LexisNexis Academic - Legal Help Guide

The following is a description of how to do a basic search for information about legal cases in LexisNexis Academic.
Access our printable handout for sample screen images that correspond with the explanation.


Easy Search

Easy Search in LexisNexis lets you search with limited options for legal cases. To use Easy Search, enter your search terms in the text entry box under "Look up a Legal Case."

  • If you know specific information about the case you’re looking for, you may search by citation (i.e. 163 U.S. 537) or the parties in involved (i.e. Mapp v. Ohio).
  • You may also search by topic, entering a few keywords into the “by Topic” search box.

Detailed Search

For a more detailed search, click on "US Legal" or "International Legal," found on the menu on the left-hand side of the page.

  • Clicking “US Legal” gives you the option to search Federal and State cases; Shepard’s Citations; Landmark Cases; Supreme Court Briefs, Federal statutes, codes and regulations; State statutes, codes and regulations; Law reviews; Legal reference; Patents; or Tax law.  Clicking “International Legal” provides a different set of options.
  • Each option, whether under “US Law” or “International Law,” has its own search interface that offers different capabilities than Easy Search. One such option is searching US Law Reviews and Journals.

US Law Reviews and Journals Search:

The following is a description of how to navigate searching US Law Reviews and Journals. If you require help with navigating other search options, contact a reference librarian using the information at the bottom of this page.

  • Access the US Law Reviews and Journals search screen by selecting “US Legal” on the left-hand side and then “Law Reviews.”
  • Enter your search terms in the box/es provided and use the drop down menus to the right of the boxes to specify where you want to find the terms (e.g. Author, Title, Citation, Summary, or Everywhere in a record).
  • Use the drop down menus to the left of the boxes to combine your search terms (if you have used more than one search box). Use “And” to look for both terms together in a record, “Or” to search for either term by itself, or “Not” to search for the first term entered, but exclude any records that contain the second term.
  • Optional: To further narrow your search, select a  topic or multiple topic areas from the list at the bottom of the interface using the checkboxes. Leaving all checkboxes blank will search all US Law Reviews and Journals.

Results List

Once you have entered the search information you desire and click the "Search" button, the following information and options will appear:

  • You can sort your results by "Relevance," "Newest to Oldest," or "Oldest to Newest." To do this, click on the drop down menu next to "Sort" near the top of the page to select which sorting method you prefer.
  • To see one of the articles listed in your search results, click on the title of the article.
  • You can narrow  your search by publication type. To do this, click on "Sources by Category" found on the menu on the left-hand side of the page. From the options listed, select the desired type of publication (e.g. law reviews and journals, magazines and journals, scientific materials, etc.).
  • You can search within the results list by entering a keyword in the "Search within results" text entry box found on the top right-hand side of the page and then clicking "Go."

Article Record

Once you select an article by title, the following options and information for the article record appear:

  • The publication name that an article was taken from, its date, and an abbreviated citation are located at the top center of the article record.
  • The name of the article is at the top left of the item record under “Length.” It is not specifically marked as “Title.”
  • You can either print or e-mail the article to yourself by clicking the equivalent icon found on the top right side of the screen.

General Tips for Searching

  • Truncate your terms with an asterisk (*) to find more results. For example, type comput* to find the words computer or computing.
  • Search for exact phrases with quotation marks (“”).
  • Use just a few key words in your search. The database will not look for common ‘stop words’ like: been, however, so, or, in, etc.
  • When a singular word is searched, the plural and possessive forms of that word will also be searched as long as you do not put your search term in quotation marks (“”). 

Need additional help?
Ask a Reference Librarian!

  • Des Plaines Campus Library, 2nd floor, 847.635.1644
  • Ray Hartstein Campus Library, Room A200, 847.635.1474