WESTLAW NEXT Tip of the Week: Using Filters to Search for Caselaw

February 11, 2013

Tip of the WeekFilters on WestlawNext® give you the ability to quickly focus on the documents that are most important to you. Last week we looked at three filters that are available for searches in nearly all types of content: Search within results, Viewed in the last 30 days, and Documents in Folders. This week, we’ll discuss the filters to use when you search in Cases: filter by Jurisdiction, Date, Reported Status, Topic, Judge, Attorney, Law Firm, Key Number, Party, and Docket Number.


Jurisdiction – This filter lets you see how many results are available for each court. You can select the box or boxes of the specific courts for which you want results.


Date  –  Click on the Date drop-down menu to filter by the decision date of cases. You can choose several options from the menu including Last 6 months, Last 3 years, a Specific Date, or even enter a Date Range.

Reported Status – Quickly eliminate unreported cases from your results by checking the Reported filter.

 Topic – The Topic filter tells you how many results there are for each topic listed. Select one topic or multiple topics depending on how narrow you want your results. A case might be on several topics, so selecting multiple topics to filter your search can quickly return on-point cases.

Judge, Attorney, Law Firm, Party and Docket Number are great filters to use when you want to see the cases that were before a certain judge or that involved a particular party, attorney, or law firm.

Key Number

The Key Number filter is a great way to narrow your results to specific points of law. When you want to use this filter, first click Select, then add broad topic numbers or more specific Key Numbers. In the example below, you can see under Your Selections that 30 Appeal and Error was selected. To add a broader topic like 30 Appeal and Error, just click Add to the left of that topic. If you would like to add a narrower Key Number, click directly on the linked topic to see the Key Numbers. In the example, you can see we clicked on Civil Rights and Employment Practices. Now we can add the specific Key Number 78k1122 on Discharge or Layoff. 78k1122 will be added under Your Selections along with 30 Appeal and Error. Then click Continue.

Key Number

Using filters in your caselaw searches will give you better results in a fraction of the time. Next week, you’ll learn how to use filters to search for secondary sources.

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