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Pritzker Legal Research Center

Law Journals' Guide to Source & Cite

This guide is designed to help journal students locate and request materials for source and cite checking assignments.

U.S. Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court

The Bluebook provides extensive rules for citation to United States Supreme Court opinions in Table T1. Slip opinions are first to appear and the United States Reports the last. The library holds print copies of each of these sources except slip opinions. The Bluebook requires citation in the following order of preference, if the decision is available in that source. If the case may have become available in a more preferred source since the article was drafted, cite to that instead.

Cite Reporter (in order of Bluebook preference) PDF Source Coverage





Official United States Reports.

(Publication of the United States Reports generally lags several years after the decisions.  The most current volume as of Sept. 2015 is from Vol 558, Oct Term 2009).



Complete Archive

Supreme Court website

From 1991


United States Preliminary Reports Prints

(Softbound versions subject to correction; lags about a year)

HeinOnline Approximately one year to three years 
S. Ct. West Supreme Court Reporter West's Supreme Court Reporter is available in PDF in Westlaw. From 1918 (for source and cite purposes, only last 2-3 years important for citation purposes)
L. Ed. Supreme Court Reporter -- Lawyer's Edition Not available in PDF.  
U.S.L.W. United States Law Week Database available online, but not in a PDF format.  
(Slip Op.) Slip opinions Supreme Court website From 2012
HeinOnline Last four years
  Records and Briefs Westlaw From 1990
Making of Modern Law 1832-1978

Federal and State Cases

Federal & State Cases

Published Cases in Federal and State Courts

Westlaw now provides PDFs of substantially all published decisions in its federal and Regional Reporters back to 1920. This means that most federal and state cases you need should be available. The principal exceptions are the California Reporter (Cal. Rptr.) and the New York Supplement (N.Y.S.). You can access PDFs at the top of any opinions for which they are available by locating the decision with the citation or by a search in the appropriate case database.

Court Filings

Court Filings

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is the official government service to obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts. However, there is a fee to access court documents ($0.10 per page.) on PACER, so we recommend using Bloomberg Law to find court filings.

Bloomberg Law includes full coverage of Federal Court dockets (same data from PACER) and select state court coverage. Select the Dockets Search link to search dockets. When looking at a docket for a specific case, links that say "View" indicate a document is available to download. If no one has previously requested the document through Bloomberg the links will say "Request." You may request their retrieval by clicking on the "Request" link. A “Document Request” screen will appear. You do not need to enter a Client Code, simply press “Submit” and ignore the notice about costs as there are no retrieval charges for academic accounts. Bloomberg Law may not be able to retrieve all documents, particularly for state courts. 

Note: Access to Bloomberg Law requires an individual username and password.  NU Law students and faculty can register for a Bloomberg Law account with their NLaw email address at:

Westlaw provides access to Federal Court dockets and select state court dockets via the Dockets link. However, not all documents are available. Some will tell you that Access is Denied. You can also check the “Filings” tab when you find a docket to see if any of the case documents are available.