California Cases – Online and Free – Lexis Advance

California Official Reports website

Anyone who regularly researches California appellate cases should have the Lexis Advance California Official Reports site bookmarked in their internet browser.  This is a free internet website that allows a researcher to retrieve the text of California appellate decisions.  The site has recently been re-formatted by Lexis.  The publisher has added to the screen its Big Red search box as found on the screens of the subscription version of Lexis Advance.  Lexis provides this free, limited service as part of its contractual relationship with the California courts.

Searching on this site does not have all the capabilities that a full Lexis subscription offers.  Keywords searching is available.  But, by knowing a few search tips beforehand (no information is available on the public site) you can limit your search results to a more manageable file.

  • Know the name of one of the parties?   Use name search shorthand.   name(levi)
  • Use phrase searching.  yellow w/2 cab  The “w/” stands for “within” and the number for the number of words between the keywords
  • or even  name(yellow w/2 cab)
  • Have a sense of the date of the opinion?  Use the date shorthand with the keywords.   and =2017   or    and  <2015  (before 2015)   or    and >2009  (after 2009)

  You can be more specific with a date and a keyword.

Here is an example:

will return one case from 2017 with a named party “Levi”

Need more up-to-date resources?

This public resource should be viewed as a repository of opinions.  The database is not current.  It is only updated monthly.  Opinions are available through the site within 60 days.

You can search for the more recent opinions on the official California courts site but searching capabilities are limited.  No keyword searching.

To obtain electronic copies of recent unpublished decisions use  –

  • Unpublished or “non-citable” opinions are opinions that are not certified for publication in Official Reports and generally may not be cited or relied on by other courts or parties in other actions (see California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115).

To obtain more recent electronic copies of recently published decisions  –

  • Published or “citable” opinions of the appellate courts are opinions ordered published in the Official Reports, and may be cited or relied on by other courts and parties.

Here is the message from the free case site from Lawrence W. Striley, Reporter of Decisions for the California appellate courts.  The Reporter of Decisions is responsible for supervising the preparation of more than 12,000 California Supreme Court and Court of Appeal opinions each year, including opinions published in both the Official California Reports and the Official California Appellate Reports as well as unpublished opinions posted on the judicial branch’s California Courts Web site.





New Resources At ACLL – CA Secondary Sources On Lexis Advance

Over the past few months, there have been changes here at law library due to a drop in revenues.  “Re-accommodation” to our hours, staffing, and locations have occurred.  More changes are expected for the next financial year starting in July.  We will keep you posted.

But here is some good news.  After contract re-negotiations by ACLL library administration, we can now offer access on Lexis Advance to many California secondary sources published by Lexis and Matthew Bender at the Alameda County Law Library public computers.

Some of the new titles now available –

  • California Causes of Action
  • California Judge Reviews – detailed biographies of state and federal judges in California.
  • California Legal Forms Transaction Guide – extensive coverage of topics, templates to help begin your drafting
  • California Mechanics’ Lien Law & Practice
  • California Uninsured Motorist Law
  • California Water Law and Policy


Because these practice guides are now available in digital formats,  searchers can request that text be delivered via email or can download to a flash drive avoiding paper printing costs.

How to access

Access Lexis Advance.  From the Lexis Advance Home screen, click the links in the following order – Secondary Materials>California>All California Treatises, Practice Guides & Jurisprudence.  Not all titles displayed on the screen are available to ACLL researchers.  Check for an “*” at the end of the title for titles not available under ACLL’s subscription.

How to search

You can search all sources at one time or select individual sources for your search.  The default is All Sources.  Shown below.

If you click on the button in front of “Select sources to search” you can move down the list, clicking on the box in front of titles to create an individualize search group.


Titles now available at ACLL under LEXIS Advance -“All California Treatises, Practice Guides” 

Ballantine and Sterling California Corporation Laws|

California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law, Revised Edition|

California Causes of Action|

California Class Actions and Coordinated Proceedings, Second Edition|

California Community Property with Tax Analysis|

California Criminal Defense Practice|

California Criminal Discovery|

California Deposition and Discovery Practice|California Drunk Driving Law|

California Employer’s Guide to Employee Handbooks & Personnel Policy Manuals|

California Environmental Law & Land Use Practice|

California Evidence Courtroom Manual|

California Evidentiary Foundations|

California Family Law Litigation Guide|

California Family Law Practice and Procedure|

California Forms of Pleading and Practice – Annotated|

California Guide to Tax, Estate & Financial Planning for the Elderly|

California Insurance Law & Practice|

California Intellectual Property Laws|

California Judge Reviews (California Courts & Judges)|

California Leave Law: A Practical Guide for Employers|

California Legal Forms Transaction Guide|

California Legal Secretary|

California Lien Claims in Workers’ Compensation Cases|

California Mechanic’s Lien Law and Construction Industry Practice|

California Objections|

California Paralegal’s Guide|

California Points & Authorities|

California Preliminary Examinations, 995 Benchbook|

California Pretrial Practice & Forms|

California Probate Practice|

California Probate Procedure|

California Products Liability Actions|

California Public Sector Employment Law|

California Public Sector Labor Relations|

California Real Estate Law and Practice|

California Small Business Guide: Formation, Operation, and Taxation|

California Torts|

California Trial Guide|

California Trial Handbook|

California Trust Practice|

California Uninsured Motorist Law|

California Water Law and Policy|

California White Collar Crime and Business Litigation|

California Wills and Trusts|

California Workers’ Compensation Law and Practice|

Complex Issues in California Family Law|

Cotchett, California Courtroom Evidence|

Deskbook on the Management of Complex Civil Litigation|

Hanna, California Law of Employee Injuries and Workers’ Compensation|

Herlick, California Workers’ Compensation Handbook|

Hogan & Weber, California Civil Discovery|

Labor & Employment in CA: Guide to Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices|

