The term Shepardize means the process of checking a case's prior precedents. The term comes from the citation service called Shepard's, which up until the late 1990s was the only real game in town. Then Westlaw quit using Shepard's, Shepard's went to Lexis (Westlaw's main competitor), and Westlaw launched KeyCite. The use of KeyCite on Westlaw is the equivalent to Shepardizing a citation using Shepard's on Lexis. By using KeyCite, you can easily determine if your case is still "good law."
KeyCite Your Citation
Log on to Westlaw. Enter your citation in the "Find citation" box and click "Go." Note the headnote numbers in your case, which contain the ruling or statement of law on which you wish to rely.
Click on the "C," which will appear in the upper left hand corner of the case.
Review the citation references, looking for any negative history, which should be indicated by a yellow or red flag on the case and will be segregated from the positive cases by a heading.
Examine any cases that are cited as overruling your case. Check the substance of the overruling decision: many times there are several issues in one opinion, and the case may still be "good law" as to your issue.
Examine any cases which "declined to follow" your case. Here again, the ruling the new case declined to follow may not be pertinent. If the new case declined to follow your case on your issue, determine if there are facts sufficient to distinguish the new case from your case.