Free legal research with Fastcase
We’re excited to announce that 2017 members of the Alameda County Bar Association have free access to California, Federal, and Bankruptcy primary law! For California, this includes statutes, case law, regulations, and court rules. For Federal access, this includes Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit cases, as well as federal statutes and regulations. Finally, Fastcase provides access to all bankruptcy cases.
Access to the law is a fundamental pillar of access to justice, said Fastcase CEO Ed Walters. We’re proud to partner with the Alameda County Bar Association to make America’s best legal research software available to all members for free.
However, access to Fastcase doesn’t just bring access to free legal research. Fastcase features a number of important power tools to make legal research easier and more accurate. Whether you’re a power user or use the service once in a blue moon, here are 10 Fastcase tools that will help you work smarter.
1- Interactive Timeline
In addition to text-based search results, Fastcase now includes a powerful 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.
Forecite from Fastcase goes beyond your keyword search, using intelligent citation analysis to find cases you’d 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.
3- PACER Searching
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.
4- Mobile Sync
Many lawyers in the state use Fastcase’s free apps for Apple, Android, and Windows phone (www.fastcase.com/iPhone) 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 Alameda County Bar Association. 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 e-mail address on file with the Bar, you’re already synched!
5- Batch Printing/String Cites
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. Simply click the printer icon in search results, or when looking at a document, select “Add to my Print Queue.”
6- Saving/Sharing Research
Every web address (or URL) in Fastcase is unique. That means that you can bookmark any page in Fastcase in your browser, and come back to it later. Sharing a case is fast and easy—simply email the URL to a friend. They can log into Fastcase, click the link, and see the case. Sharing search results is just as easy—simply add URL of the results to your browser favorites. You can later log into the site and click the link in your browser. Fastcase updates the search, so your research will always stay up-to-date.
You can also use your individual Fastcase library. When you’re looking at a document, just click Save to My Favorites. To view the case later, simply go to My Library | Favorite Documents. In addition to the 10 favorites in your library, the last 10 documents you viewed are also saved under My Library | Recent Documents.
7- Newspaper Search
Fastcase doesn’t include an internal newspaper database, but it has partnered with NewsLibrary.com to offer an archive of more than 182 million newspaper articles from papers around the country. Search for free, view results and summaries for free, and purchase individual articles for $3 each.
8- Legal Forms
Some legal work is customized, but other work is more form-based. For the latter group, Fastcase has partnered with US Legal Forms to offer a comprehensive library of legal forms customized for each state. You can filter by topic or keyword search to find a form to use as a starting point. You can search for free, view results for free, and read a watermarked copy of the form for free. When you’ve decided that a form is right for your client, download individual forms in editable Word format, most for between $10 and $50.
9- Annotated Statutes
Annotated statutes are a great way to shed more light on how courts have interpreted a code section. Fastcase has annotations for all the states. At the bottom of each section list of all citing cases. Unlike other online annotated codes, on Fastcase can you sort the annotations by case name, decision date and number of times a case has been cited. Fastcase Annotated Statutes are a great guide to interpretation.
10- Free Legal Research Training
Fastcase offers three free webinars every month on legal research and Fastcase tools. Fastcase also offers on demand videos, user guides, and other training materials to make using Fastcase easy and fast.
You can access free legal research anytime by visiting our website at www.acbanet.org/attorneys/ and clicking the Fastcase logo. To view any of these new Fastcase features and others, visit www.fastcase.com/support for a schedule of free webinars, training videos, and user guides. You can also reach Fastcase toll free at 1-866-77-FASTCASE.