Legal Research Blog


Thursday – 3/24 – Fastcase Training in Chicago

The ISBA is offering a free Fastcase training on March 24, 2011 at its Chicago regional office. Join us for an overview of the free legal research member benefit through the ISBA.

ISBA Chicago Regional Office
20 S. Clark St., Suite 900

1PM to 2:30PM

1.00 MCLE hours, including 1.00 approved Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours

For more information, visit:

Future Moments

Photo by Jinho Jung

With spring fast approaching it is time to look back at the great consumer tech future moments of the first quarter of 2011. We feel that you would be hard pressed to find achievements that either represent the future or create the feeling that we do, in fact, live in the future. So, without further ado we bring you:

1.      PixelOptics

During the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2011 this past January we were witness to a true first world “Woah!” moment of the year. PixelOptics was demonstrating a pair of “electronic spectacle” lenses. By passing an electrical current through the crystals in the lens the view is able to focus on either near or far objects, eliminating the need for bifocals or progressive lenses. You need to watch the video demonstration from the show floor, it is very impressive.

2.      The iPad 2

The iPad 2 was only released last week, so how could it be already have reached the potential to be a future moment? Even with its improvements the iPad 2 is overall an admittedly underwhelming device. However, like any piece of hardware, it is the additional software or in this case, the additional hardware, that can really make it shine. As evidence I point to the crew who installed an iPad 2 on the dashboard of an F-150 pickup truck. Music jukebox? Check. GPS? Check. Fastcase on the go? Check. FaceTime video calls while you drive? Check. Dangerous? Probably, but the sheer potential for productivity needs to be recognized.

Hopefully this spring will feature equally if not greater tech wizardry for us.

Bigger than the Big Game: Part II

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Bjørn Giesenbauer

When the CBA extension ran out Friday night, the NFL and the group formerly known as the NFLPA had still failed to reach an agreement and both sides responded with the drastic measures football fans had feared. With the decertification of the players union, the owners proceeded with a lockout which could translate to serious delays for the 2011 season, if not its complete demise. As the union has been disbanded, any and all hopes for collective bargaining have dissipated and it is now entirely up to the courts to determine the fate of American football.

According to The Huddle, USA Today’s interactive football news source, the first hearing of Tom Brady et al. v. National Football League is set for April 6th before Judge Susan Richard Nelson of the District of Minnesota. Members of the former NFLPA have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in hopes that they can salvage the upcoming season. For the motion to be granted, the players must outline why the action taken by the NFL is damaging to them, express reasons for which they believe they would ultimately be successful if the case were to go to trial and what their desired outcome is, among various other details (See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Title VIII, Rule 65). If the court agrees with the player’s motion and grants injunctive relief the lockout would cease, although the case would be far from closed. With or without a lockout, the players have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL asserting that their actions effectively limit commerce. While the players hope decertification has made their filing legitimate, there is still a chance that the NFL could be protected by prior immunity.

As we mentioned last week, the case of American Needle v. NFL did not fully strike the NFL from immunity to anti-trust lawsuits, leaving interpretation open in the future. In spite of the courts’ powers of interpretation, the U.S. Congress can’t help but get involved when it comes to defending their country’s sport. H.R. 1060, featured on, was introduced just yesterday in hopes of amending the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 to further restrict any attempts by the NFL to claim exemption. With the case currently sitting before a judge that has never heard any NFL cases previously, both sides are left uneasy about the turnout.

Making a difference: Shoe edition

At Fastcase, we really enjoy TED talks. They convey big ideas in small talks, and are good daily transitions between bigger tasks. Today we’re spotlighting a TED talk from Mark Bezos, a volunteer firefighter who talks about the importance of making a difference in small ways.

As Bezos points out, you don’t need to save someone’s life (or their dog’s life) to make a difference in their lives. We are confronted daily with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other people. No need to wait until we have achieved our life’s work, or until we can contribute vast sums of money. We can make a difference every day in smaller ways that count just as much.

For one small example, most people have seen footage of the devastating Tsunami in Japan, and the ensuing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  These crises are enormous in scope, and it’s difficult to imagine how we might help in a large way.  However, many small contributions can make a huge difference.  In the face of a large-scale disaster, we each can make a contribution, such as donating to the relief efforts of the American Red Cross, or donate to the work of Telecom Sans Frontieres (Telecom Without Borders), which establishes ad hoc, emergency telecommunications infrastructure in disaster zones.

I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

– Edward Everett Hale

Hat tip to Bill Gross (@Bill_Gross) who shared this talk via Twitter.

IRS Bracketology

We’re all filling out our March Madness brackets here at Fastcase (Go Badgers). Over at TaxProf Blog, Robert G. Nassau of Syracuse University College of Law is encouraging fellow tax enthusiasts to complete his bracket of IRS sections – “pitting them against one another to determine the code’s “most useful” section (with the occasional upset or two along the way).”

The whole thing is so entertaining, we couldn’t help but pass it on:

“The selection committee (of one) had to make
tough calls regarding the many tournament-worthy
bubble teams that did not win their part or subpart
tournaments, and therefore had to rely on at-large
bids. Speaking with reporters from ESPN, I had this
to say: ‘‘The adoption expense credit was the last
section in; and group-term life insurance was the
last section out — but life insurance proceeds is in
with a number four seed, so life insurance is fairly
represented.’’ Charges that the selection committee
let its bias toward low-income taxpayers affect his
decisions (both child tax credit and additional child
tax credit made the cut) are totally without merit.”

To see his 64 nominees and download the bracket click here.