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How to Find a Case by Name or Topic Using Print Sources: Determine the Jurisdiction

This guide will take you through finding cases by Name or Topic using the print resources available in the UCLA Law Library. Numerous online sources exist for locating cases. Vist our guides on California and Federal Case Materials for details.
URL: https://libguides.law.ucla.edu/findingcases

Reference Sources for Translating Legal Abbreviations

When you locate citations for cases you want to use, you may need help figuring out what these citations mean.  The following list contains sources for translating legal abbreviations.  Also, be sure to visit the guide "How to Read a Legal Citation" for additional assistance.

Do you want to find federal cases or cases from a specific state?

To locate a case by name or by topic, you first want to find the appropriate digest for the jurisdiction and time frame you are interested in:

CALIFORNIA

To find California cases by name, use the California Digests located on Level 2 of the Law Library Stacks.  California reporters are also on Level 2.

WEST'S

MCKINNEY'S

NOTE:  McKinney’s and the Digest of Official Reports are no longer being published, but have been left on the shelves for researching cases during the time periods they cover.

FEDERAL COURTS

To locate a citation to a federal case, consult Federal or Supreme Court Digests, located on Level 1, in the Main and East Reading Rooms.  Supreme Court reporters and federal case reporters are also located on Level 1, in the Main and East Reading Rooms.

OTHER STATES

The Law Library does not subscribe to digests for any states other than California. Cases for all other states may be found using the American Digest system (see the Don't Know the Jurisdiction or Date? box directly below).

REGIONAL REPORTERS & DIGESTS

Each Regional Reporter has its own digest, but the Law Library no longer subscribes to any of them. Cases for all other states may be found using the American Digest system (see the Don't Know the Jurisdiction or Date? box directly below).

Don't know the jurisdiction or date?

If you do not know the date or jurisdiction of your case, use the American Digest system; this covers all state and federal cases. Volumes of the American Digest system are located on Level 1, in the North Reading Room, South and East walls.