This is the "Getting Started" page of the "Law - Case Citations" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Law - Case Citations  

Last Updated: Nov 22, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
Getting Started Print Page

Need Help?

Have A Question?


New Books

Recent Law Library Acquisitions

Loading Loading...
blank padding

Departmental Information

Wayne Law offers a Juris Doctor (JD) program leading to the basic degree necessary to practice law; a Master of Laws (LLM) program, designed for practicing lawyers, which leads to an advanced degree in one of three specialized areas; and concurrent-degree programs combining a JD degree with a master’s degree in one of five other subject areas.

The Law School also offers a number of clinical programs and internships, a variety of international study opportunities, and participation in the Intellectual Property Law Institute which is a joint venture among Wayne Law, the University of Windsor in Canada and the University of Detroit Mercy.

Visit Wayne Law

Contact Information
Wayne State University Law School
471 West Palmer Street
Detroit, Michigan  48202
Tel: (313) 577-3933
Fax: (313) 577-9016


    Other Relevant Guides



    What is a Citation?

    A legal citation is a reference to a legal authority where particular information, such as a case or statute, can be located.  Legal citations are often confusing to the uninitiated because they differ from references used in other types of research. 



    A case citation is most often made up of three parts: a VOLUME number, an ABBREVIATION, and a PAGE number. Case citations are interpreted as follows:

    Volume number where
    the case appears

    Abbreviation for the title set
    of books reporting the case

    Page number on which
    the case begins


    Examples of Citations

    Parallel Citations

    Often a case will be reported in several different reporters. These additional cites are known as parallel citations. Two examples of parallel citation are given below.

    United States Supreme Court Case

    491 U.S. 397
    109 S. Ct 2533
    105 L.Ed.2d 342

    U.S. Supreme Court decisions are reported in the three reporters listed above: United States Supreme Court Reports (U.S. - the official government publication); Supreme Court Reporter by West Publishing (S.Ct. - an unofficial reporter); and, United States Supreme Court Reporter, Lawyer's Edition published by the Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company (L.Ed.2d - another unofficial reporter). They are also published electronically in US Law Week, available in the law library via our BNA ALL subscription. You only need to look at one of the four sources, however, since each one reports the same US Supreme Court decisions.

    Michigan Supreme Court Case

    416 Mich. 63
    330 N.W.2d 366

    Michigan's official reporter for Michigan Supreme Court cases is (Michigan Reports abbreviated Mich) the corresponding regional reporter (or parallel reporter) is (Northwestern Reporter Second). Regional reporters also contain court of appeals' decisions. Sometimes the regional reporter is preferred by legal researchers because they often include research cross references.


    Reporter Location

    Law Reporters

    The most frequently requested law reporters, including the parallel citations given above, are listed in alphabetical order by abbreviation in the following table. If you have a citation, compare the abbreviation in it to the Reporter Location Table to find the WSU Law Library shelf location.

    Reporter Location Table




    A. or A.2d or Atl. or Atl.2d

    Atlantic Reporter
    (1st and 2nd Series)

    (First Level, South Side)

    Cal. Rptr.

    California Reporter

    (First Level, North Side)

    F., F2d, F3d

    Federal Reporter

    (First Level, South Side)

    F.Supp., F.Supp.2d

    Federal Supplement
    (1st and 2nd Series)

    (First Level, South Side)

    L.Ed., L.Ed.2d

    Lawyer's Edition
    (Supreme Court)

    (First Level, South Side)


    Michigan Reports
    (Supreme Court)

    172 (First Level, South Side)
    9-10 (Lower Level)

    Mich. App.

    Michigan Court of
    Appeals Reports

    173 (First Level, South Side)
    10 (Lower Level)

    N.E., N.E.2d

    Northeastern Reporter
    (1st and 2nd Series)

    (First Level, South Side)

    N.W., N.W.2nd

    Northwestern Reporter
    (1st and 2nd Series)

    (First Level, South Side)

    N.Y. Supp.

    New York Supplement

    (First Level, North Side)

    P., P.2d

    Pacific Reporter
    (1st and 2nd Series)

    (First Level, South Side)

    S., S.2d

    Southern Reporter

    (First Level, South Side)

    S.C. or S.Ct.

    Supreme Court Reporter
    (Supreme Court)

    (First Level, South Side)

    S.E. or S.E.2d

    Southeastern Reporter

    (First Level, South Side)

    S.W., S.W.2d, S.W.3d

    Southwestern Reporter
    (1st, 2nd and 3d Series)

    (First Level, South Side)


    United States Supreme
    Ct. Reports
    (Supreme Court)

    149-150 (First Level, South Side)
    41-42 (Lower Level)


    For More Information

    Association of Legal Writing Directors. ALWD Citation Manual
    Citation manual
    Law Library Reserves, KF 245 .A45 2006

    Interactive Citation Workbook for The Bluebook: A Uniform Systems of Citation
    Features practice excercises for correct citation of case names, locations, court and date; parallell citations; legislative resources, electronic and nonprint sources.
    Law Library Course Reserves KF 245 .M38 (2007)

    The Redbook: A Manual
    West's citation manual, includes instruction on legal writing and style.
    Law Library Course Reserves KF 250 .G375 (2006).

    Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citations
    Citation manual
    Law Library Reserves, KF 245 .U5 18th 2005

    Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations
    Dictionary of legal abbreviations
    Law Library Reserves, KF 246 .B46 2001

    Basic Legal Research: Tools and Strategies
    Legal Research Textbook
    Law Library Reserves, KF 240 .S585 2006

    Subject Guide

    Profile Image
    Jan Bissett
    Contact Info
    Please contact the Law Library Reference Desk at 313.577.6180 for research assistance.

    Subject Guide

    Profile Image
    Virginia Thomas

    Subject Guide

    Profile Image
    Michael Samson

    Subject Guide

    Profile Image
    Beth Applebaum

    Loading  Loading...