Legal Research Blog
Fastcase allows you to search broadly and then sort your search results to find what you need quickly. In fact, you can sort your case law search results in 6 different ways. Make your selection on the Advanced Caselaw Search page under Search Options, then Results, then Sort by. Most of these sorting options are also available on the Results screen.
Relevance: This is the default sorting order, so if you don’t make a selection, this is the order that your results will appear in. The higher the Relevance percentage (0-100%), the more likely a case is to contain a substantive discussion of your topic.
Case Name: Sorting by case name will put your results in alphabetical order.
Decision Date: Sorting by decision date will put your results in chronological order.
Court Hierarchy: Sorting by Court Level or Court Hierarchy will put your results in order according to the level or the court issuing the decision, starting with U.S. Supreme Court decisions and ending with State Supreme and Appellate Court decisions.
Cited Within: Sorting by “Cited Within” will put your results in order of the number of times each decision was cited by other decisions in your search results. Note: This category is called “These Results” on the Results screen.
Cited Generally: Sorting by “Cited Generally” will put your results in order of the number of times each decision was cited by other decisions in the Fastcase database. Note: This category is called “Entire Database” on the Results screen.
At Fastcase, you get static urls† for all search results (and cases). That means you can save search results as bookmarks or send them to other Fastcase users. Just follow these simple steps to send your search results to another Fastcase user:
1. Run a search.
2. When you are on the results screen, copy and paste the url into an email and send to the desired recipient.
3. Your recipient can access your search results by copying and pasting the url into her browser window after logging into Fastcase.
†Not sure what a url is? “Url” stands for “uniform resource locator.” Think of it as a type of address that tells your web browser where to access information from within Fastcase. Urls are displayed in the address bar (usually at the top) of your web browser. Fastcase urls begin with: “https://.”
With Fastcase, it is easy to choose a specific jurisdiction for your case law searches.
1. Start by navigating to Advanced Caselaw Search.
2. Next, scroll down to the “Select Jurisdictions” heading and click the circle next to “Individual Jurisdictions.”
3. This should reveal a number of categories of jurisdictions. Expand any category by clicking the plus sign next to the category name.
4. Select the specific jurisdictions you wish to search within by marking the box next to the name of the jurisdiction. You can select as many or as few as you like, and you can search across different categories.
Bonus: As you search, the last 5 jurisdictions (or groups of jurisdictions) that you selected will begin to appear under “Recently Searched Jurisdictions.”
Did you know that you can easily look up a case using the party names? Fastcase’s Keyword Search is the perfect tool for this type of search.
Example: Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).
1. Navigate to the Advanced Caselaw Search by choosing Search Cases from the Search menu.
2. If you know which jurisdiction issued the decision you are looking for, narrow your search accordingly.
3. Type the case name in the search box. For example, here, you would simply type in Marbury v. Madison.
4. The case you are looking for will almost certainly show up in your top 10 search results. In this example, the case we selected was the first case on the list.
Use Fastcase to create your own personal library of up to 50 favorite cases with just one click. Once you have added cases to your library, you can access at any time, from any computer.
• To add a case to your library, just click on the link labeled Add to My Favorites at the top right hand side of the screen.
• To access the cases in your library, just select Go To Favorite Documents from the My Library menu.
Bonus: Did you know that Fastcase automatically saves the last 10 cases you have accessed in your library? To access this personalized case history, simply select Go to Recent Documents from the My Library menu.