This Week in the Law Library …

This week in the Law Library we’re wishing everyone good luck on the bar exam, providing additional summer legal research tips, and celebrating Disability Pride Month.

Good Luck on the Bar Exam!

We wish our graduates and the other test takers the best of luck on the bar exam! We know you’ve got this! Believe in yourself!

Last Minute Bar Exam Tips

National Conference of Bar Examiners, Bar Exam Rules

Five Essential Last-Minute Bar Exam Tips, JD Advising

Exam Day Tips, Bar Exam Toolbox

Ashley Heidemann, How to Stay Calm During the Bar Exam, The National Jurist (June 10, 2022)

Shirlene Brown, Bar Exam Perspective – What to Do if you have a Panic Attack in the Middle of the Bar Exam?, Bar Exam Toolbox (June 8, 2022)

Summer Legal Research Tips

Previously, we looked at initial steps to take when you get a summer research project, researching secondary sources, the structure and organization of statutory codes and where to find them, statutory finding tools, using citators to validate statutes, researching historical codes, statutory surveys, and finding cases. This week we will begin covering validating cases.


There are two main case law citators to verify the status of your case – on LexisNexis, it is Shepards and on Westlaw it is Keycite. Keyciting and shepardizing are also a method for finding other cases and secondary sources relevant to your topic. There are differences between the citator symbols used by Westlaw and Lexis, but as a general rule, in either Westlaw or Lexis cases with a red flag or red stop sign may no longer be good law and should not be relied upon without doing further research. Similarly, cases with a yellow flag or yellow triangle should be used with caution because they may have been distinguished by other court rulings. Remember, that you need to take into account the jurisdiction of your case and the cases citing your case in order to determine if your case is still good law. Do not rely on the symbols completely. There have been many instances where KeyCite and Shepards will give you different symbols for a case. Read the cases to make your own determination as to the citing case’s impact on your case.

When looking at a Shepard’s or KeyCite report, the most relevant symbol is the one before the case name/citation that you are Shepardizing or KeyCiting. The symbols before the other cases retrieved in the report indicate whether the cases that relied on your decision are still good law but they are not the symbol for your case.

Lexis Shepard’s Symbols

Red Octagon: Warning Strong Negative Treatment Indicated

The red Shepard’s Signal™ indicator indicates that citing references in the Shepard’s® Citations Service contain strong negative history or treatment of your case (for example, overruled by or reversed).

Circle with an exclamation point: Warning Strong Negative Treatment Indicated

The red Shepard’s Signal™ indicator indicates that citing references in the Shepard’s® Citations Service contain strong negative treatment of the section (for example, the section may have been found to be unconstitutional or void).

Orange Square with a Q: Questioned: Validity questioned by citing reference

The orange Shepard’s Signal™ indicator indicates that the citing references in the Shepard’s® Citations Service contain treatment that questions the continuing validity or precedential value of your case because of intervening circumstances, including judicial or legislative overruling

Yellow Triangle: Possible negative treatment indicated

The yellow Shepard’s Signal™ indicator indicates that citing references in the Shepard’s® Citations Service contain history or treatment that may have a significant negative impact on your case (for example, limited or criticized by).

Green Diamond with Plus Sign: Positive treatment indicated

The green Shepard’s Signal™ indicator indicates that citing references in the Shepard’s® Citations Service contain history or treatment that has a positive impact on your case (for example, affirmed or followed by).

Blue Octagon with an A: Citing references with analysis available

The blue “A” Shepard’s Signal™ indicator indicates that citing references in the Shepard’s® Citations Service contain treatment of your case that is neither positive nor negative (for example, explained).

Blue Octagon with an I: Citation information available

The blue “I” Shepard’s Signal™ indicator indicates that citing references are available in the Shepard’s® Citations Service for your case, but the references do not have history or treatment analysis (for example, the references are law review citations).

Westlaw KeyCite Symbols

Red flag: Severe negative treatment

Indicates a document is no longer good law for at least one point of law.

