Image [cc] Ana C.

It seems that Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. is not a fan of law reviews. Back in 2011, Roberts joked that he found law reviews irrelevant, and found no need to know why there was any influence on 18th century Bulgaria by philosopher Immanuel Kant. In fact he went further and said “I would have to think very hard” in order to recall any recent law review articles he read, or found useful.

Ouch.

Let’s admit it, most of us outside the ivy covered walls of Academia rarely rush to the library to grab the latest law review before our peers in order to have a competitive advantage. To be fair, however, law reviews are kind of like archives. Most of the time, you never need anything from the archives, but when that need arises, you sure are glad it is there. Whether law reviews are relevant, or useful, or readable is beside the point here. What is interesting is that Roberts’ comment was actually about a real law review article, written by George Washington University Law Professor Orin Kerr. And, as any good writer will attest, always take advantage of the opportunity to turn one piece of writing into two pieces of writing.

Kerr is publishing an answer to Roberts’ comments in an upcoming law review article in The Green Bag. I’m actually looking forward to reading that one from this unconventional law review. One side note for The Green Bag…  please update that awful looking website. Just because your law review was created in 1997, doesn’t mean your website needs to look like it was created that same year.

Sorry. Got off topic.

Kerr got the idea of writing the response to Roberts when he was named a scholar-in-residence at the Law Library of Congress in 2012. In an interview to the National Law Journal (h/t to Rich Leiter), Kerr mentioned that the staff at the Library of Congress was amazing, stating that “They can find anything.” That without the help of the Library research staff, specifically Peter Roudik, the article couldn’t have been written. Then came the quote that I’m printing out, framing, and hanging on my office wall:

“The lesson of the article is that you can do anything with an amazing research librarian.”

As happy as I am to see this quote, I have to really as Orin Kerr one thing, “you’re just now figuring that out??” I bet there are some folks back at George Washington that would love to introduce you to the research librarians at the law library. Helping you find the obscure text from 1859 is something that many of us do on a regular basis. In addition, we can probably get it to you overnight (or within hours), without costing you a fortune. Law Librarians, and Researchers have connections, and those connections have connections. I hope for Kerr’s sake that he’s located the law library researchers back at GW when he got back from the Library of Congress.

So let this be a lesson to all of the Professors out there writing the next great Law Review Article. Go find the law library and introduce yourself to the research staff. Tell them what you’re working on, and make them a part of the team. They probably won’t be able to make your article any more appealing to Chief Justice Roberts, but they will definitely help you thoroughly research the topic.

LexisNexis representatives are sending out notices that they are now the exclusive provider of The New York Times content for the legal market. For those of you that are keeping score, this adds to LexisNexis’ exclusive content with Factiva (which includes The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones News Service), and ALM content. It would seem that LexisNexis is doubling-down on the news content area.

Here is the message that went out earlier today.

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive legal information provider of The New York Times® content to the legal market!

This agreement extends LexisNexis’s position as the leading provider of premium news content to the legal market. Highlights of our unmatched collection of news and current awareness sources include:

  • LexisNexis is the exclusive legal information provider of The New York Times content to the legal market.
  • Law360® is exclusive to LexisNexis, providing breaking news and analysis.
  • LexisNexis is the exclusive online third-party provider of ALM® news publications—including titles such as The American Lawyer®, The National Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®—and the only provider of its publication news archives (more than six months old).
  • LexisNexis is the exclusive provider of Factiva® content to the law firm market, offering access to North American English sources, including The Wall Street Journal® and Dow Jones News Service.
  • LexisNexis provides more than 26,000 News & Business Sources from 4,000+ Publishers, with many exclusives, in over 150 countries and 21 languages.

The New York Times, as well as our other news exclusives such as Factiva, The Wall Street Journal, and ALM, will continue to be available through LexisNexis® Publisher and via our Moreover/Newsdesk product (releasing in Q2). Newsdesk is the only aggregator/monitoring tool that will be able to deliver this content in full text.

