WESTLAW NEXT Tip of the Week: Getting Started with KeyCite

June 4, 2012

Tip of the WeekUse KeyCite® to help you determine whether a case, statute, administrative decision, or regulation is good law, and to retrieve citing references. KeyCite is the legal industry’s most accurate,
up-to-the-minute citation service, providing:

KeyCite logo

  • Current information: Caselaw direct history and precedential changes are available within 24 hours
  • Complete headnotes: Quickly limit your citing references to a relevant point of law in the West Key Number System®
  • Support for your legal arguments: More citing references for more types of documents than any other service
  • Comprehensive coverage: Validates every case in the National Reporter System®; more than 1 million unpublished cases; federal statutes and regulations; statutes from all 50 states; administrative decisions from selected federal agencies; regulations and administrative decisions from selected states; patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; American Law Reports (ALR®) annotations; and articles from hundreds of law reviews.

Accessing KeyCite

There are three ways to access KeyCite information:

  • Click a KeyCite flag anywhere it appears on WestlawNext®
  • While viewing a document, click one of the following tabs at the top of the page: Negative Treatment, History or Citing References
  • In the search box, enter the KeyCite command followed by the citation (e.g., keycite 118 sct 2196 or kc 118 sct 2196)

KeyCite Basics

Use these KeyCite tools to validate your citation references quickly, efficiently, and with confidence that your authorities are still good law.

Use these KeyCite tools to validate your citation references quickly

  1. KeyCite Flags are visual, at-a-glance indications of the treatment of a case, statute, regulation, or administrative decision. KeyCite flags appear on documents and result lists.
  2. KeyCite Tabs provide quick access to KeyCite information for a selected document.
    1. Click Negative Treatment to view a case’s negative direct history and negative citing references.
    2. Click History to view a case’s direct history or a statute’s full history.
    3. Click Citing References to view a list of citing references for the document.
    4. Click Filings to view court documents (e.g., briefs, pleadings, or dockets) related to the document.
  3. Most Negative Treatment Citation provides details about the most severe treatment that generated a KeyCite flag, right on the face of the document.
  4. KeyCite Alert monitors the status of your document and automatically sends you updates when the KeyCite information changes.

KeyCite Citing References

KeyCite citing references provide support for your legal arguments and help you investigate how other authorities have interpreted a document. Click the Citing References tab to view a list of documents that cite to your case.

KeyCite citing references provide support for your legal arguments ...

  1. Depth of Treatment Bars indicate the extent to which a citing document discusses the cited case. (4 = Examined, 3 = Discussed, 2 = Cited, 1 = Mentioned)
  2. Quotation Marks indicate that the citing document directly quotes the cited case.
  3. Headnotes indicate which point of law the citing document discusses.

To restrict the list of citing references to show only the information you need, use the tools under View and Narrow in the left column.

  1. Click a content type to limit the citing references by content type (e.g., Cases or Secondary Sources).
  2. Further refine the list by selecting one or more filters (e.g., Jurisdiction or Date).
  3. To limit your search to a particular issue or fact pattern, search for specific terms within the citing references by typing a Terms and Connectors query in the Search within results box.

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