Flag with Red Stripe: Overruled in part

Indicates a document has been overruled in part but not completely.

Yellow flag: Negative treatment

Indicates a document has some negative treatment

Blue-Striped flag

Indicates a document has been appealed to the US Courts of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court (excluding appeals originating from agencies).

Overruling Risk warning: Negative treatment

Indicates a document may no longer be good for at least one point of law based on its reliance on an overruled or otherwise invalid prior decision.

Where to Find More Information on Researching Cases

Don’t forget that you can always find out more about researching cases in our Researching Cases Guide or watch our videos on cases.

July Is Disability Pride Month!

Disability Pride Flag

Disability Pride Flag. A black flag with a lightning bolt of blue, yellow, white, red, and green. Source: Ann Magill/Public Domain

About Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month is an annual worldwide observance holiday during the month of July. It promotes awareness of disability as an identity, a community, a culture & the positive pride felt by disabled people. It directly challenges systematic ableism and discrimination.

5 More Resources on Accessibility & Disability Issues

Disability Law and Policy

Disability Law and Policy provides an overview of the major themes and insights in disability law. The year 2020 marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. During the past three decades, disability law and policy, including the law of the ADA itself, have evolved dramatically in the United States and internationally. Walls of inaccessibility, exclusion, segregation, stigma, and discrimination have been torn down, often brick-by-brick. But the work continues, many times led by advocates who have never known a world without the ADA and are now building on the efforts of those who came before them.

Disability Friendly: How to Move from Clueless to Inclusive (UC e-book)

Although progress has been made around equality for many marginalized groups, people with disabilities are still massively underrepresented in organizations’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts. People with disabilities make up at least 15% of the world’s population yet are still too often overlooked. This book explains the potential of disabled employees, how to create a culture of inclusion, and, in the process, help people with disabilities become proud contributors.

Eugenics, Genetics, and Disability in Historical and Contemporary Perspective (UC e-book)

Over the course of the past few decades there have been two important developments within American society that have had profound impact on both the disability and social work communities. First, genetic research, as well as policy and practice innovations based on this research, has expanded greatly over the past few decades. This is indicated, for example, by the mapping of the human genome in 2003, an expansion of prenatal genetic testing and counseling options, efforts to tailor drug regimens based on one’s genetic make-up, popular genetic ancestry and medical testing services, and potential in-roads to genetic engineering, along with a host of other bio-genetic research innovations. The second important development has been the growth of the disability rights movement, which in many ways parallels the civil rights campaigns of other “minority” groups. Importantly, the coexistence of these two developments poses intriguing challenges for social work that the profession has yet to address in a meaningful way. Moreover, coming to term with these issues is especially important for social work professionals in our crucial role as advocates for marginalized or de-valued populations.

Federal Disability Law in a Nutshell

This Nutshell presents an overview of the major federal disability laws with emphasis on the statutes, regulations, and significant points of substantive and procedural law. The sixth edition includes significant focus on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including its 2008 Amendment and accompanying regulations. Features coverage on constitutional rights; the definition of “disabled”; Rehabilitation Act of 1973; employment discrimination; programs and services; and housing, education, and transportation. Also reviews the many relevant areas of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), including the 2004 Amendments and two recent Supreme Court cases under the IDEA.

The Palgrave Handbook of Disability and Communication (UC e-book)

The Palgrave Handbook of Disability and Communication covers a broad spectrum of topics related to how we perceive and understand disability and the language, constructs, constraints and communication behavior that shape disability discourse within society. The essays and original research presented in this volume address important matters of disability identity and intersectionality, broader cultural narratives and representation, institutional constructs and constraints, and points related to disability justice, advocacy, and public policy. In doing so, this book brings together a diverse group of over 40 international scholars to address timely problems and to promote disability justice by interrogating the way people communicate not only to people with disabilities, but also how we communicate about disability, and how people express themselves through their disabled identity.

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