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Using Lexis Advance, Westlaw, & Bloomberg Law

KeyCite

KeyCite is the citation service offered through Westlaw. KeyCite relies on a variety of symbols to act as visual cues regarding the status of a case, statute, or regulation. Below are explanations of what each symbols means (as set forth by Westlaw):

Yellow Flag

  • Cases & Administrative Decisions - some negative treatment, but not reversed or overruled
  • Statutes & Regulations - proposed legislation or rule available, court decision has questioned validity, or prior version received negative treatment from a court

Red Flag

  • Cases & Administrative Decisions - no longer good for at least one point of law
  • Statutes & Regulations - amended, repealed, superseded, or held unconstitutional or preempted in whole or in part
  • RESEARCH NOTE: even if a case, statute, or regulation has a red flag it does NOT mean that the entire authority is no longer "good law." It may only be invalid for one or a few points of law, which is why it is extremely important that you actually read the case or legislation that invalidated your law to see which point(s) are no longer good.

Striped Flag

  • Indicates a document has been appealed to the U.S. Courts of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court (excluding appeals originating from agencies)

Orange Circle

  • Indicates that a document may no longer be good for at least one point of law based on its reliance on an overruled or otherwise invalid prior decision (Overruling Risk indicator)

For a brief introduction to KeyCite,check out this video:

Secondary Sources

There are a few ways to locate secondary sources in Westlaw. First, if you know the name of the resource you're looking for, you can start typing it in the main search box on the home page and it will show up as an option in the drop-down menu. For example, if you want to find the Washington Practice Series, you can start typing the title into the box and Westlaw will suggest relevant results you can select:

If you do not know the name of the resource you are looking for and want to search across secondary sources more generally, you can click on the "Secondary Sources" link from the home page (under the "Content types" tab). This will take you to the main secondary sources page. From here you can either run a search across ALL secondary sources in Westlaw by using the search bar at the top or further narrow your search by selecting a type of secondary resources or a particular jurisdiction.

The second method works well if you have a particular jurisdiction you're interested in. For example, if you want to find Washington-specific secondary sources, click on the "State materials" tab and then select Washington. You can then scroll down to the section 

Case Law

As described in our Secondary Sources research guide, it is generally a good idea to start with a secondary source when researching a topic as they will often identify important cases for you. If, however, you do want to run a search directly for cases in Westlaw, there are a few ways to do so efficiently. If you know the name or citation of the case you are looking for, you can start typing it in the main search bar and click through using the results in the dropdown menu.

If you don't know the name or citation of a particular case, however, it’s not efficient to run a search from the main case law search box because that may lead to an overwhelming number of results

Instead, start by narrowing by jurisdiction, if possible. To do so, you can either click on the links on the main cases page or you can click on the box where it says "All State & Federal" by the search bar and select your jurisdiction from the screen that pops up.

For more information, check out these tutorial videos:

Statutory Law

If you know the popular name or citation of the statute you are looking for, you can start typing it in the main search bar and click through the suggested results using using the dropdown menu.

If you don't know the popular name or citation of a particular statute, however, it’s not efficient to run a search from the main statutes and court rules search box because that may lead to an overwhelming number of results.

Instead, start by narrowing by jurisdiction, if possible. To do so, click on "Statutes & Court Rules" from the main Content Type tab and then either select a jurisdiction from that page or you can click on the box by the search bar where it says "All State & Federal" and select the jurisdiction(s) from the screen that pops up.

For more information, check out these tutorial videos:

All Westlaw Tutorials

You can find all of Westlaw's training materials in their Knowledge Areas database: