free legal research

Ten Reasons to Use Fastcase, the New Alameda County Bar Association Benefit


ACBA logo free legal researchMembers of the Alameda County Bar Association now have access to California, Federal, and Bankruptcy primary law through their free Fastcase account. 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.

However, access to ACBA Fastcase doesn’t just bring access to the primary law. Fastcase features a number of important power tools to make legal research easier and more accurate.

Fastcase facts

What is Fastcase? One of the largest, online, legal research libraries, which includes cases, statutes, regulations, court rules and constitutions and also provides access to a newspaper archive, legal forms, and a one-stop PACER search of federal filings
Available: Now
Users: More than 800,000 subscribers, including 27 state bar associations and many of the nation’s largest law firms
Cost: FREE federal for Alameda County Bar Association members (a $695 savings)
App: The most popular mobile app among lawyers, according to the ABA’s annual Tech Survey
Support: Available toll free, weekdays from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.

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


1- Interactive Timeline

In addition to text-based search results, your free Fastcase account 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.

Free Fastcase benefit: Blog Timeline2- Forecite

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 ( 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 free 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 your free Fastcase account 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!

Free Fastcase Mobile5- Batch Printing/String Cites

Pulling up individual cases can be a hassle, even when you have the citation handy. Your free Fastcase account 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

Your free Fastcase access doesn’t include an internal newspaper database, but it has partnered with 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.

Free Fastcase: Newspaper Search 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- Legal Research Training

Fastcase offers three free webinars every month on legal research and Fastcase tools. Your free Fastcase access also offers on demand videos, user guides, and other training materials to make using Fastcase easy and fast.

Sounds Great – How do I Access my Free Fastcase Account?

Free Fastcase: ACBA website ScreenshotYou can access free legal research anytime by logging into the ACBA website at and clicking Fastcase under Account.

To view any of these new free Fastcase features and others, visit for a schedule of free Fastcase webinars, training videos, and user guides.  You can also reach Fastcase toll free at 1-866-77-FASTCASE.

Keep an eye out for future ACBA Fastcase trainings hosted by the Alameda County Bar Association!