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] Kaptain Kobald

There was a very interesting article on Neota Logic’s blog yesterday that has really had me thinking ever since I read it (and re-read it a few more times.) The article, what will the lawyers do now? Dancing With Robots, The Second Machine Age, and The Hammer Song, covers the whole issue of “running with technology” versus “running against technology” in the legal space, but there was one section on legal services and the second machine age that has really made me think about where we are as an industry, where most of us are within this second machine age, and who will be the winners and who will be the losers. Let’s breakdown the six “steam engines of legal services” that Neota Logic identifies:

  1. Online legal research, the law’s first foray into big and digital data For those of us in the law library and research fields, this is our baby. We’ve been the engineer and conductor of this steam engine for the past thirty-odd years. It is one of those technologies that you would have thought by now would be such a standard in the industry that everyone practicing law would be experts. However, we all know there are still Luddites out there that fight this advancement, or simply ignore the technology as much as possible. In fact, think of the number of attorneys that proudly say things like “I don’t even know what my [insert online resource here] username and password is.” So we keep pushing to limit those that ignore the technology and work on those (usually, but not always) younger attorneys to keep them up to date on the latest changes, advancements, and innovations that help them practice law more effectively.
  2. Electronic mail and networks, the harbinger of infinite interconnectedness
    Email has been the biggest bringer of change in the way lawyers conduct business, maybe since the business of law began. No other technology has been as widely adopted as email. However, the use of email has become stagnant, and many attorneys use it the same way today as they did when they adopted it back in the 90s when they signed up for AOL or CompuServ email addresses. They use it as de facto databases and as historical archives. In a way, email has begun to eat its own tail and its usefulness has plateaued and in a way has become a barrier for new and better communications tools. In addition to email, the networked computer system has been so integrated into the daily life of law firms, that when the network is down, work comes to a standstill. Email and the network are the two big steam engines in this category. However, items like Document Management Systems, Client Relationship Management Systems, and shared network resources have also entered the day-to-day lives of  the law firm, but not nearly as widely adopted as the first two engines.
  3. Document automation, drafting contracts with software rather than pencils
    Most, if not all, firms have these resources. The idea being that no document should be created from scratch and you should use the wealth of prior documents to assist you in the creation of the next document. Whether it is add-ins for Microsoft Word like Westlaw Form Builder or standalone products like HotDocs, the process of document automation and drafting tools should be something that every transactional attorney understands and uses. As most of you may have figured out by now, that is typically not the case. Once again, a technology is there that can significantly assist the attorney, reduce risk, and decrease the amount of time and effort spent by the attorney, and decrease the cost to the client, yet the struggle continues to do things the way we’ve always done them, and fight the advancements in technology.
  4. Search, from Recommind for lawyers’ own stuff to Google for everything else
    Ah, search. Only slightly behind email when it comes to overall technology adoption by lawyers. Of course, the easiest (and most widely used) is Google. Many attorneys start (and sadly some end) their research with Google. Librarians brought in an internal version of Westlaw and Lexis with resources like westkm and Lexis Search Advantage that mimicked the legal search tools’ capabilities to identify legal citations and structured language. IT Departments brought in Enterprise Search Tools like Recommind to index everything else. All of those great tools still pale in comparison to the comfort and amount of use that Google still plays in the everyday life of the attorney. When a technology like Google is so overwhelmingly adopted, it makes it that much more difficult to get attorneys to see, and use, other technologies that actually create a better result simply because they are so comfortable with Google. In fact, most of the new search tools attempt to mimic Google’s simplicity in order to trick/convince/ease the attorney away from the massive search engine. As most of us are finding out, that’s still a difficult feat to accomplish, and as Ryan McClead mentioned in his Why You Can’t Find Anything At Work post, user expectations and the reality of Enterprise Search tools don’t exactly mesh very well.
  5. Predictive Coding (a/k/a technology-assisted review), replacing armies of junior lawyers
    This technology is maturing in the e-discovery market, but I think it is still in its infancy when it comes to its overall potential. Replacing hundreds of lawyers with technology has been the steady mantra of Predictive Coding, and as courts remove barriers to this technology, the e-discovery cash cow that has helped many law firms over the past decade, may start to dry up. I’ve been a big believer that Predictive Coding has been too narrowly focused on document review, and that there is much more opportunities for law firms to use this technology to better index internal documents, use it to enhance project management, and tweak it for projects that we normally hire data stewards to conduct. Document Review attorneys aren’t the only ones that will eventually lose their jobs to this technology.
  6. Expert systems, context-specific guidance at scale and speed
    This is where products like Neota Logic and in some regards products like KMStandards (formerly kiiac) are making inroads to the legal market. Processes that rely upon rules, precedence, and fact sets will be automated. Those that don’t believe this are destined to find themselves left out of this great change that is coming to the legal industry. This steam engine is different from the five previous advancements. Expert systems will create ways for savvy law firms to produce revenue streams that are completely unlinked to the time their attorneys spend on client work. Law firms will work with these providers to leverage the firm’s knowledge, experiences, and expertise to create products that are licensed to the client and supported by the firm and provider. The client will use these tools without the aid of the firm, and this can open up opportunities for law firms to recapture work that was shifted in-house years ago. Although there is great opportunity here, it also means that those that ignore the advancements in technology will be left behind and eventually marginalized.

