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Paralegal Research Guide: Shepardizing

Research tools for finding information about court cases, legal resources, and more.


Shepardizing is an important part of the legal research process. During the course of your legal research process, you want to make sure that the cases that you have found have not been overturned by another court. In order to determine if your case is still valid you would Shepardize the legal citation for the case that you have located. Shepardizing can be done either online using a legal database such as Lexis Nexis, or it can be done the traditional by looking up the case citation in the different volumes of the print version of Shepards. Either way the end result is that you will be a more informed legal professional. 

Instructions for Shepardizing in Nexis Uni

  1. Locate the Lexis Nexis Uni database on the list of databases on the Cerro Coso Library webpage. Log in if needed.
  2. Conduct a search on the Lexis Nexis Uni database and locate a case that you may need for your research. 
  3. Click on the title of the case, and a page should come up that allows you to read what happened in the case.
  4. On the left side of the screen you should see information about the current status of the case and the words Shepardize this document in blue.
  5. Click on Shepardize this document and a list of cases that have cited your case of interest will come up on the screen.
  6. The symbols that are next to the titles of each of the cases in the list will tell you if your cases decision was upheld in the case or overturned.
  7. If you do not know what the symbols mean there is a button at the bottom of the page with the case list on it that says Legend.
  8. Click on the button that says Legend and an explanation of the Shepards symbols will come up. 
  9. You have now Shepardized your case. 

Resources for learning more about Shepardizing

Print versions of Shepards available in the library

Instructions for using the print version of Shepards

  1. Locate a case in the course of your research that needs to be Shepardized,
  2. Note down the citation for the case,
  3. Locate the Shepard's citator that corresponds to the reporter that your case can be found in,
  4. Make sure that the volumes that are available in the library are current and up to date
  5. look up your case citation in the relevant volumes,
  6. Interpret your results: An explanation of the different symbols that are used in Shepard's can be located on the first few pages of the main volume.