WESTLAW NEXT Tip of the Week: Use Notes of Decisions to Quickly Find Relevant Cases Interpreting a Statute or Regulation

June 24, 2013

Tip of the Week

It’s 5:00 o’clock on a Friday, and you just received an email requesting a list of cases that interpret whether entering into a lease in Illinois would submit a party to jurisdiction in Illinois, according to the state’s long-arm statute. You can get a head start on your research by retrieving the long-arm statute and browsing the Notes of Decisions┬«.

Notes of Decisions are annotations that summarize important cases that have interpreted a statute or regulation, giving you a more complete picture of how the law has been applied.

First, let’s find the Illinois long-arm statute. Select Illinois as your jurisdiction and use the terms long arm statute.

Illinois long-arm statute

As you can see, the Illinois long-arm statute is delivered directly to the top of the list despite the fact that the actual terms long arm do not appear in the statutory text. WestSearch, the search engine that powers WestlawNext, was able to find the correct statute because it employs proprietary research tools and editorial enhancements, like Notes of Decisions, to deliver the most relevant documents to the top of the list.

Notes of Decisions helps improve search results because the editorially-written summaries often describes the legal issue similarly to how a legal professional would, so your search terms are more likely to sync-up with the Note of Decision, even if the statutory language does not. (Other proprietary research tools and editorial enhancements also play a role; click here to learn more about WestSearch).

Accessing Notes of Decisions

Now that you have located the statute section you need, you can access Notes of Decisions three different ways.

  1. Click the Notes of Decisions tab.
  2. Click one of the topic headings under Notes of Decisions on the right.
  3. Scroll through the document and click Notes of Decisions.

Accessing Notes of Decisions

Attorney editors organize Notes of Decisions into broader headings and then into more precise topics so you can easily navigate directly to the most relevant Notes of Decisions for your issue. Click Minimum Contacts since that is the most applicable topic to this issue. Several more precise topics appear for you to browse, including Leases, which is exactly the issue being researched. Click Leases.

Click Minimum Contacts. Click Leases

There are seven different Notes of Decisions under Leases.

Minimum Contacts

As you have learned, each Note of Decision links to the citing case as well as the relevant Key Number for the topic(s) discussed, giving you seamless access to a network of cases on a precise topic.

Sign On