Legal Research Blog


Welcome SmartLitigator Users!

As you may have heard, ALM will sunset SmartLitigator on Wednesday, August 10, 2016. ALM and Fastcase are working together to provide a special rate on Fastcase as a high-quality replacement for your firm’s legal research needs.

Work smarter and spend less time searching

Timeline Laptop - hi resGet your research finished more quickly and efficiently with powerful searching, sorting, and data visualization tools like Fastcase’s patented Interactive Timeline, which maps your search results on one screen, so you can find the most authoritative precedents — in minutes, not hours.

Stay connected to the law, even when you’re away from your office! Fastcase’s apps for tablets and smartphones give you access to caselaw and statutes across the country, for no extra charge. You can even sync it to your desktop Fastcase account to keep all of your research organized.
PlaceIt FC iPhone Fastcase has now partnered with ALM to provide SmartLitigator subscribers with a legal research alternative that’s comprehensive, powerful, and smart. Although the libraries will not be exactly the same (Fastcase cannot offer some titles exclusively available through ALM), we think this will be a terrific solution going forward for many Smart Litigator subscribers.

If you have any questions about the transition, please contact us at 1-866-77-FASTCASE (866.773.2782), or for a free demo, or to discuss the right pricing plan for your firm.

Click here to sign up and get started with smarter legal research from Fastcase!

Five State Bar Associations Renew Fastcase Benefit

Service Provides Free Legal Research to Hundreds of Thousands of Lawyers

WASHINGTON, DC (March 14, 2016) – Legal publishing company Fastcase today announced that five state bar associations have renewed their member benefit partnerships with the company. Twenty-eight states and dozens of metro, county, and specialty bar associations offer Fastcase’s smarter legal research tools as a free benefit to members.

Through state bar partnerships, Fastcase is made available free to more than 800,000 lawyers – but it is not a discount service. Many of the largest law firms in America also subscribe to Fastcase, as well as the majority of American law schools and leading corporate counsel. In addition, Fastcase is the most popular smartphone app for lawyers, according to the American Bar Association Technology Survey.

“We understand the demands of state bar associations to provide quality and meaningful member benefits and know that being a true partner means so much more than just proving great technology,” said Phil Rosenthal, Fastcase’s President. “Our mission is to democratize the law, making it more accessible to everyone, and to make legal research smarter and easier with advanced analytics. Members love our current version of the software and will be even more thrilled this year with Fastcase 7.”

Bar associations have overwhelmingly selected Fastcase for their members, with ten state bar associations switching from other services to offer Fastcase. The renewals allow members continuity as they access the nation’s smartest legal research tools for free through their bar association’s website – a service that would otherwise cost lawyers and law firms hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. The service is unrestricted by time or number of transactions, with unlimited printing, reference assistance, and customer service included for free.

The Virginia State Bar, The State Bar of Arizona, The Iowa State Bar Association, State Bar of Georgia, and The Florida Bar are among the most recent state bar associations to renew subscriptions to Fastcase making it available as a free member benefit. When bar associations compare Fastcase with other legal research systems, they overwhelmingly determine that Fastcase is a better service for their members.

Fastcase continues its mission of democratizing the law – making the law more accessible to more people than ever before. In recent years, Fastcase has announced a novel partnership with HeinOnline which now includes access to HeinOnline Law Reviews on Fastcase, and transitioned Wolters-Kluwer’s Loislaw to Loislaw Libraries on Fastcase.

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






Massachusetts Bar Association Adds Fastcase Legal Research Benefit

BOSTON, MA and WASHINGTON, DC (December 1, 2015) – The Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) and Fastcase today announced the state bar will be providing its members free access to Fastcase’s nationwide legal research system, effective December 1, 2015.

The MBA becomes the 28th state bar to provide access to Fastcase’s online legal research service and its award-winning research tools as a benefit to members at no additional charge.

Beginning December 1, all MBA members will receive unlimited access to one of the largest law libraries in the world. 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. MBA members will receive free access to Fastcase’s extensive legal library, including case law, statutes, and regulations as well as Fastcase’s intuitive and smarter legal research tools, training webinars and tutorials, industry-leading mobile apps, and live customer support from members of the Fastcase team. Members will be able to access Fastcase through the MBA website at where they can log in with their bar username and password.

“Access to great research tools used to be the exclusive province of the world’s largest firms,” said Ed Walters, Fastcase’s CEO. “Working with the Massachusetts Bar Association, we can bring the smartest legal research tools to everyone — helping lawyers and their clients with increased access to justice.”

