The rumor that “print is dead” may have been a bit premature. In this episode we talk with Fastcase CEO and co-founder, Ed Walters about his vision of why print titles are a vital component of a legal publishers arsenal and how Fastcase is using its new Full Court Press imprint to make his company even more competitive. Walters also reveals that Fastcase 7 will soon be making its journey through space, and move from its beta “Mercury” release, and progress to the beta “Venus”, and is making its way toward the fulling functioning “Earth” release this summer. And if your were curious… Pluto is a planet. Fastcase is also looking to leverage its 2018 acquisitions of Docket Alarm and Law Street Media to push the company into the future of legal analytics and advancing legal news reporting. If geeky and nerdy are the new sexy… Walters and his group at Fastcase are bringing it back.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple PodcastsOvercast LogoOvercastSpotify LogoSpotify

We also talk with American Association of Law Libraries Director of Government Relations, Emily Feltren, about the status of making PACER free to all users. The bills are filed in the US Congress, and the amici briefs are filed (including one by Fastcase and Ed Walters) to bring down the price of PACER, or make it completely free. Feltren teaches us more on that topic.

Information Inspirations

Greg had traveling difficulties last week and couldn’t make it to the ARK conference on law libraries. Well, he couldn’t make it physically. He did, however, get to use zoom to make his presentation to the roughly 100 attendees. And, of course, it couldn’t be just any old video presentation. Greg found a way to bring in some green screen action through zoom’s background features. Not sure if that counts a sexy, but it was definitely geeky.

Without Fail Podcast – Alex Blumberg, who recently sold Gimlet Media to Spotify for $200M, has a podcast where he interviews entrepreneurs not only about their successes, but also about their failures. On a recent interview with brand revitalizer, Sharon Price John, the CEO and President of Build-A-Bear Workshops, she discusses the vision that change agents need to bring brands back to life. If you’re going to turn things around, you have to accept the problems that come with it. You need to embrace that “it might not not be your fault, but it is now your problem.”

Herbert Smith Freehills gives its employees ten days which they may focus entirely on innovation. Marlene discusses what that means, and that while this is a great concept, it is important that the employees be given the flexibility to be creative everyday. Perhaps that should also mean more flexibility in when and where they work, and that they be encouraged and supported in traveling more often.

Gen Z’s are in college, in law schools, and are entering the workforce. We’ve talked about them before, but we’re not sure that previous generations are really ready to work side-by-side with this “brutally” honest generation.

Are Lawyers Ready to be Managed by Metrics? (American Lawyer) – If you think that legal work from attorneys, law firms, and in-house counsel is so unique that it cannot be measured, analyzed, predicted, and have a value metric placed upon it… then your days may be numbered. Roy Strom’s article, including quotes from our very own, Toby Brown, says that legal work is measurable, but are the lawyers ready for those types of metrics? Looks like they may not have a choice.

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Thanks to Jerry David DiCicca for his original music.

 

Definition of algorithm : 


noun al·go·rithm ˈal-gə-ˌri-thəm  – a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer

When I attended the WestPAC Law Librarian meeting in Jackson Hole, WY a couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to sit in on 
University of Colorado Law School’s Susan Nevelow Mart’s presentation on legal researcher’s reliance on algorithms for online legal research. Susan’s presentation discussed her SSRN Paper entitled “The Algorithm as a Human Artifact: Implications for Legal {Re}Search” where she breaks down the algorithmic affects of Westlaw, Lexis Advance, Fastcase, Google Scholar, Ravel Law, and Casetext. 
The key thing to remember, says Mart, is that we “need to remember that the algorithms that are returning results to them were designed by humans.” That includes all the “biases and assumptions” that come with the human experience. In other words a little bias and assumption on the part of the people developing the computer algorithms can cause dramatic changes in the results produced with similar content and search terms. As a researcher, Mart states that it is important that we “acquire some expertise about the technology at the meta-level.” How can you trust the results if you are not familiar with the way the tools are designed to index, search, and retrieve those results? The problem with this argument is that most legal research providers don’t want to reveal very much about the processes that go on behind the scenes to pull those top 10, 25, 50, or 1000 results. Mart is calling for more “Algorithmic Accountability” from our legal databases in order to help legal researchers better understand the biases present in the retrieved results.
Mart’s paper and research behind it attempt to test the different legal research databases on same search terms and same data content, and evaluate the results to see where results overlap and differ. The experiment wields results that are, in Mart’s words “a remarkable testament to the variability of human problem solving.” The top ten results from each resource showed very little consistency, and “hardly any overlap in the cases, and only about 7% of the cases returned were in all six database results. That low of a return rate should cause a bit of a shudder to run up the spine of legal researchers.
What is a researcher to do in this day and age of very little Algorithmic Accountability? First, researchers need to call upon these database providers to give us more detailed information about how their algorithms are set up, and the technical biases that result from these rules. Mart states that “the systems we use are black boxes,” that prevent us from understanding how these technical biases skew the results of our searches. “Algorithmic accountability will help researchers understand the best way to manipulate the input into the black box, and be more certain of the strengths and weaknesses of the output.”
Until we better understand the processes that go on in the background, researchers today should expand their searches, and use multiple databases in order to reduce the effects of technological bias. Mart explains that, “[t]he uniqueness of results may show something about the world view of each database that suggests that searching in multiple databases may be the 21st century version of making sure that multiple authorial viewpoints are highlighted in a library collection’s holdings.”
Within the SSRN paper, Susan Nevelow Mart presents the findings of her Empirical Study and breaks out the results by:
  • Uniqueness of Cases
  • Relevance
  • Relevant and Unique
  • Number of Results Returned by Each Query
  • Age of Cases
The different databases have individual strengths and weaknesses in each category, and the results, read as a whole, back up Mart’s suggestion of searching multiple databases. Until legal research providers begin to open up their black boxes and adopt more Algorithmic Accountability, researchers will need to expand our own legal information literacy with a better understanding of how each database compiles, categorizes, indexes, searches, and prioritizes the results. Hopefully, Mart’s research, and pressure from lawyers and researchers will help push these providers to shine a little more light into their algorithmic black boxes.

[ed. note – Updated at 11:30 CT to include Ravel Law as part of the databases reviewed by Susan Nevelow Mart. – GL]

We constantly make fun of the lack of innovation in the legal field, but there are a number of highly talented people out there that battle the constant resistance to change, and make a difference for their own organizations and profession. For the past five years, Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase, has recognized those whom he lists as innovators, visionaries, and leaders in the law through his Fastcase 50 Award Winners. I was honored to be a part of the inaugural Fastcase 50 back in 2011, and I’m even happier that my fellow Geek, Ryan McClead, received the award this year. (In fact, Ryan is so good, that when the list was initially displayed, he showed up twice!)

Here’s the write-up on Ryan:


Ryan McClead
Legal Technology Innovation Architect, Norton Rose Fulbright

Ryan McClead leads Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Legal Technology Innovation initiative, solving information supply-chain problems in one of the world’s largest law firms. Ryan is a regular contributor to the popular 3 Geeks and a Law Blog (perhaps the most prolific contributor recently). According to Original Geek (OG) Greg Lambert: Ryan’s writing is “pure genius.” Lambert adds: “The Exponential Law Firm series, and The Myth of Disruptive Technology are instant classics and not only show Ryan’s ability to talk about current trends in legal technology, but also to peer into the future, all in a funny, imaginative, and thought-provoking way. Ryan’s projects at Norton Rose Fulbright also expose his creative side. Pushing out technologies directly to the firm’s clients and other consumers across the globe, Ryan is turning the concepts of what we think technology can do within a law firm on its head. We could all use a Ryan or two at our firms, to enable us to break out of our groupthink mentality and see things from a completely different perspective.”

Ryan is just one of those people that sees things in a different way, and finds ways of making things work, sound, and look better. Much of that comes from his creative background of working in the fine arts and applying his ability to tell a story in a way that makes us all sit up and say “ohh, I get it.”

Congratulations to Ryan and the other 49 recipients of the Fastcase 50 award.

As the saying goes, “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” That phrase also applies to the State Bar membership benefits. The State Bar of Texas has agreed to add Fastcase as a member benefit on top of its already existing Casemaker access. This makes it the first Bar in the country to offer both services. In addition to adding Fastcase, the State Bar of Texas increased the level of subscription to Casemaker to include the premium services of Casecheck+, CiteCheck, and CasemakerDigest to the member benefit. That is a major coup for the Bar.

Fastcase’s access will depend upon the size of your firm. For those under 11 attorneys, you will have access to the premium Fastcase database (all states & fed), for those 11+ attorney firms, you will have access to the Texas plan. Everyone will have access to the mobile apps and to the HeinOnline integration for the covered material.

It is a great day for the State Bar of Texas and its members. Read the Fastcase and SBOT press releases below for more information.

To log in to this free benefit, members will visit the State Bar website at http://www.texasbar.com and log in with their bar number and password. The service is also available via the TexasBarCLE website at http://www.texasbarcle.com/.

PRESS RELEASES

State Bar of Texas adds Fastcase as free legal research benefit alongside expanded Casemaker service

AUSTIN — Texas attorneys now have unprecedented free access to two nationwide legal research services.

The State Bar of Texas has signed an agreement to provide its members free access to Fastcase, one of the nation’s most popular legal research systems. Texas attorneys will continue to receive free access to the Casemaker legal research service, along with expanded premium Casemaker services at no cost. The State Bar of Texas is the first and only bar association to offer its members free access to both Fastcase and Casemaker.

“We are thrilled to offer this free research tool as an additional benefit to Texas attorneys alongside our popular Casemaker service,” said Trey Apffel, 2014-15 State Bar of Texas president. “Part of our mission at the State Bar of Texas is to provide superior online resources and benefits to members which help them better serve their clients. We believe this agreement helps us achieve that.”

With the new Fastcase partnership, 27 state bar associations and more than 800,000 lawyers now have a subscription to Fastcase. The service usually costs $995 a year for an individual subscriber, but State Bar of Texas members will receive two great Fastcase benefits for free, effective immediately.

Firms of 11 lawyers or more will have free access to Fastcase’s extensive Texas Plan, including opinions of the Supreme Court of Texas and courts of appeal back to 1 Tex. 1 (1846), U.S. Supreme Court opinions back to 1 U.S. 1, Fifth Circuit opinions back to 1 F.2d 1, the U.S. Code annotated, the Texas Statutes annotated, the Texas Constitution, and 70 other Texas-specific legal research libraries.

Solo practitioners and firms of 10 lawyers or fewer will have access to Fastcase’s Premium Plan, including all libraries in the Texas Plan, plus nationwide coverage from state and federal courts, state statutes and administrative regulations, as well as court rules, constitutions, and other valuable libraries. To access the scope of coverage on the Web, visit www.fastcase.com/whatisfastcase/coverage.

The agreement provides State Bar of Texas members access to Fastcase’s intuitive legal research tools, training webinars and tutorials, mobile apps, and live customer support. The free member benefit has no restrictions on time or number of transactions and includes unlimited printing, unlimited reference assistance, and unlimited customer service.

Texas attorneys will also have access to annotated statutes from other states, Fastcase’s annotated U.S. Code, transactional access to newspaper articles, federal court filings, and legal forms, and transactional access through HeinOnline to the largest collection of law reviews in the world.

“We’re excited to offer Fastcase’s powerful research tools as a free benefit to Texas lawyers,” Fastcase President Phil Rosenthal said. “Providing the best legal research tools to Texas lawyers will improve the administration of justice and level the playing field for clients. We’re proud to partner with the State Bar of Texas in this effort.”

Casemaker’s expanded offerings include access to premium services (Casecheck+, CiteCheck, and CasemakerDigest) at no cost for all members. These services were previously available only to paid subscribers. Casemaker continues to provide the Administrative Code, Attorney General Opinions from 1947, Texas Case Law since 1886, State Constitution, Federal Court Rules, Texas Session Laws from 1995, State Court Rules, Texas Revised Statutes, including annual archived versions since 2001, as well as a robust federal library.

Casecheck+ is a negative citator system built into Casemaker that validates your research and identifies whether or not your case law citations are still good law. CiteCheck allows researchers to upload a brief (or other document) to Casemaker which quickly creates a table of the cases found, checks the latter case history of the cases cited, and displays any negative later case history. CasemakerDigest delivers daily summaries of state and federal appellate cases classified by practice area.

Casemaker has also added its new Subsequent History feature especially for Texas attorneys. At a glance, researchers can now determine writ and petition history. Casemaker’s new statute annotator feature is now available to Texas attorneys as well. At a click, researchers can quickly get an accurate picture of how the courts have cited, applied, interpreted, and construed each statute.

“We are proud to have provided the Texas lawyers with Casemaker’s online legal research for the past 10 years,” Casemaker CEO David Harriman said. “Our experienced legal editors are committed to providing the most up-to-date cases and statutes available anywhere.”

— — —

The State Bar of Texas is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney discipline system. For more information, follow the State Bar on Twitter @statebaroftexas, like the State Bar on Facebook at www.facebook.com/statebaroftexas, or visit www.texasbar.com.

Fastcase is a leading legal publisher focused on smarter legal software that democratizes the law, making it more accessible to more people. Using patented software that combines the best of legal research with the best of Web search, Fastcase helps busy users sift through the clutter, ranking the best cases first and enabling the re-sorting of results to find answers fast. Founded in 1999, Fastcase has more than 800,000 subscribers from around the world. Fastcase is an American company based in Washington, D.C. For more information, follow Fastcase on Twitter at @Fastcase or visit www.fastcase.com.
Since 1999 Casemaker has operated with the single purpose of providing attorneys with affordable access to quality legal research. The company has invested heavily in developing the finest editorial team and state-of-the-art technology to increase speed and search functionality. Attorneys have a product that stands toe-to-toe with the traditional and expensive legal research providers. Casemaker offers a Google-like search engine, accurate citation services, and many organizational features that make research that much faster, easier, and reliable. Attorneys across the United States are using Casemaker’s simple high-definition search on a daily basis to find relevant cases, codes, statutes, and more, fast. Casemaker is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Follow Casemaker on Twitter @casemakerlegal or Facebook at www.facebook.com/casemakerlegal.  

