EDAD 564: Education Law: Shepardizing Cases

This guide provides resources and tools for researching education law.

To "Shepardize" a case means ...


A method of locating the subsequent history of a case using a book or computerized version of Shepard's Citations. This process can locate a list of decisions which either follow, distinguish, or overrule any case.

Nolo's Free Dictionary of Law Terms and Legal Definitions. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.nolo.com/dictionary/shepardize-term.html

Westlaw Next Campus Database - Help Guides

Westlaw Next Campus Research is a comprehensive legal database, which includes federal and all 50 states materials; such as statutes, regulations, briefs, proposed and enacted legislation and the US Code Annotated.

This database also includes West's KeyCite feature for verification of the status of a case, statute, administrative decision, or regulation and West’s Key Number System.

Resources for using Westlaw Next Campus Research database include handouts on:

KeyCite feature to research case histories.

Checking Citations on Westlaw.

Searching Case Law

The examples to the right models how to use the KeyCite feature in Westlaw Next Campus Research. For more in depth tutorials on how to use KeyCite, please access:

KeyCite on WestlawNext from Gonzaga University School of Law

Search Options

Basic and Advanced Search in Westlaw

WestlawNext is easy to search. You can use a basic search to perform Google-like searches as a way to identify cases and their citations. The advanced search is recommended when you have citations to regulations, statutes or cases.

WestLaw Next Campus basic search example

WestLaw Next Campus advanced search example

KeyCite Example

Start with a Case

Mendez v. Westminster

Mendez, et al v. Westminister [sic] School District of Orange County, et al, 64 F.Supp. 544 (S.D. Cal. 1946), aff'd, 161 F.2d 774 (9th Cir. 1947) (en banc), was a 1947 federal court case that challenged racial segregation in Orange County, California schools. In its ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an en banc decision, held that the segregation of Mexican and Mexican American students into separate "Mexican schools" was unconstitutional. It was the first ruling in the United States in favor of desegregation.

Five Mexican-American fathers (Thomas Estrada, William Guzman, Gonzalo Mendez, Frank Palomino, and Lorenzo Ramirez) challenged the practice of school segregation in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. They claimed that their children, along with 5,000 other children of "Mexican" ancestry, were victims of unconstitutional discrimination by being forced to attend separate "schools for Mexicans" in the Westminster, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and El Modena school districts of Orange County.

Mendez v. Westminster. (2016). Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendez_v._Westminster

The KeyCite feature gives you access to History, Negative Treatment, Citing References, and Table of Authorities used for your case. Click on the KeyCite flag next to your case citation to access these documents.  

GREEN FLAG = all available citing authority is supporting.

YELLOW FLAG = includes some negative treatment.

RED FLAG = definite negative references to consider carefully in case you want to cite the document to support authority.

WestLaw Next Campus KeyCite example of navigation tabs.


The history of a case, statute, regulation, or administrative decision is available on the History tab. You will also get a visual graphic of how the case has moved through the court system.

WestLaw Next Campus KeyCite example of history  tabs.

The Graphical Statues feature is helpful when you are searching for statues in the CA Education Code. This feature shows how a stature has evolved, as well as pending legislation, and legislation affecting the statute. 

WestLaw Next Campus KeyCite example of graphical view tabs.

Negative Treatment

This tab gives you access to the negative treatment and negative history information. Each citing document list a Depth of Treatment bar which indicates the how much the case was discussed.  See the KEYCITE ON WESTLAW NEXT handout for more information.

Quotation marks indicate that the citing document has quoted directly from the case. 

Citing References

Citing References gives you access to all the treatment information. The Citing References tab allows you to research how other authorities have interpreted the case. It includes cases, administrative decisions and guidance, secondary sources, appellate court documents, trial court documents, etc. 

WestLaw Next Campus KeyCite example of citing references tabs.