Legal Research Blog


Now it’s the Big Three in Legal Research

Fastcase, Westlaw, LexisNexis in a Virtual Tie for First in Clio Legal Research Survey

Washington, DC (March 13, 2017) – The U.S. legal publishing market may no longer be a duopoly, according to the most recent Clio users survey. The survey asked users what tool they use for legal research, and users reported that Westlaw, Fastcase, and Lexis were their tools of choice, in that order. With more than 2,100 respondents, 20.58% reported that Westlaw was their tool of choice, and 20.35% reported that Fastcase was their favorite legal research service. LexisNexis was a close third with 20.21% of users.

The three services clustered in a virtual tie within 8 votes out of 2,162, with Westlaw as the choice of 445 respondents, Fastcase with 440, and LexisNexis with 437.

Clio Survey

Google Scholar was the fourth choice of users with 13.6% of users, followed by Casemaker at 10.22%. No other service reported more than 10% of preference.

“There’s no ‘big two’ in legal research anymore,” said Fastcase CEO Ed Walters. “From now on, it’s the big three – and Fastcase is still growing.”

Clio’s users may have a natural affinity for Fastcase, since the two companies share an exclusive integration agreement. Fastcase users can automatically track their legal research time and record documents, saving them seamlessly into a client and matter with the Clio dashboard in Fastcase.

“With the new Fastcase 7 platform launching in 2017, we expect to be #1 in the next survey,” Walters added.

Fastcase has gained strong momentum in the legal research market. Twenty-eight state bar associations and dozens of voluntary bar associations have selected Fastcase as a free member benefit. Eleven state bar associations have switched from another provider to offer the Fastcase legal research benefit.

The company’s mobile apps have dominated the category, winning the prestigious 2010 American Association of Law Libraries New Product of the Year. Fastcase won the 2014 American Association of Law Libraries New Product of the Year award with partner HeinOnline, and in 2015, it was voted Best Small Firm Legal Research Tool by readers of the Legal Times. Fastcase has repeatedly been named the most popular app for lawyers in the ABA Technology Survey, and in 2016 was named by Engadget as One of the Top 5 Research Apps to Survive Law School and Pass the Bar.

For more information, visit

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 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



How to Find Cases by a Specific Judge on Fastcase


There has been a vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States since the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016. This past week saw the nomination of Judge Neil McGill Gorsuch, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. With this nomination, there has been an upsurge of interest in the prior opinions of Judge Gorsuch. These decisions can easily be found on Fastcase.

One benefit of a full text database like Fastcase is that every portion of the text can be searched. This includes footnotes, headnotes, and basic party information about the case. To search for Judge Gorsuch, it is as easy as searching for both his first name and last name: Neil AND Gorsuch

gorsuch 1

When you run the search, Fastcase’s search algorithms will look for both search terms in the entire document and display the results.

gorsuch 2

You can also sort your search results by date by clicking on “Decision date” in the upper right hand corner.

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Happy searching!

How to Find Immigration Law on Fastcase



The past weekend has seen many lawyers take a sudden and intense interest in immigration law. We here at Fastcase are happy to help!

Below is a list of public links to documents you may find useful in researching the recent travel ban, as well as a brief demonstration of how you might go about finding and sharing one of those documents on Fastcase.

As a reminder, members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association can access Fastcase for free through their AILA membership by going HERE, or by logging in to AILALink HERE. The AILA website also has a number of other publicly available resources that might be helpful, such as the full text of the executive order itself.

UPDATE: The full text of the new March 6th executive order can be found HERE.

Another great place to look is the UB Law Library’s recent blog post, which has a number of other resources related to the ban, including news and academic articles on the subject.

Nothing beats primary law, though, so here’s a list of black-letter cases and statutes that might help.

Recent Orders


Washington v. Trump, No. 17-35105 (9th Cir. Feb. 9, 2017)

The 9th Circuit refused to grant a stay of the District Court’s order (immediately below). The order therefore remains effective, continuing to prevent enforcement of the ban nationwide.


Washington v. Trump, No. C17-0141JLR (W.D. Wa. Feb. 3, 2017)

This order temporarily restrains all Federal officials from enforcing several key sections of the travel ban – effectively permitting travel to resume largely as normal. The order applies nationwide.


Tootkaboni v. Trump, No. 17-CV-10154 (D. Mass. Jan. 29, 2017)

This order temporarily prohibits the United States government from removing any person with a valid visa, any person awarded refugee status, or any lawful permanent residents of the United States.


Darweesh v. Trump, 17 Civ. 480 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 28, 2017)

This order temporarily blocks the United States government from sending people out of the country once they have landed in the country with valid visas, or if they arrive as part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.


Doe v. Trump, No. C17-126 (W.D. Wash. Jan. 28, 2017)

This order temporarily prohibits the United States government from removing the two unnamed plaintiffs, pending Habeas review.


Aziz v. Trump, No. 1:17-CV-116 (E.D. Va. Jan. 28, 2017)

This order temporarily requires the United States Government to permit lawyers access to any permanent residents detained at Dulles Airport, and temporarily forbids the United States government from removing those residents.