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Fastcase is the nation’s fastest-growing and most popular legal research service. Many of the nation’s largest law firms and 28 state bar associations have subscribed to Fastcase. More than 800,000 lawyers currently have a subscription to Fastcase, many through their state bar association.

The service ordinarily costs $995 per year for an individual subscriber, but MBA members will receive Fastcase as a complimentary member benefit. The Fastcase service will be free to members, 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.

In addition to its nationwide legal research database, Fastcase’s Massachusetts-specific libraries include judicial opinions from the Massachusetts Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals back to 1885, First Circuit decisions starting at 1. F.2d 1, U.S. Supreme Court decisions starting with 1 U.S. 1, statutes, regulations and much more. 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.

“One of the greatest benefits of belonging to the Massachusetts Bar Association is access to tools and services that strengthen an attorney’s practice,” said MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy. “We’re pleased to enhance this benefit by providing MBA members free access to Fastcase — one of the largest online legal research libraries, and the top-rated app for attorneys.”

Fastcase has gained strong momentum in the legal research market and continues to challenge the incumbents in legal publishing and legal technology. In the American Bar Association’s annual tech survey, users have ranked Fastcase the most popular smartphone app for lawyers every year, including in the 2015 survey. From 2010 through 2014, Fastcase was named to the prestigious EContent 100 list of companies that matter most in the digital economy alongside Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook from 2010-14. 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.

About the Massachusetts Bar Association
Incorporated in 1911, the Massachusetts Bar Association is a non-profit organization that serves the legal profession and the public by promoting the administration of justice, legal education, professional excellence and respect for the law. The MBA represents a diverse group of attorneys, judges and legal professionals across the commonwealth. For more information, follow the Massachusetts Bar Association on Twitter at @MassBar on Facebook at, or visit

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

Loislaw Subscribers, Welcome to Fastcase!

You may have heard Fastcase will be helping Wolters Kluwer Law & Business sunset Loislaw by transitioning current Loislaw subscribers to comparable Fastcase subscriptions. We are excited to welcome Loislaw subscribers to Fastcase and show them everything Fastcase has to offer, from Bad Law Bot to our award-winning mobile apps.

This transition will not affect current Fastcase users. Fastcase is not merging with Wolters Kluwer or selling any assets to Wolters Kluwer. We are merely partnering to provide current LoisLaw subscribers with a new legal research home because Loislaw is closing its doors on November 30, 2015.

You can learn more about this sunset collaboration by viewing a short FAQ here. If you are a current Loislaw subscriber, more information about transitioning to Fastcase is available here. As always, our support team is happy to answer any questions you may have. Get in touch with us at 866-773-2782 or

Happy Searching,

The Fastcase Team

Modern Annotations

In our last post we discussed various methods you can use to search for statutes on Fastcase, but what tools are at your disposal once you find the statute section you are looking for? Ordinarily, if you are researching a particular law you are interested in how courts have interpreted that law. Fastcase knows this, which is why we provide automated annotations below each statute section. Our annotations are different because they are not restrained by the editorial conventions associated with physical documents, meaning they can rapidly be manipulated to turn up the most valuable information.

Once you pull up a statute section, simply scroll down to see a list of generated annotations. Fastcase’s annotations are not notes, summaries, or editorial claims about how courts have treated your statute. Rather, Fastcase shows you highly-relevant common law source material – what judges have actually written about a particular law.

In the picture above you can see a list of Fastcase annotations for Va. Code 8.01-361. This is located just under the language of the statute section. These computer-generated annotations consist of a list of hyperlinks to cases that cite your statute, as well as contextual preview text.

We can see this particular section on the management of juries has been cited by 19 cases in the Fastcase database, so how do we find the most important opinions as quickly as possible? Fastcase does some of the leg work automatically by pulling the most cited cases to the top of the annotations. In the example above, Smith v. Commonwealth has been cited the most (52 times), so it is located on the top of the list.

If you would prefer to look at the list of cases citing your statute section in chronological order, you can also sort by Decision Date. Simply click on the blue column header (illustrated below). One click sorts the oldest materials to the top, while clicking a second time will sort the newest cases to the top. Reading the most recent opinions in reverse chronological order is especially useful for determining the current state of a law.

Fastcase is designed to keep your research flowing on an intuitive level by providing multiple types of information on a single page. Statute annotations are a great place to start looking for case law at the beginning of a research project that is statute-based.

Happy Researching!
-The Fastcase Team