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Legal Citations: Home


This Library Guide provides a quick guide to understanding legal citations, which are the number-abbreviation-number groups following the names of court cases. The citation tells where to find the full text of the court case. The information is almost always configured as volume-abbreviation of reporter-page.

 EX: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka is cited as: 347 US 483 or volume 347 United States Reports page 483.

¶          Paragraph         For example: Deschutes Co. And Deschutes Co. Sheriff’s Assoc., 95-1 ARB ¶ 5094

§          Section             For example: 68 AM.Jur.2d §325

 NOTE: Often more than one citation will be given, for example: Brown vs. Board of Education 347 US 483, 74 S.CT 686, 98 L.Ed 873. These additional citations are called “parallel citations,” which means there is more than one place to obtain a copy of the text. ALWAYS write down parallel citations when doing course work.

Legal Citations and Sources, by Abbreviation



Atlantic Reporter (West). Text of state supreme and appellate court decisions from the Atlantic states north of Virginia (except MA and NY): CT, DE, DC, ME, MD, NH, NJ, PA, RI, VT.

Example:  Norwin School Dist. V. Belan, 507 A.2d 273



American Federal Tax Reports (RIA). All federal court and important state court decisions dealing with issues of federal taxation.

Example:  General Motors Corp. v. U.S., 67 AFTR2d 91-520


American Law Reports (West). Selected court cases chosen for their significant points of law. Used for the lengthy annotations following each case.  Covers 1919- .  (Had several predecessor publications, including Lawyers' Reports Annotated published by Lawyers Co-op, 1888-1918; L.R.A. or Law Rep.)

Example:  Fitzsimons v Eagle Brewing Co., 126 A.L.R. 681


American Jurisprudence (West). Legal encyclopedia similar to CJS.

Example:  68 Am.Jur.2d §325


Labor Arbitration Awards (CCH) (Ref Compact Storage KF 3421.3 .C6 1961-1996). Lists arbitration awards settling grievances between labor and management.

Example:  Deschutes Co. And Deschutes Co. Sheriff’s Assoc., 95-1 ARB ¶ 5094


Atlantic Reporter, see A.


Financial software, data, and media company founded in 1981.  Acquired BNA (Bureau of National Affairs) in 2011.


Bureau of National Affairs.  Also known as Bloomberg BNA.  Commercial publisher of news, analysis, and reference products, providing coverage of legal and regulatory developments.  A unit of Bloomberg since 2011.


U.S. Board of Tax Appeals Reports (Nexis Uni 1924-1942, Cataloged Microfiche HJ10 .H263 1924-1942). Became U.S. Tax Courts Reports (see TC) after 1942.

Example:  Cook, Sam v. Comm., 25 B.T.A.; § 24.107.50


Burnett’s Reports.  Wisconsin Supreme Court case decisions, 1841-1843 (single volume).  See Pin. for parallel and later citations.    

Example: Bur. 99 


U.S. Court of Appeals (Cases are in Nexis Uni). Federal court immediately below U.S. Supreme Court. Text of decisions also found in the Federal Reporter (cited as F or F2d). Was CCA prior to 1948.

Example:  People v. St. Andrew 101 CA.3d 450


California Reporter (West). Text of California Supreme Court decisions.

Example:  People v. St. Andrew 161 Cal.Rptr. 634


IRS Cumulative Bulletin. (Nexis Uni, 1954- , GovDocs T 22.25:1950-2003). Semiannual hard bound reprints of the weekly I.R.B.

Example:  1988-1 C.B. 892


U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Became CA after Sept. 1, 1948.


Commerce Clearing House. Commercial publisher of tax and accounting information.  Originated in 1913; acquired by Wolters Kluwer in 1996.


Code of Federal Regulations (Nexis Uni, current). Codification of the general and permanent regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government.  1996- available at  Also selectively covered in Bloomberg BNA Labor & Employment Law Resource Center.