Relevant Case Law and Statutes


8 U.S.C. Sec. 1101 Definitions

(a)(13)(C) – “An alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States shall not be regarded as seeking an admission into the United States…”


8 U.S.C. Sec. 1152 Numerical limitations on individual foreign states

(a)(1)(A) – “…no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”


Olsen v. Albright, 990 F.Supp. 31 (D.D.C., 1997)

Summary judgement in favor of a former State Department officer. Officer claimed he was unlawfully terminated because he refused to follow an agency practice of discriminating on the basis of visa applicants’ race, ethnicity, and national origin.


Legal Assistance for Vietnamese Asylum Seekers v. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, 45 F.3d 469 (C.A.D.C., 1995)

Overturning a policy requiring immigrants from Vietnam to comply with onerous procedural requirements not imposed on immigrants from other nations.


Nary v. Haitian Refugee Center, Inc, 498 U.S. 479, 111 S.Ct. 888, 112 L.Ed.2d 1005 (1991)

The District Court has federal-question jurisdiction to hear respondents’ constitutional and statutory challenges to INS procedures.


Dugdale v. U.S. Customs & Border Prot., 88 F.Supp.3d 1 (D.D.C., 2015)

District courts retain jurisdiction to confirm whether or not the procedures specified by INS are actually followed.


American Academy of Religion v. Chertoff, 463 F.Supp.2d 400 (S.D.N.Y., 2006)

While the executive branch does have discretion over how to resolve a visa application, it does not have discretion over whether to process that application. Visa applications must be processed in a timely manner.




How to Find the Cases and Orders

These are very easy to find! Just enter the party names into the Quick Caselaw Search bar that appears when you first log in to Fastcase.


How to Find the StatutesBrowse Statutes





Statutes can sometimes be a bit harder to find, especially if you know the subject or the original name of the Act, but don’t know where it’s codified. Thankfully you can easily browse by subject on Fastcase, using the “Browse” button on the Statute Search page. If you’re using Fastcase 7, the method is a little bit different, and you can read about it HERE.









How to Share a Document

Finding a useful immigration case or statute is no good to anyone unless you can show it to someone else. We want to make it easier for people to get access to the law, so every one of our primary law documents has a Public Link. To share a link to a document on Fastcase, just right click on the Public Link in the top-right, and click “copy link”, then paste it into your Facebook post to show all your lawyer friends the on-point case you found!

Public Link


There you have it! Next time you find yourself becoming an impromptu immigration attorney at the airport, you’ll be prepared!

ACBA Nationwide access

Below please see your current access level through the Alameda County Bar Association (left) versus the plan you can access by paying the $195/year upgrade cost (right).

Member Benefit
Alameda County Bar Association Upgrade
Subscription Fees Free $995 / yr

$195 / yr

No-Contract Pricing Yes Yes
U.S. Supreme Court Decisions (1 U.S. 1 to Present) Yes Yes
U.S. Courts of Appeals Decisions (1 F.2d 1 to Present) 9th Circuit Only Yes
U.S. District Court Decisions (1 F. Supp. 1 to Present) Yes
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Decisions (1 B.R. 1 to Present) Yes Yes
State Supreme and Appellate Courts (1950** to Present) California courts only Yes
Nationwide Statutes and Regulations California only Yes
Visualize Search Results with Timeline View Yes Yes
Authority Check Yes Yes
Dual-Column & Batch Printing Yes Yes
For up to date coverage information, please visit our Scope of Coverage page.

How to Browse Libraries on Fastcase 7


Searches are a great way to find materials with specific words or phrases, but when you’re just starting to investigate a new subject, sometimes the fastest way to find the controlling statute or rule is to browse through the library, rather than searching it. Using Browse Libraries on Fastcase, you can see the “table of contents view” of the entire code and easily toggle back and forth between different individual statutes or rules. Browsing lets you see the code organized by subject, rather than by key word.


If you wanted to browse the D.C. Code to find 12-301 (the statute of limitations), you would follow these steps:

Step One: Go to the Advanced Search page.

Advanced Search Link

Step Two: Click on Browse Libraries in the lower-right corner under Other Resources.

Browse Libraries Link

Step Three: A list of libraries will appear. Select Statutes and Codes, then District of Columbia from the list of statutes and jurisdictions by clicking on the yellow folder icons next to them. dc-codeThis will bring you to an expandable outline of the D.C. Code. Choose which edition of the D.C. Code you want to search by clicking on the orange plus sign next to the applicable edition.

Step Four: Initially, you will see a list of the DC Code Divisions. Click on the yellow folder next to each Division to view the Titles in that Division. Then click on the yellow folder next to Title to view each Chapter in that Title, and so on.

Scroll down and expand Division II Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

Then scroll down and expand Title 12 Right to Remedy.

Finally, scroll down a bit further and expand Chapter 3 Limitations of Actions, then click on 12-301 Limitation of time for bringing actions.

Step Five: The statute text will open up in a new pane on the right while the outline of the code remains in the pane on the left. You can jump to other sections of the Code by selecting them in the left-hand pane, or just skip to the next or previous section by using the arrow buttons to either side of the word DOCS above the statute text.

Step Six: Now that you’ve found the right statute, you can bookmark it in your browser or save it to your favorite documents on Fastcase, or just write down the citation so you can search for it later.