The University of Tampa Macdonald-Kelce Library

Law & Legal Studies

Get started with legal studies and law research here.

Research Help

If you are not finding the sources you need, or you can't find the statistics you know must be out there, or something on the website isn't working the way it should, reach out to a librarian. We are here to help.

  • You might find the Introduction to Library Research useful if you've never worked on a research project at the university level.
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Note: Reference (i.e. research help) hours are not the same as library building hours. See Library Hours to see if the building is open.

Mon-Thurs       9am to 9pm

Friday               10am to 4pm

Saturday          11am  to 7pm

Sunday             1pm to 8pm


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David Davisson

Research Guide - Websites

Westlaw - Use the help function
    -KeyCite (see also Shepherd at Nexis Uni)
    -Key Number System (controlled vocabulary) - Key number system in Westlaw is a form of controlled vocabulary

NEXISU UNI (formerly Lexis Nexis)


look at both Nexis Uni (formerly Lexis Nexis) AND Westlaw

Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc.

Bowers v. Hardwick (overturned)

The citator in Westaw is KeyCite®, and the citator in Lexis is Shepard's®.
KeyCite® is the citator in Westlaw.  KeyCite, quite literally, flags statutes that are not good law.

Indigo Book
The redbook: a manual on legal style - Available in the library at Circulation Desk


A good student brief will include a summary of the pertinent facts and legal points raised in the case. It will show the nature of the litigation, who sued whom, based on what occurrences, and what happened in the lower court/s.

The facts are often conveniently summarized at the beginning of the court’s published opinion. Sometimes, the best statement of the facts will be found in a dissenting or concurring opinion. WARNING! Judges are not above being selective about the facts they emphasize. This can become of crucial importance when you try to reconcile apparently inconsistent cases, because the way a judge chooses to characterize and “edit” the facts often determines which way he or she will vote and, as a result, which rule of law will be applied.

1. Select a useful case brief format.
2. Use the right caption when naming the brief.
3. Identify the case facts.
4. Outline the procedural history.
5. State the issues in question.
6. State the holding in your words.
7. Describe the court's rationale for each holding.
8. Explain the final disposition.
9. Include other opinions.


    Title and Citation
    Facts of the Case
    Decisions (Holdings)
    Reasoning (Rationale)
    Separate Opinions

Macdonald-Kelce Library - The University of Tampa - 401 W. Kennedy Blvd. - Tampa, FL 33606 - 813 257-3056 - - Accessibility