Example:  20 CFR 404.140


Chandler’s Reports.  Wisconsin Supreme Court case decisions, 1849-1852.  See Pin. for parallel citations.

Example: 2 Chand. 68


Corpus Juris Secundum (West).  Best known legal encyclopedia.

Example:  C.J.S. Soc S & PW §131


U.S. Claims Court Reporter, 1982-92 (Nexis Uni).  Successor to Ct.Cl.; predecessor to Fed.Cl.

Example:  General Elevator Corp. v. U.S.,  U.S. 20 Cl.Ct.345


U.S. Court of Claims Reports, 1856-1982 (Nexis Uni, GovDocs Ju 3.9:1975-1982). Predecessor to Cl.Ct.


U.S. District Court (Cases are in Nexis Uni, 1789- ). Beginning level of the federal court system. Text of almost all decisions are also found in the Federal Supplement (cited as F.Supp). Tax cases at this level are also found in USTC.

Example:  8th Baptist Church v. U.S., DC Kan 1969


Digests are research tools that provide subject access to case law with very brief summaries of cases.


Education Law Reporter (West). (Law Books KF 4110 .A2 W45 1983-2001). Specialized reporter for field of education covering all Federal District Appellate and Supreme Court Cases as well as cases from state Supreme Courts and appellate courts.



Federal Reporter (West). Reports of cases argued and determined in the U.S. Courts of Appeal (Circuit and District Courts), 1880- . Labor cases at this level can also be found in Labor Law Reporter (CCH) (Ref Compact Storage KF 3365 .A7 C6, to 1996), and tax cases at this level can also be found in USTC.  For cases before 1789-1880 cases see F. Cas.

Examples:  U.S. v All Buildings, etc 28 F.2d 774        U.S. v Sandles 80 F.3d 1145

F. Cas.

Federal Cases (West).  Digest of decisions of the United States circuit and district courts, from 1789 to 1880.  For 1880- cases see F.



Federal Communications Commission Reports (GovDocs CC 1.12:1990-1995)


U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1992- (Nexis Uni). Federal court handling claims against the federal government. Was ClCt before 1992.


Federal Supplement (West). Text of cases from: U.S. District Courts, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Customs Court. Tax cases at this level can also be found in USTC.

Example:  Hayes v National Football League 463 F.Supp, 1174


Federal Trade Commission Decisions (GovDocs FT 1.11 1964-1999).


Federal Register, 1936- (Nexis Uni). Text of all new federal regulations, proposed regulations and notices.  1994- available at

Example:  61 F.R. 19546


IRS Internal Revenue Bulletin (Nexis Uni, 1954- ). Weekly IRS publication of Revenue Rulings (Rev. Rul.), Revenue Procedures (Rev. Proc.), Treasury Decisions (T.D.), Executive Orders, Tax Conventions, legislation, court decisions, and more. Cumulated into the semiannual Cumulative Bulletin (C.B.). 1996- available at

Example:  1996-22 I.R.B. 4


U.S. Internal Revenue Code.  (Nexis Uni, or see Title 26, U.S.C.)


Internal Revenue Mimeograph. A ruling by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (now the IRS) issued before 1953; for 1954- see Rev. Rul.


Labor Arbitration Reports (BNA) (Bloomberg BNA Labor & Employment Law Resource Center, Ref Compact Storage KF3421.3 .L3 1946-1996). Full text of labor arbitration decisions under the authority of federal arbitration.

Example: 48 LA 300


Labor Cases (CCH) (Ref Compact Storage KF 3310 .C6 1937-1995). Full text of federal and state supreme court decisions on labor problems.

Example:  Brock v Casey Truck Sales, Inc., 108 LC ¶35,027

L Ed
L Ed 2d

United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers’ Edition (Michie) (Nexis Uni, 1790- ).  Reports, with enhancements, the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.  See also: US.