State Bar of Texas Launches

Free Legal Research Benefit with Fastcase

New Visualization Tools, Mobile Apps, Annotated Statutes for Members

AUSTIN, TX AND WASHINGTON, DC (June 26, 2014) – The State Bar of Texas today announced that it has signed an agreement to provide its members free access to Fastcase’s nationwide legal research system, effective immediately.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Fastcase is one of the nation’s most popular legal research services. Twenty-seven state bar associations have subscribed to Fastcase, as well as scores of the nation’s largest law firms. With this partnership, more than 800,000 lawyers have a subscription to Fastcase, many through their state bar association. The service ordinarily costs $995 per year for an individual subscriber, but starting today, State Bar of Texas members will get two great Fastcase benefits for free.

Firms of 11 lawyers or more will have free access to Fastcase’s extensive Texas Plan, including opinions of the Supreme Court of Texas and courts of appeal back to 1 Tex. 1 (1846), U.S. Supreme Court opinions back to 1 U.S. 1, Fifth Circuit opinions back to 1 F.2d 1, the U.S. Code annotated, the Texas Statutes annotated, the Texas Constitution, and 70 other Texas-specific legal research libraries.

Solo practitioners and firms of 10 lawyers or fewer will have access to Fastcase’s Premium Plan, including all libraries in the Texas Plan, plus nationwide coverage from state and federal courts, state statutes and administrative regulations, as well as court rules, constitutions, and other valuable libraries. You can access the scope of coverage on the Web at www.fastcase.com/whatisfastcase/coverage.

The Fastcase benefit is offered in addition to the State Bar’s Casemaker benefit, expanding members’ free legal research options.

“We’re excited to offer Fastcase’s powerful research tools as a free benefit to Texas lawyers,” said Fastcase President Phil Rosenthal. “Providing the best legal research tools to Texas lawyers will improve the administration of justice and level the playing field for clients. We’re proud to partner with the State Bar of Texas in this effort.”

SBOT members will receive access to Fastcase’s intuitive, smarter legal research tools, training webinars and tutorials, industry-leading mobile apps, and live customer support from members of the Fastcase team. The member benefit has no restrictions on time or number of transactions, unlimited printing, unlimited reference assistance, and unlimited customer service included for free.

The service also includes annotated statutes from other states, Fastcase’s annotated U.S. Code, transactional access to newspaper articles, federal court filings, and legal forms, and transactional access through HeinOnline to the largest collection of law reviews in the world.

“We are thrilled to offer this free research tool as an additional benefit to Texas attorneys,” said Trey Apffel, 2014-15 State Bar of Texas president. “Part of our mission at the State Bar of Texas is to provide superior online resources and benefits to members which help them better serve their clients. We believe this agreement helps us achieve that.”

To log in to this free benefit, members will visit the State Bar website at http://www.texasbar.com and log in with their bar number and password. The service is also available via the TexasBarCLE website at http://www.texasbarcle.com/ .

The Fastcase service will be free to members of the State Bar of Texas, but it is not a discount legal research service. Fastcase has pioneered the smartest legal research tools in the market, with integrated citation analysis tools, data visualization maps of search results, and the first legal research apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. The service also includes Bad Law Bot, the first big data service to identify negative citations to judicial opinions.

Fastcase has gained strong momentum in the legal research market and continues to challenge the norm in legal publishing and legal technology. Fastcase was voted No. 1 in Law Technology News’s inaugural Customer Satisfaction Survey, finishing first in seven out of 10 categories over traditional research providers Westlaw and LexisNexis. Fastcase has introduced new opinion summaries, and has been named to the prestigious EContent 100 list of leading digital publishing and media companies alongside Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook for three years in a row.

In 2010, Fastcase was the first company to launch an app for legal research, and later, the first company to launch an app for iPad. The American Association of Law Libraries named Fastcase’s integration with HeinOnline its 2014 New Product of the Year, and its app for iPhone the 2010 New Product of the Year. In 2011, Rocket Matter named Fastcase’s apps for iPhone and iPad the Legal Productivity App of the Year and the company furthered its mobile market presence by debuting the Fastcase for Android app in 2012. Lawyers on the go appreciate Fastcase Mobile Sync, which allows full integration of its mobile apps with the desktop version of Fastcase.

