Legal Research Blog
When you generate a list of caselaw search results on Fastcase, you have the ability to filter the list to cases from just one jurisdiction.
For example, let’s say you search for “default judgment” in all Federal Appellate Courts. You will get at least 5,800 results.
If you want to view only the decisions of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, there is no need to re-run your search in the Seventh Circuit database. Instead, just select “Federal 7th Circuit” from the Jurisdiction filter at the top, left-hand side of the screen.
Your results list will go from 5,800+ results down to the 500+ results from the Seventh Circuit. The other cases will be temporarily hidden.
Get back to the full list by selecting “All Jurisdictions” from the drop-down Jurisdiction filter.
Want to quickly send a case via email to yourself, a colleague, or a client? Just follow these simple steps:
1. When you are browsing a case, simply click on the Email link towards the upper right hand side of the page.
2. This will bring you to the E-mail Document window. Here you can enter in the recipient’s e-mail address. The e-mail address you used to register with Fastcase will always be filled in by default, but you can click in the Send E-mail To: box and change the e-mail address to anything you like.
3. Click on the Send Email button. That’s it! The case you selected will be delivered shortly. The e-mail will be from email@example.com and the case text will be in the body of the e-mail.
Remember: To ensure that Fastcase e-mails are not caught by your junk e-mail or spam filters, add firstname.lastname@example.org to your list of trusted senders.
Don’t let the tedious process of copying down case citations sidetrack your research project. Instead, use the Copy Citation function in Fastcase to automatically copy and paste the citation of the case you are quoting into the document you are working on. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Access the case that you want to cite. Make sure that you are in the full case text view and not on the results screen.
Step 2: Select Copy Citation from the Document menu.
Step 3: Open the document (or e-mail) that you want to paste the citation into. Put your cursor in the appropriate spot in the document and press Ctrl + V.
Voila! The case citation will be pasted into the document.
Please note that at present, this feature is only compatible with Internet Explorer.
When you are getting started on a new research project, it is usually a good idea to start with a broad search query and then narrow your query until you get an acceptable number of results. Use these tips to make sure you are not inadvertently excluding decisions that address your topic.
1. Use synonyms. Try including common synonyms for the keywords in your query. For example, if one of your search terms is garbage, include trash and refuse in your search as well.
Instead of: “fourth amendment” & garbage
Try: “fourth amendment” & (garbage or trash or refuse)
2. Use the wildcard operator. By truncating a search term down to the root of the word and adding an asterisk at the end, your search will automatically pick up multiple forms of the word including plurals. For example, a search for testa* will pick-up all of the following terms:
testator, testamentary, testament, testable, etc.
3. Avoid quotation marks. Rather than putting a phrase in quotation marks, try constructing a query using keywords in the phrase connected with the within operator. This will reduce the chances that you are excluding cases that use slightly different words.
Instead of: “statute of limitations tolled”
Try: “statute of limitations” w/5 tolled because this picks up phrases like would have tolled the statute of limitations, statute of limitations was equitably tolled, statute of limitations was not tolled, etc.
With electronic sources, sometimes the fastest way to find the statute section that you are looking for is to browse the statute in Outline View. Using Outline View on Fastcase, you can see the “table of contents view” of the entire code and easily toggle back and forth between different individual statutes.
Example: If you wanted to browse the U.S. Code to find 29 U.S.C. § 2611, you would follow these steps:
1. Select Search Statutes from the Search menu.
2. Above the text box, there are two tabs, a Search tab and a Browse tab. Click on the Browse tab.
3. A list of our searchable jurisdictions will appear. Select U.S. Code from the list of statutes and jurisdictions by clicking on the plus sign next to “United States Code.” This will bring you to an expandable outline of the U.S. Code. Choose which edition of the U.S. Code you want to search by clicking on the plus sign next to the applicable edition.
4. Initially, you will see a list of the Titles within the Code. Click on the plus sign next to each Title to view the Chapters within each Title. Then click on the plus sign next to Chapter to view each Section.
a. Scroll down and expand Title 29 Labor.
b. Then scroll down and expand Chapter 28 Family and Medical Leave.
c. Finally, scroll down a bit further expand Subchapter I, then click on Section 2611 Definitions.
The statute text will open up in the panel on the right while the outline of the code remains in the panel on the left.