The Lawyer’s Guide to the AMA Guides and California Workers’ Compensation|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: CA Debt Collection & Enforcement of Judgments|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Civil Appeals and Writs|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Civil Discovery|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Contract Litigation|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Criminal Law|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California E-Discovery and Evidence|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Family Law|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Insurance Litigation|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Landlord-Tenant Litigation|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Pretrial Civil Procedure|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trial and Post-Trial Civil Procedure|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Unfair Competition and Business Torts|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Wages and Hours|

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: Federal Pretrial Civil Procedure in California|

Practice under the California Securities Laws|

Rassp & Herlick, California Workers’ Compensation Law|

Seiser and Kumli on California Juvenile Courts Practice and Procedure|

Wilcox, California Employment Law|


Stop by the Reference Desk if you have questions or need further guidance.

California Forms of Pleading & Practice – Using Lexis Advance To Search Online

The Alameda County Law Library currently subscribes to the online version of California Forms of Pleading and Practice – Annotated (CA FP&P), a comprehensive resource with wide coverage for California legal procedure.  This title provides the researcher with guidance for all types of civil actions.  The digital version is available through the Lexis Advance database on the ACLL public access computers.  It is an excellent place to begin any California legal research project.

Restricting Your Search on Lexis Advance to the title California Forms of Pleading & Practice at ACLL

  • Access the Lexis Advance Home screen. It is the opening screen with the “Big Red Box” across the top of the screen. Image is below
  • In the box, begin typing the title “California Forms of Pleading and Practice”

  • Look at drop down menu that automatically appears below the box as you type.
  • Click on the name of the title “California Forms of Pleading & Practice”

NOTE: ACLL’s only Secondary Source full text subscription is to CA FP&P.  Other links are not active.

  • Lexis Advance will add the CFP&P as the source file in the box on the right end within the Big Red Box.  Your search universe has now been narrowed to only CA FP&P.

 NOTE: Lexis Advance has a separate file for “Forms from California Forms of Pleading & Practice.”  Be careful which file you select from the drop down menu selection under the Big Red Box or you will may limit your search results in a way you do not wish.  Or – by selecting only the Forms file, you can better limit your search results.

The researcher can now proceed with steps as with any Lexis search.  Results will only include references to CA FP&P.

Another way to restrict searches to CA FP&P

You can also restrict your Lexis Advance searching to CA FP&P by working through a series of the screens to select the title.

Starting on the Lexis Advance Home page:

  • Select “Secondary Materials” link
  • On the next screen that appears, select “California” from the list under “State”
  • On the screen displaying the Lexis California treatises, select “California Forms of Pleading and Practice – Annotated”

  • This method places the researcher on the Advance Search page.


Lexis Advance – Now At ACLL

Lexis Advance ~ Introductory Class To Be Offered

Lexis Advance legal database with its new and improved user interface is now available at no cost on the Alameda County Law Library Oakland Main Library’s public terminals.

lexis_advance_logoLexis has changed the focus on the opening search screen to “the big red box” – found top and center on the Lexis Advance home screen.  Search terms are entered into the box — “Google style.”  Search results can then be narrowed by choosing from an array of categories listed on the left hand side of the results screen.  Also, additional keywords can be used to refine the search results using the smaller box also found along the left-hand side of the screen.

Want to learn more? (It might be time for a change. Westlaw Classic will be disappearing at the end of August.)

ACLL Lexis Advance Class Information

Learning Lexis Advance ~ Presented by the Alameda County Law Library

1 Hour MCLE Participatory Credit
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Speaker: Emily Bergfeld, Reference Librarian

11:30 – Noon // Sign-in and Brown Bag Lunch
Noon – 1:00 p.m. // Presentation

In this program, reference librarian, Emily Bergfeld, will explain select features of Lexis Advance, a second-generation legal database available free of charge at the Alameda County Law Library.

Attendees will learn to:

• Retrieve cases, codes, and regulations by citation.
• Easy to use “Google-style” search platform that turns plain language searches into relevant results.
• Simultaneously search across multiple content categories or limit to a specific source.
• Search or browse the text of CA Forms of Pleading and Practice.
• Delivery options – printing, saving, and emailing your results.

$25.00 Advance registration
$35.00 day of event, space is limited.lexis_logo_redball

Lexis Advance Flyer_6_23_15

Registration information


For East County Legal Researchers  – Lexis Access @ Dublin Public Library

Thanks to a generous challenge grant from the East Alameda County Bar Association, the Dublin Public Library will be renewing that library’s Lexis subscription.   For more information about access, call the Dublin Library at 925-803-7285.

The Dublin Library is located at 200 Civic Plaza, Dublin, Ca. 94568.
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