About the State Bar of Texas

The State Bar of Texas is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney disciplinary system. For more information, follow the State Bar of Texas on Twitter at @statebaroftexas or visit www.texasbar.com.

 

About Fastcase

Fastcase is a leading legal publisher focused on smarter legal software that democratizes the law, making it more accessible to more people. Using patented software that combines the best of legal research with the best of Web search, Fastcase helps busy users sift through the clutter, ranking the best cases first and enabling the re-sorting of results to find answers fast. Founded in 1999, Fastcase has more than 800,000 subscribers from around the world. Fastcase is an American company based in Washington, D.C. For more information, follow Fastcase on Twitter at @Fastcase or visit www.fastcase.com.
Image [cc] LendingMemo

Ed Walters love to mention that information and data can be ‘elequent.’ The ideas behind the eloquence is finding innovative ways of collecting, indexing, searching, recalling, and interfacing with the information in a way that captures the attention of the user, and gives them the ability to take action based on that interaction. It might sound like a lot of buzz-words, but when you think about it, the reason we conduct legal research is to obtain a result that allows us to take action, or advise others on what they should do next.

As I was watching Ed Walters retweet a number of messages today on the issue of alternatives to Lexis and Westlaw driving legal information to commodity status, there was a comment from The Raveller (@ravellaw) that caught my attention.  “The trend isn’t commoditization of research, it’s the reinvention of it.”

First off… let’s look at the definition of commoditization:
1:  commodify; specifically:  to render (a good or service) widely available and interchangeable with one provided by another company
2:  to affect (as a brand or a market) by commoditizing goods or services <fierce competition threatened to commoditize prices>

In this case, we tend to think of legal information as the products that our courts, legislatures, and administrative offices produce that guide our society on issues ranging from basic rights and wrongs, to how we conduct business in a uniform way. In the researcher’s world, we tend to think of it as primary law materials.

The comment from The Raveller on reinvention versus commoditization could be interpreted a couple of ways. First, have we already tipped the scale toward primary law being a commodity? Second, does it not matter that the massive primary law pool of information become a commodity in order for other vendors to create inventive ways of presenting the information? Can you get to this second option without first achieving commodity status? I sent a tweet back out to The Reveller and Ed Walters asking.

Ed responded with “Data — esp. primary law — should be (is?) a commodity. Software to make sense of it will be very competitive.”
David Houlihan answered with “Primary law is effectively a commodity. Access was the differentiator, but eroding fast.”

Having just gotten off of an hour and a half phone call on BigData, my brain was buzzing with possibilities of what new technologies, and different approaches to raw information like primary law could bring to the legal research community. We have thought of primary law very linearly for centuries. We are just now coming to grips with the possibilities that a non-linear, even chaotic, approach might unveil the hidden values buried in the raw data, simply because we’d never thought to approach the information that way. Much like technologies have accomplished in the electronic discovery industry.

I think that eventually someone will take the billions of dollars spent on e-discovery technologies and predictive coding, and will turn its focus on massive amounts of information like primary law and discover ways of retrieving actionable information that we never thought possible. Who knows… perhaps there will eventually be products spun out of the NSA that will have commercial use when it comes to primary law? Or, perhaps there is some kid in his or her parent’s garage right now working on the next great process that will take us in a way that no one predicted in 2014. It is very exciting to think about all the possibilities.

So back to my question of reinvention without commodity status. Does commodity status drive invention, or does invention drive commodity status? I think there are arguments for both sides, but I’d say that we’ve probably hit a tipping point where reinvention and the promise of more elequent methods of making primary law into something new and unique and useful in unexpected ways will drive whatever information has not slipped into commodity status into that category very soon.

One of the best member benefits of a State Bar Association is the ability to access Casemaker or Fastcase (or InCite for Pennsylvania). However, sometimes it is confusing to keep up with which product each state offers. Luckily, the kind folks at Duke University’s Law Library have mapped everything out for us. Many law librarians have been promoting these services to the lawyers that want good research functionality, but don’t want to either pay a high price for an individual subscription, or don’t want to pass any costs along to clients for firms that do cost recovery.

If you’re unfamiliar with any of these products, go sign in at your state bar association and find out more. In some states, even paralegals and law librarians can use these products without actually having to be a member of the state bar association.

The race for state bar partnerships between Casemaker and Fastcase took another step toward Fastcase this morning. New York, which has been somewhat of a holdout on the free access to legal research benefit, is partnering with Fastcase to provide its members with free access to the product via the Bar’s website, www.nysba.org. I believe this brings Fastcase up to 25 state bar associations, and puts the momentum squarely on Fastcase’s side.