Example:  Gully v. Interstate Natural Gas co. 80 L.Ed 1407


Commercial publisher and information provider, with strengths in legal information and news. Owns the publishing brands Anderson, Gould, Martindale-Hubbell, Matthew Bender, Mealey’s, Michie, and Shepard’s.  Offers the Nexis Uni database.  A division of RELX Group. .


Labor Relations Reference Manual (BNA) (Ref Compact Storage KF3308 .L3 1935-1960)

Ltr. Rul.


IRS Letter Ruling. Synonymous with Private Letter Ruling (PLR).  See: PLR.


L. Wis.

Laws of Wisconsin. Wisconsin session laws; 1983- also known as Wisconsin Acts.  See: Wis.Laws


Commercial publisher of legal resources, including L.Ed. and USCS. An imprint of LexisNexis.


Minnesota Statutes Annotated (West).


North Eastern Reporter (West). Text of state supreme court decisions from the Northeastern states: IL, IN, MA, NY, OH.

Example:  Ohio Citizens trust Co. v. Evatt  63 N.E.2d 912


National Labor Relations Board, a Federal agency. . See also Bloomberg BNA Labor & Employment Law Resource Center for coverage.  Related publications: NLRB Decisions (CCH) (Ref Compact Storage KF 3372 .A56 C6 1960-1994), Decisions and Orders of the National Labor Relations Board (GovDocs LR 1.8:1964- )

Example:  The Windsor School, Inc. 200 NLRB 991 (1972)



North Western Reporter (West) (Law Books KF 135 .N7 N62 1879-2001).  Text of state supreme court decisions from the Midwestern states. Includes Wisconsin (Wis.), also IA, MI, MN, NE, ND, SD.
1978- includes Wis.Ct.App. case decisions. 
Another publication, West’s Wisconsin Reporter, is simply a compilation of the Wisconsin cases reprinted from NW, and cases from it are cited as N.W.

Example:  Bryan v. Scurlock 168 N.W. 144



New York Supplement (West). Text of state supreme court decisions of the state of New York.

Example:  Claim of Belmar 504 N.Y.S. 867



Pacific Reporter (West). Text of state Supreme Court decisions of the Western and Pacific coast states: AK, AZ, CO, HI, ID, KS, MT, NV, NM, OK, OR, UT, WY.

Example:  Superior Coal Co. v. Musselshell Co., 41 P.2d 14


Pinney’s Wisconsin Reports.  Wisconsin Supreme Court case decisions, 1839-1852.  (Nexis Uni, Law Books KFW2445 .W49).  See Wis. for 1853- .     Ex: 1 Pin. 261 


Pub. L.

Public Law (Nexis Uni 1988- , 1995- available at Legislation enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the President.  Also published in Stat. 

Examples:  Civil Rights Act of 1964 Pub. L. 88-352, July 2, 1964 or P.L. 88-352

Priv. Ltr. Rul.

IRS Private Letter Ruling (Nexis Uni 1954- ).  Written determinations issued by the IRS that interpret and apply tax law to a taxpayer's specific set of facts. PLRs deal with pre-return filing transactions and are issued directly to individual taxpayers at their request. Synonymous with Letter Ruling (LR, Ltr. Rul.)
                               Example:  PLR 9309023                  Example:  LtrRul 9741031

RELX Group

Known as Reed Elsevier from its formation by merger in 1992 until 2015.  Corporate parent of LexisNexis.

Rev. Proc.

IRS Revenue Procedure (Nexis Uni 1955- ). IRS statement of procedure (or how to approach a tax question) that affects the rights or duties of a taxpayer. These appear in the I.R.B./C.B.

Example:  Rev. Proc. 95-24 §9.04

Rev. Rul.

IRS Revenue Ruling (Nexis Uni 1954- ). Official IRS interpretation of the application of the tax code to an entire set of facts involved in one situation. These appear in the I.R.B./C.B.  Was IR-Mim until 1953.

