Make Sure Your Case is Good Law by Updating with Shepard’s
It is very important that you make sure that your case is still good law before relying upon it in a legal argument. It is not only embarrassing, but unprofessional, to cite to an overruled or modified case. The most traditional way to update a case is to "Shepardize" it. Shepard's lists:
- citations to any published decisions in your case ("history");
- additional, or "parallel" citations to your case in other reporters; and
- and all subsequent published cases that cite your case ("treatment").
The Sacramento County Public Law Library subscribes to Shepard's Citators for California Cases in print, located in our Ready Reference collection, at KFC 47 .2 .S5.
To Shepardize your case using Shepard's in print:
1. Find the Shepard's set that covers the reporter your case is in. The reporters covered are listed on the spine or cover of each set.
2. Find the most recent pamphlet or "advance sheet" (usually red or yellow but some may look like newsprint) updating that set.
3. Read "What Your Library Should Contain" on the cover of the most recent
4. Look up your case (by volume and page number) in all the Shepard's volumes covering the volume of your reporter listed in "What Your Library Should Contain."
Shepard's uses symbols to indicate how other cases have affected your case. The symbols vary from set to set, but in general "o" means your case was overruled, "f" means your case was followed, "q" means your case was questioned and "d" means your case was distinguished. For a complete list of Shepard's symbols and abbreviations, look for the table at the beginning of every Shepard's volume.
KeyCite®, an online legal citation index, is available through SCPLL's subscription to Westlaw Next. For more information, see our Legal Research Guide on KeyCite®, available on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/keycite.aspx.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS GUIDE, OR IF YOU NEED HELP FINDING OR USING THE MATERIALS LISTED, DON'T HESITATE TO ASK A REFERENCE LIBRARIAN.