available in full text on Westlaw. Most of these cases are available on Lexis and Bloomberg Law. All three databases offer case law searching by citation, jurisdiction, and subject.

Westlaw has PDF images of cases published in the federal and regional reporters. Some federal and state cases on Lexis include PDF images of the print reporters but without editorial content added by the publisher, such as West headnotes.

Other Subcription Databases

There are several lower-cost alternatives to Lexis and Westlaw.  For information on Fastcase and other databases, see our Free and Low-Cost Legal Research Guide.

Free Internet Sources for Cases

There are many Internet sites that offer the full text of court opinions free of charge.

These sites are best used to access recent decisions when the case name, title, or date is known. Free Internet sources are generally not recommended for subject research because the sites are not comprehensive and subject searching is not as sophisticated. 

For a listing of free sources of case law, see our Free and Low Cost Legal Research Guide.