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Library Database Information: WestlawNext

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A Bellevue University Library Guide

WestlawNext is a full-text database providing law-related resources, including Federal and State court cases, Federal and State statutes, and other legal documents.

How to access WestlawNext: 
Mouse over Find on the library homepage then click on Databases. Now click on the letter W under "Browse by title" then on WestlawNext. If off-campus, you will be prompted for your BRUIN Connect login. Once you are logged into one database, you are logged into all of them until you close your browser.

There are two ways to use the homepage to find legal documents.

  • Search box at the top of the page - you can use this to find a document by citation, by name, or by issue.
    • Citation. Enter the citation into the search box and hit Search. Punctuation, capitalization, and special characters are not necessary, for example, to find 29 U.S.C.A. §2614, type  29 usca 2614. Separate multiple citations with a semicolon.
    • Name. You can also retrieve Case Law documents by name by entering one or more of the parties' names, or the case title, in the search box.
    • Issue. Type search terms related to your issue in the search box.  You may use Boolean connectors or natural language.
    • All Federal jurisdictions are searched by default, but you may use the drop-down menu to select a specific Court or Circuit. You may also choose to search the case law for all states or specific states. You may choose up to three jurisdictions; after making your selections, click on Save.
    • When you use the search box, you are automatically searching these eight content categories: Cases, Statutes and Court Rules, Regulations, Administrative Decisions and Guidance, Secondary Sources, Briefs, Proposed and Enacted Legislation, and Proposed and Adopted Regulations. 
    • Advanced Search. Use this to build a Boolean search to more precisely focus your search; the link is right next to the Search button.
      • "Find documents that hav"e box. Type terms in either the All of these terms box, Any of these terms box, or This exact phrase box, depending on how you want these terms or phrases to appear in your document. You may then specify how often these terms or phrases appear in your document by clicking on Term frequency.
      • "Exclude documents that have" box.  If you want to exclude documents that contain certain terms, type these terms here.
      • Document Fields box. These fields are available: date, citation, and name/title. 
      • The Advanced Search displays the above document fields when it is accessed from the homepage. However, the fields will vary by content category if you access it from another page and will be related to that type of document.  For example, when accessing the Advanced Search from the Cases page, fields will include party name, synopsis, judge, etc. 
  • Browse Box. You can also find content using the links in the Browse box.
    • This box lets you select one of the eight categories that are searched when you use the Search box at the top of the page, as well as News.
    • When you click on a category, such as Cases, more options will be displayed.  In this case, you will have a choice of searching Federal or State Cases, Federal Cases by Court or Circuit, Cases by State or Other U.S. Jurisdictions, and Cases by Topic. When you select one of these, you will see the search bar is now searching only this content rather than all content, as it does when you start your search in the search box on the homepage.
    • You can also select a type of content by using the tabs at the top of the box: Federal Materials, State Materials, Topics, and Tools.

Viewing a Search Result. After you run your search, an overview of your search results is displayed.  

  • Click a content category in the left column to display the results for just that category.  For example, if you select Cases, just court cases related to your search will be displayed.
  • When these results come up, a sampling of Related Documents will appear in the right column.
  • You may continue to focus your search with selections in the left column, which vary with the category chosen. 
  • Documents are arranged by relevance by default, but you can use the Sort by menu at the top to sort in other ways, such as date.

Other features in WestlawNext

  • KeyCite. KeyCite information is available for federal statutes and state statutes for all 50 states. Use it to determine if a statute is a good law and to retrieve documents that cite that statute. It can be accessed in several ways:
    • If the KeyCite flag is displayed with the statute, click the flag.
    • When viewing any statute, click the History or Citing References tab at the top of the page.
    • Type kc: or KeyCite: followed by a citation, in the search box at the top of the page then click search.  For example kc: 29 usca 2614 or keycite: 29 usca 2614
    • A red KeyCite flag indicates that the statute has been amended, repealed, superseded, or held unconstitutional.
    • A yellow KeyCite flag indicates that the statute has some recent activity or information associated with it. 
  • Viewing History for a Statute. Click the History tab above the statute to view the history in several categories, including:
    • Graphical Statute which helps you track changes.
    • Validity which includes cases affecting the validity of the statute, or other changes affecting its validity,
    • Versions that include prior versions of the statute.
    • Editor's and Revisor's Notes, which summarizes legislative changes affecting the section.
    • Bill Drafts, which includes drafts of bills introduced before a statute was enacted.
    • Legislative History Materials, including committee reports, testimony, and other items relevant to the statute.

Printing/Saving/Emailing Documents

  • Select a  document from the list by marking the check box to the left of it. You may select multiple documents. 
  • Use the arrow next to the email icon to display delivery choices, which include Email, Print, Download, and Kindle.

For more detailed information on using WestlawNext for legal research, click on Campus Help Guide located on the WestlawNext homepage right under the Browse box.

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