“Bad Law Bot” Uses Big Data to Identify Negative History for Judicial Opinions
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Washington, DC (April 25 2013) – Legal publisher Fastcase today released an algorithmic enhancement to identify overturned or reversed cases in its Authority Check system – Bad Law Bot. Bad Law Bot uses algorithms to identify court cases that are cited with negative treatment and to alert researchers of a case’s negative citation history.
The Bluebook manual for legal citation requires that, when courts cite a case that has been overturned or reversed, they say so right in the citation. Judicial opinions, and particularly their citations, are full of this kind of “big data” about which cases are still good law. Bad Law Bot scours all of the citations in judicial opinions. When the opinions cite a case as being overturned, Bad Law Bot flags the case for Fastcase users, identifying negative history as reported by the courts.
“Fastcase’s Authority Check feature is already a very powerful tool for identifying whether your case is still good law,” said Fastcase CEO Ed Walters. “Authority Check includes data visualization tools to see the later history of cases, citation analytics and filterable lists of later-citing cases. The addition of Bad Law Bot, to help identify negative history, is a major step forward. This is the first of many additions to Authority Check that we’ll roll out over the next year.”
The new Bad Law Bot feature helps users identify negative treatment of the cases judicial opinions. However, because it only reports what cases say in citations, researchers should rely on Bad Law Bot as an aid to identifying negative history, not as a comprehensive guide.
Historically, editorial enhancements set traditional legal research services apart from software-based challengers like Fastcase – features like headnote summaries in judicial opinions, annotated statutes, and citators that indicate negative treatment. However, Fastcase is chipping away at the list: Fastcase now includes headnotes for many of its judicial opinions, annotated statutes, and a citator that’s showing an increasing amount of negative history.
“Westlaw and LexisNexis threw armies of people at these problems, and they created great products. We’re applying smart data science, which is improving incredibly quickly,” said Walters. “In many instances, Fastcase’s products are as good as the best traditional services, and in an increasing number of circumstances, they’re even better.”
“[T]he fact that Fastcase is willing to go out and present something like this to its users shows that they are ready to test the boundaries of what you can do with legal information, technology, Big Data concepts, and the guts to go out and actually do it,” said Greg Lambert, Director of Library & Research Services at Jackson Walker.
Since 1999, Fastcase has been building smarter research tools for understanding the law. In 2012, the company launched eBook Advance Sheets available for the major eReaders (iPad, Kindle, Android, and Nook).
In 2010, Fastcase was the first company to launch an app for legal research, and later, the first company to launch an app for iPad. The American Association of Law Libraries named Fastcase for iPhone the 2010 New Product of the Year. In 2011, Rocket Matter named Fastcase’s apps for iPhone and iPad the Legal Productivity App of the Year and the company furthered its mobile market presence by debuting the Fastcase for Android app in 2012. Lawyers on the go appreciate Fastcase Mobile Sync, which allows full integration of its mobile apps with the desktop version of Fastcase.
Fastcase has gained very strong momentum in the legal research market and continues to challenge the norm in legal publishing and legal technology. Fastcase was voted #1 in Law Technology News’s inaugural Customer Satisfaction Survey, finishing first in 7 out of 10 categories over traditional research providers Westlaw and LexisNexis. Fastcase has introduced new opinion summaries, Fastcase Cloud Printing, and has been named to the prestigious EContent 100 list of leading digital publishing and media companies alongside Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook for two years in a row.
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 500,000 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 www.fastcase.com.