Here’s a quick tip I learned since becoming a librarian that I wish I would have known as a law student. Since Westlaw and Lexis both contain annotated versions of the U.S. Code, when pulling up a code section you may have quite a long document. That’s great if that’s what you need, but if you just need to print the text of the statute (which usually is only a page or two) it can be frustrating. Here’s the solution to that problem:


When you pull up a statutory provision in Westlaw, there is a link for “Tools” in the bottom right-hand corner. Clicking on that will give you the option to select “Limit Display by Fields.” Once you click on “Limit Display by Fields” you can select which portions of the code section you would like to see. If you just check “Citation” and “Text” that’s all you’ll get.


When you retrieve a statutory provision in Lexis, the default view (shown in the upper left- hand corner) is “Full.” Next to “Full” there is an option to select “Custom.” If you do so, you will have the option of selecting segments of the code provision that you want to see. Selecting “Cite” and “Text” will give you a basic unannotated look at the code provision.