The formal announcement will go out in a few minutes from Fastcase and NYSBA.

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2013
New York State Bar Association Partners With Fastcase
to Provide Free Access to Legal Research Library
Access to Smarter Legal Research Tools Now Available for State Bar Members at No Cost
Washington, DC (September 25, 2013) – The New York State Bar Association and legal publisher Fastcase today announced a partnership to provide 76,000 members of the association with free access to the New York libraries in Fastcase’s legal research system.
The nation’s largest voluntary state bar association is offering access to online legal research for its members in New York, 49 other states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and 113 countries.
Beginning this week, members will gain free access to Fastcase’s New York libraries by logging on to www.nysba.org, going to Practice Resources and clicking on Fastcase. The free benefit includes judicial opinions from New York State courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. It also offers access to New York State Consolidated Laws; New York Codes, Rules and Regulations; and the New York Constitution. 
As part of the benefit, members may subscribe to the nationwide Fastcase premium subscription for $195 per member per year—which normally costs $995 per year, a discount of $800. In addition, a specially tailored benefit will help new attorney members gain professional and financial footing during their first two years of practice. They qualify for free access to Fastcase’s entire federal and 50-state library, which will be available to them in October.
“We are pleased to provide the Fastcase online legal research library as a benefit to our members,” said New York State Bar Association President David M. Schraver of Rochester (Nixon Peabody). “The legal community has been conducting legal research online for decades. Now we are able to bring our members unlimited access to one of the largest law libraries in the world as a member benefit.”
This member benefit provides NYSBA members with access to one of the largest law libraries in the world, training webinars and tutorials, and free reference assistance. The member benefit is unlimited – with no restrictions on time or number of transactions, unlimited printing, unlimited reference assistance and unlimited customer service included for free.
“This is the new normal, when New York firms are absorbing their legal research costs as overhead, and firms of all sizes are looking to add a nonbillable ‘house account’ for legal research,” said Fastcase President Phil Rosenthal. “This partnership makes the NYSBA and Fastcase a better value than ever for New York firms, because they can reduce the costs of legal research and they can do so with the world’s smartest legal research tools.”  
Over the last few years, 24 state bar associations and scores of the nation’s largest law firms have subscribed to Fastcase, which now has more than 600,000 subscribers.
Fastcase has gained very strong momentum in the legal research market and continues to challenge traditional legal publishers. Fastcase was voted #1 in Law Technology News’s inaugural Customer Satisfaction Survey, finishing first in 7 out of 10 categories over traditional research providers Westlaw and LexisNexis. The American Association of Law Libraries named Fastcase for iPhone the 2010 New Product of the Year. In 2011, Rocket Matter named Fastcase’s apps for iPhone and iPad the Legal Productivity App of the Year, and Fastcase was named to The Best of Legal Times in multiple categories in 2012. Three times the company has been listed in the EContent 100, the most influential companies in the digital economy, alongside Google, Apple, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  And the 2013 ABA Tech Survey reports that Fastcase’s mobile apps are by far the most popular app for lawyers, more popular than all other legal research apps combined.
“When bar associations subscribe to legal research for their members at a volume discount, everyone wins,” said Rosenthal. “One of the most valuable bar memberships in the country just got better.”
About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association, with 76,000 members, is the largest voluntary state bar association in the country. The organization has been serving the legal profession and the community since it was founded in 1876. To learn more about the NYSBA, visit www.nysba.org.
About Fastcase
As the smarter alternative for legal research, Fastcase democratizes the law, making it more accessible to more people. Using patented software that combines the best of legal research with the best of Web search, Fastcase helps busy users sift through the clutter, ranking the best cases first and enabling the re-sorting of results to find answers fast. Founded in 1999, Fastcase has more than 600,000 subscribers from around the world. Fastcase is an American company based in Washington, D.C. For more information, follow Fastcase on Twitter at @Fastcase or visit www.fastcase.com.

###
Media Contacts:
For Fastcase:
Jennifer Brand 202.731.2114
For the NYSBA:
Lise Bang-Jensen
518-487-5530

This is one of those things that catches everyone by surprise right before the annual AALL conference. W.S. Hein and Fastcase announced this morning that they are forming a partnership to integrate content on each platform and create a more extensive legal research database. This is the sort of thing that everyone expected from Aspen/CCH/Loislaw a few years ago, but never really happened. Having worked over the years with both Fastcase and Hein Online, I have to personally say that this partnership has great potential. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all works out and what the final products look like.

Here’s the press release from this morning.

