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Finding Cases by Party Name or Citation

This research guide furnishes instructions on how to decipher case citation information and how to find cases if you only have a party name.


Often in legal research you need to find a case, but you may have only the names of the parties, such as Bellotti v. Baird.  Sometimes, you may only have the name of one party, such as Cumis.  This guide will show you how to look up a case by party name on Lexis and Westlaw, by using a search engine such as Google Scholar, or by using print resources.

Finding Cases by Party Name on Google Scholar

You can use Google Scholar to find cases by party name.  .

Finding Cases by Party Name on Lexis Advance and Westlaw

On Lexis Advance, follow these steps to find a case by party name:

  • At the Lexis Advance home page, simply type the name or names that you know in the search box.  Some cases will be automatically recognized by Lexis Advance, and you will see a pull-down menu appear with one or more suggested case citations.  For example, if you begin typing "Tarasoff" into the Lexis Advance search box, the full name of "Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California" will appear in the drop-down menu below the search box.  If you select a case name from the drop-down menu, then click "Search," the case will appear on the next screen.

  • You can choose "Filters" to narrow your search.  If you click on the "Filters" option to the right of the text entry field on the search box, you can narrow your search by jurisdiction, by category of material (cases, statutes, secondary sources, etc.), or by practice area or topic.  

On Westlaw:

  • At the Westlaw home page, type the name or names that you know in the search box. 
  • You can use the pull-down menu to the right of the search box to select a jurisdiction if you know it.  There are choices for searching multiple courts with one search if you don't know the exact court.  Click on "Search" to the right of the search box when you are finished.
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