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Federal Case Law

This guide is intended to familiarize the user with the U.S. court structure, the authoritativenss and publication of federal court opinions, and the various reporters/publications containing the text of these opinions.


This guide is intended to familiarize you with the U.S. federal court structure, the authoritativeness of federal court opinions from the different federal court levels, and the publication process for federal court opinions. Additionally, the guide identifies various sources containing the text of these opinions, fousing mostly on print reporters and their online (PDF) equivalents. The UCLA Law librarians have created other guides that focus on sources and methods for locating cases and court documents online:

For additional guidance on locating cases, you may also want to consult a legal research guide on the broad area of law you are researching (e.g., Bankruptcy Law, Environmental Law). You can check to see if UCLA Law Library has a guide on your topic by using our A-Z list of Law Library Research Guides. Our subject-specific guides typically provide links to both online secondary and primary sources as well as library location information for relevant print sources at the UCLA Law Library.