Hein and Fastcase Announce Publishing Partnership
Hein to Include Hyperlinks to Caselaw and Bad Law Bot;Fastcase to Offer Law Reviews and Historical State Statutes and Session Laws


BUFFALO, NY and WASHINGTON, DC (PRWEB) July 09, 2013

Independent legal publishers William S. Hein & Co. and Fastcase today announced a new partnership in which the companies will share complementary strengths for the benefit of their members.
Under the agreement, Hein will provide federal and state case law to HeinOnline subscribers via inline hyperlinks powered by Fastcase. In addition, Fastcase will completely integrate HeinOnline’s extensive law review and historical state statute collection in search results, with full access available to Fastcase subscribers who additionally subscribe to Hein’s law review database.
The partnership combines Hein’s expertise in publishing law journals and historical statutory materials and Fastcase’s experience in publishing American primary law. It offers users of both services a complete, integrated legal research experience.
“Fastcase and HeinOnline are two of the largest independent legal publishers in America,” said Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase. “Integrating these two libraries is a home run for our members. Both services create unique values based on citation analysis and the information architecture of the law. Beyond the fantastic new libraries our users can access, we’re also making our tools smarter as they learn from these new citation relationships.”
As a result of the agreement, Hein’s federal case coverage includes the judicial opinions of the Supreme Court (1754-present), Federal Circuits (1924-present), Board of Tax Appeals (vols. 1-47), Tax Court Memorandum Decisions (vols. 1-59), U.S. Customs Court (vols. 1-70), Board of Immigration Appeals (1996-present), Federal District Courts (1924-present), and Federal Bankruptcy Courts (1 B.R. 1-present). The state case law covers all fifty states with nearly half of the states dating back to the 1800’s. Coverage for the remaining states dates back to approximately 1950.
HeinOnline subscribers also will be able to take advantage of Authority Check, an integrated citation analysis tool developed by Fastcase. When cases are called by HeinOnline, Fastcase’s Authority Check tool will include one of Fastcase’s newest features, “Bad Law Bot”, which uses algorithms to identify negative citation history. These services will be integrated into all HeinOnline subscriptions, which will add tremendous value at no additional cost.
Concurrently, Hein will provide HeinOnline materials to Fastcase, allowing Fastcase users to search across content available in the Law Journal Library, Session Laws Library, State Attorney General Reports and Opinions, and State Statutes: A Historical Archive. The new libraries will be fully integrated into Fastcase’s search system, and Fastcase users will see Hein results and abstracts for free, with subscription options for the full articles. The Hein collection will include more than 1,800 law reviews back to their first volumes, and represents the first secondary material to be integrated into the Fastcase legal research service.
The integrated libraries will be available on both services at the end of the summer.
About HeinOnline: Produced by William S. Hein & Co., Inc., HeinOnline includes nearly 100 million pages of legal history available in an online, fully-searchable, image-based format. HeinOnline bridges the gap in legal history by providing comprehensive coverage from inception of more than 1,800 law and law-related periodicals. In addition to its vast collection of law journals, HeinOnline also contains the Congressional Record Bound volumes in their entirety, complete coverage of the U.S. Reports back to 1754, famous world trials dating back to the early 1700′s, legal classics from the 16th to the 20th centuries, the United Nations and League of Nations Treaty Series, all United States Treaties, the Federal Register from inception in 1936, the CFR from inception in 1938, and much more. For more information about HeinOnline, please visit http://home.heinonline.org.
About Fastcase: As the smarter alternative for legal research, Fastcase democratizes the law, making it more accessible to more people. Using patented software that combines the best of legal research with the best of Web search, Fastcase helps busy users sift through the clutter, ranking the best cases first and enabling the re-sorting of results to find answers fast. Founded in 1999, Fastcase has more than 500,000 subscribers from around the world. Fastcase is an American company based in Washington, D.C. For more information, follow Fastcase on Twitter at @Fastcase, or visit http://www.fastcase.com.
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The bad boys of legal research, Ed Walters and Phil Rosenthal of Fastcase, are once again looking at unique ways to look at legal information and create new methods to cull that information. In the latest iteration, they have come up with a way to use an algorithm to identify court cases with negative treatment. They are calling this enhancement, “Bad Law Bot”, not to be confused with J.J. Abram’s movie production studio called Bad Robot.

The idea of algorithmically setting up a way to identify ‘bad law’ has been floating around since the idea of placing legal decisions in database began. When I was at the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s OSCN.NET, we dreamed of doing exactly this same type of identification of bad law, but simply did not have the technology, expertise, or guts to take on that challenge. Looks like Walters and Rosenthal are stepping up to the plate to take a swing at it.