Example:  Rev. Rul. 95-24, § 6


Research Institute of America. Currently a tax & accounting brand of Thomson Reuters,  Originally a publisher specializing in tax and accounting that was founded in 1935.  



Southern Reporter (West). Text of state supreme court decisions from Southern states: AL, FL, LA, MS

Example:  Palmer v. Perry County Bd. Of Educ., 496 So.2d 2


Supreme Court Reporter (West) (Law Books KF 101 .A322 1882-1998). Text of U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Example:  New Orleans v. Houston, LA, 7 S. Ct. 198



South Eastern Reporter (West). Text of state supreme court decisions from Southeastern states: GA, NC, SC, VA, WV.

Example:  Siefert v. Sanders, 358 S. E.2d. 775 (1987)



Commercial publisher specializing in legal reference works that list where any court decision has been cited and the current status of that case. NO legal research is considered complete until Shepard’s or an equivalent legal citator is checked. “Shepardizing a case” means to review Shepard’s. Murphy Library owns: Shepard’s United States Citations (Law Books KF101.2 .S54, to 1993) and Shepard’s Wisconsin Citations (Law Books KFW2459 S53, to 2001). Shepard’s for ALL federal and state court cases is a feature of Nexis Uni. Shepard’s is an imprint of LexisNexis. .


U.S. Statutes at Large (GovDocs S 7.9:1789-1948; GS 4.111:1949-1983; AE 2.111:1984- ). Annual compilation of the laws passed by Congress and signed by the President.  1789-1875 also at; 1951-2002 at;

2003- at  

Example:  Civil Rights Act of 1964 78 Stat. 241

State cases

State Supreme Court cases and Court of Appeals cases are available in Nexis Uni.

State codes

Found in Nexis Uni.

State statutes

Found in Nexis Uni.  Also generally available on state government web sites. One good starting point is


See: Wis.Stat.



South Western Reporter (West).  Text of state supreme court decisions from Southwestern states: AR, KY, MO, TN, TX.

Example:  Earnhardt Development Co. v. Ray, 51 S. W.2d 732


Technical Advice Memorandum (Nexis Uni 1954- ). Issued by the IRS national office in response to IRS field requests arising out of tax return examinations. Unlike letter rulings, which focus on proposed transactions, TAMs cover completed transactions.


U. S. Tax Court Reports (Nexis Uni 1942- , GovDocs Ju 11.7:1942-2002). Federal publication providing text of the decision of the federal court where taxpayer claims are first heard. Was U.S. Board of Tax Appeals Reports (see BTA) before 1942.

Example:  Conti v. Comm., 99 TC 369 (1992): §50.486.50

TC Memo

U.S. Tax Court Memorandum Decisions (Nexis Uni 1942- , Ref Compact Storage KF 6282.A5 C6 1942-1998).  Memorandum Decisions are decisions of the tax court where the essential acts of the case have been ruled on previously and no change is made in the position of the tax court.

Example:  Cruise v. Comm., 64 TCM 1421: §55.29
Example:  Blassie v. Comm., TC Memo 1966-252


Treasury Decision.  TDs contain temporary and/or final Treas.Regs.  A final Treas.Reg. carries the full force of law.  TDs appear in the I.R.B./C.B., and finally in the F.R.    Example:  T.D. 8652.

Thomson Reuters

Major publisher in areas including legal, tax, and accounting, and owner of traditional publisher brands including West, RIA and WG&L.


IRS Technical Memorandum (Nexis Uni, 1967- ).  Memorandum from IRS Commissioner explaining or summarizing proposed Treasury rules, regulations, or policies.

Example:  536 TM, Interest Expense Deductions


Treasury Regulations (Nexis Uni, Title 26 of the CFR).  Stated positions of the IRS concerning particular provisions in the IRC.  May be Proposed, Temporary, or Final.  Temporary and Final Treas.Regs are issued as Treasury Decisions (TD).  All Treas.Regs. are published in the IRB/CB and finally in the FR.  A final Treas.Reg. carries the full force of law.


