The following summary of case law comes from the 2005 edition of West's Encyclopedia of American Law (see below for further citation information): "As opposed to statutes—legislative acts that proscribe certain conduct by demanding or prohibiting something or that declare the legality of particular acts—case law is a dynamic and constantly developing body of law. ... Since the U.S. legal system has a common-law system, higher court decisions are binding on lower courts in cases with similar facts that raise similar issues."
In addition to many other news resources, LexisNexis Uni provides federal and state court opinions, federal and state statutes, federal regulations, and law journal articles. This product also provides access to the renowned Shepard's Citations® service for all federal and states court cases back to 1789. This database is only available to current Pepperdine students, faculty, and staff. For an overview of how to use Nexis Uni, visit this page.
Example: I need to find federal court cases involving intellectual property.
Under Guided Search click on Cases
Under Which Jurisdiction? click on Federal Cases (if searching for state cases, click on State Cases then type in the state)
Google has made a database of Federal and State case law and legal journal articles available via its Google Scholar search. This link allows users to select specific state or federal courts before entering search terms.
If having to select from a list of federal or state courts before searching is not preferred, users can search all of Case Law by going to Google Scholar and following these steps:
Click on "Case Law"
Enter keywords if looking up cases on your topic OR enter a specific case name as an exact phrase
If searching for California case law, select "California courts"