One of the most important steps in efficient and economical research, especially on Westlaw and LexisNexis, is choosing the right database or source in which to search. Both services have thousands of options, and the best choice for your search may not be included in the handful of options listed on the first screen.
To limit your Westlaw search to cases from the U.S. Courts of Appeals, choose from Westlaw's many database choices for U.S. Courts of Appeals Cases, including All Circuits After 1944 (CTA), Before 1945 (CTA-OLD), Reported (CTAR) and Unreported (CTAU) cases, and databases of Courts of Appeals Cases by Circuit.
To see all your database options on Westlaw, follow the Directory link on the light blue bar near the top center.
To limit your LexisNexis search to cases from the U.S. Courts of Appeals, choose US Courts of Appeals Cases, Combined Source or one of the Circuit Court Cases - By Circuit Sources.
To see all of your LexisNexis Sources options for cases from the U.S. Courts of Appeals, click on the "View more sources" link at the bottom of the Federal Legal - U.S. list. Don't click on the links under Cases - U.S. unless you want both state and federal cases.
To find U.S. Courts of Appeals cases using a print digest, you will have to use the Federal Practice Digest, which includes all federal courts. However, like all West Digests, the Federal Practice Digest lists cases under each topic and key number by court and then by date. U.S. Courts of Appeals cases are listed after any U.S. Supreme Court cases and before cases from any other federal court.
If you want to find U.S. Courts of Appeals cases on the web, you should start at Villanova's Federal Court Locator or Emory's Federal Courts Finder. By going directly to the website of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Circuit for which you want to find cases, you will save time and increase your chances of finding the cases you need.