U.S. Reports (GovDocs Ju 6.8:1952-1957, 1964- ). Official texts of decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.  See also: L Ed.  1991- at

Example:  Davis v. Bandemer, 478 US. 109, 147 (1986)


U. S. Code. Compilation of all laws passed by Congress and currently in effect, grouped by topic, i.e., agriculture, land, taxation, etc.   1994- at  Also selectively covered in Bloomberg BNA Labor & Employment Law Resource Center.

Example:  42 U.S.C. §1988


United States Code Annotated (West). Annotated form of the official U.S. Code.

Example:  42 USCA §12101-12102


United States Code Service (LexisNexis/Matthew Bender/Michie) (Nexis Uni). Annotated form of the official U.S. Code, U.S. Constitution, and more.


United States District Court.  See DC.


U.S. Tax Cases (CCH) (Ref Compact Storage KF 6335 .A7 C6 1913-1998).  All federal court decisions and landmark state court decisions that deal with federal taxation. 


Brand owned and formerly used on legal information products by Thomson Reuters, Originally a publisher specializing in legal information that was established in 1872 in St. Paul, Minnesota.  


Warren, Gorham and Lamont.  Currently a tax & accounting brand of Thomson Reuters, Originally a publisher specializing in tax, accounting and finance that was established in 1961.



Callaghan's Official Wisconsin Reports (1976- ) / Wisconsin Reports (West, 1853-1975) (Nexis Uni 1853- , Law Books KFW2445 1853-1976).  Wisconsin Supreme Court case decisions since 1853.  1879- also included in NW/NW2d.   Also includes Wis.Ct.App. case decisions since 1978.  See Pin. for 1839-1852.                                            Example: 209 Wis.2d 538

Wis. Act

Wisconsin Act (1983- ) (Reference KFW2425.A216 current session).  Individually published Wisconsin session law enacted by the Legislator and signed by the Governor.  All of the Acts of a session are compiled into the bound volumes, Wis.Laws.  Session laws before 1983 are cited exclusively as Wis.Laws.                     Example: 1995 Wis. Act 27


Wisconsin Administrative Code. ( 1989- , Reference KFW2435 1956 .A27 current ed).  Compilation of the rules and regulations of various agencies of Wisconsin state government.  Example:

Wis. Admin. Code § DWD 218.03 (current through 604 Wis.Admin. Reg (May 1, 2006)


Wisconsin Administrative Register. ( 1996- )  Announcements of newly created rules to be incorporated into Wis.Admin.Code.  See Wis.Admin.Code for example.


Wisconsin Court of Appeals.  (Nexis Uni 1978- )  1978- cited as published in Wis.2d or N.W.2d.


Laws of Wisconsin.  (Nexis Uni current session, 1969- , GovDocs Wisconsin Z 5:1852- )  Bound compilation of Wisconsin session laws, as enacted by the Wisconsin Legislature and signed into law by the Governor.  Since 1983 also known as Wis. Act.

Example: 1995 Wis. Laws 27


West’s Wisconsin Legislative Service (West).  Commercially published editions of Wisconsin Acts (Wis.Laws).                            Example: 1995 Wis. Legis. Serv. 27 (West)


Wisconsin Statutes and Annotations (commonly, Wisconsin Statutes; title variable before 1911) (Nexis Uni 1989- , 1969- , GovDocs Wisconsin Z 5/2:1849- , Reference KFW2429.W57 current ed.)  Compilation of Wisconsin general laws currently in effect, published every 2 years.   

Example:  Wis. Stat. § 767.33 (1999)



West’s Wisconsin Statutes Annotated (Reference KFW2430 1957 .A43 1957, current ed.).  Contains exact text of Wis.Stat., but additionally extensively indexed and annotated.

Example:  Wis. Stat. Ann. §763 (1m)(b) (West 2000)

Wolters Kluwer

Corporate parent of CCH since 1996.

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