When you hear reactions to these technologies in the form of “clients pay me to practice law and advise them, not to be a techy” remind the attorneys that this list of six steam engines aren’t about the future of the legal profession, they are about today’s legal profession. If they can’t handle these six advancements, then how can they be expected to handle the next big change that is coming?

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
Google and Apple - true love
Image [cc] Joakim Jardenberg

Since the demise of Google Reader, I’ve been a little less frequent in going through my RSS feeds using the Feed.ly platform. Over the long weekend, I tried to catch up (and am still trying), and came across an article from bwagy on the different approaches that Apple and Google take when it comes to preparing their customers for change. Apple takes a slow, methodical, periodic approach. Introducing the next #Version in the series, followed by the next #S version about every two years. There are significant changes with each upgrade, but not so much that the customer feels unfamiliar with the product. Apple seems to hold back on some changes so that they do not get too far ahead of its customers. Google, on the other hand, pushes out changes as they come available, sometimes at the expense of leaving some customers very uncomfortable with the changes. The interesting thing that has happened over the past few years is that Google has become cool, and Apple has become the stable platform for the masses.

The whole concept of how to approach change made me think about the way law firm librarians package the mass amounts of online, print, and on-demand resources we buy for our firms. We all know that most of our lawyers, paralegals, and other members of the firm that use research products are usually creatures of habit, and don’t adapt very well to new platforms. Many of us know that there are partners out there that are still upset that WordPerfect 4.2 was taken away from them. However, change is the one constant, and there are many times where we know the products we are familiar with are transitioning into new platforms, or have been purchased by one of the big legal publishers, and eventually will become either completely obsolete, or with just completely go away altogether. So how do we approach the inevitable changes? How do we prepare our customers for the changes?

Some of us push the next level of technology or research platforms out to our users much in the way that Google pushes change. New product comes out. Buy it. Push it out. Train, train, train. Then use the early adopters as champions to show that it can be done, and that everyone needs to get on board. The Google approach can also include bringing in a wide variety of unrelated products that address a broad range of needs. Changes come quickly, and sometimes a product can change multiple times over a relatively short time period.

Some of us push the Apple approach to change. We coordinate contracts so that they align and the changes come periodically. Since we know we have two or three years before we need to make changes, we hold back the changes and have them fit a set life cycle to fit those two to three year periods. The information about the changes come well in advance of the change itself. Many times the customers watch as their peers from other firms discuss all of the new bells and whistles of product version #S, while they are still stuck using the pre#S version. This can create an interesting dilemma of driving demand for change from a base that is usually change-resistant.

The common thread between the Apple and the Google version for addressing change is that they plan for the change and the customer base understands the pros and cons of how their favorite technology companies push change to them. Take a look around at your change policies. Which version do you take when it comes to pushing change to your customers. Do you even have a policy? If you don’t, it might be time to consider implementing one. The only thing worse than pushing change out to your customers, is blindsiding them with it.

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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