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PLA 4103: Shepardizing

Shepardizing

The process of 'shepardizing' a Court Case will examine how a ruling from a particular case has been treated over time.  Was this decision overturned?  Has it become a fundamental argument for a particular type of decision?  Shepardizing can help you prepare for your paper by showing you the long term impact your case has had on U.S. law.  If a case has been cited hundreds of times in similar decisions, you know it has had a profound impact.  On the other hand, if it was overturned almost immediately, you know that it was a very unpopular decision.

To Shepardize your Case, you will need to use the Lexis Nexis Academic Database.

There are two paths you can take to shepardize a particular case once you have logged into Lexis Nexis Academic. 

If you have the citation

  1. On the left hand side of the screen, click on the blue US Legal tab, then click on the link for Shepard's® Citations.
  2. In the box provided, enter the complete citation number for your particular case.  (For example, 545 U.S. 913Please note that you have to have the grammar and syntax for your citation exact, so remember to add all periods and correct spaces!!
  3. Lexis Nexis will then give you the Unrestricted Shepard's summary for this case.  The Unrestricted Summary will include citing court decisions, as well as Law Reviews, Codes and Statutes, and other Court Documents.  If you'd like to just see the citing decisions, you can limit the Summary by clicking on the pull down box in the top left corner that says Restrict By.  Selecting 'Any Analysis' will give you just the citing decisions for your case.
  4. Browse through the results!  You can click on the name of any of the cases to be taken to the full text for that particular case!

If you are looking at the full text - use shortcut 

  1. When looking at the full text of a case, at the very top of the document, you will see a tan bar that has links to printing, saving, and emailing your document in the upper right hand corner of the screen.  In that bar, in the top left hand corner, you will see one of three different icons.  A green traffic light, a yellow caution sign, or a red stop sign.  Each of these icons will take you directly to the Shepard's Summary for your case, and give you a clue as to how this case has been treated.  A green light -  means the case has been cited in a positive way, a caution sign -  means that it has been cited both positively and negatively, and a red stop sign -  means the decision has been overturned by a higher court.  If you click on the icon, it will take you right to the Shepard's Summary. 
  2. Lexis Nexis will then give you the Unrestricted Shepard's summary for this case.  The Unrestricted Summary will include citing court decisions, as well as Law Reviews, Codes and Statutes, and other Court Documents.  If you'd like to just see the citing decisions, you can limit the Summary by clicking on the pull down box in the top left corner that says Restrict By.  Selecting 'Any Analysis' will give you just the citing decisions for your case.
  3. Browse through the results!  You can click on the name of any of the cases to be taken to the full text for that particular case!