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BUS 410 Business Law: Researching Court Cases

Created for students in BUS 410 Business Law

Parts of a Legal Citation

a legal citation for Kellner v. Christian, 197 Wis. 2d 183 (1995) with parts identified and explained. Names of parties comma volume number abbreviation for the reporter the case appearred in page number year of decision in parentheses with a period ending citation.

The illustration above depicts a legal citation for Kellner v. Christian. Each piece of the citation is designed to help researchers locate the case in a published legal reporter. The names of the parties can be underlined or in italics. Commonly a citation includes information for locating the case in several reporters. These are called parallel citations.

Newer cases may include a public domain cite which helps researchers locate online cases. These citations include the year the decision was filed, the court designation such as WI for Wisconsin Supreme Court, and a number assigned by the court handing down the decision. The citation below contains the public domain cite immediately following the parties names.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel v. City of Milwaukee, 2012 WI 65, 341 Wis. 2d 607, 815 N.W.2d 367.


Finding Cases

Provides access to complete court decisions and state and federal laws and regulations.   Limited access to international law resources is included. 

Directions (video 5:24)

Why Shepardize?

When researching a case, it is important that you Shepardize the case to determine if your case still reflects good law. Shepardizing is the process of determining how the case has been treated in subsequent cases. 

Have other courts handed down new decisions citing the case you are researching? Do these new decisions reaffirm, question or overturn the original decision? Keep in mind that new decisions may completely change the law as stated in your case or they may just impact a portion of the original decision.

Use Nexis Uni to Shepardize a case. Locate the case.  On the right side of the screen, click Shepardize® this document. 

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