The Tarlton Law Library’s physical facility, including Special Collections, is closed until further notice. Tarlton’s librarians and staff remain actively engaged in providing library services. Student tech support (email@example.com) and faculty and student reference assistance (https://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/email) will be available during business hours. Students can also consult our Library and Technology Support FAQ (https://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/student-remote) for most frequently needed information.
Citations to reported cases from state and federal jurisdictions in the United States follow a set pattern. This uniform system of citation allows the reader of a legal document to identify quickly the source in which the case is reported, where the case is located within the source, and the precedential value of the case. The elements of a case citation are:
For example, in the case:
Smith v. Jones, 635 F. Supp. 143 (S.D. Tex. 1994), rev'd, 25 F.3d 245 (5th Cir. 1995).
Most citations make extensive use of abbreviations. The following are some common examples. All reporters are located in Tarlton's second floor reading room.
State cases from other states can be found in regional and state reporters. Tarlton's collection includes:
You can use case law citations to find cases both in print and online. The citation is a unique identifier for that case. To pull up a reported case on an online database, such as Google Scholar, all you need is the volume, reporter abbreviation, and first page of the opinion, e.g., 635 F. Supp. 143.
For more information about online resources, see this guide's Free Online Resources page.