Skip to Main Content

Finding Case Law

Sources and strategies for finding case law about a topic.

"One Good Case" Method

If you have already found a relevant case for your topic, there are three techniques that you can use to find other relevant cases.

Option 1: Look Backwards

View the list of cases that the court cited in its decision. These cases will be found in the Table of Authorities (TOA).


In Westlaw, the case text includes a tab for the TOA:

Westlaw screenshot: choosing the Table of Authorities tab



In Lexis+, the TOA is located in a tab above the opinion (see the red arrow in the image below). You can also find it within the Shepard's report when you click "Shepardize document." (See the Citators page of this guide for more information on Shepard's).

Color image of the Lexis+ display of a court opinion with a red arrow pointing to the TOA tab.

Bloomberg Law

BLAW also includes a tab for the TOA within the main text of the case:

BLAW screenshot: selecting the TOA from the court opinion

Option 2: Look Forwards

Use the database's citator to find later cases which cited to your One Good Case. See the Citators page of this guide for detailed instructions on using citators.

Option 3: Look Around

Use the headnotes (topics applied to your case by the database's editorial staff) to find other cases which discuss the same legal issue as your case.


The West Key Number System allows you to easily find other cases that have been categorized into the same issue(s) as your case. To find these cases, click on the key number link(s), which appear near the top of the case:

Westlaw screenshots: finding headnotes



Within your case, first select the "Go to" drop-down menu and choose LexisNexis Headnotes:

Color image of Lexis+ display of Tennessee Valley Auth. case with red arrow pointing to the LexisNexis headnotes link on the left.

Then, you can click on the links provided to find more cases (and other documents) that have been categorized with the headnote:

Lexis screenshot: locating documents with the same headnote



Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg currently only includes headnotes for a limited number of topic areas: Communications Law, Employment, Environmental Law, Health, Intellectual Property, Labor, and Trade. See this video for more details (5:48):