National Reporter System

Primary tabs

The National Reporter System (NRS) is the popular collection of reporters published by Thomson Reuters/West Publishing for state and federal decisions. Reporters contain the opinions and decisions of courts within their purview. The reporters are organized by level and location of the courts. Larger reporters are separated into multiple series. The federal reporters are divided mostly by levels of the court with Supreme Court cases in the Supreme Court Reporter, Appellate Court cases in the Federal Reporter, and District Court cases in the Federal Supplement. There are a few special courts for particular topics: Federal Rules Decisions, Bankruptcy Reporter, and Federal Appendix. 

State Appellate Court decisions are organized into seven areas with multiple states in each area:

  • Atlantic Reporter - CT, DE, DC, ME, MD, NH, NJ, PA, RI & VT
  • North Eastern Reporter - IL, IN, MA, NY & OH
  • North Western Reporter - IA, MI, MN, NE, ND, SD & WI
  • South Eastern Reporter - GA, NC, SC, VA & WV
  • Southern Reporter - AL, FL, LA & MS 
  • South Western Reporter - AR, KY, MO, TN & TX
  • Pacific Reporter - AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, KS, MT, NV, NM, OK, OR, UT, WA & WY 

In the NRS, West attorney-editors also write synopsis, headnotes, key numbers, and case digests to supplement opinions. Synopses provide a brief overview of the case with some facts, the procedural history, and the holding. Headnotes organize an opinion into numbered sections of key legal issues. Key numbers narrow headnotes into more specific legal topics. Case digests organize the legal topics in headnotes and key numbers by jurisdiction to help researchers find other cases on the same point of law.

[Last updated in July of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]