HOW TO SHEPARDIZE A STATUTE
Shepard's Statute volumes indicate subsequent legislation and court decisions citing your citation. These volumes also allow you to Shepardize federal and state constitutions, court rules, session laws, treaties, charters and ordinances. For information on Shepardizing cases see How to Shepardize a Case.
The following instructions use the Shepard's Massachusetts Citators as an example. The method used can be applied to all state and federal statute citators. Shepard's Citators are located in the sixth floor reading room of the Moakley Library.
A. Locating Shepard's Statute Citations
1. Find the appropriate set of volumes for your citation (i.e. for Massachusetts statutes use Shepard's Massachusetts Citations). The set usually consists of bound volumes and paper supplements.
2. Find the most recent pamphlet of the set. The front cover will indicate what volumes are included in the set under the heading "What Your Library Should Contain".
3. Gather all of the volumes including supplements that contain your citation. Be sure to check every volume in the set for your citation.
4. To find your citation turn to the "Table of Contents" in the beginning of each of these volumes and find the statute division. Within the statute division the codes are covered in chronological order. Find the section covering the most recent code.
5. Find citations to your reference by locating the chapter and section that correspond to your citation. Chapter and section numbers appear in bold type at the top corner of each page and are also set off in a box on that page.
6. In addition to Shepardizing your statute as a whole, you can also Shepardize statute sections and subdivisions. Citations to the statute as a whole appear first followed by citations to sections and groups of sections. Citations to subdivisions appear under the related section.
B. Citations usually appear in the following order.
1. Subsequent legislative enactments (i.e. amendments, repeals, etc.)
2. Cases citing to the statute
3. Attorney General Opinions
4. Legal periodicals
5. Annotations in American Law Reports and United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition
C. Explanation of Shepard's Abbreviations and Symbols
1. Shepard's uses unique abbreviations. To interpret these abbreviations turn to the "Abbreviations-Analysis" section in the front of the bound Shepard's volumes or on the inside front cover of the paper supplements.
2. The letter appearing before a legislative citation indicates what happened to the statute. The citation following the abbreviation will tell you where in Massachusetts Acts and Resolves you can find the change. For Example: A 1981C508 means that the statute you Shepardized was amended by Chapter 508 of the 1981 Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts.
3. A letter appearing before a judicial citation will indicate whether the court ruled on the constitutionality or validity of the statute. For example: C 35 NE2D 246 shows that the statute was ruled constitutional in the case appearing on page 246 in Volume 35 of the Northeastern Reporter 2nd series.
D. Using Online Services to Verify a Statute
1. Only Lexis has the Shepard's service. Shepard's can be found under Check a Citation in the Lexis Research section. There is also a tutorial for Shepard's on Lexis that shows how to use it online.
2. Westlaw has the Keycite service to find statute history and treatment. Go to either the KC icon or on the toolbar go to Services-Keycite to access it.For more information see the Shepard's tutorial page.
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