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I have the name of a case/statute, but no cite. How do I find it?

The easiest ?first-response? source is Shepard?s Acts and Cases by Popular Name, located in the Law Library's third floor reference section at Call No. KF 90 .S52 1999.  Federal and state acts are listed alphabetically and can be located by name (e.g., International Trade Development Act).  Cases known by popular name (e.g., Miranda), are also listed alphabetically.  In each instance, a citation is provided to the relevant primary source.  In the case of federal statutes, that source is the United States Code, including title and section number, and usually includes a PL No. and a Statutes at Large cite, as well.  Citations to cases include parallel citations to the relevant federal, state, and regional reporters.

If the sought after case/statute isn?t included in Shepard?s, try the following:

Federal Statutes

The United States Code, the USCA and the USCS (Call No. KF 62) all have popular name tables giving cites for well known (and not so well known ? the Rare Diseases Act of 2002?) statutes.  Cites usually include a code cite, a PL No., and a Statutes at Large citation.

Federal Cases

The Modern Federal Practice Digest 4th  (Call No. KF 127) has an alphabetical table of cases in volumes 100 to 104C, by plaintiff and defendant?s names.  Obviously, for earlier periods, use previous series.

Illinois Statutes

West?s Smith-Hurd Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated has a popular name table in the last volume (R to Z) of the paper bound index.  Lexis?s version of the ILCS does not have a popular name table per se, but at the end of Vol. 50, Tables, it includes a ?Cross Reference by Act Short Title to ILCS?,? that effectively achieves the same thing, although not as comprehensively (Call No. KFI 1230).

Illinois Cases

The Illinois Digest 2d (Call No. KFI 1257 .W41) has a complete table of cases, again by plaintiff and defendant, in volumes 52 to 59 of the set.

Remaining 49 States

For statutes, the Shepard?s set is our best, and mostly only recourse, other than with respect to the other states whose statutes we still carry.  Most have popular name tables as per the West ILCS.  For cases, again, Shepard?s is the first choice.  If recourse to it doesn?t avail, it may be necessary to access the dreaded Decennial Digest Table of Cases (most current is the 11th, up through 2001), going back in time in previous Decennials, and forward in the 11th General Digest, until the relevant set is found (Call No. KF 141 .G46).  

Prepared by C. Frederick LeBaron, Jr., 8/05. 

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