/ March 4, 2015

See, Sort, Slice

There is one particular flavor of nerdy ennui that haunts legal minds: you think you are done researching an issue, but you still have a nagging suspicion you are missing a key case. All of your opinions are citing each other in a circle, but how can you be more certain you are not overlooking something huge? Nightmare scenarios unfold, many of which involve a judge viciously reprimanding you for failing to bring something obvious to his attention.

Never fear, Fastcase has the cure for your late-research anxiety! It comes in the form of a few simple tools – complete results lists, smart sorting, and Forecite.

See it all

Few are aware of this, but the way Fastcase brings you cases (as in the sheer number of results you see at once) is unprecedented. On traditional legal research platforms you can only see about the top 10,000 results. With Fastcase you can pull up everything that matches your search terms at the same time.

I just ran a keyword search for “judge” in all jurisdictions. In literally 2 seconds Fastcase returned over 4 million results.

You may think you don’t need (or want) four million results because that amount of data is simply unmanageable, but with Fastcase’s Big Data analysis tools you can find the needle in the haystack.

Sorting

You can’t sort a case into Slytherin, but you can sort pretty much every other way that is useful. The blue categories at the top of your results list are clickable. Pick to sort by Relevance, Case (alphabetical), Decision Date (newest first), or Authority Check (which cases have been cited the most within your results or the entire Fastcase database). Clicking a blue category link again will sort in reverse order, such as Z-A, oldest first, etc.

Forecite Slices through Jurisdictions

Forecite is a little tool that finds the cases you didn’t know you wanted, where you didn’t think to look. It has two main functions: 1) Forecite shows cases that are probably relevant to your search, but do not contain your search terms, and 2) it checks other jurisdictions for related material. To see Forecite cases, simply click the orange “View Results” button to the right of the Forecite bar that appears above your results.

For example, maybe you are searching for North Carolina cases that discuss double jeopardy. Obviously this is a constitutional issue so there are also going to be several federal cases relevant to your inquiry that are cited by N.C. courts. With Forecite you can quickly access those federal cases that were frequently cited by your N.C. results, and read through them to gain a background understanding of the issue.

Peace of mind, brought to you by the team at Fastcase.

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