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Successful Summer Strategies: Research in the Real World: Court Rules, Forms, and Practice Materials

Research in the Real World Starts Here. Use this guide to orient yourself to the world and research environment.

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Citing to Court Rules

Bluebook Rule 12.9.3 provides citation form guidelines and examples for federal and state rules of evidence and procedure.

A date is not used in a citation to a court rule of evidence or procedure. Rule 12.9.3 states that the researcher should use abbreviations such as those given in the examples listed in the Rule, or abbreviations suggested by the name of a particular court rule, which will vary from jurisidiction to jurisdiction.

Sample citations:

  • Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
  • Fed. R. Evid. 403
  • 4th Cir. R. 4(a)
  • Wyo. R. Civ. P. 16

General Tips

Practice Pointers:

  • A jurisdiction (i.e., the federal government or each state) may have rules of civil procedure, criminal procedure, appellate procedure, and evidence, among others. There may also be procedural law that appears in the substantive statutes of the jurisdiction, such as statutes of limitations and jurisdictional and venue provisions.
  • Usually the jurisdiction's rules are published as part of its code and contain annotations to interpretive cases.  These cases must be researched to determine how a rule has been applied. Wyoming annotated rules are available in Lexis' Wyoming Court Rules and in Lexis Advance. Many court internet sites also include unannotated rules.
  • Forms are often included in the rules volumes. Always use forms with caution.  Make sure that they are not outdated and that they precisely fit your situation.


Wyoming and Other State Court Rules

Wyoming Court Rules:

The Wyoming court rules are published as part of both print versions of the Wyoming annotated statutes, Wyoming Statutes Annotated (LexisNexis) and West's Wyoming Statutes Annotated. These print versions include some selected litigation forms, and the West print version contains local federal court rules. Wyoming court rules can also be accessed free at the Wyoming Judicial Branch web site.

Court Rules for Other States:

Both Lexis and Westlaw provide coverage of court rules for all fifty states. Rules can be searched for individual states or in various combined databases. In Lexis and Westlaw you can also access treatises and practice materials for various states. Look under the specific jurisdiction or under Secondary Sources.

Many state courts publish their rules on their web sites.  These will most likely not be annotated with interpretive cases.


Federal Court Rules

Federal court rules and procedures fall into four categories:

  1. Rules of general application that apply nationwide, such as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure;
  2. Rules for the various types of federal courts, such as the United States Supreme Court, the bankruptcy courts, or the tax court;
  3. Local rules of individual federal courts;
  4. Other provisions in Title 28 of the U.S. Code ("Judiciary and Judicial Procedure") that also contain procedural law


  • Both U.S.C.A. and U.S.C.S., the annotated versions of the federal code, include federal procedural rules.
  • Cases interpreting the federal rules can be researched by using the Federal Practice Digest, which indexes cases reported in the Federal Reporter (F.), the Federal Supplement (F. Supp.), and Federal Rules Decisions (F.R.D.) and is available in print and online in Westlaw's online digest.
  • Two additional sources that digest and report federal procedural case law are the Federal Rules Service and the Federal Rules of Evidence Service. Each of these is a self-contained set that allows you to identify and read the full text of cases applying the federal rules. Find out if your employer's library carries these services.
  • For treatises that provide commentary on federal procedural rules as well as citations to interpretive cases, try:
    • Federal Practice and Procedure, by Charles Alan Wright
    • Moore's Federal Practice, by James Wm. Moore