Sunday, June 23, 2013

Legal research tips for Fastcase

These tips come to us via Jim Calloway (this post is one he authored for the Oklahoma Bar Association blog but be sure to follow his excellent legal skills related blog - Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog).  Fastcase, as you may know, is a legal research engine offered free with bar membership in many states (check here to see if your state is one of them).   Among the "top 10" tips and/or new features Jim is sharing for Fastcase are these:

Whether you’re a power user or use the service once in a blue moon, here are 10 “new” Fastcase tools that will help you work smarter.

  1. Interactive Timeline
  2. In addition to text-based search results, Fastcase now includes a power data visualization tool that creates a visual map of search results. It allows you to see the most important cases at a glance. When you’re looking at search results, just click the “Interactive Timeline” tab at the top.

  3. Forecite
  4. Forecite from Fastcase goes beyond your keyword search, using intelligent citation analysis to find cases you might otherwise miss. In a millisecond before displaying search results, Forecite automatically reads each case in the result list and builds a table of frequently cited cases. If seminal cases don’t appear in the search result (which is more common than you’d expect), Forecite will suggest them for you. It’s like having a safety net for your research.

  5. PACER Searching
  6. Searching federal dockets with PACER is slow and difficult, especially if you have to search multiple courts. So Fastcase has worked with Justia to build a tool that can search across all PACER sites at once. It’s the depth of PACER with the power of Fastcase. You can also filter by state, court, date or type of suit. When you select a document you’d like to download, the tool takes you to the individual PACER site, where standard charges apply.

  7. Fastcase MobileMobile Sync
  8. Many lawyers in the state use Fastcase’s free iPhone, iPad and Android apps1 for legal research on the go. Traditionally, research done on the phone stayed on the phone, and research on the desktop stayed on the desktop. With Fastcase Mobile Sync, you can take your desktop research, favorites and search history on the road with you. You can also save cases from the iPhone or iPad and print them from Fastcase through the OBA. To sign up, simply log into Fastcase on the desktop and go to “Options,” “Mobile Sync.” Add the username and password from your mobile account, and Fastcase will automatically connect both accounts. If you registered for the app with the email address on file with the OBA, you’re already synched!

  9. Batch Printing/String Cites
  10. Pulling up individual cases can be a hassle, even when you have the citation handy. Fastcase lets you pull up multiple cases at once, just by separating them with a comma. You can save them all to your print queue for later, print them individually, print the entire text of all the cases as one document, or simply print a list of the cases. Click the printer icon in search results, or when looking at a document, select “Add to my print queue.” If you have never printed a case with Fastcase, the result in the two column mode is beautiful. It will print as either a Word or PDF file.

Click here to read the rest of Jim's tips.

Hat tip to the Law Librarian Blog.

(jbl).

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2013/06/legal-research-tips-for-fastcase-.html

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