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Locating Federal & Washington Case Law Materials

This guide highlights free resources on the web for locating federal and Washington state court opinions and briefs.

Main portico with "Equal Justice Under Law" above.

United States Supreme Court



How to use Google Scholar for Case Law

To look for case law on Google Scholar:

  • At the homepage, enter an initial keyword search and narrow your search to "Case law."
  • You can further narrow your search by jurisdiction or court on the initial search screen.
  • After results have appeared, there are filters on the left to narrow your search by date and jurisdiction or court. The default is to display results by relevance, but you may also choose to sort results by date, displaying the most recent cases at the top of the page.
  • When reading a case, case citations are hyperlinked, but not other sources like statutes and regulations.
  • Below each case on the results page, you will see additional links such as:
    • Cited by: other cases that have cited the case you are currently researching. This feature gives some indication of the depth of discussion; one can also search within these results.
    • How cited: language snippets from citing cases.
    • Related articles: additional information relating to that case.
    • Cite: case's citation in Bluebook form with links to different citation management systems.

Along with the filters on the left, you may also create an email alert for your search.

Remember that after finding a case on point, you will want to use a citator to check whether the case you found is still good law.

The Chastek Library provides free access to Shepard's Citations through the public computers using the LexisNexis Academic database.

Other Internet Sources

Chastek Library, Gonzaga University School of Law | 721 N. Cincinnati St. Spokane, WA 99220-3528 | 509.313.3758