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Legal Research Basics: Methods of Finding Statutes: Method 4: By citation

Guide to Statutory Research for LRW Students

Related Guides

Searching by Citation in WestlawNext

Using the basic search bar:

  • You can enter a citation into the main search bar, hit Search, and Westlaw will ordinarily pull the citation right up.
  • Note: Sometimes the database can be a little finicky.  For example: if you're pulling up a citation to the Ohio Revised Code Annotated, entering 'Ohio Revised Code' and the numeric portion of the citation pulls the statute right up, as does 'ORC' and the numeric portion of the citation.  However, putting it in Bluebook format, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. and the numeric portion of the citation, runs a search across all document types and jurisdictions, rather than pulling up your statute.  So you might have to play around.

Using Advanced Search:

  • Select 'advanced' to the right of the orange search button
  • Enter your citation in the Citation box under Document Fields

Searching by Citation in Lexis Advance

Use the search bar - enter your citation and hit search.

Again, the database can be kind of finicky.  For instance, if I was searching for a statute in the Ohio Revised Code Annotated, entering 'ORC' and the numeric portion of the citation brings up the statute, as does the proper Bluebook form, 'Ohio Rev. Code Ann.' and the numeric portion of the citation.  But entering 'Ohio Rev. Code' or 'Ohio Revised Code Annotated' runs a full search, rather than pulling up the statute.

Searching by Citation in Bloomberg Law

Using the <GO> bar:

Enter the citation, and then select Citation Search from the suggest searches that drop down.

Yet again, the way you enter the citation matters.  In Bloomberg Law, 'ORC' and the numeric portion of the citation pulls it up, as does Ohio Rev. Code and the numeric portion of the citation.  But 'Ohio Revised Code' does not work. 

(For an extra quirk, typing in 'Ohio Rev. Code' and the numeric portion of the citation, and clicking on the citation rather than on the words 'citation search' jumps you out to the statute on the Ohio government website!)