March 19, 2013
So let’s say your assignment is to find case law supporting your exception to the Rule against hearsay, for example, Federal rule of evidence 803, but you only want cases that discuss 803(2). How do you find relevant case law? An effective and efficient approach will get you there – Keyciting!
First, pull up the rule. At the top of the document you should see a tab for “citing references” – click it! By this time you should be overwhelmed by all of the references this one rule has, but never fear we are going to narrow our results! Because we want cases select the blue “cases” link on the left hand side of the citing references results.
Now it’s time for the real fun. First, check to see how your filters are set. Look underneath the NARROW on the left hand side of the citing references. Does it say “select multiple filters” or does it say “apply filters” and “cancel”? This is a setting and is completely set up by your preference. If you have “select multiple filters” viewable, your results will refresh each time you apply a filter. If it says “apply”, your filters will not apply until you select the “apply” button. Either works, just different timing.
Next, decide what jurisdiction you want to find your results in. I have decided to select the 8th circuit. Scroll down on the left hand side and select the plus sign next to federal (or state if you want state law). Find your applicable court in the list and click the white box. You should get green check next to your jurisdiction of choice.
Finally, you want to add a search for your subsection. You can do this by filling in the “search within results” box. This box is search within the cases included in the citing references. We already know that 803 is in the case, thanks to keycite, but we don’t know if they specifically refer to 803(2). By just placing 803(2) in the “search within” you are going to drastically narrow your results to exactly the section you want! Remember to select “apply” if your filters are not automatically resetting. If you followed along, you should have gone from 11,181 cases down to 55, and you didn’t even have to run a search!