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.


Basic Search

The Academic Search box lets you perform a generic search for legal cases. To use Easy Search, enter your search terms in the text entry box under "Academic Search" and click Search.

Look up a Legal Case

To obtain a specific legal case, click the down arrow next to "Look up a Legal Case" to open the search box. Once the drop down box is open, you can enter the citation (i.e. 163 U.S. 537), parties (i.e. mapp v ohio), and/or topics you know and click "Go" to start your search.

Subject or Topic Search

If you click on "Search by Subject or Topic" above the red search box, then you can narrow your search by content type. Content types include:


  • Federal and State Cases
  • Federal Statutes and Regulations
  • Landmark Cases
  • Legal Reference
  • Law Reviews (these are articles from law journals)
  • Patent Search
  • State Statutes and Regulations
  • Shepard's Citations

International Legal

  • Canadian Cases
  • Canadian Legislation
  • EU, Commonwealth, and Other Nations

Once you have chosen a content type, enter your search terms in the search box and click Search.

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," "Oldest to Newest," or "Source Order." 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. newspapers, legal news, magazines and journals, 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. It is not specifically marked as “Title.”
  • The author is listed after "Byline."
  • You can either print, e-mail, or upload to the cloud the article by clicking the equivalent icon found on the top right side of the screen.
  • You can obtain a full citation by clicking the equivalent icon found on the top right side of the screen.
    1. When the citation window pops up, select your citation style from the drop down next to "Style."
    2. Click the radial next to "Display Bibliographic Information in a new window" to see the citation.
    3. Click "Export" to obtain the citation.

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
  • Skokie Campus Library, Room A200, 847.635.1474