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10 Jan 2020 Download

Product Spotlight: Shepard’s® Citations Service

When citing another case to point to precedent in your favor, relying on good law is critically important. That’s what makes Shepard’s Citations Service so valuable. Through an intuitive citation symbols and notes format, it’s a powerful legal citation tool that can help attorneys build stronger strategies.

Lawyers rely on Shepard’s in the course of their legal research to help them build and refine their legal strategies. It allows attorneys to reveal the strength of the law they’re using—which can potentially affirm an argument (or unravel it).

Shepard’s Citations Service has its roots back in the 19th century and has evolved in the era of digital online research to become synonymous with legal citations. It’s so trusted in fact, that it’s turned into a verb—judges have asked if you had thought to Shepardize® your work.

Shepardize: A legal research method of locating reports of appeals decisions based on prior precedents from Shepard’s Citations Service; determining if a case is “Good Law,” valid and citable.

Why Legal Citation Is Important

Simply put, a legal citation is when you refer to another authority in an effort to validate the points you’re making in your argument. As a general rule, the more precedent you’re able to cite in support of your legal strategy, the stronger your argument can be in the eyes of the court.

That’s why a legal citations tool like Shepard’s can be extraordinarily helpful—you don’t want to find out in court that you’ve missed an overruled decision.

Lawyers can quickly scan for Shepard’s Signal™ indicators (more details in the next section) to quickly determine the strength of the law found within a case. That makes it easy for an attorney to decide whether to use that case in their argument or abandon it in search of stronger precedent.

How to Use Shepard’s Legal Citations

If you’re a Lexis® subscriber, then you can take advantage of this powerful legal citation software already, because it’s built right into the legal research service.

After you conduct a search, you’ll be able to see these indicators within your results to help you navigate to the cases with the strongest precedent to support your strategy.

Then, when you select a case and enter the full-text view, you get a Shepard’s preview (more on that in a moment) that offers highlights of the Shepard’s report breakdown, as well as a link to the citing reference that most strongly influenced the Shepard’s Signal indicator—not to mention a handy “Shepardize this document” tool.

On certain cases you can even access an exclusive Reasons for Shepard’s Signal feature.

Even better, lawyers can leverage helpful graphical tools to quickly see when a case was treated positively by one court and negatively by another.

To make it even easier to get a quick look at a case’s Shepard’s treatment when you view a full-text case, you can see a Shepard’s preview that offers highlights of the Shepard’s report, as well as a link to the citing reference that most strongly influenced the Shepard’s Signal indicator.

You’re also able to refine your search and uncover direct relationships between your case and others in the history chain. See the direct path from a major citing event to your case so you can quickly focus on the cases you need to read. This is an extremely valuable feature that can help you validate your position and uncover additional support.

A Video Tour of 3 Vital Shepard’s Tools Inside the Lexis Service

See some of these handy case analysis tools firsthand. Here's a quick video that'll show you a trio of handy Shepard's tools inside the Lexis service: Reason for Shepard’s Signal™, Shepardizing™ Case Headnotes and Shepardizing Statutory Subsections.