Ed does list a couple of caveats, that should be expected when you use technology to replace humans on decision making processes like this:

  1. It’s an algorithm… thus the “bot” name
  2. If you see that Bad Law Bot has presented negative treatment, then that means there’s a good chance the case has probably been overturned, however if Bad Law Bot doesn’t show negative treatment, that doesn’t necessarily mean the case is ‘good’ law. You should double-check with Shepards or KeyCite.
Despite these caveats, the fact that Fastcase is willing to go out and present something like this to its users shows that they are ready to test the boundaries of what you can do with legal information, technology, Big Data concepts, and the guts to go out and actually do it.
Bad Law Bot is available starting on April 25th, and the press release from Fastcase is included below. Also, Ed Walter’s introduces the product in this two-minute YouTube video.
Fastcase Enhances its Authority Check Citator Service

“Bad Law Bot” Uses Big Data to Identify Negative History for Judicial Opinions

Washington, DC (April 25, 2013) – Legal publisher Fastcase today released an algorithmic enhancement to identify overturned or reversed cases in its Authority Check system – Bad Law Bot. Bad Law Bot uses algorithms to identify court cases that are cited with negative treatment and to alert researchers of a case’s negative citation history.

The Bluebook manual for legal citation requires that, when courts cite a case that has been overturned or reversed, they say so right in the citation. Judicial opinions, and particularly their citations, are full of this kind of “big data” about which cases are still good law. Bad Law Bot scours all of the citations in judicial opinions. When the opinions cite a case as being overturned, Bad Law Bot flags the case for Fastcase users, identifying negative history as reported by the courts.

“Fastcase’s Authority Check feature is already a very powerful tool for identifying whether your case is still good law,” said Fastcase CEO Ed Walters. “Authority Check includes data visualization tools to see the later history of cases, citation analytics and filterable lists of later-citing cases. The addition of Bad Law Bot, to help identify negative history, is a major step forward. This is the first of many additions to Authority Check that we’ll roll out over the next year.”

The new Bad Law Bot feature helps users identify negative treatment of the cases judicial opinions. However, because it only reports what cases say in citations, researchers should rely on Bad Law Bot as an aid to identifying negative history, not as a comprehensive guide.

Since 1999, Fastcase has been building smarter research tools for understanding the law. In 2012, the company launched eBook Advance Sheets available for the major eReaders (iPad, Kindle, Android, and Nook). 

In 2010, Fastcase was the first company to launch an app for legal research, and later, the first company to launch an app for iPad. The American Association of Law Libraries named Fastcase for iPhone the 2010 New Product of the Year. In 2011, Rocket Matter named Fastcase’s apps for iPhone and iPad the Legal Productivity App of the Year and the company furthered its mobile market presence by debuting the Fastcase for Android app in 2012. Lawyers on the go appreciate Fastcase Mobile Sync, which allows full integration of its mobile apps with the desktop version of Fastcase.

Fastcase has gained very strong momentum in the legal research market and continues to challenge the norm in legal publishing and legal technology. Fastcase was voted #1 in Law Technology News’s inaugural Customer Satisfaction Survey, finishing first in 7 out of 10 categories over traditional research providers Westlaw and LexisNexis. Fastcase has introduced new opinion summaries, Fastcase Cloud Printing, and has been named to the prestigious EContent 100 list of leading digital publishing and media companies alongside Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook for two years in a row.

For more information on the Bad Law Bot feature, visit the Fastcase Legal Research Blog at www.fastcase.com/blog and watch this video: http://youtu.be/ZsKu7FoO2Ns.

About Fastcase

As the smarter alternative for legal research, Fastcase democratizes the law, making it more accessible to more people. Using patented software that combines the best of legal research with the best of Web search, Fastcase helps busy users sift through the clutter, ranking the best cases first and enabling the re-sorting of results to find answers fast. Founded in 1999, Fastcase has more than 500,000 subscribers from around the world. Fastcase is an American company based in Washington, D.C. For more information, follow Fastcase on Twitter at @Fastcase, or visit www.fastcase.com.

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I’m a little behind in this news, but the Texas Bar Association has recently launched the new Casemaker platform for all of its members. The new interface is definitely a step up for Casemaker and makes searching across the different library database a lot easier. The Casemaker access is free to all members of the bar, and even to librarians within the state that register using the Texas Bar’s CLE website.

We here at 3 Geeks think that what Casemaker and Fastcase are doing through the bar associations is a valuable benefit for the bar members. Although we love to pit all of these competitors against each other, we also realize that they offer a great service that is far too often overlooked by the members of the bar. If you’re not sure if your bar offers Casemaker or Fastcase, here’s a quick list of which bars are covered:

 
·  D.C. Bar