Legal Research Blog


Tip: Search for a Case Using the Party Names

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.

Tip: Retrieve Your Favorite Cases Anywhere

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.

Tip: Print a List of Your Search Results

Printing a list of your search results is easy with Fastcase. Just click on the Print List of Results link located above the list of results. This will automatically trigger your browser’s print function and print the first page of results on your list.

To print the next page, click the blue arrow to the right of where the number of results is listed, and click Print List of Results again.

Hint: You can print a list of up to 100 results at once by increasing the “Results per page” setting to 100 on the Advanced Caselaw Search page. By default, this is set at 20.

Tip: Learn to Use Boolean Operators

The most powerful and flexible way to search for cases on Fastcase is to perform a keyword search using Boolean operators.

Boolean operators are symbols that tell a search engine how to relate keywords to one another.  For example, there are many ways to relate the two keywords Summary and Judgment.

→     Summary             AND         Judgment

This search will yield cases containing both the words Summary and Judgment.

→    Summary             OR             Judgment

This search will yield cases containing at least one of the words Summary or Judgment.

→     Summary             NOT            Judgment

This search will yield cases containing the word Summary but not the word Judgment.

→     Summary             w/5             Judgment

This search will yield cases containing the word Summary within 5 words of the word Judgment.

Fastcase’s search engine is compatible with 8 simple Boolean operators, but there’s no need to memorize them all. We display each operator along with examples right below the search box on the Advanced Caselaw Search page.

If you are new to Fastcase, a good way to learn how to use these operators is to click on one of the blue hyperlinked examples in the search tips. This will paste the search query in the example into the search box. Then you can press search to see what the results look like and compare them to the description of expected results listed in the search tips box. We are confident that with a little practice, you will become an expert in keyword searching in no time!

Tip: Jump to the Most Relevant Paragraph in a Case

Fastcase helps you search smarter by allowing you to jump to the most relevant paragraph in a case with one click.  When browsing a case, just press the M key.  Alternatively, you can click on the Jump to the most relevant paragraph link at the top of the screen.  You will automatically be directed to the paragraph of the case that is most relevant to your search terms.  Use this feature to move through your search results more efficiently and focus on the cases that are important to you.

Note:  This feature is currently only enabled when using Internet Explorer.